Board of Directors with Consul General Jaroslaw Lasinski, December 2018
L to R: W. Sokolowski, E. Trybus, E. Przybyla, W. Presburger, 
Consul General, E. Barsam, M.Trochimczyk, Ch. Justin


Dr Maja Trochimczyk, President

† Dr Witold Sokolowski, Vice President † to November 2019
 Dr Elzbieta Trybus, Secretary to 4/2020
Barbara Nowicki, Secretary from 5/2020
Elzbieta Przybyla, Treasurer to 4/2020
Maria Kubal, Treasurer from 5/2020
Chris Justin, Technical Director to December 2021
Krystyna Okuniewska, Artistic Director to June 2020
Ewa Barsam, Community Relations Director
Beata Czajkowska, Director
Anna Sadowska, Director from 5/2019
Syl Ves, Director, from 5/2019


Dr. Maja Trochimczyk is an outstanding musicologist, author and editor of seven books on Polish music and dance (Routledge, Columbia University Press, Moonrise Press), as well as a publisher of books on Polish history and culture, and volumes of poetry through her small publishing house, Moonrise Press (from 2008 the press issued 20 books). As a poet, she published five volumes of poetry and edited four anthologies.  As a music historian, Dr. Trochimczyk published 22 chapters in  academic books (Oxford UP, Indiana  UP, Cambridge Scholars, etc.) and 27 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals on Chopin, Szymanowska, Paderewski, Bacewicz, Lutosławski, Górecki and others. She presented  research at 90 scientific conferences in Europe and America. For scientific, creative and promotional contributions to Polish culture, she received many awards and medals from Polish, American, and Canadian government and other organizations. 

She is also a promoter of knowledge about Polish culture in the USA. She served the President of the Modjeska  Club in 2010-2012, and since 2018. During that time, she prepared over 50 meetings and events, organized the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the Club, introduced the Helena Modjeska Prize for outstanding Polish actors, began working with many American institutions, and nominated for medals "for the promotion of Polish culture abroad" 19 former members of the Club Board. A former  secretary of the board of the Polish American Historical Associations, Dr. Trochimczyk is a member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America and the American Musicology Society. In 1996-2004 she led the Polish Music Center at USC. Dr. Trochimczyk concurrently serves as President of the California State Poetry Society (since 2019), founder and president of Moonrise Press (since 2008), and Senior Director of Planning and Development for Phoenix House California (since 2007). Since 2010 she has been managing several blogs that together reached over 916,000 readers: Poetry Laurels, Chopin with Cherries, Modjeska Club, Village Poets, and others.

Recent Interviews


Elizabeth Trybus received her graduate and Ph.D. degrees in Poland, where she was an Assistant Professor at the Economic University in Wroclaw. In 1982, she was invited by the California State University  Northridge to teach courses in Statistics and Operations Research.  She arrived in California with her husband and three children ages 7 to 15. Her husband, Ginter Trybus, taught courses in Computer Science and Data Processing at the University of Southern California and Elizabeth started as a professor in the Systems and Operations Management Department at the California State University, Northridge  teaching  courses in statistics, operations management and quality management at the graduate and undergraduate level. She founded and directed the Center for Quality and Productivity Education as well as the Student Charter of the American Society for Quality. She was also the president of the Southern California TIMS/ORSA (The Institute of Management Science/Operations Research Society of America) Chapter.

Since June 2014 she has enjoyed her retirement from the university and her consulting job in the area of quality improvement. She loves traveling, moderate hiking, yoga and tai-chi classes. She is also a subscriber to the Los Angeles Opera and Master Chorale concerts in Walt Disney Hall. She is a member of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club for many years and she likes good literature, poetry, various trips and flowers in her garden.


ELŻBIETA has lived in Southern California for ... let's say many years. She is the mother of two adult children, Paweł and Kasia; and a Polish romantic, still enamoured with her native country and its culture. She takes part in many Polish cultural events, organized by the Consulate of Poland and local organizations, including the Polish Film Festival, Club PAPA, and the Modjeska Club. She has worked as  realtor for 22 years in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Ms. Przybyla has been active for many years as  a Modjeska Club member. In spare time, as long as it is possible, she likes to read and listen to music. She also loves nature and gardening, traveling to visit her country and family, with whom she is still closely connected. She is active in the life of her children and has a friendly and welcoming attitude to life's surprises. So far, without a criminal history or warrants to her name, she is trustworthy, and always willing to help.


Maria Kubal has previously served as Board Member in 2010-2018, assisting with the organization of club events.She is a graduate  of Karol Adamiecki University of Economics in Katowice, specializing in Economics and Information Technology, with a focus on Organization of Data Processing and Accounting. After working for eight years as Economic Manager at a Corporation of Coal Industry in Rybnik, she emigrated to the U.S. where for 15 years she was the co-owner of Freightex Inc. a transport company that she managed jointly with her husband Andrzej Kubal. Since 2010 she has been a real estate investor.  An active Polish American community member, Ms. Kubal volunteered for Polish Alma Mater - Polish School in Los Angeles (1997-2007), as a member of the Parents' Committee, a co-organizer of the celebration of the sacraments of St. First Communion and Confirmation and supporter/co-organizer of children's performances and charity events for the benefit of the school - games, lunches, etc. In  2002-2012 she volunteered for Polish Folk Dance Ensemble "Podhale" and provided organizational assistance in the preparation of performances, rehearsals and  concert tours.


Barbara Nowicki has been a member of the Club for many years; she was a frequent volunteer for Polish Film Festival in Los Angeles. Born in Wloclawek, Poland, she moved to Gdansk after graduating from high school, to attend  University of Gdansk, with M.S degree in biology. In 1980 she left Poland and stayed in Germany until 1983 when she emigrated to the U.S.  She worked at the City of Hope Medical Center   as a Senior Research Associate responsible for designing, organizing and managing the Research Laboratory for the Department of Transfusion Medicine during its growth from 50 to more than 200 professionals. She participated in over 50 research protocols pertaining to the treatment of malignancies. She helped design and performed most experiments and tests related to cellular immunology techniques. In 2001, she  moved to CTL Immunotherapies Inc. in Chatsworth, California - a biopharmaceutical company specializing in cancer vaccine development where as  Associate Scientist whe was responsible for conducting research projects related to cancer vaccine development. In 2006 she accepted job offer from UCLA Medical Center -BM/Stem Cell Transplant Laboratory to manage  daily operations of stem cell processing laboratory and preparation of cellular therapy products for transplant. She currently works part time at USC Norris Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA (consultation on quality assurance). 


Mr. Justin graduated from The Merchant Marine Academy in Szczecin (currently Maritime University), with a master’s degree in Navigation Engineering and worked at his alma mater as an assistant. In Chicago he started his career as a professional photographer and worked in the largest and most prestigious catalog photography studios in Chicago and later in New York. He was also employed as a staff photographer at the renowned Macy's-Bamberger’s studio in New York. His portfolio contains work performed for many well-known companies. Numerous relocations and collaboration with many recognizable US companies have opened him to new experiences and challenges. He lived in many parts of the USA; Manhattan, Waukegan, Chicago, Hollywood, Orange, Beverly Hills and other places. In Los Angeles, he continued his photography career as a freelance photographer. As a Renaissance man, he is accomplished in many areas of his life and has achieved many successes, careers and passions. He has been living in Huntington Beach for many years and is a proud father of two wonderful and talented children.

Chris is a Real Estate Broker; he is the founder and the owner of Hallmark Property Management, Inc. He is involved in the community, providing free management services to the Assistance League of Huntington Beach. He likes to travel, prefers a healthy lifestyle, plays tennis, rides a bike, enjoys hiking, camping and other recreational activities.


Founder, President, Managing Director. Beata's skill-set is as vast as her interests. She is a strong and charismatic woman, with a sharp and analytic mind but with a deep appreciation for art. With over 25 years of experience in artistic and corporate management, she feels and operates equally well in both worlds. From the very beginning Beata's education focused on both the artistic and business aspects. Born in Poland, in a beautiful city of Wroclaw, she learned piano, acting and managing, visited and performed at Theaters, traveled all over the world and learned everything and anything she could get her hands on.

She worked in independent productions, as an impresario, a tutor, an accompanist, an Insurance Broker, a Manager in her own travel agency, an adviser and a freelancer. She worked at and for Opera Wroclaw and Grand Theater in Warsaw, TVP Wroclaw (a TV station) and Radio Station. She is the co-founder and a Managing Director of EWELINEB, and is the owner of a consulting company EBC- COSULTINGGROUP which specializes in: fashion, art, opera, business.


Anna Sadowska has lived in the US for 30 years, 20 of them in Southern California.  She graduated from CLC in Chicago earning an Associate Degree in Finance.  Later, Anna and her identical twin sister moved to Poland and attended Jagiellonian University in Krakow.  Upon return, Anna started her professional career in banking.   For many years she worked for mega lenders such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo eventually earning underwriting and lending authority.   In 2001 she visited Southern California and fell in love with the region. She moved immediately and pursued her further career in Los Angeles in the mortgage and real estate industry. 

She is involved with many human services, mainly focusing and volunteering at Midnight Mission in Los Angeles, an organization that helps with self-care, drug addition and homelessness.   Anna strongly believes in living by certain principals to always help others. In addition, she is a professional athlete with medals in triathlons, swimming and running.  She loves skiing, scuba diving, hiking and yoga.   Anna also rides a Harley and loves to travel around the world with her sister.


Sylvia Ves is Business Management (University of London BA and MSc) & Government Administration graduate at Wharton and University of Pennsylvania an Ivy League School (post Master Degree). During this program she practiced public policies at the EC Delegation to the United Nations in NYC and the Polish Embassy in Washington, DC.  Sylvia speaks Polish, English and Spanish, as well as Russian, