No magic switch was flipped, and Svitlana Miller doesn’t really feel any different, aside from being excited and a little bit relieved, but after a four-year application and waiting period, she can finally call herself a citizen of the United States of America.
Surrounded by her friends and family, as well as 31 other new citizens from 22 different countries, Svitlana swore to renounce her allegiance to Ukraine, support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, bear true faith and allegiance to the same and serve her new country as required by the law.
As she was called forward to receive her Certificate of Citizenship, she was met with resounding applause and cheers from her family.
“I’m really excited for her. It’s been a long process and we’re glad that this is finally it,” said her husband, Zach Miller.
Svitlana moved to the United States with her mother, Mariya Dovganyuk, eight years ago after her sister had a child. Mariya wanted to be closer so that she might help raise her grandchildren, so they moved to Iowa.
Svitlana graduated from Pella Christian High School and enrolled in DMACC, where she met her husband. The pair were married in March of 2009.
Soon afterward, Svitlana applied for her citizenship and has since been waiting through the process as well as conducting numerous interviews and tests.
In that time she has finished her associates degree at DMACC as well as obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central College. Now she works as an academic advisor for Buena Vista University while pursuing her master’s degree at Drake.
One of the benefits of her new status is that she can now work in a government position, which she hopes to do after completing her studies.
“Maybe I can work for [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services], and I can help others get their citizenship,” Svitlana said. “I’m excited to vote too… I’ll vote in this election, but I’m looking forward to voting for the President.”
Svitlana is part of the Young Professionals of Jasper County and serves on the board for the Organization Promoting Everlasting Neighbors, which helps to foster the relationships between Newton and its sister cities of Smila, Ukraine and Wu Chi, Taiwan. She has also been invited to Project AWAKE, a group that works with the Arboretum along with other natural improvements around the community.
With her civic-minded attitude as well as her past and future in community service, Svitlana fits well into Thomas Jefferson’s vision:
“A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”