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Our People of 2019: U.S. Immigrants

Starting life over in a new country is always a difficult decision, followed by a long journey full of ups and downs. An immigrant sometimes requires a lot more effort than a native to adapt and build their own story. Our heroes are people who decided to move to the USA and achieved success in a new place. We have collected in one material the stories of immigrants that we wrote about in 2019.

Photo: ForumDaily collage

$ 500 million Ukrainian startup in Silicon Valley

Founded by Ukrainians in Silicon Valley, People.ai has been helping its customers grow their business and increase revenue for more than three years. The company is already valued at $ 500 million.

The artificial intelligence developed by the company automates a huge part of the company's customer work. The program accompanies each sale from start to finish, checks productivity and gives tips on how to sign an agreement. It saves customers from 20% to 30% of the time.

Photo: Voice of America frame

The idea was born more than 3 years ago in the Ukrainian Oleg Roginsky. His investor was the familiar Keving McGawy. Oleg rented a house and gathered several engineers there, Ukrainians were there too, and thus People.ai was born. Now the company employs 150 people in 5 offices in San Francisco (California), Kiev (Ukraine), New York (New York), Los Angeles (California) and London (Britain).

Read more: 'Everything turned out like a movie': Ukrainians in Silicon Valley created a startup for $ 500 million

Successful US farm created by an immigrant from Russia

Oksana Bocharova is a professional agronomist and American farmer. In the USA, she realized her dream and began to produce organic products in the state of Maryland.

“None of us ever dreamed of emigration and that we would find ourselves here and land. It was all a matter of chance and circumstance, I didn’t think then and didn’t dream, ”Oksana says.

Photo: video frame VOA

Together with her husband, a woman came from the Belgorod region, Russia, to improve her financial situation. They found work in Maryland, but the spouse decided to return to their homeland. Oksana with the children remained and took part in the US government program, which helps beginners to buy land for farmers. She bought a plot of land and a tractor.

Now Oksana's farm is a role model. The business model she created is being studied by a young generation of future professionals who are brought to the farm on excursions. The Bocharov family's dream is to create off-site dinners on the farm, a small seasonal restaurant that will be different from others.

Read more: 'Students study my business model': how an immigrant from Russia created a successful farm in the USA

Unique operations of a Russian surgeon living in the USA

Vadim Gushchin, a practicing oncologist surgeon and director of two oncology clinics in Baltimore, Maryland. Vadim was able not only to continue his medical education in the United States, but also to become a famous and respected specialist.

Vadim was born and raised in Moscow, moved to the United States at 26 years old after graduating from a medical institute. He left to enter a residency and complete his medical education in the United States of America.

Photo: video frame VOA

“In America, as it is written in textbooks, as we are taught on tests, this is exactly what happens in real life. There are no differences, we must not forget about what you were taught, and do everything differently when you start your professional activity - this is the difference from Russian medical education, ”says Gushchin.

Vadim Gushchin performs unique operations for peritoneal carcinomatosis, as well as other operations, including using the Da Vinci robot. Patients recover two times faster than after laparoscopic surgery.

Gushchin also created an educational project in Russia, recruited students for distance learning of Russian oncologists, where 60 young doctors are now involved. The surgeon's biggest dream is to implement a residency education system in Russia.

Read more:'America is an opportunity to become a professional': how a Russian surgeon performs unique operations in the USA

Russian pancakes from Belarus in America

Alexey Vorobey is the owner of Bel-Feast Food, which has been successfully feeding Washington and its residents Russian and Belarusian food for several years. Having moved to the USA, Alexey acquired a “food truck” - a popular type of business in the city.

Alex is from Grodno, Belarus. There he received a law degree, after which he got a job in a computer company, rose to the position of director and in 2011, when the financial crisis came and the country's economy was declining, he didn’t see any great prospects and therefore decided to try his life in another country . So he moved to the USA.

Photo: video frame VOA

Everything went in stages, at first he worked as a loader for Russian-speaking friends, then he began to study English, worked for Uber, traveled around DC and saw everything that was happening. Communication with passengers led to the fact that one of them turned out to be a friend of a food truck and told about this business. Alexey got interested and created the only food truck with Russian food on the coast.

For 4 years the company has sold 50 thousand pancakes, as well as many other national dishes and treats.

