Vasyl Shramenko

Vasyl Shramenko making pizza dough
Photo by Grace Cockrell

Like millions of other Ukrainians who have left their war-torn home, Vasyl Shramenko has sought safety for his family and a fresh start in another country. He’s now settling in as a new member of the Bulldog family, working with MSU Dining Services.

“When we came as a family to Starkville, the first thing we did was to look for a job. My friends recommended me to look for a job on campus,” Shramenko said. “I have education and work experience in the kitchen, which came in handy for Aramark [MSU Dining Services affiliate]. Despite my initial level of English, I was hired and have been working for six months.”

Shramenko said he enjoys work that is useful to people, and he’s inspired by the students and campus visitors who thank him daily as he prepares meals. He began work in MSU’s State Fountain Bakery, but now works at the Fresh Food Co. as dining locations are undergoing renovation. One of his current specialties is preparing pizza, from the dough to the finished product.

“In spite of my poor English, all people and colleagues at work are understanding and always help me with questions,” he said.

When it comes to considering his long-term goals, he said he faces some difficult challenges, but hopes he can gain opportunities for further study and training.

“In the near future, I plan to use the training program from Aramark. It will be available after six months of work in the company. Hopefully, I can pick up something for myself and can get a grant for training. In the meantime, my main goal is to work with English-speaking people and learn the language,” Shramenko said.

The father of three said his family enjoys sporting events and has been to one basketball game.

“We enjoyed it very much. I think it will become part of our life in the future,” he said. He also enjoys fishing, although his chances to fish are infrequent.

The new Starkville resident also is trying to more fully explore the city and take his wife and children to new places.

Vasyl Shramenko smiles at Fresh Food Co.