GSE student receives national Polish American scholarship

Renata Dajnowska

Renata Dajnowska hosts the annual Polish Carnival, a fundraiser for her Polish Cultural Enrichment Program at PLBA “Polish School”.

The American Council for Polish Culture has announced five winners of the $5,000 Pulaski Scholarship* across the US. One of the awardees is GSE student Renata Dajnowska, who is currently in the Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction program. The scholarship is awarded to American students of Polish descent who have completed one year of graduate level study in an accredited American university.

Renata Dajnowska was born in Poland. She has a master’s degree in education from Silesia University in Cieszyn, Poland, and taught elementary school there for six years. In 1994 she immigrated to New York with her family and in 2000 they moved to Portland when her husband was hired by Intel.

In order to continue her teaching career in Oregon, she needed to complete an accredited American teaching licensure program. Ms. Dajnowska enrolled in GSE’s Teacher Education Program. She also earned an English as a Second Language endorsement—she is fluent in Polish, English, some Russian, and has studied German. For her master’s, she is planning an Action Research project focused on Polish language acquisition for second generation Polish children and adults.

“I am very proud of Renata’s accomplishments,” said ITEP Program Manager Jacqueline Temple. “She is an exceptional educator who truly keeps the needs of the students at the center of her practice. Her work embodies social justice and inclusiveness.”

Ms. Dajnowska is the principal and a teacher at Portland’s Polish School in Northeast Portland where she works to preserve Polish language, culture, and history for Polish Americans. Ms. Dajnowska also taught Polish Language for Portland Community College. She volunteers for the Polish Library Association, the annual Portland Polish Festival, and the Art Literacy Program in the Beaverton School District.

“The Polish Community in Portland is indeed fortunate to have such an accomplished and dedicated leader,” said Professor Dannelle Stevens, advisor in the Curriculum and Instruction Master’s Program. “Her research on making a more effective program will positively impact the community and help sustain the Polish culture in our community. Her work strengthens the contribution of diverse voices and makes us truly a stronger and more empathetic community.”

*The Pulaski Scholarship honors American Revolutionary War, Polish General, Casimir Pulaski, who is credited with saving George Washington’s life at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777.

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