Leonard Skowronski Polish Studies Scholarships Awarded 2019

The American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) awards scholarships in Polish Studies.

The Committee: Ursula Brodowicz, M.S.; J. Droleski; Carolyn Meleski, M.S.; Deborah M. Majka, M.S., Chair

Two, $3,000 scholarships have been awarded to the following outstanding students who are pursuing Polish studies:

[Skylar Clark picture]

.... Skylar Clark - University of California-Berkeley, B.A. English Literature, GPA 3.87

Although not of Polish descent, Skylar's personal involvement in promoting an appreciation of Polish history, culture and language within the mainstream community centers entirely around her involvement with the Learning Enterprises Poland Program, a not-for- profit organization that connects English speaking volunteers with underserved host communities for education and cross-cultural exchange in ten countries around the world. As a first time traveler to Europe, Skylar joined the program as a volunteer English teacher and traveled to Poland without any knowledge of the language or culture. Rather than being intimidated, she became so enamored that she said, "all I wanted to do was learn more about everything that Poland had to offer."

After that first stint in Poland, Skylar enrolled in Polish language classes at Berkeley. And, after her initial run as a volunteer, she was promoted to the position of Program Director for the entire Learning Enterprises Poland Program. Her expanded responsibilities of recruiting volunteers for the program, planning logistics, assigning volunteers to host families, cooperating with Polish schools, providing a brief introduction to the Polish language and culture all serve "to bring more people into the loop regarding awareness of and direct access to Poland's culture through the mutual benefits of cross-cultural exchange."

Kathy (Kasia) Wiech

.... Kathy (Kasia) Wiech - University of Florida, B.S. Physics, GPA 3.72

Kasia is a unique student who is able to blend her Polish studies with her major coursework in Physics. She has completed two semesters of Polish Language and Culture and two years of Independent Polish Studies. Her inspiration and motivation is Marie Sklodowska-Curie. The Independent Studies program provided an opportunity to hone her vocabulary in her chosen field of study, Physics, by focusing on other fields of science, in addition to Physics and Optics. Her essay, "Groundbreaking Poles: Polish Contribution to Science and Discovery," deepened her knowledge of Polish scientists and inventors whose names are not always known or remembered in Poland and even less in the U.S. The value of the project was not only the knowledge gained by researching Polish scientific work but also in the fact that it was self-motivated, which increased enthusiasm and efficacy of the project.

Kasia successfully saw the recertification of POLSA, the Polish Studies Association on campus, which had been inactive for many years. As President, she has organized many events on and off campus to promote an awareness of Polish culture, heritage and history such as "Pisanki Painting" and Polish Night. This past semester, the Center for European Studies collaborated with Kasia and POLSA to co-host, "Women in Science: A comparative Perspective" round table discussion. This event brought together female science faculty from various disciplines to discuss their experiences in the field in Poland and in the U.S. Again, Kasia is an example of a student able to blend their area student interests, in this case, Poland, with a non-traditional field, showing the interconnections and overlaps.

(submitted by Debbie Majka)