“In the United States, you preserve your cultural traditions and no one interferes with you. Washington is indicative, there is a little bit of everyone here, a balance in everything. I am a little flattered that we are driving here, near the White House. I like it, ”Alexey admits.

Read more: Culinary happiness on wheels: how a Belarusian in Washington feeds Americans with Russian pancakes

Ukrainians who conquered the USA show with trained cats

Circus cats raised by Ukrainians Svetlana and Marina Savitsky conquered America - from the jury of America's Got Talent show to the guests of the New York circus - with amazing performances. Animals perform complex tricks and even jump through hoops thanks to training (and treats).

Marina and Svetlana Savitsky came to America's Got Talent in 2018 in order to demonstrate the skills of their wards. At first, the judges did not hide their disappointment and neglect when they saw cats on the stage. They were ready to say goodbye to the girls, but decided to give them a chance.

As a result, the jury praised the originality of the performance. And the audience applauded while standing.

A year after America's Got Talent show, the Savitsky perform with their cats at the Big Apple Circus in New York, where they are very successful.

Read more: The Savitsky Cats: how Ukrainians conquered America show with trained cats

The unique development of a Russian-speaking scientist in Alaska

Philip Amstislavsky, a professor at the University of Alaska and an enthusiastic ecologist, enjoys spending time in the woods and fishing. Philip wants to save humanity from harmful waste, he invented organic material with the properties of foam and hopes to introduce it into mass production.

Philip was born in Yekaterinburg, in the Urals. In the 90s, when perestroika began and emigration was open for Russian Jews, his family moved to Israel. He began to search for himself and set off to travel the world. First he ended up in Northern Europe, then in Los Angeles, then in New York. Now Philip lives and works in Alaska.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Voice of America

“We have created a huge problem for ourselves. Plastic is a comfortable material that has taken the world by surprise over the past 100 years. We don't know how to handle it, because this is new material, ”says Philippe.

The scientist is developing biomaterials that can become an alternative to plastic and do not create or create minimal damage to the environment. Using natural mushrooms, Philip developed a special material that allows you to create a package for fish that resembles a tree, and environmentally friendly to deliver this fish over long distances.

“I would like to devote the next years of my work to creating projects and research that would create a symbiosis, and not a conflict between human activity and nature,” says Philip. “I would like our children to be able to participate in a world where such an understanding exists and where they can develop and live an interesting, healthy and creative life.”

Read more:“We ourselves created this problem”: a Russian-speaking immigrant in Alaska has developed a unique alternative to plastic

Retoucher from Odessa, working in Hollywood

Odessa Lev Savitsky from childhood was fond of photography, but decided to study stem cells. When he realized that he saw more happy photographers than scientists, he abandoned science. After winning the green card, he decided to move to America. Today, his posters adorn Times Square in New York, "covering half the world."

The family won the green card and Savitsky left for the USA. A year and a half before, he watched a master class of two retouchers Simon Reble and Lisa Carney, who have been working in Hollywood for more than 30 years. Impressed and wrote to them. He received an answer almost immediately.

Фото: Depositphotos

“They wrote that they liked my work and they would love to meet you. After a few months, I already knew for sure that I would come, and again wrote to them. They helped me with the initial list of agencies to which you could send a resume, ”said Lev.

Now Savitsky works as a full-time retoucher-finisher at the Trailer Park agency in Hollywood. He has already worked on dozens of films, promotional materials and photo shoots of actors. From the last and the famous - “Why do women kill”, “Star Track”, “Spy”, “X-Men”.

Read more:From a scientific institute to Hollywood: the success story of the Odessa winner of the green card

Soviet mathematician working at Google

Dmitry Kanevsky develops products that help people communicate with loved ones, colleagues, mobile devices and the whole world.

Having lost his hearing, he learned to read lips, graduated from Moscow State University, became a candidate of science, moved to the USA and now works as a researcher at Google.

Screenshot: YouTube / Android

For the last 40 years, Dmitry has been developing devices and technologies that help people with hearing impairments. Among the inventions is a device that helps to “hear” with the help of the skin, and an application that translates into the text the speech of people with a strong accent, stuttering and other features of speech.

The inventor created a lip reader, got a job at Google and helped develop an algorithm for automatically creating captions on YouTube.

Read more:Soviet mathematician who lost his hearing got a job at Google to help people with hearing and speech impairments

Ukrainian rescues drug addicts in the US

Sergey Volyansky created a successful home renovation company. He hires people who, like he once, managed to give up drugs. He helps them undergo rehabilitation and teaches the craft.

