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Past Intern Experiences … Youth Leadership in action

Each year, USUF hosts a large number of interns. Their experiences at USUF illustrate how the Foundation makes every effort to provide a mutually beneficial internship that is tailored to individual interns' interests and the needs of the Foundation.


The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation 2014 Summer Leadership Interns - Alina Filipchuk and Mark Temnycky ... 

... did a fantastic job!  Both were challenged with many tasks here in the Foundation's headquarters, such as attending Washington's many "Ukraine events," composing reports, creating and formatting Update newsletter issues - and much more!   Sadly, in August they had to return to academia!  We miss both of them! 

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation 2014 Summer Leadership Interns - Alina Filipchuk and Mark Temnycky ... 

Alina Filipchuk, who hails from Kyiv, has been attending New York University's Abu Dhabi and NYC locations.  She is seeking a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology for May 2016.  During the summer, Alina was the Update newsletter editor!

Mark Temnycky, who resides in Manlius, NY, attends LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY.  He looks forward to graduating in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, with Minors in Peace and Global Studies, Political Science and Religious Studies. 

Both of our interns had a wonderful experience this summer ... thank you!  Below, you can read what Mark had to say about his USUF experience! 

Mark Temnycky


The 2013 Internship Experience at USUF ...
Future Leaders for U.S.-Ukraine Relations

Ever since its founding in 1991, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) has been providing an educational opportunity for young, talented men and women to plunge into the world of real policy-making and the promotion of democratic values in Ukraine through its Internship Program, an important component of its overall Youth Leadership Program.

Of course, university students benefit - they directly participate in the mission of the Foundation in working with other students and with USUF staff, meeting with government officials and other "stakeholders" from Ukraine and the U.S, and they get first-hand experience on the functioning of a non-profit organization in the U.S. capital. For every student, the time spent in an internship will impact future career choices. Many times, students develop friendships with other interns that last way beyond the time spent in Washington. And living in America's capital, enjoying everything it offers, is a unique experience as well.

The Foundation benefits, too! Every semester Foundation staff members get an "energy-boost" with the arrival of young individuals, ready to lend a helping hand. They are typically hard-working , professional and serious. Their service to USUF projects and activities is considerable.

The students are challenged while they are at USUF. The Foundation realizes their importance now and for tomorrow, as they represent the future leaders in U.S.-Ukraine relations. This is why the Foundation dedicates time to its interns ... it is an opportunity to help shape future leaders, those who truly love Ukraine and the United States.

In the narrative that follows, we hope you will enjoy learning a little bit about our volunteers of the past year. They have invested their time in supporting the work of the Foundation while reaping some price-less experiences!


Kristina Boichuk began her internship at USUF while a student at American University's School of International Service. She is pursuing a major in International Politics in the European Union with a minor in Economics. Kristina chose to intern at the Foundation because it presents good objectives that she believes are important to promoting democracy and peace in Ukraine as well as creating a network between U.S. and Ukraine. She is excited to be part of a team that shares her beliefs, passions and opinions and take part in raising awareness of Ukraine's problems in US. She enjoys keeping herself and USUF's Facebook page up to date with Ukrainian news. She is learning how to pick out key points from an article and summarizing them, as well as looking at Ukrainian economic, political, social standing and how they all interconnect within the country and the world.

"When reading Ukrainian news, it saddens me to see all the problems the country is still faced with therefore I chose to study international relations and intern at USUF because I hope to use my skills and experience from abroad in helping Ukraine become a prosperous democracy," said Kristina.


Oleksandra (Sasha) Svyryba ... interned at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation during the summer of 2013. She is currently attending American University in Washington, DC, seeking a Master of Arts in International Development with a concentration in governance, democracy and youth development in Eastern Europe.

Sasha holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Queen Mary, University of London (London, UK), and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Randolph College (Lynchburg, VA).AppleMark

Before arriving at USUF, Sasha interned at the Austrian Embassy - Commercial Section (Advantage Austria) in Kyiv, Ukraine where she expanded her knowledge of Austria-Ukraine relations, specifically Austria's trade policies toward Ukraine. She also worked as a legal assistant at two international law firms in Kyiv and Washington, DC.

