Bridge4Students (B4S) is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization.
Your gift will make a difference to a student in need. Your donation is tax-deductible.
Passionate Global Talent will build a Brighter Future
That's why B4S is helping students from countries impacted by geopolitical crises, wars and natural disasters (currently Ukraine) with opportunities to continue quality education in the US and become leaders, innovators and guardians of a brighter and more peaceful future.
We believe that peace is built on access to education and opportunity.
How we help: We try to connect students to internship opportunities, mentors, and other emergency support. We also offer students who showcase leadership and innovation potential, a limited number of merit-based tuition scholarships. Selected students are asked to join our Student Board and focus some of their time during the year on helping younger students and driving thought leadership on topics vital to creating a more peaceful world.
Results and a look forward: Since incorporation in mid April 2022, we have helped 100+ students through connecting students to summer internships, mentors and/or offering emergency support. Overall we are working with 150+ students who have applied for some form of support and hoping we can support each and everyone of them and more.
B4S effort was born out of passion and eminent need to help students whose sense of security has been shattered given the crisis in Ukraine. These highly qualified students, who have worked so hard to get to where they are, find themselves at risk of disruption to their educational and career plans. They don't have access to their families, their families have lost their jobs, stability and worse, the families are unable to support the students financially or emotionally. The stories are heartbreaking.
B4S founders saw a gap in humanitarian aid distribution patterns: beyond the immediate crisis and on-the-ground support (refugees, on-the ground humanitarian and military aid), there is an audience that is unaddressed. Young adults and college-aged students who are far from their families, or who are refugees themselves, need help navigating and affording a college education. They are at a pivotal moment in their education - without support their potential to become future global leaders and innovators, and their ability to create a more peaceful and balanced world, will be unrealized.
The Bridge4Students founding team of successful professionals had once been in the shoes of these students – many of us are immigrants from other countries who had to pave our way in the US. We know how important mentors, supporters, advocates and believers are to finding the right path and achieving success. Bridge4Students aspires to be that bridge for the students in need.
Bridge4Students Leadership Team
B4S operations, fundraising, mentor recruiting, community building, university relationship and partnership development, as well as distribution of donations to students are run by our volunteer Leadership Team.
Management Consulting and Advisory: Olga has been consulting consumer and healthcare companies for over 15 years at Deloitte and as a freelance consultant - her clients included Anthem, Stony Brook Hospitals, American Express, Revlon, Sara Lee, Nokia, Brown-Forman, Gillette, and others. Olga is passionate about working with companies to create new value for consumers and customers via disruptive business models and harnessing the power of diverse global talent.
"I can only imagine what these students go through now! I was in their shoes twice - first as a high-school exchange student living with a host family, and then when I came to the US to get my Masters. It's a lonely journey and getting access to the right mentors and advisors along the way is key. I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who were willing to help, guide me and teach to shoot for the moon and have the courage to push through, no matter the obstacles. We are hoping to provide similar help for our students at Bridge4Students."
Natasha Skripnichenko Thomas
Management Consulting and Workforce Strategy and Transformation: Natasha has over 20 years experience in Management Consulting, with a focus on brand strategy, consumer research, as well as culture, workforce planning and development, performance management, and corporate immigration strategy. Natasha is originally from Kiev, Ukraine, and arrived with her family as a refugee in the US in the 1990’s.
"For an immigrant and refugee student, the college application process was a mystery. Along the way I was fortunate to have mentors who helped me understand how to build my story and put together a strong application. But others who came at an older age such as 16 or 17, were less fortunate and had less time to figure out how to apply effectively. I hope that Bridge4Students can accelerate the college application and learning process for qualified and committed refugee students."
Healthcare C-suite Operations and Government Relations: Born in the United States | Believer in the power of opportunities for disadvantaged students
Robyn have had meaningful roles across government (U.S. Senate), politics (presidential campaigns), companies (UnitedHealth Group/ Optum, Fannie Mae), and consulting (The Glover Park Group). I have been in sectors during moments when they were needed the most (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in the aftermath of 9/11; Fannie Mae during the global recession; Chief of Staff to the CEO of a Fortune 5 health care company during the pandemic).
Web Design and Development: Born in Uzbekistan, moved to the U.S. at a young age and want to help students who are in need
Anastasiya is passionate about combining design with engineering to help solve problems as well as enhance the user's overall experience when using tech products. For the past year she has been working at an art-tech startup as a Designer Engineer where I helped to both design and build web experiences.
During her free time, I love to explore new technologies and prototype new ideas using code and design. Throughout college she enjoyed participating in hackathons, helping non-profits with websites, and learning from other developers about the industry.
Sonya Ovrutsky Fensome
Fundraising and Events: Internationally acclaimed classical pianist; founder of award winning Mainline Music Academy
A highly talented enterpreneur, Sonya has a background in performing arts as both an international concert pianist and business manager. Her recent success is in founding and managing a reputable music school with expertise in marketing, business development, concert and classes scheduling, budgeting, negotiating and contract administration.
As a piano performer, Sonya is a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music, and a winner of national and international competitions and awards. She is culturally astute and fluent in 3 languages: English, Spanish, and Russian.
We are grateful for our advisory partners and supporters:
Linda Liu, Senior Vice President, International College Board
Jonah Kokodyniak, Senior Vice President, Program Development and Partner Services, Institute of International Education
Sophie Panchal, Board of Trustees, International School of Brooklyn
Lala Musayev, Consulting and Operations
Neha Aviral, Trustee - International Institute of Strategic Studies; Principal at ghSMART
Our advisory partners have been offering valuable strategic and operational advice, enabling us to scale and grow our efforts.
Our operations would not be possible without our student and professional volunteers
Bridge4Students is committed to being a lean and 100% volunteer run organization.
All of our founders and team are donating their time and experience to collect and distribute funds and opportunities to selected students.
We have a network of 20+ volunteers and mentors who are contributing their time and experience in providing services to students (overall counseling, business and educational mentorship). Our Mentors work directly with the scholars providing 1:1 guidance.
The only paid employees we are planning on hiring in the near future are Ukrainian students who have applied and been selected for summer internships with Bridge4Students.
At Bridge4Students we believe that everyone is entitled to be treated with respect and be free of any conduct that targets their identity and is offensive, hostile, intimidating, or inconsistent with their personal dignity and rights.