Sergey came from Ukraine in 2001: his parents took him and his brother to America, hoping to get rid of multiple addictions. The Christian family moved in under the religious refugee program. At the age of 15, he thought that he would live to a maximum of 30. But in the USA it got worse - teenagers tried hard drugs and slipped to the bottom.

Once Sergei's mother read a story in the newspaper about a man who was a drug addict, and next to him was a pastor who took him to his rehabilitation program. Mom said: "Either you go to the program, or go and live your life elsewhere." Sergei went there for three years. He has not been using the substance for 14 years.

Photo: Voice of America frame

Sergey created a non-profit organization that rehabilitates drug and alcohol addicts in two stages: getting out of addiction, and then occupational therapy, the opportunity to earn and save money and, finally, a complete change in life.

“Ideally, what I want to see at the end is a person who, in the process of recovery, adaptation to the social sphere, met a girl or a guy, started a family, at the end they have money for housing, have a profession, work and good earnings , there are friends, society and a chance for a completely new life. This is how we work, ”says Sergey.

Read more: Help one: how a Ukrainian returns to life of drug addicts in the USA

Ukrainian in the USA makes headphones for Beyonce and Jay Z

Vitaliy Belonozhko is the founder of 64Audio, which makes professional musical headphones. In the 1990s, he still left for the United States as a child. There, the guy lived in poverty for a long time, and in 2008 he made the first pair of headphones in his bedroom. Now Kanye West, Jay Z and Ocean Elsa buy his brand’s equipment.

Until 10 years, he lived in Cherkasy region in Ukraine. In 1992, his parents transported Vitaly and 7 more children to the USA, where he went to school and grew up, met his future wife.

Фото: Depositphotos

Once Vitaly's wife needed monitor headphones. Musicians use them on stage to hear how the music sounds in the audience. New ones cost about $ 600, he couldn't afford it. And then he remembered that he had old broken ones, so he decided to try to fix them. It took over a year. In the end, it turned out - the headphones were "ugly in appearance", but gave a good sound. Later friends began to make such requests.

In July 2010, Vitaliy registered the company. For six months, he made headphones in the bedroom at home.

In 2015, Beyoncé ordered the headphones. More precisely, not her personally, but her monitor engineer (a person who selects musical equipment for artists). They cost $ 2 thousand. Now Vitaly no longer remembers all the world stars who ordered his products. There were Kanye West, Bon Jovi, OneRepublic and Jay Z. The average price of one order is $ 3600.

Read more: From poverty to world fame: how a Ukrainian who moved to the USA makes headphones for Beyoncé and Jay Z

Russian-speaking police special forces in the United States

Mikhail Venikov is a policeman in the city of San Mateo, near San Francisco. He serves in a special unit to combat money laundering and human trafficking. Michael also founded the organization Ranger Road, which helps veterans adapt to civilian life.

Mikhail was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In childhood, his parents transported him to Mariupol, and from there to Rome. After Rome, the family moved to America - in Sacramento, California. In 2003, Mikhail joined the army, was sent to the war zone three times: twice to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. After he returned to Sacramento, where he studied at the police academy.

Photo: video frame VOA

After the academy, he was invited to the San Mateo police, where Mikhail became a police officer, and then an undercover officer of the anti-crime unit. People who have returned from military service turn to him. Mikhail began to wonder what helped him recover and not be depressed after serving in hot spots - and decided to help other people.

So the idea was born of creating Ranger Road, a non-profit association of veterans, supporting veterans of all military directions.

“As part of Ranger Road, we hold events and programs so that the guys, with our support, can move forward step by step,” says Mikhail. “They want help, but they don't know how to find it. And these are not the people who will ask for it. "

Read more: How a Russian-speaking immigrant went through Iraq and Afghanistan and became a special forces police in the USA

Odessa entrepreneur became a billionaire in the United States

A native of Odessa, entrepreneur Vlad Shmunis became a dollar billionaire thanks to a recent deal made by his company RingCentral, Forbes reports. RingCentral is based in Belmont, California, and provides companies with corporate services related to telephone, messaging, video conferencing, etc.

Schmunis and his family immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. After graduating from California State University in San Francisco with a master's degree in computer science, he got an engineer job at one of Silicon Valley startups.

