HIAS Chicago Scholarships
HIAS Chicago 2015 Scholarship Application Period is Now Closed
Scholarships will be awarded to the following categories of students:
HIAS Chicago Undergraduate Scholarships - High school seniors beginning post-secondary education on a full time basis or college students continuing in undergraduate or technical study
HIAS Chicago Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women - Female students who immigrated from Russia, the Former Soviet Union, or Ukraine, and are enrolling in or continuing their undergraduate study
HIAS Chicago Benton Bernstein Scholarships - Students enrolling in or continuing in a course of professional study in one of the helping professions such as medicine, social work or psychology
HIAS Chicago Career Enhancement Scholarships - Students enrolling in or continuing enrollment in a graduate level educational program
HIAS Chicago Bierig Scholarships for Volunteerism - Students enrolling in or continuing enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate program with a strong commitment to volunteerism
The Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women
HIAS Chicago is honored to introduce a new academic scholarship to be awarded at the 2015 Annual Meeting and Scholarship Awards Event. The Ludmila Smolyansky Empowerment Scholarship for Women will be awarded to a female student from Russia, the Former Soviet Union or Ukraine who is entering or continuing her Undergraduate studies. The scholarship seeks to empower a young woman to find success and passion in her career by encouraging her to explore fields of study where women are typically underrepresented.
Created by Julie Smolyansky, President & CEO of Lifeway Foods, and Edward Smolyansky, CFO of Lifeway Foods, this scholarship is Julie and Edward’s special gift to their mother Ludmila, to recognize and honor her for her drive and can-do spirit. Assisted by HIAS, the Smolyansky family was one of 48 families from the Former Soviet Union allowed to settle in Chicago in 1976 when Julie was one year old and Edward was not yet born. Their parents, who spoke no English, arrived with a one year-old and $116 between them. It was a classic immigrant story. While their parents loved their new country they missed many things of their motherland—especially the food. At 28, Ludmila (affectionately called Lucy) opened Chicago’s first Russian delicatessen. She was a natural entrepreneur and leader. That first deli blossomed into five and she built a thriving international food importing and distributing business.
In 1985, Julie’s parents attended a trade show in Germany. First stop: the grocery store for three bottles of kefir. Her dad lamented to her mom, “In America, we have everything…but we don’t have kefir.” Lucy replied “You know how to build plants and machinery. I am in the food business. You find a way to make the kefir. I’ll find a way to sell it.”
Six months later, the Smolyanskys put that idea into action, and Lifeway Foods was incorporated. Within a few short years, Lifeway became the first Russian immigrant-owned company to go public. What started as a small Midwest deli with one employee has transformed into a workforce of 350+ with revenues of over $130 million. In creating this scholarship to honor her mother, Julie affectionately notes that without the help, advocacy, support and welcoming arms of HIAS, the family would not be in the place they are.