Throughout history, famous Polish scientists Copernicus and Madame Curie have shaped the world’s discoveries and human progress. Over the recent past, Polish innovators and scientists have contributed greatly to the scientific advancements in aviation, Information Technology and Bio Medical industries, and many others.
The Polish-American community in the Pacific Northwest is well represented among the ranks of Boeing and Microsoft or Amazon engineers and researchers. Polish scientists and professors teach at local universities and work in the medical industry. Small business owners and individual contributors are among many companies in neighborhoods across the region. In the last 50 years we’ve seen an amazing impact and innovations from Polish men and women pursuing their dreams and passions, to make a meaningful difference in the local economy.
Anna Senczuk is currently the managing editor of Radio Wisła, where she produces an educational program highlighting the latest scientific and technological discoveries. Anna holds an M.S. in Biotechnology from the University of Calgary, and attended Wroclaw Medical University in Poland. She is the author of various patents, publications and conference presentations on novel concepts in chromatography and cell harvesting. As a scientist for Amgen, she is working on developing and optimizing antibody purification processes for pre-clinical and clinical supply.
Peter Pawluskiewicz left a lasting legacy with his numerous patents and awards for innovations in the medical ultra-sound technology at Phillips. He was awarded with the Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit, an honor bestowed by the President of Poland for promoting Poland abroad. Originally from Nowy Targ, a town in the Tatry Mountains of Southern Poland, Peter moved to Seattle in 1979. The mountaineer’s culture of bravery, honor, tradition and humor resonated throughout his life, and was reflected in Peter’s personal and professional achievements. His untimely passing in 2009 abruptly ended over thirty years of commitment to science and community, but his contributions live on for many years to come.
Dr. Andrew Sledziewski earned his PhD in Molecular Genetics at the Polish Academy of Science and moved to the United States to become a Senior Fellow at the University of Washington. Since then, Dr. Sledziewski has become a recognized name in Washington’s biotechnology industry. Currently the co-founder and CEO of Metheor Therapeutics, Dr. Sledziewski works tirelessly to take his work in biotechnology to the next level in the treatment of cancer and other major diseases.
Andrzej Turski is another Polish scientist who has made a significant impact in research and development of information technology. Among other accomplishments, Andrzej is a pioneer of social computing – a prototype in file sharing without actually sending files. Additionally, he has developed new financial applications for Microsoft Excel and was among the pioneering team that localized Microsoft software and developed polish language keyboard. He is a lead Software Development Engineer at Microsoft FUSE Labs in Redmond, Washington focused on inventing and implementing new creative ideas, particularly in the area of social computing.
Frank Piasecki was a Polish-American helicopter aviation pioneer. In 1943, Frank flew his PV-2 single-person helicopter, winning a development contract with the United States Navy. Frank formed the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation, which later became the Vertol Aircraft Corporation. Eventually, this corporation was sold to Boeing. Piasecki’s perseverance and innovation has left a deep mark in aviation history, and has inspired the development of many helicopters over the past years. His legacy is carried on by modern aviation inventors both in Poland and the United States. A historic exhibit entitled “Frank Piasecki and Others” will open at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on November 11th of this year.
These endeavors are merely a sample of the many Poles who have devoted their careers and lives to making a difference. The past 50 years have shown tremendous advancements in science and innovation, and the next 50 years will certainly bring many more. The Polish-American community is proud to be part of these incredible accomplishments and enthusiastic about opportunities ahead.
Written by Konrad Palubicki
Edited by Teresa Indelak-Davis