Hello! My name is Kalyna White and I am a junior in high school. I’m also second-generation Ukrainian, which I hope to say is one of my defining characteristics. Ever since I was little, I’ve always had an intense love for Ukraine. I loved the food, the traditional clothing, the language, and the people. My mom told me stories about her childhood: attending and teaching Ukrainian School, participating in Ukrainian dance troupes, and speaking the language. All my life I’ve had this incredible love for the country and would like nothing more than to travel there and make a lasting difference.
My family also hosted fellows from a Ukrainian exchange program who lived with us in our house for around a month, giving us connections across Ukraine and tons of willing helpers for this project!
Another “defining characteristic” of my life would be my experience in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and STEM Careers. I am the Youth STEM Ambassador to the Board of Directors of Women in Homeland Security. Which, I know, is a mouthful. Basically, I organize the STEM Ambassadors of WHS, who are middle school to high schoolers who help organize field trips for their schools through WHS STEM, providing the correct information, lists, and contacts for us. So basically the other passion in my life is connecting children to Homeland Security STEM in America.
With these two things so prominent in my life, I have found the perfect combination. Introducing… LABUkraine. In August I, along with other STEM professionals, will travel to the Lviv region in Ukraine in order to build computer labs for the kids. This initiative aims to introduce STEM to Ukrainian orphans in a fun and positive way, and to get them interested in a career in the field. We would ultimately aim to in later summers have the capabilities to hold coding, engineering, or math classes for the kids that would give the children the ability and experience to build their future as well as expose them to job opportunities when they leave the orphanage.
I hope you want to get involved, we would love to have you help!
Throughout the globe, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)disciplines contribute to economic growth, higher wages, and technological advancement. In pace, Ukraine’s technology field has been growing exponentially in the last 5 years, with technology start-ups increasing 237% from 2014-2015. However, Ukrainian universities and education institutions only graduate around 15,000 people in technology fields and interests. It is therefore increasingly important to outfit these growing technology sectors with qualified people to build the Ukrainian economy in its greatest potential growth area: technology.
LABUkraine seeks to implement a program where Ukrainian youth would be introduced to STEM skills and exposed to STEM disciplines by providing tools and instruction. LABUkraine will outfit orphanages and schools with computer labs – supplying everything from the computers themselves to furniture or anything required to provide a welcoming atmosphere. The first phase of the project would be to secure and outfit institutions with the equipment needs. The second phase would include annual workshops led by technologists from the United States. LABUkraine would implement classes, scholarships, and “job” fairs that would expose young Ukrainians to lucrative careers in growing fields, contribute to the growing technology sector in Ukraine, improve and enhance relations between the United State and Ukraine, and provide Ukraine with a better standard of living and a better future.
Ukraine boasts the fastest growing internet availability in Europe, however overall the country is too poor to afford technology such as computers and internet for all schools and orphanages. LABUkraine would travel to Ukraine for the month of August and build a computer labs outfitted with desktops, keyboards, internet, educational programs, and other items as needed.We first aim to renovate/Build Computer Lab Room; Install Computers loaded with STEM computer games, resources, and projects; Teach the children and teachers how to use the computers.;Develop volunteer staff and Ukrainian technology network that would support the lab when LABUkraine is not in-country.