On the occasion of the Awards Gala, on June 5, 2012 the Piłsudski Institute of America has honored the following distinguished personalities with medals for outstanding achievements in history, science and for achievements benefiting the Polish American community:
Senator Barbara Ann Mikulski received the Marshal Józef Piłsudski Leadership and Achievement Award
Professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski received the Marie Skłodowska – Curie Science Medal
Professor Timothy Snyder received the Wacław Jędrzejewicz History Medal
Barbara Mikulski is the Senior United States Senator from Maryland, a member of the Democratic Party, longest-serving female senator and the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress, having served since 1977.
Mikulski, a third-generation Polish American, grew up in working-class East Baltimore, an area where she established not only her political roots but her adherence to assisting the less fortunate. Originally a social worker and community organizer, she was elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1971, after she delivered a highly publicized address on the "ethnic movement" in America. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, and in 1986 she became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland.
Mikulski is chairwoman of the Health Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging and Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, and is a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence.
Barbara Mikulski supports Polish causes in the U.S. Congress and Senate. Recently she co-sponsored the JOLT Act of 2012 which includes visa waivers for Polish citizens and also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on visa waiver legislation for Poland.
Krzysztof Matyjaszewski is the University Professor, Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University.
Born in Poland, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski received his doctorate from the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1976 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida in 1977. From 1978 until 1984 he was a research associate at the Polish Academy of Sciences. After spending a year at the University of Paris, Matyjaszewski came to Carnegie Mellon in 1985 and was appointed the J.C. Warner Professor of the Natural Sciences in 1998. While at Carnegie Mellon, Matyjaszewski founded the Center for Macromolecular Engineering, served as head of the Department of Chemistry from 1994 to 1998, and was named university professor in 2004. The title of University Professor is the highest distinction a faculty member can achieve at CMU.
Matyjaszewski is the author of 14 books and 73 book chapters, over 700 scientific papers, is a co-inventor on 69 U.S. patented technologies and holds 118 international patents. His work has been cited in the scientific literature more than 40,000 times, making him one of the most cited chemists in the world. One of the leading educators in the field of polymer chemistry, he has mentored more than 200 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students since joining Carnegie Mellon. For his work he has received numerous awards, including the Wolf Prize in Chemistry and Prize of the Foundation for Polish Science. He also received honorary degrees from several universities, including Technical University of Łódź and l'Institut Polytechnique in Tolouse.
He has developed among other technologies the atom transfer radical polymerization, or ATRP, a way of combining monomers into blocks of polymers. This method allows for the production of a combination of materials with multiple properties that can be controlled in ways that traditional plastics cannot. Dr. Matyjaszewski's work has significant implications for industrial manufacturing.
Timothy Snyder is the professor of history at Yale University.
An expert on Eastern Europe and the Second World War, he has published numerous books and written articles for periodicals such as the New York Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, New Republic, Prospect and the Nation. Timothy Snyder received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2001, he held fellowships in Paris and Vienna, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.
He is the author of five award-winning books, including: Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz; The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999; Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine; The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Hapsburg Archduke. He is also the co-editor of two books Wall Around the West: State Power and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America and Stalin and Europe: War, Terror, Domination (forthcoming). In 2010 he published Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, a history of Nazi and Soviet mass killing on the lands between Berlin and Moscow. It has received a number of honors, including the Leipzig Prize for European Understanding and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award in the Humanities. It was named book of the year by some dozen publications, has been translated into more than twenty languages, and became a bestseller in four countries.
He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern East European political history. In 2012-2013 he will teach, "Eastern Europe to 1914" and "Eastern Europe Since 1914," as well as graduate seminars on the Holocaust and on east European history as global history.