Photo Shoot: ringcentral.com

Before launching RingCentral, Schmunis founded Ring Zero Systems, a corporate communications software company, in 1992. In 1999, Schmunis launched RingCentral along with Vendrov, who had previously been an engineer at Ring Zero and Motorola.

According to Forbes, the fortune of Schmunis, who holds the position of CEO of RingCentral, is now valued at $ 1,3 billion.

Read more: Good deal: how an immigrant from Odessa became a billionaire in the USA

Immigrant from Belarus succeeds in American bodybuilding

Anton Antipov is a well-known bodybuilder and fitness model, co-founder and co-owner of the Gee Gym fitness club in Miami. He came to the United States from Belarus as a teenager and soon received a contract to work in the modeling business. However, after many years of working as a model, Anton decided to devote himself to his favorite hobby - bodybuilding.

Anton's family moved to the United States in 1996. Then the teenager watched films on cassettes - "Terminator", "Rimbaud", his favorite hero was Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Anton was walking around Manhattan at the age of 20, agents approached him - this is how he found himself in the fashion world, where he received from 3 to 15 thousand dollars a day for shooting a fitness model.

Photo: video frame VOA

One day, an agent told Anton that there is an organization that is developing a new area of ​​“Beach bodybuilding.” That was in 2011. They told me to put on shorts and go on stage - not getting ready, he took 4th place. Speaking at the Arnold Classic in Ohio, he finished 3rd. The bronze medal depicts Arnold. After the competition, Schwarzenegger himself went to Anton, shook his hand.

“It felt like a dream come true,” says the athlete. He is now an established celebrity.

In Miami, Anton opened a fitness club, which he always dreamed of. Many come there precisely because Antipov trains there.

Read more:“Everyone said that I won’t succeed”: how an immigrant from Belarus became a famous bodybuilder in the USA

Ukrainians have created a successful company in the US for $ 1 billion

Grammarly's English spelling checker is known and loved by tens of millions of users around the world. A few years ago, AVentures Capital’s managing partner, Yevgeny Sysoev, estimated Grammarly at $ 100 million. Since then, the number of users of the service has increased tenfold, and the service has grown in valuation to $ 1 billion. Three Ukrainians founded Grammarly: Alexey Shevchenko, Maxim Litvin and Dmitry Lider .

Alexey Shevchenko and Maxim Litvin met in the late 1990s while studying at the International Christian University in Ukraine. All training in it was conducted in English, and the teachers were Native Americans. It was while studying with two friends that the idea of ​​the first joint business was born - the service of checking student work for plagiarism MyDropBox.

Фото: Depositphotos

After the start of sales, MyDropBox joined the Blackboard Developer Network and developed a plugin called SafeAssignment for the largest US educational platform Blackboard, which allowed you to check the work of Blackboard users for plagiarism.

Then the third co-founder, Dmitry Leader, joined the Grammarly team. He first worked as a developer at MyDropBox, and after his sale, he led the project to adapt the product to Blackboard requirements. With the founding of Grammarly, Maxim and Alex offered him the role of technical partner in a new project. We tell how they did it.

Read more:Grammarly: how Ukrainians created a $ 1 billion company in the USA

Ukrainian woman created a unique playground in the USA

A place where children and adults, physically healthy and people with disabilities can play: blind, deaf, children with autism. The first such site appeared in California 4 years ago. Every month it is visited by 25 thousand people. Local authorities have already allocated tens of millions of dollars for the construction of such sites. And the Ukrainian - Elena Villarial came up with and implemented the idea.

Under US law, every playground must be suitable for children with special needs. However, builders often fulfill only the minimum standards: for example, wheelchairs get stuck in sawdust, and on the hill in children with physical disabilities instead of positive emotions arise opposite.

Photo: video frame VOA

Therefore, the woman, not finding a site where her two children could play, went to the city council of Palo Alto. Officials admitted: there is no such construction in the city. They agreed to allocate a land plot for free, provided that Elena finds a way to build such a site.

Elena assembled a team of like-minded people and after 7 years of developing the project, negotiating and raising funds, the Magical Bridge Playground appeared.

Read more:California authorities are ready to invest millions: how the Ukrainian created a unique playground in the United States. PHOTO, VIDEO

Russian ballet school and ballet academy in the USA

Vera Altunina is the founder and artistic director of the International Ballet Theater and the International Ballet Academy in Seattle, Washington. A graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory managed to gather one of the best ballet troupes in the USA and bring up promising dancers.

