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The Recipients of the Ukrainian Student Scholarship Fund

By: Olivia Ryckman | Published: March 01, 2024 | Categories: MOSO Minute
The Recipients of the Ukrainian Student Scholarship Fund

The two-year anniversary of the war on Ukraine is approaching. February 24, 2022, changed many people's lives, and Dr. Chris Moos, professor emeritus at Missouri Southern, was inspired to help Ukrainian students whose families may not have the means to fully support their students. This scholarship would help fund opportunities for these students to attend college in America.

“My wife is originally from Ukraine, so we have many contacts there such as family, friends, and colleagues,” said Moos. “When the war broke out, we heard about high school exchange students in the greater Joplin area who could not now return home. We believed it was important to do something to help these students continue their education so that when they were able to return to Ukraine, they would be better prepared to help their country rebuild and recover from the war.”

As a result, the Ukrainian Student Scholarship Fund was established. The scholarship is awarded every semester to help with tuition for Ukrainian students at MSSU. So far, Dr. Moos, working with the University’s Foundation, has raised more than $14,000 to support these scholarships, and the fundraising is ongoing. Maksym Andruhkiv and Kseniia Ponamarova are recipients of the scholarship.

20240227-8W2A6190-Edit.JPGPonamarova, a freshman international business major, is from Okhtyrka, Ukraine. She arrived in Lamar two years ago as a high school exchange student.

“Even then, I knew that my life had changed,” said Ponamarova. “Living in the U.S. means finding new opportunities I would not be able to find back in Ukraine, but that also means giving up the life I had back home and gaining respect and trust here from zero.”

20240301-8W2A6750-Edit.JPGAndruhkiv, a Kyiv native and sophomore sports and recreation management major, shares Ponamarova’s sentiments about attending college in the States.

“Being in the U.S. is a big dream for so many people around the world,” he said. “It's a tremendous opportunity to gain valuable life experience that can significantly benefit me in the future. Moreover, the college environment in America is unique, providing me with the chance to build connections with amazing people."

Both students are forging their path on campus by making friends and participating in campus activities while maintaining their own individual interests: Ponamarova serves as the vice president of International Club, and Andruhkiv competes on the track team.

International Club helps new international students settle into Joplin, and as vice president, Ponamarova organizes activities for the students to do around campus and in town.

“I enjoy helping all those new students and learning much more about their culture and customs—and I can also share my culture with them, too,” said Ponamarova.

Andruhkiv has been in the States for a year, and he runs hurdles on the track team. The team creates an environment that helps him improve every day.

“The coaches here are very professional, which makes me feel safe and trust the process,” he said. “I’m really happy to be a part of the team.”

Ponamarova and Andruhkiv are happy to continue their education in the States, and they feel the support of MSSU.

“I feel blessed to be here and appreciate everyone who supports Ukraine and its people,” said Andruhkiv. To contribute to the Ukrainian Student Scholarship Fund, please visit this page.