June’s Germ Girl of the Month hails from Kyiv, Ukraine, and also happens to be a member of Germ’s staff! Steysha is a voracious reader, writer, and adventurer who has been courageously involved in the student protests in Ukraine this past year. She dreams of moving to England or America to work for a publishing house, and she currently works as a translator and freelance photographer. We were able to get an interview with the enterprising college student and learn more about her dreams and talents!
Are you currently in school? If so, where are you attending? What grade/year are you?
I study at the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” as a Ukrainian philologist. Currently I`m finishing my junior year.
What are your career goals? Are you still deciding?
I dream about moving to the USA to work in a publisher house. Also, I’ve been working for Russian publishers as a translator. For example, I’ve translated We Were Liars by E. Lockhart! I’m not sure yet what position I shall acquire, but I do see my future connected with books. My biggest aim is to become an author.
What is your favorite book genre? Do you have a favorite book or author?
I love YA fantasy. My personal favorites are:
- Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
- Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
- Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
- The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo
- Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch.
And many more, though this list would be endless if I were to name all of them.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like photography. I’ve done it for 4 years with some pauses, but I’m not a professional. Some of my works can be found here.
With all of the events going on in Ukraine, how has that affected you personally? Do you feel like it’s changed you?
Yes, it sure did. I can’t put into words how much this has changed my life views. I’ve become more mature since it happened.
Firstly, all this woke up my patriotism. I saw this country and people living in it with new eyes. Secondly, it made me stronger. Never had I thought that I would have to prepare sandwiches to the sounds of shooting, or make Molotov cocktails in the midst of the conflagration. However, this revolution has brought a lot of grief to my people. I will never forget how the Maidan was full of hundreds of dead bodies, which simply could not be taken anywhere else, because we were in a dangerous zone. Imagine watching a man slowly dying from a bullet wound. I guess, things like that always change you. The horrible thing is, all of these deaths were in vain, because we managed to overthrow the former government, but couldn`t overthrow the system. One mob was replaced by another, and then war broke out in Ukraine. It’s been a year since we started to live with the daily news of the latest deaths. Every day we see weeping mothers who lost their sons, little girls who will grow up without their fathers, or inconsolable wives whose husbands were lost on the front. It’s very depressing. If the revolution gave us hope, the situation nowadays quickly kills it. Our country is falling apart on every level, and there is no escape out of it. The war is not even remotely close to the ending, and our government does nothing to help the cause. Because of this, people are desperate.
If you could tell people one thing about the conflicts in Ukraine, what would that be?
More than anything, this is an informational war, so don`t believe everything you hear on TV, and please don’t judge Ukrainians based on our government.
Do you have any heroes? Who inspires you?
Jennifer Niven! She inspired me to write this story of mine… and she made me believe in myself, and that I can actually make by biggest dreams come true. Even though we’ve never met in real life, she offered me her help and support. So, yeah, she is my hero, and she inspires me every day.
Tell us three interesting facts about yourself that people don’t know.
1. I have a social anxiety disorder (I actually didn’t know about it myself until recently).
2. I dream about moving to a secluded hut in a forest, because I have a strong connection with nature and I always feel much better when I’m out of the city
3. I secretly want to become a blogger/photographer and travel the world (like Anastasia Volkova, for example), but I’m too shy to try it.