Vera was born in Siberia. She studied ballet, as she remembers. In Russia then there were two best places where a girl can dance: Leningrad and Moscow, there are the best ballet schools and theaters. Vera always had a desire to go to Petersburg, study there, live, continue to realize her dream.

Photo: video frame Voice of America

At 10, she entered a school in Leningrad, then to the Rimsky-Korsakov Leningrad Academic Conservatory, where she was educated as a choreographer-choreographer. It fell just at the time when the Iron Curtain began to gradually melt. After the restructuring in 1992-1993, one of the project leaders, called the Peace Child (“Child of the World”), came to the conservatory. They needed a choreographer, and Vera agreed. She was called on a return visit to America, Vera received an invitation to come to the United States and try her hand.

When Vera created the academy, she wanted to have a theater to create her own productions and educate her dancers - that would be logical. Therefore, a theater and a school were formed in parallel.

“You can't make a lot of money with art, but it's very possible to be happy,” Vera admits.

Read more:'The most important thing is the goal': how an immigrant from Russia created a ballet academy in the USA

11-year-old son of Russian immigrants became world and US champion

Daniel Novikov is the 11-year-old world and US champion in ballroom dancing. Mom Daniel owns a dance studio in the USA and trains her son herself. According to her, despite recognition and success, Daniel remains a child, loves to have fun and enjoys spending time with friends.

The boy invites to his room and shows the most important cup - awarded for winning the World Ballroom Dance Championships in 2018. In the room, the walls and cabinets are literally strewn with various awards, almost all for first places in competitions and contests.

Photo: video frame VOA

Daniel has two dance trainers - Alla and Alex.

“Also known as my mom and dad,” the boy jokes. “I became a champion thanks to them and the care and work that they put into my classes.”

Alla met her future husband Alexander in Saratov, Russia, in a dance studio. Since then, the couple has been inseparable. Alexander really wanted to show his beloved woman California - which he did. After 5 years of work in America, the couple saved the necessary amount of money and decided to open a dance business. And their son became the world champion.

“You need to keep learning and never give up,” the 11-year-old is convinced. “That's exactly what I did to become a champion.”

Read more: How the 11-year-old son of Russian immigrants became the world champion and the USA in ballroom dancing

An immigrant from Ukraine has become a successful coach in the United States

Now Catherine Zenkina is a mentoring coach and CEO of the multi-million dollar brand Manifestation Babe. Zenkina’s books occupy the 1 position in Amazon sales, she leads one of the 100 top health and self-help podcasts and runs an online community of 200 thousands of millennial women.

But probably the most impressive achievement of Zenkina is that by the 26 years she was able to earn several million on her own, which for an immigrant from Ukraine was a cardinal transformation in just three years.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Goalcast

According to Katherine, shortly after her birth, the mafia kicked her family out of her home in Ukraine. The girl with her parents, grandparents had to leave a comfortable, luxurious and wealthy life and secretly, under cover of night, flee to Los Angeles, California, with $ 900 in their pocket. Lacking constant earnings, stability and not knowing the language, parents were forced to work hard to ensure the future for the family. Soon the parents divorced.

Once, after a seminar by Tony Robbins, Katherine realized that all the decisions she had made up to that point were not for her own sake: for the sake of a sense of comfort, to get approval or to please others. Then she began to try to create her own version of success.

Read more: She fled to the US from the mafia and made a fortune on coaching: the history of Ukrainian Katherine Zenkina

A schoolgirl from Ukraine creates a unique DNA robot in the USA

Parents of Sofia Lysenko emigrated from Lviv to the United States when the girl was 3,5 years old. Sofia is now 17 years old, and she is negotiating with the largest US pharmaceutical companies on cooperation.

The girl created an artificial macromolecule robot that can deliver drugs to the brain cells of patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s. Sofia's invention won the prestigious scientific competition Google Science Fair at the regional level.

Photo: Voice of America screenshot

Two years ago, a schoolgirl was fascinated by the idea of ​​finding ways to deliver drugs to diseased parts of the brain, bypassing all the barriers in the human body.

“The problem is that there is a protective layer around the brain, it is very important, it protects the brain from viruses, but when we try to deliver drugs to the brain, often this barrier does not let them through,” says Sofia.

