Julia Benbenek – Communications Intern, Winter 2018/2019
Hello, my name is Julia Benbenek. I was born and raised in a northern suburb of Chicago called Park Ridge. However, I have a dual citizenship with Poland because both of my parents are Polish immigrants. Growing up, I attended Maksymilian Maria Kolbe Polish school once a week to learn more about my roots. In May of 2017, I passed my matura exams, and I graduated as valedictorian of my class. I also attended Maine South High School where, throughout my four years, I was on the most academically accelerated track. I graduated in the top 1% of my class with a 4.88 GPA and 36 ACT. Regarding my extracurricular activities, I was heavily involved in debate through Model United Nations, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, and the Mock Trial team of which I was the lead attorney. I also had the honor to serve as Vice President of National Honor Society which gave me the opportunity to run the school’s peer tutoring program and organize fundraising events for various causes. I played varsity tennis all four years and was the concertmaster of my school’s orchestra. Outside of school, I worked as a tutor.
In August of 2018, I moved to Washington, DC to begin my undergraduate education at Georgetown University. I am currently planning on pursuing a major in International Political Economy and a minor in Spanish. I anticipate graduating in May of 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service.
Anastazja Kołodziej – Communications Intern, Winter 2018/2019
My name is Anastazja Kolodziej. I was born in Poland but have lived in the United States for 15 years now. I grew up in Washington, D.C., and while going to elementary and middle school there, I attended the Polish school run by the Polish Embassy. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Maryland seeking a double degree in Journalism and Classics (Latin and Greek). At the University, I am a member of the Honors College in the Honors Humanities program; additionally, I hold a position as a co-executive of the UMD Model Congress club, write for the on-campus arts and politics publication the Writer’s Bloc, and serve as a liaison between UMD and prospective Honors students as an Honors Ambassador. I love music and was lucky enough to be an intern this past fall at the Recording Industry Association of America in D.C. Outside of school, I have been involved with the Polish American Congress for over a year as a member and have been serving as the Corresponding Secretary for the Washington Bureau since July. I am excited for this internship and to learn more about Polish affairs while gaining valuable experience relevant to my chosen field of journalism.
Paweł Markiewicz – Communications Fellow, Winter 2018/2019
A native of Revere, Massachusetts I completed my bachelor studies magna cum laude at Salem State College where I majored in history with a minor in secondary education. After earning my master of liberal arts degree at Harvard University’s School of Continuing Education and Extension Studies, I began doctoral studies at the Institute of History, Jagiellonian University in Kraków. My scholarly interests center on the history of East-Central Europe during the 20th century. My doctoral dissertation examines the complicated topic of German-Ukrainian collaboration on Nazi-occupied Polish territory (the General Government). Other interests of mine include: Polish-Ukrainian relations, Ukrainian-German relations, borderland studies, nationalism and transnationalism; ethno-politics, East European nationalist movements, inter-ethnic conflicts, and Polish diaspora studies. In addition to this I am also interested in current events associated with East Central Europe. Besides my scholarly interests, I am also active in American Polonia. I am a member of post 37 of the Polish Army Veterans Association of America (Stowarzyszenie Weteranów Armii Polskiej w Ameryce) and was a contributing writer to the White Eagle – Biały Orzeł newspaper.
Alicja Szczepkowska – Communications Intern, Winter 2018/2019
My name is Alicja Szczepkowska and I am from the Chicagoland area. I was born in Poland and moved to the United States with my parents when I was just two years old. I can speak, read, and write in Polish and even attended Polish school every Saturday from ages 4-16 where I was taught about the Polish language, literature, cultural traditions, history, and geography of Poland. Unfortunately, I have only been able to visit Poland once since moving to the U.S., however, I do plan on studying abroad in Poland next school year which I am very excited about. Throughout high school I was an active member of the Student Council, the National Honor Society as well as the Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honors Society. In addition, I volunteered as a mathematics tutor and helped out at my Polish school by assisting teachers with younger students. I have always been very proud of my Polish roots which is why finding this opportunity with the Polish American Congress has been an honor. Currently, I am a sophomore double majoring in Global Studies and Sociology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. While I am not exactly sure what career I would like to pursue in the future, I do hope it involves foreign policy and international relations. I look forward to this internship and hope it expands my knowledge about Polish policy and security issues and how these issues affect Poland as well as the Polish American community.
Patrycja Pajdak – Policy Intern, Summer 2019
Hello, my name is Patrycja Pajdak. Born in Poland, I moved to the United States with my family at the age of 3 and have resided in NJ ever since. Since then, I have never abandoned my commitment to my mother country, not only visiting during my childhood summers, but also attending a Polish Supplementary School in Clark, NJ where I continuously exercised my writing and reading skills, while becoming more familiar with Polish literature and history. Following my graduation, I continued to be an active member of the school, volunteering my Saturdays in the music class to help promote Polish culture and interact with Polish children through song and dance. If I was to choose something that best defines me, it would be my love of my Polish heritage. I am currently in my sophomore year at Princeton University, concentrating in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. On campus, I am a member of Princeton’s Polish Society, a College Council Co-Director of Community Development for my residential college, a Newsletter Chair for the Undergraduate Student Government, and an active member and social chair of the Girl Up program partnered with the United Nations Foundation. Traveling the world is one of my greatest passions and my most recent summer was spent volunteering as an English teacher in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 8 weeks. I hope to pursue a career in foreign service and diplomacy.
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