Sasha chose to intern at the USUF because she was interested in getting acquainted with the non-profit sector and policy-making community in Washington, DC. While at USUF, she was involved in researching topics related to the annual Ukraine in Washington Conference and Gala, in particular the role of the U.S. Congress in furthering U.S.- Ukraine relations. In addition, she was in charge of promoting and upgrading the Market of Ukraine and Travel to Ukraine webpages.

In Sasha's viewpoint, she gained valuable professional experience as USUF provided plenty of opportunities for research and hands-on work, and this will assist her in the quest of becoming a future expert on U.S.-Ukraine relations, especially in regards to political and social development.


Lyudmyla Korchevska had previous experience working for the Ukrainian government and decided to continue CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 93 her interest in Ukraine at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.

Lyudmyla chose USUF because she was interested in getting acquainted with the work of a non-profit organization that dealt with her home country of Ukraine.  When applying to USUF, she mentioned her high interest in U.S.-Ukraine cooperation particularly in economic and civil development spheres. Lyudmyla was able to pursue these interests through her work with USUF's 40 Under 40 Emerging Leaders Project. She gained professional experience through activities at USUF that she is sure to use in her future professional work.

Ms. Korchevska holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs (Diplomacy, Translation) from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine. She is expected to earn a Master of Arts in International Affairs (Russia and Central Eurasia) from American University, Washington, DC, in May 2014.


Vlada Levchenko …


"Living in a foreign country, far from home, is always difficult. Organizations such as the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation are a way for people like us not just to connect and stay close to home but also to help is flourish and grow in a positive direction. I'm truly thankful to the directors of USUF for giving me such an opportunity."

Vlada Levchenko joined the USUF so that should would work close to home and establish connections with Ukraine.  She was happy to practice her Ukrainian and meet many important Ukrainian government officials.  During the Ukraine in Washington 2012 Conference and Gala she was corresponding with different Ambassadors and in her other work she met diplomats, ministers from the Verhovna Rada, and embassy staff.  Along with improving and practicing her Ukrainian, Vlada learned to be independent and productive with her work.  As the conference came closer everyone became busier and Vlada learned to take initiative and complete her tasks on her own in a productive manner.


Halyna Malko interned at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation for the fall semester of 2012. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Education and Master of Arts in Teaching Languages and Literature from the Drohobych Teacher Training University in Ukraine.

Before her time at the USUF, Halyna taught children of various ages English, German, and Ukrainian. She also was involved in the Ukrainian National Parliament's Election in 2007 as a poll worker.

She chose to work for the USUF to gain more experience in the nonprofit sector and deepen her knowledge about U.S.-Ukraine relations. Her most exciting experience was helping in organizing the Ukraine in Washington 2012 Conference and Gala.

At the conference and through her work at USUF, Halyna was able to meet many talented Ukrainians residing in the US.


Matt Kostman ...

"When I began working at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation I simply had an interest in my family heritage. After working with other people passionate about Ukraine and learning about more about Ukraine, I gained a better understanding about the current situation in Ukraine and the hard work people are putting in to help. The people I have been fortunate enough to work with have inspired me to continue to pursue a future involved with Ukraine."

Matt Kostman, who is from Allentown, NJ, began his work at the Foundation in Fall 2012 and is continuing through the spring semester of 2013. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from the George Washington University with a concentration in Europe and Eurasia.

Matt has always been interested in his Ukraine heritage and the Foundation was a great opportunity for him to learn more about Ukraine as a whole. While interning, he has gained an understanding of the current issues in Ukraine and has learned about the many prominent figures important to Ukraine.

His favorite project at the USUF was when he had the opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion hosted by the Kennan Institute to discuss the Ukraine election that occurred two weeks prior.

Through his work at the Foundation, Matt has learned to work independently, resourcefully, and creatively to promote the values and happenings of the Foundation.


Nina Lupan ...