Therefore, Sofia, using knowledge of biology, computer programming, chemistry, coding, physics and mathematics, came up with a robot capsule, the size of DNA, which can overcome this barrier.

Read more:Save thousands of lives: a young immigrant from Ukraine creates a unique DNA robot in the USA

"Soviet terminator" from the American TV series

The third season of “Very Strange Affairs” - the series that beat Netflix's record for the number of spectators in the first days - is dedicated to the struggle of American teenagers not only with monsters from the other world, but also with the Soviet army at the peak of the Cold War.

The main face of the “evil Russians” was the cold-blooded killer Gregory played by Andrey Ivchenko. His image is filled with references to James Cameron's Terminator, released in 1984 year - a year before the events of the third season.

Andrey Ivchenko Photo: frame from “Very strange cases”

Born in Ukraine, Ivchenko lived in Russia for less than a year and emigrated after returning to his homeland and the collapse of the USSR. First to Europe, then to Canada, and then to the USA. He has already played in several notable projects such as the series Carrier and the movie Three X: World Domination, but it is Very Strange Things that have become the highest point of his career so far.

Read more:The Soviet Terminator from 'Very Strange Affairs' spoke about the 'evil Russians', the reasons for emigration and difficulties in Hollywood

Ukrainian businessman became a successful startup in the USA

“Hi, I'm Zhenya and I'm an eccentric. This is a story about how and why in 2016 I left my successful Ukrainian business and became a co-founder of an American startup. It is also a story about what prompted me to take this step. To the most difficult, most important and best step in my life, ”- this is how Evgen Vyborov begins his story.

Today he is the co-founder and chief engineer of a startup that helps people and grows fast.

“Three years ago I was in hell. I was hired to be the lead technical consultant at Boston startup accelerator Techstars. It's a three-month program in which several start-up teams stay awake, eat, and do nothing but products compelling enough for an investor to write a check. There were 2016 such teams in Techstars Boston Spring 14.

Photo: Facebook / Eugene Vyborov

I was a technical consultant or "that guy who knows exactly what to do with technology." It's like you're in hell 24/7 pedaling 14 bicycles on fire at the same time. Upside down. Venously connected to a coffee machine. Therefore, you only heard about sleep from Wikipedia and from Google's contextual advertising, ”says Evgen.

At Techstars, Evgen met his future partner Anthony, who invited him to become a co-owner and chief engineer of YayPay, a service for the automation of receivables.

Read more:From a consultant to a successful startup: how a Ukrainian businessman abandoned everything and left to conquer America

Ukrainian manages NASA satellites

Former 20-year-old journalist Andrei Vasiliev (Dorzh Batu) has been with NASA for 2 years. During this time, he managed to write a book about space exploration - Francesca. The master of the trajectories. " Andrey told why the Internet and mobile communications depend on satellite control, why he calculates the trajectories of spacecraft manually and whether it’s easy to get to work at NASA.

Photo: Facebook / Dorje Batuu

“The trajectories of all spacecraft rotating in near-earth orbits are influenced by various factors: earth's gravity, the gravity of the moon, solar wind, radiation, electromagnetic fields, inertia from the last corrections ... Many factors, - says Andrey. - There is no resistance in space. The final inertia after the last correction is preserved, and little by little the object moves in the direction we don't want. Therefore, a trajectory and orientation correction is required every 10-15 days. The satellite begins to deviate from the trajectory and change orientation. At this stage, we intervene.

We take telemetry from two points, find out the actual location of the satellite. Comparing these two points - A and B - we calculate the actual trajectory. Based on the errors, the machine calculates the frequency and strength of the engine pulses to return the satellite to the desired orientation and trajectory. ”

Read more: How to manage satellites: the story of a Ukrainian working at NASA

Ukrainian created a popular resort in New York

Lake George Mountain Lake, a three-hour drive from New York, is a popular vacation spot from the stuff and bustle of a big city. One of the local resorts belongs to the Ukrainians: brother and sister Yuri and Kristina Pasternak.

They owe this place to their father, Yuri Pasternak. His life story is a unique example of the invincibility of the human spirit and the reward for hard work. Pasternak Sr. was born in Ukraine before the war, and survived 5 concentration camps during the war: Auschwitz, Bruttig, Dora-Mittelbau, Elrich and Bergen-Belsen. One of his brothers died in Auschwitz, the second brother survived the concentration camps, but lost his family there. Father was freed by the Americans and weighed 87 pounds (39 kg). He was saved, he lived for several years in Germany, and then moved to Philadelphia.

