Lehigh University student Roman Moskalenko ‘26 will be interning for the Permanent Ukrainian Mission to the United Nations

When the city of Bucha was attacked near the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Roman Moskalenko ‘26 didn’t know whether his parents were alive or dead.

About 500 people – nearly all civilians – were killed during the month-long occupation of Moskalenko’s hometown, according to the Ukrainian government. Moskalenko’s childhood home was severely damaged, and for weeks Moskalenko believed his parents were dead, until he eventually learned they had successfully fled to the liberated areas of the country.

Roman Moskalenko ‘26 speaking at a Ukraine rally
Roman Moskalenko ‘26 speaking at a Ukraine rally

“When I found out they survived, it was the biggest miracle of my life,” said Moskalenko, who later raised money to help his parents rebuild their house. “They were running away from the Russian army at night through the forests. They were fortunate to be among the few people to survive in their village.”

Moskalenko, who is studying Business Information Systems and Management of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University, will be interning for the Permanent Ukrainian Mission to the United Nations for three months starting in August. He had proactively contacted them seeking opportunities to help his home country during the continued invasion.

“I am very deeply involved with diverse projects that I do to support my country,” said Moskalenko, who is also minoring in International Relations and Supply Chain Management at Lehigh. “To me, this seemed like a logical next step.”

Moskalenko has been a work study student at Lehigh’s Office of International Affairs (OISS) for the last two years, and has also been involved with the Lehigh University/United Nations (LU/UN) Partnership, although his upcoming internship is separate from that partnership.

“This is an extraordinary example of a student taking the initiative to network at the highest levels and land what could be a career launching internship,” said Bill Hunter, Director of Fellowship Advising and UN Programs at Lehigh. “This will be a great learning opportunity for him.”

Roman Moskalenkos mother standing in front of a destroyed tank on her street in Ukraine
Roman Moskalenkos mother standing in front of a destroyed tank on her street in Bucha

During his internship, Moskalenko will be helping the Ukrainian Mission manage their information, develop data systems, and help bring efficiency to their work at the United Nations, as well as help organize U.N. events and prepare information for upcoming meetings. The work is directly related to his fields of study as an international student at Lehigh.

“They asked me why I want to do this, and I told them that while I’m here in the U.S., I want to be able to bring my voice up and do as much to support my homeland during the war as I can,” Moskalenko said. “I want to use the tools that I have here to influence the minds of people and try to help save as many lives of innocent people back home as possible.”

The internship will operate on a hybrid so that Moskalenko will be able to continue his studies at Lehigh during the fall semester without interruption.

Moskalenko has been involved with several projects at Lehigh related to Ukraine. One is LearnUA, an online educational platform designed to teach Ukrainian language proficiency and cultural understanding. He started it while attending high school in California, and it has since been learned to teach users from all over the world.

The platform led to the creation of the LearnUA Foundation, which hosts events all around the country and gathers funds to assist the war effort. It also includes volunteers in Ukraine who operate and manage emergency needs on the frontline.

That work led the Orthodox Church of Ukraine last year to award Moskalenko the medal “For Sacrifice and Love for Ukraine,” a prestigious honor typically presented to Ukrainian soldiers for acts of heroism.

Throughout all of the work he has done, his home country and the story of his parents’ miraculous survival is never far from his mind.

“I tell the stories about what happened in Bucha during a lot of my presentations, but some of the stories of things that happened to my neighbors, I can’t even tell because they’re just too cruel,” Moskalenko said. “But we will keep telling our stories.”