KF Stories – Angelika Kwak: “The Kosciuszko Foundation has been life-changing for me|”

Welcome to KF Stories, a project where we share the accounts of our program receivers. We are excited to introduce Angelika Kwak, an inspiring student and future doctor who participated in the KF Summer Studies program in Krakow and received the Tuition Scholarship to help her pursue a degree in the U.S. “From studying abroad in Krakow to winning the Tuition Scholarship, I am truly so blessed by this organization. The Kosciuszko Foundation has been life-changing for me, and I will always be grateful for the kindness and generosity. Anyone who has a passion for Polish culture should apply for this program; let’s continue spreading the love and support into the Polish Community,” says Angelika Kwak. Her story and spirit embody what it means to be a part of the KF community

By Ella Paritsky, KF Volunteer

Raised by two hard-working Polish immigrants, Angelika Kwak is not your average medical student. Currently, in her fourth year at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health candidate‘24, Kwak’s incredible journey has only just begun. During her time at Loyola, she has held leadership positions in the Medical Polish organization, where she taught medical students the Polish language and culture and was a Polish interpreter at the volunteer-based clinic CommunityHealth.

Kwak is now applying to the Family Medicine Residency in Chicago with the goal of building long-lasting relationship with her patients and acting as an advocate for health equity. It was through the encouragement of her college advisors that Kwak applied for the KF Summer Study program. As a first-generation, low-income college student, she was already adept at staying on top of scholarships, and the KF application was no exception! With her diligence and support from friends, Kwak greatly distinguished herself amongst the candidates and, before she knew it, was accepted. Although already fluent in Polish and attended a Polish high school, Kwak was yearning for more.

She wished to immerse herself in the rich traditions of Polish literature, history, and culture directly in her mother country. Being a part of the Summer Studies program allowed her to do just that, creating an unforgettable experience that Kwak will carry with her throughout the rest of her life. While in Krakow, Kwak got the unique experience of meeting students from around the world who were just as passionate about learning Polish culture and language as her. These students weren’t just classmates; they became friends for life. In fact, she still keeps in close touch with them, making plans to meet up all over the world. In addition to the Summer Studies program, Kwak received the highly coveted KF Tuition Scholarship. This grant offered financial support, enabling her to focus on the things she’s passionate about. Her aspiration is to merge medicine with public health to make a change on a clinical level and in the community she will work in on a policy and advocacy level.

For Kwak, medicine is not only scientific but “…an art that requires enthusiasm, integrity, compassion, and love.” Even with her steady enthusiasm, Kwak’s journey has not been without hardship. As a first-generation student, she often had to take the initiative to find and build mentorship in order to gain the skills she needed to apply for scholarships such as the KF’s. However, with her hard work and unwavering support from her mom, Kwak continues to persevere.

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