Fedorovska aims to use the skills she gains from her Harris MPP to improve education in her home country of Ukraine.
Headshot of Yelyzaveta Fedorovska
Yelyzaveta Fedorovska

Born in Kyiv just eight years after Ukraine gained its independence from the USSR in 1991, Yelyzaveta Fedorovska was raised in an environment where, she said, she could “feel fully Ukrainian. We saw a lot of Russian influence growing up, but I was still able to see myself through a Ukrainian identity. I have been able to see my country grow alongside me,” Fedorovska said.

It was the severe inequities in Ukraine’s education system, she said, that inspired her to work for positive change. “Six years ago, when I was in the U.S. studying abroad, I took a sociology class. My teacher asked me to talk about what education looks like in Ukraine. I told her about times I’d seen parents paying teachers for their kids to get good grades even though the kids don’t show up to class. My professor was shocked. I believe access to fair and equal education should be universal, and what I saw in Ukraine first-hand inspires me to enact change.”

Fedorovska completed her bachelor’s in sociology in 2022 from National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She also studied for a semester at Kadir Has Üniversitesi in Istanbul in 2021. Throughout undergrad, Fedorovska involved herself in numerous national and international engagements. From 2015 to 2019, she was a member of the United Nations Youth Advisory Panel for Ukraine. During her appointment, she gave lectures on the status of employment opportunities for Ukrainian youth and led teams in the implementation of the Panel’s projects to better prepare youth to enter the job market. “That experience helped me better realize my calling,” she said. “Another important part of that engagement was promoting this idea of being Ukrainian to younger people in smaller, rural villages across the country.”

Additionally, Fedorovska volunteered with Peace Corps Ukraine from 2018 to 2019. She worked closely with volunteers who were working on Model UN programming—something Fedorovska has been involved in since 2012. “I was a point of reference for improving the implementation of the program throughout Ukraine, but especially in smaller towns and villages where opportunities do not often exist. Being able to see kids grow and flourish even during one camp session was such a gratifying experience. It’s amazing to know you were part of that impact.”

Fedorovska says that UChicago had already been on her radar for several years before she decided to apply to Harris. “UChicago has a fantastic reputation, so I was always pretty certain I would apply. And public policy is something that has interested me since high school, and after learning more about the MPP program, it seemed like the right fit for me.”

Out of all the coursework, she says she is most looking forward to statistics. “Those skills are very important, so I’m excited to brush up on concepts that I didn’t quite pick up before in my previous coursework.” Fedorovska also says she is excited about the size and diversity of the cohort. “With so many people coming in, it will allow me to meet so many people from different backgrounds and experiences. And the fact that Harris selects a group that is made up of a wide range of ages and backgrounds is really encouraging. It makes me feel like everyone will be able to contribute something unique to the experience.”