Brinkley-Lane Scholar: Oleksiy Fitel

Oleksiy Fitel, who intends to major in history and political science, enjoys giving back to society and wants to impact people’s lives through teaching or law.

The 18-year-old son of Taras Fitel and Oksana Kosyk, Fitel is one of 20 freshmen entering East Carolina University this fall as a Brinkley-Lane Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at the university. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills.

“I am honored to become a part of the Brinkley-Lane and ECU communities. Being a Brinkley-Lane Scholar allows me to obtain an education alongside people who share the goal of investing in our communities,” he said.

Recipients of the program receive a fully funded education, covering the cost of tuition, fees, room and board for both in-state and out-of-state students and unique high-impact experiences, as well as the ability to explore the world with a $5,000 study abroad stipend. Scholars benefit from access to an array of leadership opportunities, research with award-winning faculty and a robust alumni network.

“With costs fully covered, I will be able to direct my attention to larger issues and important topics,” Fitel said. “I hope that I can utilize my time at ECU and afterward to impact others’ lives similarly as the donors impacted mine.”

This summer, Fitel will volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, an organization he has worked with since July 2022, take a road trip to Canada and spend time with his friends.

During his time at ECU, Fitel said he looks forward to meeting his classmates and professors and diving into research projects. He has already participated in research that led to two published articles and presentations at the 2023 and 2024 Southern Conference for Slavic Studies in Chapel Hill. He also looks forward to joining student clubs — he is a current member and volunteer of the Ukrainian Association of North Carolina — and planning his study abroad trip.

“I would love to go to a Spanish-speaking country because it would help me greatly in my Spanish skills, allowing me to become trilingual (Fitel speaks English and Ukrainian) and interact with various rich cultures,” he said. “I am also considering going to Eastern Europe, as I am ethnically Ukrainian and interested in Eastern European history, and I would be honored to help in the development of the region.”

After completing his degrees, Fitel wants to continue to serve others.

“For the past few years, I have aspired to become a history professor at a public university, as I find the discipline of history to be an extremely crucial field for understanding the current state of both international and local issues, and I am determined to help students think critically,” he said. “I do not exclude the possibility, however, of going to law school, as I find law to be an interesting and similarly vital discipline in maintaining order.”

“I find the discipline of history to be an extremely crucial field for understanding the current state of both international and local issues.”

High school: Chapel Hill High School

Intended majors: History and political science

Current City: Chapel Hill

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