A volunteer-run organization

UGS is a lean and agile organization: we have five full-time staff and no office. Yet, people are at the core of the organization. We have a network of 100+ volunteers who effectively run UGS. Our Leadership Team provides strategic steer and supports key fundraising, admissions, community building, boarding school advising, college counseling, and academic advising workstreams. Our Mentors work directly with the scholars providing invaluable 1:1 guidance. Our Essay team and a team of professional editors support our scholars with essay writing. Our Admissions team runs annual publicity and admission campaigns and selects new cohorts of UGS scholars. Our Co-mentors, or recent UGS alumni, work alongside the more experienced mentors and already give back to our community by supporting new UGS intakes. Many volunteers contribute to multiple teams; all in all, about 75% of UGS alumni are involved with UGS in some capacity, paving the way for new scholars. Our Advisers, including former U.S. Ambassadors and prominent business thinkers, provide valuable strategic advice, enabling us to scale UGS operations. As a public charity UGS relies on individual and corporate donations to cover its operating costs. The majority of our donors come from the US and Ukraine.

Partners and Supporting Organizations

Ivanka Bevz
Kyiv, Ukraine
Ivanka Bevz Talent Placement Manager

Ivanka is a Talent Placement Manager in Ukraine. Her role involves overseeing the Internship and New Grad Programmes within the Ukrainian context, aimed at helping young talents find the best opportunities to grow and make a positive impact. Ivanka works closely with both sides: students and partner companies/organizations to ensure a successful placement process.

National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Insitute of Foreign Affairs '13
National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv '11
Veronika Harmash
Kyiv, Ukraine
Veronika Harmash Communications Manager

As a Communications Manager, Veronika is focused on developing UGS’s communications strategy and managing UGS’s social media and other communication channels. Previously, Veronika has worked in international nonprofits and businesses in the education and IT fields. Apart from Communications, she is passionate about Equity, Diversity and Inclusion matters.

University of Alberta ’23
Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv ’15
Julia Lemesh
Odesa, Ukraine
Julia Lemesh President, Board Member, Secretary

As a UGS President, Julia leads day-to-day UGS operations out of Boston with a special focus on fundraising and strategic projects, e.g., UGS partnerships. Trained in Ukraine and the UK, Julia has 10+ years of experience as a banking and corporate lawyer.

Queen Mary, University of London '11
Harvard Kennedy School '23
Olha Panchenko
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Olha Panchenko Assistant Program Director

As Assistant Program Director, Olha operates day-to-day operations, assisting Program Director and implementing strategic UGS initiatives, manages UGS operations in Ukraine and provides UGS finalists and their families with support.

Simon Kuznets Kharkiv National University of Economics '10
H.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University '05
Helen Pidgorna
Kyiv, Ukraine
Helen Pidgorna Program Director

As the UGS Program Director, Helen performs strategic and operational management of the UGS Program in Ukraine with a special focus on connections with key stakeholders, coordination, and monitoring of the UGS operations in Ukraine. Trained in Sociology of Education, School Improvement & Educational Leadership, and Law, Helen has 15+ years of interdisciplinary professional experience, including in educational leadership, policymaking, and social research with a special interest in transnational educational migration.

Uppsala University '23
University of Birmingham '19
Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University '07