MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — A Ukrainian biology student studying at Dakota State University is getting some much-needed help to fund her studies here in the U.S. while the war with Russia continues in her homeland.
When Alex Rachynska came to the United States about a year ago, she didn’t expect the war to ravage Ukraine.
Paying for school has become a big challenge for her. That’s why Sirje Kiin and Jack Walters, a retired DSU professor, wanted to help.
“She can’t pay it now because her parents are jobless. Millions of Ukraine people are jobless right now because of the war. Parents can’t support her. She has a student visa. She can’t work outside out of the campus. She’s not a citizen. She can’t get bank loans, so she is falling through this crack where she can’t go home because there is a war — it’s not safe. So somebody must help her,” Kiin said.
“It’s one of those things that, as Sirje was making reference to, if you can’t pay for it, you probably won’t be able to do it, and so we want to do everything we can to raise money so that Alex can continue her education without interruption,” Walters said.
Rachysnka studies biology and chemistry. She wants to go on to medical school and become a neurosurgeon and genetic therapist.
“She wants to pursue a combination medical and research degree, and she’s already presenting at conferences and doing those kinds of things. Pretty good for someone starting sophomore year. And so this is the path and this is what it takes is just to stay in school and stay focused,” Walters said.
Rachysnka has not seen her family in person since moving to the U.S. from Kyiv last year.
“It’s very difficult not being able to go home, or if she went home, might not be able to get back. But she’s here and she can go to school here,” Walters said.
Over $5,500 has been raised on the GoFundMe page so far. The goal is to raise $18,000, which is about that cost of Rachynska’s tuition for the school year. She did not want to an on-camera interview but did say, quote:
“I don’t have to worry if I can pay or can’t pay. When I focus on something, I can really succeed. I’m really grateful to the people that helped me,” Rachynska said.
Their goal is to raise $9,000 dollars this fall and then the same amount in the spring.
If you would like to help, you can find the GoFundMe page here.