Rachii, who is in her fourth year as a Ph.D. student, is originally from Ukraine. She came to the United States as a teenager and lived with her aunt in suburban Philadelphia while finishing high school.
After high school, Rachii attended Delaware Valley University.
"My undergraduate chemistry professor, Maria Winters, got her Ph.D. in this lab," says Rachii, from the lab of Professor Bill Malachowski. "She gave me a tour when I was a junior in college and I actually did an undergraduate research project partially here over winter break.
"I was here for two weeks making molecules, I got to know the area, and the campus. I met Dr. Mal and I just really felt like this was the place I could be for the next four or five years while I get my Ph.D... You always feel welcomed here."
In her research, Rachii is developing new methodologies to make small molecules that can target different cancer cells. After earning her Ph.D., Rachii plans to pursue a career doing pharmaceutical research.
Rachii's mother, father, and grandmother still live in Ukraine but her mother will be coming to the United States in October to live with her through the Uniting for Ukraine program.
"I'm from western Ukraine, which hasn't been impacted as much by the war. They're relatively safe but I'm so happy she'll be here. I haven't seen her, and my whole family, since before COVID in 2020."