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Ukraine Global Scholars Join School Community

Ukraine Global Scholars Join School Community

Ukraine Global Scholars Join School Community


Shtunder (left) and Buch (right) competed at the Dorm Festival.


October 12, 2023

Petr Berlizov '24

Among the more than 100 new Bearcats joining campus this year, many have powerful stories to tell, talents to showcase, and passions to explore. Two newcomers to Lakeville are already making an impact on the school community: Ukraine Global Scholars Ira Buch ’25 and Oleh Shtunder ’25. Founded in 2015 by Ukrainian alumni of top international universities, Ukraine Global Scholars (UGS) is a program designed to aid the country’s development. Talented students are selected through a rigorous application process and can then choose to study anywhere in the world. Five years after graduation from a bachelor’s degree program, participants agree to return to Ukraine to aid its continued prosperity. Buch is currently deciding between pursuing a career path in immunology or creative writing. She believes that UGS has made a real impact on her writing abilities and given her ways to get hands-on experience in a relatively niche career by allowing her to do internships on autoimmunity. Before coming to Lakeville, Shtunder had already amassed an array of accomplishments, including organizing regional chess tournaments, excelling in school, and participating in 13 major academic Olympiads. Buch, too, embraced her passions in biology, chess, and community service before arriving in the U.S. However, both scholars credit their acceptance to the program to their personal stories, not grades or awards. Buch said, “I have a sense that UGS is very personality-focused, and doesn’t focus on the flashiness of your accomplishments, but rather how you use what you have. You don’t need to be the best at everything in the world, but they want you to have a drive to improve.” Shtunder’s interest in business and international relations has been particularly well-served by the program’s broad reach. Supporters of the program in high-profile government positions include Oksana Makarova, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, and Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Shtunder said, “I really appreciate the chance to have a connection with this Ukrainian network.” UGS is a fully volunteer-based organization and relies on donations to continue its work. Shtunder, reflecting on his desire to help the program, said, “It’s natural that, since I got so much help from the old generation of [UGS] students, I want to help the new ones, too.” He has worked for the project as an admissions officer and has helped new members apply to schools abroad. He is also on UGS’ wellness team, which aims to build a sense of community between the members of the program. In their interviews with UGS, Shtunder and Buch both indicated that Hotchkiss was their top-choice school, but their motivations differed. Buch said, “It came down to the way academics and extracurriculars fit together. I was impressed by programs like MacLeish, and that definitely contributed to my decision.” The school’s reputation for community life was a major draw for both. Buch said, “I could tell from the start how incredibly talented and ambitious students here were, but there was also this feeling that people wanted others to succeed. That set Hotchkiss apart.” Shtunder agreed, saying, “I wanted to continue my development as a person. And that’s honestly my answer to ‘Why Hotchkiss’ — because this experience is about building leadership skills in a community of leaders, and that’s what this school gives its students.”

Petr Berlizov is an editor-in-chief for The Record.

November 16th

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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