* "My experience at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has brought me one of the most educational and professional experience in my field of International Affairs. Working at their annual Conference and Gala gave me the opportunity to be among significant public figures and scholars who spoke of Ukraine's politics and promise.  Because of this, Ukraine has become a great example that I look at both in my classes on foreign politics and international affairs and my concentration of Conflict Resolution.

I joined work at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation because it brought me much promise to both get experience in my field of International Affairs at The George Washington University, and staying just as close to my heritage as I was when still living at home in Boston.  I grew up in a Ukrainian household, so being able to stay close to my heritage in another city while at school is both comforting and an honor."

Nina Lupan's first experience with USUF was the Ukraine in Washington Conference and Gala in 2011, which she attended. Born in Boston, Nina is passionate about her Ukrainian heritage being raised by Ukrainian-American parents. She became interested in the Foundation after seeing how dedicated they were to their work and became an intern in Fall 2012. Through her work at the Foundation, Nina has learned of the work put in by both the U.S. government and other international institutions dedicated to Ukrainian foreign relations and progress. Having previously attended the Gala as a guest, she enjoyed working behind the scenes both at the Conference and the lead up to the conference when she researched and wrote articles about the specials guests who would be attending.  Nina has learned how to be a representative of an organization, which she takes great pride in. She is proud to consider herself a part of the large effort in strengthening Ukrainian-American ties that the Foundation strives for and she plans to continue to pursue her passion for Ukraine in her future professional career.


Anastasiya Mykolaivna Chebotarova ...

"I have several reasons why I was interested in working at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.  First, I wanted to know more about this country and second, I wanted to let American people know more about my native country and its issues such as education, history, religious issues, holidays, customs, traditions, and the current political situation.  The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has helped prepare me for my career here in the United States. During my volunteer work at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, I met a lot of interesting people and had the opportunity go to the Library of Congress and attend presentations on Ukrainian books and books about Ukraine. I wrote an article about Ivan Mazepa, a Ukrainian historical figure who is not well known in the West, and why his legacy is so controversial. I also visited the series of movies between June 19th and July 24th at the Hudson Institute, which reflected how American culture has influenced and has been influenced by World War II and by the lesser wars fought since then. I have tried to help people better understand my native country and help build strong relationships between Americans and Ukrainians."

Anastasiya has a background in education and literature. She previously taught at the Poltava National Pedagogical University and has been published in several Ukrainian and Polish literary journals. Originally from historic Poltava, Ukraine, she moved to the United States recently.

"I strongly believe that the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation does very important work for American and Ukrainian people. Every person at the Foundation makes a contribution to the development of the relationship between both countries, " explained Anastasiya. 


The Summer 2012 Internship Program

Summer Internship Program:  VP John A. Kun, Ganna Ivanova, Darya Shpirenkova, Arielle Neu, President Nadia K. McConnell and Elvira Kizilova (left to right)

Summer Internship Program: VP John A. Kun, Ganna Ivanova, Darya Shpirenkova, Arielle Neu, President Nadia K. McConnell and Elvira Kizilova (left to right)

The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF) provides an educational opportunity each year for young, talented students to plunge into the world of real policy-making and the promotion of democratic values in Ukraine through its Internship Program.   

Interns, either undergraduate or graduate level college students, have a chance to put their knowledge and talents to good use in gaining hands-on experience in the field of U.S.-Ukrainian relations.

The 2012 Summer Internship Program brings together five ambitious young ladies, representing San Francisco, Detroit, Ivano-Frankivsk and Crimea, under the roof of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. While being in Washington, DC, the interns are empowered by the Foundation's mission, they work together on strengthening U.S.-Ukraine relations and promoting the image of Ukraine, and enjoy an inside perspective of the workings of the U.S. capital.

Each of the five USUF interns possesses a bright personality and, despite the young age, can boast impressive academic and in-field experience.  

Meet the Summer 2012 interns:

Elvira Kizilova, who hails from Crimea, is a recipient of an Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Elvira is currently working on her Master's in Public Administration at the University of Arkansas. She already holds a Master's in Management from the Crimean Institute of Nature Protective and Health Resort Construction and a Master's of Public Administration from the Odessa Regional Institute of Public Administration.