Photo: video frame VOA

In America, he met his future wife Olya, who was from Drogobich and also survived the horrors of war. For the first 8 years, he worked hard at the construction site and at the factory, put aside what was earned to buy land and open his own business.

According to his son, his father wanted to be close to the Ukrainian community, and when he arrived at Lake George in New York State, he saw the local nature, she reminded him of Ukraine. He fell in love with these places, called his brother, quit his job and bought land here. In 1957, Yuri Sr. personally built the first buildings of the recreation center. Now his children work and live here.

Read more:American dream: how a Ukrainian survivor of 5 concentration camps built a popular resort in New Yorkе

Ukrainian became a famous chemist in the USA

Vasily Lyubchenko is a famous American chemist with Ukrainian roots, and in addition he is an actor of the Russian Drama Theater. He told the story of his success and how he manages to combine the serious work of a scientist and his favorite activities that bring pleasure.

Vasily graduated from the Kiev branch of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Moscow, he studied at the magistracy in Kiev. In 1992, when things in Kiev, like everywhere, were bad, and many of his friends began to go to graduate school at American universities, Vasily also had a chance.

Photo: University of Houston

“I came to America with 6 dollars in my pocket. My exams were paid by funds, I was given $ 200 for a flight from New York to Pittsburgh and a taxi, after all, only six remained - this was how my immigrant story began, ”said Vasily.

“A chemistry teacher at UH (University of Houston) is one of the rising stars of American science,” wrote the University of Houston journal in 2008. Then Vasily Lyubchenko, among 16 others, was awarded the prize of The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and was awarded the title of one of the most promising young scientists of the United States for research in the field of electrical properties of amorphous materials.

Read more:'Arrived with $ 6': how a Ukrainian achieved the title of one of the most promising US scientists

Ukrainian worked as an assistant to Mickey Rourke

Having visited the United States 10 years ago, Dmitry Korniychuk immediately realized that this was his country. He told his story of immigration - about how he accidentally became the personal assistant of Mickey Rourke and about life in Hollywood.

“There were no blanks - I was flying, in fact, to nowhere. At first I stayed with a friend and thought that with my English and experience in show business I could easily find a job. But, of course, everything did not go so smoothly, ”recalls Dmitry.

One day Dmitry got a call from an acquaintance, a native of Russia: "What are you doing at all?" Dmitry honestly admitted that nothing, and stocks of money are approaching zero. And he suddenly began to ask very strange questions: “Do you like dogs?”, “Do you know etiquette?”, “Can you drive?”, “Do you understand boxing?”

Photos from the personal archive of Dima Korniychuk

“I didn't understand what I honestly admitted to,” says Dmitry. - "Why are you asking?" - “A friend of mine is looking for an assistant” - “Well, you can try. How old is he?" - "62". Well, I think it's okay, adult uncle. "

Only when we entered Beverly Hills, Dmitry realized that he did not even ask who he was going to, what he was doing, what were we going to talk about?

I decided to quickly find out: "Tell me, who are we going to?" - "Well ... you know this person." - "How do I know him, if I don’t know anyone here?" - "Well ... well ... It's Mickey Rourke."

Read more: Our people in Hollywood: Dmitry Korniychuk about working with Mickey Rourke

Belarus earned a million in California

Anna Vasilko says that in her childhood nothing foreshadowed her high-tech career. The forester's daughter, she grew up in Rakov, 30 kilometers from Minsk, and after school and music lessons, she spent a lot of time in the family garden. After graduation, she entered the Faculty of Engineering and Economics, and after graduation decided to try her hand at the United States.

Anna sent a resume to nearly a hundred companies and has been interviewed dozens of times. When asked about the importance of a diploma in employment, Anna replies that this definitely helps if the candidate studied at a university with a great reputation (for example, at Stanford or Harvard). They don’t know about Belarusian universities in the Valley, therefore it is much more difficult for Belarusians to be noticed at the resume level.

Photo: instagram.com/annavasilko

Anna’s first job was Google. She received a test engineer position in the Google wallet project through an intermediary company Epam. And seriously approached the choice of the next place. I was looking for a young company that makes a technically complex and interesting product that has a healthy culture and great growth potential. Her choice fell on Twilio, and a couple of weeks later she accepted their job offer.

