Two, $3,000 each, Louis and Nellie Skalny Scholarships Awarded

For the past nineteen years, the Louis Skalny Foundation has donated a grant for the Louis & Nellie Skalny Scholarships for Polish Studies. The American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) is the administrator in awarding the scholarships. The Committee: Evelyn Bachorski-Bowman, M.S.; Ursula Brodowicz, M.S.; Ange Iwanczyk, M.S.; Marion Winters, M.A.; Deborah M. Majka, M.S., Chair

[Jennifer Byron picture]

.... Jennifer Byron - Looking forward to a professorial career, Jennifer Byron is passionate about learning foreign languages, and is a Ph.D. Spanish Cultural Studies candidate at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. She has been a teaching assistant at the School of International Letters and Culture-Spanish Program since 2010.

Her interest in her Polish heritage is remarkable, given that her great grandmother, Jenny Ann, better known as Gienia, was a first generation child of a Polish immigrant family, born in the United States. Incidentally, in class, Jennifer chose to be called "Gienia" after her great-grandmother as each student was asked to choose a Polish name. Life in a small town in Massachusetts where Jennifer grew up did not provide the appropriate setting for studying Polish culture and language. But upon arrival at Arizona State and learning that the Polish language was available, Jennifer immediately enrolled.

A recipient of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholarship, she completed the full summer language and culture program at the Jagiellonian University. Danko Spivka, her Advanced Polish instructor notes that, "her graduate work is about Polish-Latin American literary and cultural ties. She is stellar in both these areas for which she has been awarded both best student in Spanish and best student in Polish".

[Kristina Kwacz photo picture]

.... Kristina Kwacz - The Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at SUNY, Empire State College, focuses on independent, self-directed study, which involves an enormous amount of focus and independent initiative. Kristina came to the realization that she could pursue her goal of a Master of Arts degree and develop a creative project that would incorporate photos taken during past journeys (her creative avocation) after returning to her childhood home in the Hudson Valley to care for her Mother, who had been the catalyst for these trips.

Kristina's primary method of promoting Polish heritage and culture is via the medium of photography. She began photographing life in Poland in 1988. The images captured then marked the end of an era as sweeping changes soon altered the political, social and economic climate of the country.

Of Kristina's photographs, Professor Joseph Caputo, a primary examiner at a Portfolio Review Workshop writes, "What I saw was an impressive series of black and white photographs taken in Poland. But these were no ordinary images. In the tradition of Life Magazine's Photo Essays (by such prominent artists as Dorothea Lange and W. Eugene Smith), I was shown a powerful story, a journalist's empathic instinct to identify and crystallize the essence of a rich and complex history into a form accessible to all. This is no small skill".

In her final Master's project at ESC, Kristina intends to significantly broaden the depth of her exhibitions by displaying her documentary images alongside family photos depicting life in the Polish Diaspora in the U.S. By adding memoir and narrative as well as artifacts and ephemera, she will present a three-dimensional, interdisciplinary view of a family, blending history, culture and visual art. It will allow for broad engagement in the mainstream community.