My name is Karolina. I am currently seventeen years old, the oldest out of three children in my family, and the first to be enduring the college process in my entire family. It is a scary process, but I am honored to be leading the way for my siblings to follow eventually. I am Polish-American, being born here in Chicago after my parents had emigrated from Poland about eighteen years ago. They had built themselves from the ground up in order to create a better life for themselves and the family they would eventually create. That did not stop them from teaching my siblings and I about Polish culture and the language which is regularly used around the house. This leads me to randomly implementing Polish in everyday conversations on accident, and has influenced a lot of my environment while growing up. I love to dance to Polish music around the house when no one's home, or when i'm in a good mood, or drive hours with my family to go visit a ski hill and hit the slopes for a few hours. I have a close bond with my family and I am appreciative of that. I plan to use these skills and my understanding of community in this sense, to further my education with this scholarship. I plan to be involved in community-bettering organizations at where I plan on attending, as I believe that communities will thrive based on involvement.
The first time I saw a person with a prosthetic limb in public made me very confused. As a young child, I truly believed I was witnessing mankind being taken over by robots. Thankfully as my mother explained later, was not the case, those devices were just a replacement for missing limbs. The idea fascinated me, but I soon moved on to exploring other ideas as a child.
"I believe that communities will thrive based on involvement."
- Karolina R.
However, the interest rekindled in an introductory computer science course of my freshman year in high school. The Boston Marathon bombing had taken place not too long before. The news was still being plastered all over news stations, and fear still loomed around the air. Our teacher decided to show us a video of one of the survivors that had lost a limb, but still pursued a passion for dance. Her moves were as elegant as though nothing had ever stopped her in the first place. Her tears steadily flowed down her face after her performance, joining already most of the class. My thoughts quickly raced back to the first memory of seeing a person with a prosthetic limb, then I began to research and learn more about the technology behind it and discovered biomedical engineering. This expanded into taking different classes and attending workshops to learn more about technology and its possibilities for improving life quality.
For some, the extension of medicine and technology behind prosthetics has the possibility to give one movement and ability to do simple tasks. The technology is only growing, prosthetic hands are able to grasp, hold objects, and move like normal hands would. This technology has the ability to increase one's confidence and sense of normality. Possibly giving someone the chance to hug or hold their significant other or someone they hold dearly in their lives, is motivation enough. To achieve this however, I would need to learn mechanical engineering concepts, to understand how parts move and how to put them together. I would use this knowledge along with medical terms and ideas that I would use as well, to see how joints move and act, and the behaviors of a human, to contribute to my knowledge of these ideas. I would then take all that I would learn and work with others to develop new methods and ideas, or improve upon existing ones to potentially create cheaper or more approachable options.
"I would like to continue and expand on an existing program that I had co-founded in 2015."
- Karolina R.
To benefit the Chicago-area community, I would like to continue and expand on an existing program that I had co-founded in 2015. AspireIT teaches technological principles to girls, an underrepresented group in the technological community, made to show girls that they are powerful and teach them about new problem solving techniques within topics such as coding and robotics. Walking into a classroom full of smiling faces, almost jumping out of their seats ready to talk about programming and technology, is an indescribable feeling. AspireIT is something that required months of planning and budgeting, to all increase the confidence and leadership qualities in technology for middle school aged girls. It lays itself out and provides new and exciting activities for the girls to participate in. They leave finding a new interest or love for technology and all of the benefits it may have in their everyday lives. I look forward to all classes and passing on my ideas and thoughts on technology to the girls.
I also hope to research new ideas within the field of Biomedical engineering, and potentially help those with medical ailments, and attempt to work with my community in that way as well.
From my early days helping my dad build something in the garage, building new items and putting them into use was something that satisfied my interests and always kept me wanting to learn more. Engineering is a field I am able to connect with, based on my interests and skills in mathematics and science. With this, I also want to potentially make a difference in the world, and learning about BioMedical Engineering, will help me reach this goal. I will be able to push myself and discover new concepts and ideas in medical sciences and engineering, and apply them to my community and how to better and improve it.
- Karolina R.