Elvira Kizilova

Before coming to the U.S., Elvira headed the Department of International Cooperation and Image Policy for the Ministry of Health Resorts and Tourism of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea. As an expert in tourism, she has spent her internship working to promote tourism to Ukraine by updating USUF's Travel to Ukraine website www.traveltoukraine.org.

Elvira likes that she has been able to personalize her internship experience by devoting her talents to tourism, an area of great interest and importance to her. From her tourism perspective, she has taken a liking to Washington, DC, observing that it is "busy and active, but not crowded or overwhelming."

Arielle Neu is a 2012 graduate of the College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio) and a Fulbright Scholar for the 2012-2013 academic year. She studied international relations and Russian studies in college and became interested in Ukraine while writing her undergraduate thesis on how cultural perceptions influence the foreign policy between the former Soviet states.

Arielle Neu

As an intern, Arielle works on the Foundation's social media and public relations activities, and she has been involved in researching materials to update the Foundation's website.

Through her internship with the Foundation, she hopes to obtain a better understanding of modern-day Ukraine and the workings of nongovernmental organizations. The experience she is gaining at USUF will be beneficial in her plans to pursue a career in foreign policy and international relations.

In the course of the summer, she has fallen in love with Washington, DC. She says, "It's a very diverse city, with people from everywhere and representing all different backgrounds and beliefs, and it's a great place to get involved in politics and international relations-or anything you're interested in."

After the internship, Arielle will spend a year teaching English in Russia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Buryat State Agricultural Academy in Ulan-Ude. 

Darya Shpirenkova is a native of Odessa and now permanently residing in San Francisco, CA. Darya is currently an undergraduate student at San Francisco State University, pursuing a BA in International Relations.

Darya Shpirenkova

During her internship at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Darya is actively involved in public relations, social media promotion, and "client relations" (for example, she enjoys talking to work/travel exchange students in helping to resolve any problems they may have in the U.S.).

Darya has also enjoyed exploring Washington's wealth of museums and cultural activities in her free time. Darya believes that "an internship is a great way to network and get hands-on experience in the governance field."

Darya's future plans include graduate studies in international affairs with a focus on Eastern Europe.

Ganna Ivanova, who is from Crimea, is a recipient of an Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship and is currently a graduate student of public administration at Minnesota State University. Her area of specialization is non-profit management and human resources in the public sector. Ganna has attained Bachelor and Master Degrees in Political Science from Taurida National V.I. Vernadsky University in Ukraine.

Ganna Ivanova

As a USUF intern, Ganna serves the Foundation in several areas, most notably, the planning of the Business Conference and Gala Awards Dinner events scheduled for November 30 and December 1, 2012.

Ganna's favorite part of her Washington experience is the opportunity to meet with leading experts on Ukraine who discuss topics that she holds close to her heart.

"They are so educated and experienced as well as coherent and interesting. They really inspire me in my studies and in my personal goals as well," she says.

As part of their Washington experience, the USUF interns have taken full advantage of the many opportunities the nation's capital has to offer. They have met with leading experts in the field of Eastern Europe, attended various presentations and discussions about Ukraine, and visited significant historic and political sites.

For instance, they met with Orest Deychakiwsky, a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Mr. Deychakiwsky provided them with tremendous insight on the role of Ukraine in U.S. foreign policy.

The interns also sat down recently with Matthew Rojansky, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment, who shared his professional policy experience. Mr. Rojansky is also a member of the Foundation's Foreign Policy Task Force within the Ukraine 2020 Policy Dialogue Program, http://www.usukraine.org/ukraine-2020/task-force-foreign-policy.php.

While spending the summer in Washington, the interns have had the opportunity to attend public events and presentations related to their interests in public policy and Eastern Europe.

For example, they attended a presentation by Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on the importance of free enterprise in the United States, as well as a panel discussion relating to Freedom House's report on democracy in Ukraine   


The interns also took a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building, where they learned about the process by which, through intense compromise and debate, the many diverse voices and opinions of the American people make the transition from ideas to laws.

These meetings and excursions supplement the "Washington experience" for interns at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Through their service to the Foundation, the interns gain in their experience of learning and their own personal enrichment. As a result, the USUF Internship Program allows interns to discover Washington, learn more about themselves, develop new friendships, and take part in U.S. relations with Ukraine.

Note: The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation welcomes applicants for its Internship Program! Applicants are selected on a competitive basis. Preference is given to early applicants.

For more information, go to: http://www.usukraine.org/intern.shtml.


USUF Staff and Interns

PHOTO: USUF staff members and 2009 Summer Interns (left to right): Staff members John A. Kun, Oksana Yakovenko, & Nadia K. McConnell; Interns Elizabeth Saam, Larissa Levine, & Caitlin McNeil; Staff member Oleksiy Synelnychenko.



Oleksandr Verbitskiy graduated from Odessa National University. After graduation he completed a two year Graduate Development Program with Unilever Ukraine, receiving hands on experience in business management. As an intern, Oleksandr wrote an article for Potential Magazine.

Carolyn Voce was a Community Partnership Program intern.



PHOTO: Previous Summer interns. From left, standing: Taras Mazyar, VP John A. Kun, Nicholas Ilchyshyn, Oleksandr Verbitsky, Stephen Choma Thompson. Kneeling: Gennadiy Reznik

Carolyn interned at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation while pursuing her Master of the Arts at George Washington University in the Elliot School of International Service. Carolyn assisted in conference planning, as well as publications and project research.

Marta Matselioukh joined the Foundation staff as an intern, editing the Foundation's Update electronic newsletter. Upon receiving a Master of Arts from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Marta became a full-time employee at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.





PHOTO: Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Borys Tarasyuk with USUF interns

Intern Iryna Zayachuk (left) & Irene Mokra, Business Links Editor
Iryna Zayachuk and Irene Mokra

USUF's business development project, Business Links, benefited from the assistance of intern Iryna Zayachuk, hailing from Lviv and a Muskie fellow at Ohio University. Iryna worked with Business Links Editor, Iryna Mokra, on expanding the Business Links publication, its database of U.S. and Ukrainian companies, and the publication's financial support network. The experience of working on Business Links offered valuable and practical educational opportunities to Iryna, who pursued a Master’s degree in Economic and Business Development.

Alexandra Bayrakovska, a Muskie fellow from Ivano-Frankivsk and student of urban affairs and public policy at the University of Delaware, was right at home at USUF as she researched funding sources and potential grant proposals. With USUF, Alexandra learned about profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations which will help her excel in a future career in public administration.

Roman Oleksenko
Roman Oleksenko

The Foundation gained valuable assistance from Roman Oleksenko, a native of Cherkasy and Muskie fellow at the University of Southern California. Roman's responsibilities complemented his studies in international and intercultural education. With the assistance of Ihor Gawdiak, USUF also shared Roman with the European Division of the Library of Congress.

Mykhaylo Maryniy, a student of political economy at Old Dominion University and native of the Ivano-Frankivsk region, assisted the Community Partnerships Project through research, translating, and website maintenance. Mykhaylo's past experience included working in the Verkhovna Rada in the Parliament Information Department where he also worked with the Parliamentary Development Project, formerly sponsored by USUF.

Mykhaylo Maryniy, Alexandra Bayrakovska, Roman Oleksenko, Tonya Kornylo, Iryna Zayachuk, & Serhiy Spivakovsky
group of interns

Tonya Kornylo, a native of Rochester, NY and student at Russell Sage College helped the Foundation by researching an anti-trafficking project for Ukraine which would provide education to the population, relief services, and medical care through direct assistance and collaboration with NGOs in Ukraine. As with our other interns, Tonya's responsibilities complemented her own interests. Remembering a documentary on TV which sparked her interest in illegal trafficking of women in Ukraine, Tonya said, "It really opened up my eyes. The plight of Ukrainian women is one of the biggest problems in Ukraine, and something needs to be done now before it gets worse. I'm glad to help by working on such a project."

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