Alisa Hil is MIT Bound!


Alisa Hil spent her senior year at SHS after leaving her home country of Ukraine

Grace McNamara, Staff Writer

Alisa Hil joined the SHS community in August as a refugee from the war in Ukraine. She currently lives in Scituate with her aunt and uncle, who have two young children. 

Hil has been separated from her family for over eight months. After spending nearly a year in Poland, her parents and little brother, Mykyta, who is six years old, are safe in Vancouver, Canada.  

Hil has persevered through adversity and hasn’t let anything or anyone stop her from chasing her dreams. Grateful for the opportunity to study in the United States, she said, “It has been my dream to come to the United States and study at MIT since I was 14. I couldn’t have imagined that one day this dream would come true!”

Determined to keep her options open, Hil wrote 43 college essays and worked closely with SHS teachers who helped guide her in the right direction during the college application process: “I was so lucky to get the support from my guidance counselor, Ms. Rundle, all my teachers, and classmates! All of them helped a lot to make the complicated process as easy as possible.” 

Planning to pursue a career in technology, Hil said her father introduced her to programming when she was 13 years old. A few years later, she developed a true passion for programming, wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps. 

When questioned about how education differs in the United States, Hil said the biggest change for her was class size: “When we enter the first grade, we meet 30 other students. And these people will study together with you every class, every day for 11 years. In Ukraine, we study with the same people during the whole period of getting an education.” 

Hil is taking seven courses at Scituate High School. She commented, “If you saw the schedule for Ukrainian high school students, you would be shocked to see 14 subjects there.” Some courses offered at a typical Ukrainian school include informatics, combinatorics, and Defense of Ukraine.

Another notable difference is the selection of clubs. SHS offers over 30 extra-curricular clubs; however, Hil said, “In Ukraine, we don’t have as many choices in clubs as we do in American schools. All clubs that we had were volleyball, football, and basketball. However, I did initiate a math and drama club, but that was it.”

Hil believes participating in two business startups helped her application stand out to admissions officers. In addition, Hil was awarded 2nd place in a scientific research competition in Ukraine, as she developed a unique way of creating artificial gravity. She is also the author of a science fiction novel and won 1st place in several international music competitions. In the United States, Hil has volunteered to help the Ukrainian war effort. 

Hil’s move to the U.S. has significantly impacted her life, allowing her to pursue her dreams and interests in a way that may not have been possible in her home country. She has embraced the American culture and lifestyle with great enthusiasm. Despite being separated from her family, Hil appears to have adapted well to her environment and made numerous friends. As she prepares to start a new chapter at MIT, the SHS community wishes her all the best in her future endeavors!