The Big Picture

Balancing Act

Balancing Act
Katarzyna (Kasia) Koscielska ’08 has big dreams. But she’s no daydreamer.

'I hope to contribute something to society,' she says, 'by working for an international nonprofit organization through the study of genetics of diseases, cancer, HIV, or other illnesses that plague people.'

At 21 years old, Koscielska has already figured out how to balance her life goals with being a mom, a community-recognized volunteer, and a WPI student double majoring in biology/biotechnology and biochemistry.

So, what’s her secret? 'I don’t have one,' she admits. 'I just do what needs to be done, as well as I possibly can. That’s all.'

The Women’s Initiative of the United Way of Central Massachusetts recognized that willing spirit last fall with its Meridith D. Wesby Young Leader Award. On campus, she has been involved in myriad activities. She’s a peer educator for sexual assault prevention. She’s a student ambassador. And as academic coordinator for WPI’s Camp Reach summer program last year, she’s a role model for middle-school girls interested in math and science.

Kasia Koscielska arrived at WPI in 2004 straight from Poznan, Poland—with her toddler-aged daughter, Maja, in tow. Her life partner (and Maja’s father), Artur Janc ’07, is now pursuing a master’s in computer science at WPI.

But getting to WPI wasn’t the easiest road. Koscielska, who speaks fluent English, took her high school final exams when she was eight months pregnant, and her Polish university entrance exam only a week after giving birth. While caring for her newborn, she took the SATs and was awarded the WPI Presidential Scholarship.

Her next step? Getting accepted into a PhD program in the biological sciences.

'My daughter and my partner are what keep me going and striving to be my best,' she says. 'I think I have succeeded, thanks to the combination of values that I was brought up with and my own curiosity and diligence.'

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