Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship


The Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Scholarship is awarded to a qualified undergraduate student who is majoring in the natural sciences: physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, earth science, biochemistry, etc.  One $5,000 scholarship is awarded on a competitive basis.  The Drs. Trefil Scholarship is awarded only for full-time studies in the United States.  


  • Citizens and legal permanent residents of the United States;  
  • must be of Polish descent; 
  • be a college freshman, sophomore or junior at the time of application; 
  • natural science majors;
  • and have a 3.5 GPA or higher. 

Only one member per immediate family may receive a tuition scholarship during any given academic year.  The Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Scholarship is not renewable; a candidate may receive this scholarship only once.


Selection is based on application completeness, recommendation of teachers and professors, academic excellence and achievements, applicant's interests,  motivation, the applicant's essay,  involvement in the Polish American community. Financial need is taken into consideration.

Kosciuszko Foundation scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis. 


A complete application includes the following materials:  

  • A - Scholarship Application (A1) and Financial Information Form (A2)
  • B - Statement of Purpose /essay
  • C - Official Transcripts
  • D - Two Letters of Recommendation
  • E - Proof of Polish Ancestry
  • F - Photo
  • G - Curriculum Vitae
  • H - $40 non-refundable application fee with Checklist

Notes Regarding Supporting Documents:

  • A - See the Click Here to Apply button below for application forms
  • B -  In your statement of purpose discuss your major, relevant academic and extracurricular activities as well as your short and long term goals.  Your statement will be three pages, double spaced.  Include Trefil23, your full name and page number on each page.  
  • C -Submit official transcripts of studies.  3 academic years are required (through Summer 2021), for example, a current junior in college is required to submit official transcripts for their college freshman and sophomore years and senior year of high school (2 years of college + 1 year high school). 
    • An official transcript is one that is sent by the university or school directly to the Kosciuszko Foundation.  An official transcript is usually printed on official transcript paper and bears the embossed or raised seal of the university or school, the date, and the registrar's signature.  Official transcripts are usually sent in a sealed envelope and include the registrar's signature stamped across the seal of the envelope. 
    • Transcripts will NOT be accepted from students. 
    • Electronic transcripts are accepted and are considered official if delivered securely through an organization authorized by your university and e-mailed directly to the Foundation.  The Foundation accepts electronic transcripts from Transcript Network by Credentials Solutions, LLC; Transcript Services at Parchment; Credentials eScrip-Safe  and from the National Student Clearinghouse.  
  • D- Two confidential letters of recommendation are required.  Letters must be written on university letterhead and come directly from professors or teachers with whom you have studied recently. Please ask professors to reference the Drs. Trefil Scholarship in the recommendation letter. The Foundation can accept letters via USPS or e-mail, however, recommendation letters must come directly from the professor or school office.  Recommendation letters will NOT be accepted from the student. A non-academic letter of recommendation will be accepted as an optional 3rd letter of support.  The optional letter may be submitted on your behalf by an employer or supervisor, leader or officer of an organization with whom you are affiliated or other person who can speak to relevant activities, abilities and or suitability for scholarship funding.  Recommenders who wish to submit letters via e-mail are asked to save their document as TR23-Candidate's last name-Candidate's first name-LOR-Prof's last name.
  •  E - Submit proof of Polish ancestry.  Use copies of documents such as birth certificates, passports, naturalization papers and other official documents to trace your lineage to the ancestor who was born in Poland.  Highlight relevant names and arrange documents in chronological order. Save all your documents to one file and save the file according to the file naming convention listed below.  One line of descent is needed to prove Polish descent.  If the above described documentation is not available, a letter from a prominent member of the community verifying your Polish ancestry will be accepted. Letters from relatives will not be accepted;
  • F - Submit a photo of yourself, which is suitable for publication in the Kosciuszko Foundation's Newsletter. A passport style photo (headshot) is suggested.    
  • G - Submit your Curriculum Vitae. Include awards, achievements, participation in clubs, activities, Polish clubs, etc. 
  • H - Submit $40 non-refundable application fee together with the Checklist to the KF via USPS.  Checks and money orders made payable to the Kosciuszko Foundation are the only acceptable forms of payment.

Prepare the following before you apply on-line:

  • your essay, proof of ancestry, photo, and CV 
  • green card and naturalization certificate numbers (non-citizens)
  • high school and college start and end dates, degrees/expected degrees, graduation dates/expected dates of graduation

Additional notes:

  • Use the following file naming conventions for all supporting documents: TR23-Your last name-Your first name-description of item.  Descriptions may include Financial Information Form (FIF); Financial Info; Essay; Personal Statement; Heritage;  Ancestry; Photo; CV and similar descriptive terms.
  •  Acceptable file formats for documents include .doc, .docx, and .pdf
  • Acceptable file formats for photos include .png, .jpg, and .jpeg
  • If you feel that you qualify for more than one of our scholarships, include a note with your checklist and inform us of the scholarships for which you'd like to be considered.  Apply only once - we will consider you for any Kosciuszko Foundation scholarships for which you qualify. 
  • We will contact you via e-mail or phone if questions arise or if clarification is needed - please respond promptly. 
  • Incomplete application will not receive consideration.  
  • Do not staple check/money order to Checklist. 
  • Set aside enough time to complete the on-line application form in one session. You will not be able to save your answers and return to complete the form at a later time
Documents to submit on-line:
A1 - Application form
B - Personal Statement/Essay
E - Proof of Polish descent
F - Photo
G - Curriculum Vitae 
Documents accepted via USPS and e-mail
(do not duplicate efforts) :
A2 - Financial Information Form
C - Official Transcripts
D - Letters of Recommendation

Documents accepted via USPS: 
H - $40 application fee and checklist 
Send hard copy documents to:

Grants Department
Kosciuszko Foundation, Inc.
15 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065

Submit questions and supporting materials to:  

Magdalena Karmilowicz

E-mail: [email protected]

Phone:  (212) 734-2130 ext. 412

Application Deadline for academic year Fall 2022/Spring 2023:  

January 31st, 2022

Scholarship Notification Letters for academic year Fall 2022/Spring 2023 : will be sent in June 2022

This scholarship supports studies in the Natural Sciences.  A change in subject area/major must be communicated to the Kosciuszko Foundation Grants Department.  A significant change in major may result in cancellation of the scholarship award. 

Click on the link below to read an article about the Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Scholarship that appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of KF's Newsletter. You'll find the article on page 13. 

NOTE FOR CURRENT CANDIATES: Decision letters will be sent in June.  If you have moved/changed your address since submitting your application form, submit a Change of Address Form by May 31st to  [email protected].

Application Form (A1): 

A green check mark within a circle indicates that your on-line application form (A1) has been successfully submitted. 

Financial Information Form (A2) - TU22/23-Financial Information Form

Checklist (H) - TU checklist - 22/23


When the application period is closed e-mail us and ask to be added to the Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship mailing list.  Include information that clearly illustrates your eligibility for this scholarship, for example: I am an American of Polish descent.  I am an undergraduate student at University of Washington and I'm majoring in physics.  I have a 3.95 GPA.  

We will add your e-mail address to our list for one year.  Notification will be  sent when the new application has posted and the scholarship application period has begun.  Please add [email protected] to your address book/white list/safe senders list to insure that the notification is not directed to your Spam folder. 

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