University of New Haven

University of New Haven Creates Scholarship to Bring Ukrainian Students to Campus

Kateryna Fedirko is the first student to receive the scholarship and just started taking classes this January.

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The University of New Haven is taking action to protect students living with the reality of war. They have created a brand new scholarship to bring Ukrainian students to campus.

The program enables a student to leave Ukraine by covering tuition, travel and all living expenses. The first student to get the scholarship just arrived this month.

On any college campus, you will see some big grins, but Kateryna Fedirko certainly has reason to smile.

“I'm really happy,” Fedirko, who goes by Kate, said. “People are so friendly, generous, helpful.”

The sophomore started taking classes at University of New Haven this January. She is the first student to be selected for a new scholarship that allowed her to leave Ukraine.

“I'm in love with this place," Fedirko gushed about the university.

Fedirko left her parents, pets and hometown of Odessa a few months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“It was really unsafe. I felt stressed, my eye started to twitch,” Fedirko said.

After a study abroad program in Estonia ended, she did not want to return to college in Ukraine because of the ongoing danger.

“I heard many explosions, sirens in there,” Fedirko said. “I felt the vibration from the explosions. Like imagine the situation when you wake up, because of the vibration in your body and because of the explosion.”

Schools and universities have become targets during the war. Save the Children reports that right now, one school is being destroyed every other day.

Nearly 5,000 miles away, University of New Haven is stepping up to combat the education crisis driven by war.

Fedirko, who went through a rigorous application, is the first to arrive.

“Kate really stood out,” Dr. Bradley Woodworth, University of New Haven associate professor of history, said. “We were thrilled that she accepted, and here she is."

Woodworth and Greg Eichhorn, who helped make the scholarship a reality, gave Fedirko a warm welcome when she landed in New York earlier this month.

Acceptance to the university not only means Fedirko’s tuition will be covered throughout the duration of her degree; the program also pays for all her academic and living needs.

“I just want to do everything I can to help provide her the best opportunity to grow here in the United States,” Woodworth said.

University staff will keep collaborating with the Department of State and U.S. Education System, working to raise more scholarship money.

“Our desire and our intent is to continue this program with other students from the Ukraine that we can assist,” Greg Eichhorn, University of New Haven vice president for enrollment and student success, said.

For Fedirko, campus life has meant new friends.

“I’m meet lots of new people here,” she said. “American friends, international friends. Community’s very, very diverse.”

It is empowering Fedirko to freely pursue her studies in international business, and chase a bright future, safely.

“I was scared that I don't know what to do with my life anymore,” Fedirko said. “What will happen tomorrow with my life? Will you be alive, or not? So I get scared for my future. And that's why I'm so happy to be here right now, that I'm like more confident.”

Funding for the scholarship comes from a combination of university funding, business partnerships and community donations.

Anyone who would like to donate to the scholarship can do so using this online link.

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