During March—Women’s History Month—Adelphi’s Student Government Association announces the recipients of the Women’s Recognition Awards. These are awarded to outstanding women who have been nominated for their leadership, service and commitment to excellence that benefit and inspire members of the Adelphi community—women such as one of the faculty recipients of the 2021 Women’s Recognition Award: Justyna Widera-Kalinowska, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. Nominated by her former student Hye Jin In ’21, Dr. Widera-Kalinowska is the epitome of a woman in STEM who is taking the lead as a professor, researcher and mentor.
“She is a wonderful mentor and scientist who helped me to mature into the person I am today,” wrote In, a biology major, in her nomination. “The experiences during my time working with her in the lab at Adelphi University and at the University of Warsaw have contributed greatly to my continuing determination to become a scientist like her. … [Professors like her] set an example of how women are more than capable of achieving great things [and this] encourages young women to dream big dreams.”
The award is especially meaningful, Dr. Widera-Kalinowska said, “since the nomination came from one of my female students.” adding that she tries to convey to her students “that your work ethic, open mind full of great ideas and what you offer to society are more important than looks, skin color, accent, etc. I promote to my female students the idea that they have the right to stay feminine. This does not preclude or conflict with their professional skills. By exposing them to a variety of professional experiences, I show them how to differentiate between constructive criticism and negative comments and be resilient, and I encourage them to have irrepressible spirit and to never give up on their dreams and mission.”
A Consistent Presence and a Positive Influence—on Campus and in the Community
Since she joined Adelphi in 2005, Dr. Widera-Kalinowska has often been the first to volunteer for campuswide initiatives and regularly offers her time as a student supporter in positions outside her role as a faculty member. She serves as the Faculty Senate Committee on Student Life co-chair and sits on several other University committees, including the International Leadership Coordinating Committee, STEP Steering Committee, and University Momentum Committee. She is also the faculty adviser for the student club AU POLAK. In 2006, Dr. Widera-Kalinowska helped relaunch the Chemistry Club and served as its adviser until 2011. She regularly participates and represents the chemistry department at Adelphi open houses, Accepted Student Day events, first-year orientation and career fairs.
Providing a unique and global academic experience for her students, Dr. Widera-Kalinowska has taken students to the University of Warsaw in Poland. Through this summer research program, students experiment with high-tech equipment amongst the top materials scientists in Europe. The experience gives students direct access to world-class technology, provides hands-on learning in the field of science and creates a cultural experience to encourage students to think globally.
Dr. Widera-Kalinowska is a driving force in academia and research, publishing and contributing to the sciences through an impressive number of journal articles and academic papers.
In said one of the reasons she nominated her former professor was because of her work teaching a group of 30 students in a Saturday AP chemistry laboratory class sponsored by the STEP program for minorities. “During her weekends, she extends her arms out to the minority students from disadvantaged high school districts and teaches them the fundamentals of chemistry and its applications in the world,” In wrote.
Meet Our 2021 Honorees
Staff and Administrator Recipients
- Kenzie Keyes, Director of Housekeeping
- Alyssa Estrada, Administrative Assistant II in the Center for Student and Community Engagement
- Justyna Widera-Kalinowska, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry
- Maria Cuadra, Senior Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Work
- Juliacie Dieuvel ’21, 2020–2021 President of Caribbean Students Union
- Shenice Rodney ’21, 2020–2021 Panther Pantry Outreach Supervisor
- Samantha Chong ’21, 2020–2021 Resident Assistant
Nominate an Outstanding Woman for 2022
The honorees traditionally receive their awards at SGA’s Women’s Recognition Dinner in late March. This year, in collaboration with the Office of Special Events, a division of External Relations, the 2022 award recipients will be honored at the Women’s Leadership Conference and dinner on Saturday, March 26.