Immigrant at Stony Brook earns scholarship

Posted on Tue, Jul 05, 2011 at 15:37 pm

Newsday covered the story of Stony Brook University junior Yelena Belorusets, one of the 60 recipients of scholarships awarded through HIAS' Scholars program. Below is the text of the story:

Stony Brook University
Photo credit: Jasmin Frankel | Stony Brook University. (March 29, 2011)

For Stony Brook University junior Yelena Belorusets, becoming one of 60 U.S. recipients of scholarships granted to refugees like her means she won't have to work as much to keep up with her college expenses.

Belorusets said she's also excited that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society scholarship will bring her closer to her immigrant roots through a required community service project.

Belorusets, a Ukraine native majoring in biology and sociology, received $4,000 for college and will be part of the yearlong HIAS Scholars program.

"The scholarships help to give the refugee community a better life," said Belorusets, 21, who currently holds two part-time jobs. "I know it will make it easier for me to complete my studies and devote more time to my books and other projects."

Erin Davis, manager of Young Leadership Development at HIAS' Manhattan office, said the nonprofit revamped its scholarship program this year, doubling the size of the monetary grant, and adding leadership training and the community service requirement.

"This is a pivotal time in their lives," Davis said. "We feel that their community service projects could have a ripple effect and could help them to make a difference."

For her project, Belorusets is trying to decide whether to focus on an AIDS-prevention campaign for Russian youth or increasing awareness of immigration reform efforts among college students.

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