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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

“Discovering UMB’s Cultural Diversity” Mini Series

The UMass Boston Community has so many faces. Every face has a story. Martina’s is one of them.

“I miss school already,” Minkowska said before adding, “I like the fact I graduated too.”

After arriving in the United States in 2004, Minkowska walked in UMB’s spring 2008 commencement ceremony, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and a Summa cum laude degree. Coming straight from her high school graduation in Poland, Minkowska immediately enrolled at UMB at the age of 19.

Although Minkowska said she misses her hometown of Gdansk, Poland, her friends there, and the town of Lebork where her family now lives, she seldom mentions her time in Poland unless asked.

“I still have contact with my friends-even the ones from secondary school-and I see them graduating, getting married. Even though I am separated from them by an ocean, I still try to participate in their lives,” she said, providing rare insight into her personal experience and life in Poland.

In her four years at UMB, Minkowska received the Robert H. Spaethling Prize for Outstanding Performance in Honors Program (2008), the Robert J. McMahon Jr. Memorial Award for Outstanding Work as a Tutor (2008), and was awarded the Helies Scholarship for the 2006, ’07, and ’08 academic years, to name a few.

“Fall ’07 was probably the most difficult semester. I was taking six courses, tutoring six, writing my senior thesis, and working when not at school,” she said.

While at UMass, Minkowska tutored Quantitative Reasoning, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, other higher-level math courses, and Logic. Her greatest regret was not finishing a third major, math.

“Mathematics was always more than problem-solving. I enjoyed the science simply for its own sake, as it was about seeing patterns in everyday life and in other disciplines.”

Minkowska made clear how grateful she felt towards the professors that she described as having drawn her to her final majors, Philosophy and Political Science.

According to Minkowska, Professor Zabel and Professor Lande drew her interests to Philosophy while Professor Shahdadi and Professor Tafe drew Martyna to Political Science. In how many students Minkowska ignited a passion for Math, Political Science, and Philosophy, however, she may never know.

Having accomplished so much, Minkowska said she lives in the present, plans for the future, and remembers the past. Although she admits the costs of migrating to a new country, adjusting to a new culture, achieving academic success, and working to support herself can’t be measured, for Minkowska, there seems to be a clear cost of having left her past behind.

Minkowska agreed that one of the greatest things about UMB was the diversity of the people-both students and professors. And although her experience is unique only to her, many of the challenges she has overcome could easily resonate with many students at UMB.

“When I think of my own transitions from a math, literature, and history student to a political science major-most interested in foreign policy and ethics in international relations-or from my transition from a math tutor into a public policy analyst at Mayor Menino’s office, I truly see the depth and truth of the statement: ‘I think that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’ Of course, Minkowska was paraphrasing the words of her favorite author, Marcel Proust.

Last month, Minkowska moved to New York City in search of her next set of eyes.