At the center of Alexandra Yezerska Melnyk's adolescence and post-immigration years was education. What started out for her as a Ukrainian private school in Lviv became, in 1939, a Russian Gymnasium that, in 1941, closed its doors to students beyond the 4th grade after the arrival of the Germans who forbade anything higher than elementary schooling for the native population. Alexandra was then taught by private tutors until the Germans rescinded their edict. She then enrolled in the Medical School of Lviv University in the winter of 1944, but her studies were interrupted by the approaching Red Army. It was an interruption that lasted far longer than she had imagined: from Ukraine she fled to Poland, to Czechoslovakia, to Austria, to Germany and finally to the United States. Along the way, she married and gave birth to two children.
It was only after securing the basic needs of her family that Alexandra went back to her studies. She majored in physical chemistry and received her Master degree from Case Western in 1964 and her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1973. She worked for Chemical Abstracts, a division of the American Chemical Society for which she founded the Small Business Division in 1978.