“One of the brightest and most climactic moments is Twilio's entry to the New York Stock Exchange,” said Anna. The company's shares, including the shares of all employees, have become available for sale / purchase publicly. This is the moment of truth when the company's employees became millionaires and multimillionaires. ”

Read more:As a daughter of a forester from Belarus, she earned a million in Silicon Valley

An immigrant from the USSR became a sought-after director in the United States

Alik Sakharov is 59 years old, he is a cameraman and director who came to the United States and the Soviet Union at the age of 22 and did not know English at all. Even if you live in a remote taiga, you surely heard at least a couple of TV shows on which he worked. Among them - the sensational “House of Cards” and the most popular series of our time “Game of Thrones”.

Фото: Depositphotos

The future director took his first shots at a very young age - my mother bought a camera and asked to shoot how his younger brother is growing. But the true love of cinema and creativity was subsequently instilled in him by films of Andrei Tarkovsky.

His mother really wanted to leave the country, and as a result, they immigrated to the United States. According to him, the first years of his life in New York were extremely difficult for him, but in the end he gradually found himself. Sakharov emphasized that in the US, success comes to those who are not idle.

Read more:'House of Cards' and 'Game of Thrones': as a young man from the USSR who did not know English became one of the most sought after directors in the USA

Ukrainian in the USA has gone from builder to Apple employee

Bogdan Polovko is 26 years old, and he is a programmer. The guy was born in the Transcarpathian city of Irshava, graduated from the Ivan Bohun military lyceum from Kiev, left the university in the Czech Republic and moved to New York. There he did repairs in offices and apartments in Manhattan, and then became a programmer and got a job with Apple. Bogdan lived in the United States for more than five years and returned to Kiev. Now he lives in Podol and works as a software engineer in the American startup BetterPT.

Photos: Facebook Bogdan Polovko

In Prague, Bogdan began to experience clinical depression, but there was no money for treatment. He could not get out of bed for two weeks. He left the university and returned to Ukraine. Depression continued, and he began to look for a way out - he read books and articles on how to treat it. As a result, I learned to live with her. Bogdan moved to the United States in the 1990s at the invitation of his godfather, worked as a builder, received citizenship and founded his own construction company.

At first he worked at construction sites, swept garbage and cleaned up the area. Then he joined the construction team. In his free time, he began to search for himself and took up self-education at Coursera. In the evenings he studied psychology and programming. For six months, I studied all the basics of creating algorithms and began to look for work for the position of Junior Frontend Developer. The work paid off: once Anton was told: "Congratulations, you have passed the third level of the interview, welcome to Apple."

Read more:As a Ukrainian suffering from depression, he went to work as a construction worker in the USA, and got a job with Apple

How the family from Donetsk began a new life in the USA

This move, the 37-year-old Andrei Vlezko from Makeevka, calls a high-level adventure. Since 2015 he has been with his family in the United States of America. Andrey spoke about new challenges in a foreign country, job searches, expenses and American medicine.

Until 2014, Andrei owned an advertising agency: he bought new equipment for work, built a house for a large family, expanded his business, was glad that everything was working out and working out. After the outbreak of war, the so-called "representatives of the new government" came to them. Threatening, they demanded money and dictated their conditions for doing business in the “DPR”. After the refusal, they began to beat.

“We left everything on the same day and went to see my brother in Kiev,” Andrei recalls. - We realized that the old life is over for us forever. Thank God they stayed alive. "

Photos from personal archive.

In the winter of 2015, having recovered a little from the beatings, we decided to go by invitation of friends to the United States. Once in the States, met with another Donetsk team, who at that time had lived in the United States for more than 25 years. They offered to live with them, and not spend money on a hotel. After spending some time in the States, they learned about new problems in their homeland - the bank took the apartment from their brother and could no longer return to it. On the advice of friends, the family decided to seek political asylum from the United States authorities.

Read more: 'High-level adventure': how a family from Donetsk managed to escape to the USA and buy a house by installments

Read also on ForumDaily:

Pros and cons: how immigrants affect the US economy and the lives of Americans

From a scientific institute to Hollywood: the success story of the Odessa winner of the green card

Rating of America's Most Immigrant Friendly Cities

No longer a tourist: 4 valuable advice for moving to another country

Miscellaneous year results Our people our people Results of 2019
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