Tetiana (Tanya) Kotelnykova, a first-year student in the Human Rights Studies M.A. (HRSMA) Program and a recipient of Columbia University’s Scholarship for Displaced Students, has launched a mentorship program for Ukrainian youth called “Mentor Ukraine.” The program connects Columbia students with Ukrainian young people.
Launched in September 2022, Mentor Ukraine supports Ukrainian youth and provides one-on-one sessions with a Columbia student, who offers personal guidance and advice tailored to the specific needs of their mentee. Mentors and mentees have informal offline or online meetings to discuss the pressing questions faced by Ukrainian students. Mentors assist young Ukrainians in applying to universities in the USA, invite them to network events and share professional information related to education, internships, and employment opportunities. Tanya says: “I designed this program to support my peers from Ukraine as, in addition to the trauma in their personal lives, they have to continue studying.”
Tanya was born and raised in Horlivka in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. In 2014, she left her hometown, which was occupied by Russian forces during the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine. She fled Ukraine after Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022. In the HRSMA program, Tanya focuses on issues of social inequality, human rights in the context of war, and Russian Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Space. Her research examines the obligation of the occupying power to ensure the right to water in the occupied territory, and Russian education policies in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
To find more information about getting involved or serving as a mentor, please click here