NEW YORK – A Ukrainian-American student in the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, has been selected by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) as the first recipient of an inaugural $4,000 scholarship offered in partnership with the Vovk Scholarship Foundation.
Maria Kulchyckyj is pursuing a Master’s degree in public policy at a prestigious school focusing on democratic reform in Ukraine. “I want to use the knowledge gained from graduate studies to join international development teams engaged in reconstructing Ukraine,” says Ms. Kulchyckyj. “I strive to be a senior U.S. government advisor to Ukraine and assist Ukraine in becoming a full member of the European Union and other Western alliances.”
The UNWLA Vovk Scholarship award is granted to persons of Ukrainian descent, including Ukrainian-Americans, who have completed their freshman year at an accredited U.S. university as full-time students and maintain a very high academic standing. It is being offered for the first time in 2023. “This is a very challenging scholarship program,” says UNWLA president Natalie Pawlenko. “It aims to identify and develop potential leaders of the Ukrainian community in the United States with the appropriate skills to influence government policy. We are very pleased to partner with the Vovk Foundation in this regard.”
The Vovk Foundation honors the memory of two patriarchs: Ivan Vovchuk, a noted scholar, writer and leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN); and, his son Andrew, an accomplished engineer and technologist. “We are thrilled to partner with such a storied and successful organization as the UNWLA to administer a scholarship program for students of Ukrainian heritage,” states Dr. Zenovy S. Wowczuk, Vovk Foundation President.
“It is our intention to work in concert with UNWLA to have a permanent endowment that will allow for not only multiple scholarship awards, but also highlight the involvement and engagement of students in their heritage and culture.” An active member of the Ukrainian-American community in Washington, D.C., Ms. Kulchyckyj completed her Bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) in International & Global Studies and Health: Science, Society and Policy at Brandeis University. Her extensive studies and work experience have provided her with a strong background in public health.
Ms. Kulchyckyj has also received honors and awards recognizing her participation in a wide range of activities including data collection for public health research and fund raising.
“When Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, I knew I had to help Ukrainians in need,” says Ms. Kulchyckyj. She led an online fundraiser that donated more than $20,000 to humanitarian aid organizations in Ukraine, including $2,000 to help a military hospital in Lviv to purchase an X-ray machine.
In addition to the UNWLA Vovk scholarship, Ms. Kulchyckyj is a recent co-winner of the Eva Staszkiw scholarship, also administered by the UNWLA.