SKALNY SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED for 2012

by Ursula Brodowicz

Two Louis & Nellie Scholarships for Polish Studies were awarded for 2012 by the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC). Committee Chairperson Ursula Brodowicz reported that the Skalny Scholarship Committee, including Debbie Majka, Ange Iwanczyk, Dr. Ed Pawlowski and Marion V. Winters, awarded $3,000 scholarships to two outstanding applicants: Krzysztof Lukasik, Matthew Stefanski.

[C. Loniewski photo picture]


.... Krzysztof Lukasik of Carteret, New Jersey was awarded a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Minor in Planning and Public Policy from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in January of this year. He expects to receive a M.S. in Transportation Engineering in January 2014, also from Rutgers. Krzysztof's Polish Studies at Rutgers have included Contemporary Polish Literature, which ranged from modernist fiction to postmodernist fiction. He studied various novels, poetry and prose covering different periods of Polish history and included work and authors such as Milosz, Szymborska, Borowski, Mrozek among others. In evaluating Krzysztof's essay on Ferdydurke by Gombrowicz, Dr. Edyta Bojanowska wrote "this is a very insightful paper that handles admirably a complex aspect of a difficult novel." Krzysztof also studied Polish language and completed Second Year Polish which included complex grammar, translating text from English to Polish, presentations in Polish and topics in Polish history and literature. He undertook and completed a Polish Independent Study in which he was a tutor for first year Polish language students, designed and implemented study and lesson plans to assist in their learning of Polish. This included phonetics, grammar, practicing speech and reviewing difficult concepts. The independent study culminated with a presentation to the professors from the Department of Eastern European Languages on how to improve the tutoring process. Krzysztof has been an active member of the Rutgers Polish Club where he was elected to the Executive Board and served as Secretary and continues to successfully organize events and activities; Krzysztof's efforts included facilitating fundraising to donate money used to build a playground for a school in Poland and for special needs children in New Jersey and in Poland. According to Wanda Mendecki, Lecturer of Polish Language at Rutgers, membership in the Club has tripled since Krzysztof's involvement. In 2010 Krzysztof represented the Polish Club at the Polish Student Organization Intercollegiate Conference at Yale University. Krzysztof began his involvement in the Polish community at a young age; he attended the Polish Supplementary School of the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark New Jersey where the curriculum included Polish language, history, music, culture and traditions. He was also involved in many activities in the community. Krzysztof writes that his pursuit of Polish Studies is motivated by a desire to discover more about his Polish heritage. He plans to remain involved and continue to be an active part of the PolAm community.

[Katelynn Prebish photo picture]


.... Matthew Stefanski of Bayonne New Jersey attends American University, School of International Service in Washington DC. where he expects to be awarded a BA degree in International Relations. Matthew was honored as the 2010 New Jersey Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholar and in January through May this year Matthew served as an intern at the Office of New Jersey Congressman Albio Sires. He has also been awarded the 2012 Best in Show for Photography in American Literature Magazine this spring. Matthew's Polish studies have included Polish history, international relations and economic policies. He has also successfully completed a Summer Course in Polish Language and Culture at the University of Warsaw's Polonicum center for Polish Language. Notable research papers written by Matthew include "Shock Therapy: A Comparison of Poland and Russia" and "Truth Be Told: Lustration and Its Impact on Coalition Governments in Post-Communist Europe States." In describing Matthew's research paper entitled "In Solidarity with Solidarnosc", professor of history Dr. Piotr H. Kosicki, Title VIII Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Interntional Center for Scholars, writes "an extremely fine piece of scholarship that does credit to Polish and Polish-American History." In his letter of recommendation for Matthew, Dr. Kosicki writes that Matthew ". . . has consistently proven to be the most engaged and intrepid student . . ." and that his academic work this year has shown that he is poised to give back to the Polish-American community in "a uniquely creative and significant way." Matthew's PolAm community involvement began during is years at Bayonne High School where he was vice president and then president of the Polish Cultural Society of Bayonne High School, an active student organization described as a "cornerstone of Polonia in Bayonne." Matthew has since been active in the Katyn Forest Massacre Memorial Committee in Jersey City and became a member of the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark New Jersey. Since 2009 Matthew has served as a volunteer at the Pilsudski Institute for the Modern Research of Poland, is a member and has recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the Polish American Congress New Jersey Division. Matthew has written "To be proud of my heritage and to work for its benefit is such a small price to pay for all that it has given me." He is traveling in Poland this summer.