Finding a Home: Ukrainian Graduate Student Anastasiya Vanyukevych Flourishes at PSU Despite Many Hurdles

May 12th, 2010 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H.-
Anastasiya Vanyukevych was among 330 graduates receiving advanced degrees at Plymouth State University’s Graduate Commencement ceremony May 15, but her story is one-of-a-kind. Growing up in the Ukraine, Anastasiya’s father died when she was ten and her family faced many struggles as her mother’s meager paychecks barely covered the basic necessities.

“We didn’t have much, but I never felt deprived,” said Vanyukevych.

Throughout her youth, Anastasiya and her family knew that gaining an education would be critical to any chance of future success. She studied hard, and her grades were good enough to gain entrance into International Solomon University in Kiev. Getting accepted was the easy part; paying for it required an enormous family sacrifice.

“My stepfather sold the family car to help pay for tuition,” said Anastasiya.

Anastasiya worked toward an undergraduate degree in computer science, but after her third year, the financial strain was too much for her family to bear. She was faced with a choice – she would have to earn enough money on her own to continue or be forced to abandon her dreams. Her employment decision changed the course of her life.

“I saw an ad for Work and Travel USA, which is a foreign student exchange program, so I came here and I worked at Loon Mountain,” said Vanyukevych. “I worked and saved as much as I could and I also met students from Plymouth State and visited campus. That convinced me to come here.”

After being admitted to PSU as an undergraduate business student, Anastasiya prepared for her new life in northern New England. However, it almost ended before it started, because she was nearly destitute.

Anastasiya Vanyukevych
Anastasiya Vanyukevych celebrates her MBA degree at PSU’s Graduate Commencement with her mother, Luda, who traveled to the ceremony from the Ukraine

“When I came here, I had $600, and I had to spend $500 on books, so I had $100 left,” Anastasiya said. “People took me under their wing and for that I am so grateful.”

The Plymouth State community, including staff, faculty and fellow students embraced the shy student; helping her find student employment at Health Services, providing assistance with her studies and most importantly, giving her the encouragement she needed to flourish. College of Business Administration Dean Trent Boggess said Anastasiya was in the right environment to succeed.

“The friendly relationships our students are known for enabled Anastasiya to make many new friends, and for us to learn about her many outstanding qualities,” Boggess said. “What I quickly realized after I met her was that she was an exceptionally bright and very interesting person. She is an extraordinarily competent businesswoman with the most amazing ability to translate theoretical business knowledge into practical business policy that I have ever met.”

Trish Lindberg, professor of education, gave Anastasiya a place to live after learning of her initial financial difficulties.

“She is such an example of triumph over adversity,” Lindberg said. “Her positive spirit and her heartfelt dreams are an inspiration.”

“I admire Anastasiya for her work ethic, loving and caring spirit and perseverance. She is someone who has worked hard for everything she has and appreciates greatly
the opportunities she has been given in life.”

Following her acceptance of an MBA, Anastasiya was inducted into the graduate business honor society Delta Mu Delta.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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