One of the most beloved cosmologists in the world – and one of the funniest I may add – told us to look up at the stars and not down at our feet. 

“Be curious,” Stephen Hawking wrote. “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” 

It may seem that giving up is sometimes justifiable: A pandemic that doesn’t seem to end, a new one around the corner, a global economic crisis and war brewing in different corners of the world are all valid reasons to give up and take a little break. 

But not for people in Ukraine. This story of endurance comes from a place where war has become a horrible reality, but where people have found a way to continue their life’s work. 

News from a Different Reality

“Despite the war in Ukraine, we continue the education process in our university (our armed forces make it possible – the front line with the Russian forces is already about 800 kilometers from Khmelnytskyi, 3 months ago it was about 300 kilometers away, near our capital Kyiv).” 

Professor Viacheslav Kharzhevskyi
Professor Viacheslav Kharzhevskyi in his lab at Khmelnytskyi National University. (Courtesy Professor Viacheslav Kharzhevskyi)

This was one of the first paragraphs of the email I received from Professor Viacheslav Kharzhevskyi from Khmelnytskyi National University in Ukraine a few months ago. He is a professor at the department of Industrial Engineering and Agricultural Engineering and the representative of the organizing committee of the Ukrainian student contest “CAD and Computer Modeling”. He is also responsible for the CAD/CAM/CAE technologies usage at Khmelnytskyi National University and has over 20 years of experience in engineering and computer-aided design. 

He was writing to let us know about the 2022 edition of the student competition, which was going to be held at their university with the support of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education. This came as no surprise since Khmelnytskyi National University has a 60-year-old tradition in technical and engineering education and has a number of academic courses that use CAD/CAM/CAE technologies: Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mechanics, Industrial Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, Electromechanics, Automobile Transportation, Computer Science, and more. 

“Our university was one of the first educational establishments in Ukraine that started to use computer modeling in the academic process for teaching the students in the field of mechanical engineering,” Professor Kharzhevskyi explained. “In the beginning, it was 2D drawing, then we developed a program of continuous training for our students using CAD/CAM/CAE technologies during the whole period of education. As a result, students of the faculty of Engineering, Transport, and Architecture have a number of educational courses in which CAD technologies should be used. Students are allowed to use different CAD systems to complete their tasks and course papers. Since last year, we have also used Onshape for creating different 3D models, for example, in such courses as Engineering and Computer Graphics, and Machine parts.”

working on a computer(Courtesy: @blackcreek/

An Example of Resilience and Determination

This year’s student competition “CAD and Computer Modeling” included 19 projects from 12 Ukrainian universities, which were carefully reviewed by representatives from seven higher education institutions in the country. 

Entries were split into two categories: CAD/CAM/CAE and Computer Modeling, with topics ranging from computer modeling of physical and chemical processes to computer simulation of the process of spraying liquid for the purpose of intensifying the work of carbonizers. 

Professor Kharzhevskyi graciously invited members of the Onshape team to the final conference on June 24, where we had the chance to see the impressive projects submitted for this contest and hear from organizers and participants live. The event started early in the morning and it was a humbling experience that will forever stay with me as an example of resilience and determination. 

“For our deepest regret, as I was informed yesterday, one of the winners of the Contest that was from the Mariupol city died during the Russian bombing of the city,” Professor Kharzhevskyi shared. “Another participant from Kharkiv city is now a refugee – his house was totally destroyed. Two members of the jury committee are also refugees but plan to take part in the conference distantly from Poland and Italy (online).” 

As shivers went down my spine, I realized this is now the reality of life in Ukraine. 

Normalcy has become a luxury and something as simple as attending a conference has a completely different meaning now. The work that the organizers, professors, professionals, and students are doing is a beacon of hope that life can continue and strive even under the harshest circumstances. Not giving up is a different kind of fight. It’s a fight to protect and maintain human decency and the intellectual work that some have dedicated their lives to.  

The full list of nominated works as well as their abstracts can be found on the university’s website, with comments and details by the organizing committee.

The event beginsThe opening event at Khmelnytskyi National University.

Always a Focus on Student Success

It is hard to visualize the future. But Professor Kharzhevskyi is very determined and so are his colleagues and students. They have relied on Onshape since 2021, and we are grateful for the opportunity to support the important work of universities and schools in the region.

“In comparison with the traditional CAD systems that we have used before, the usage of Onshape is more convenient for the students due to its cloud capabilities, the ability to use it on any device, anywhere,” Professor Kharzhevskyi wrote. “During the last two years, there have been several problems with the academic process in the Ukrainian universities that were caused by the COVID restrictions, and war in Ukraine, thus it is so simple and comfortable for the students and educators to use Onshape, without a need to buy new expensive hardware that can run a traditional CAD system.”

Professor Kharzhevskyi is always looking to provide his students with all the necessary tools to be successful. Having access to the latest tools and technologies is one of his top priorities.  

“We plan to enlarge the usage of Onshape in our University. Firstly, we plan to run an additional educational course on Onshape for our students that will cover a number of topics about advanced functionality, including laboratory work and 3D printing. Secondly, such an educational course is planned to be sufficient to prepare our students for Onshape Associate Certification. We also plan to enlarge the usage of Onshape by our students during the completion of course papers that require CAD modeling in the field of mechanical engineering.” 

And of course, we are all looking forward to next year’s competition. 

Interested in learning more about Onshape Education and how it makes teaching CAD easy and fun? Check out our latest resources for the classroom!

Onshape for Education

Learn how Onshape can support
teachers and students at all levels.

PTC supports Ukraine and condemns the actions taken against its people. PTC has donated $1 million to support humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.

(Oana Carvatchi is PTC Education’s Education Customer Success Group Lead, Europe and APAC.)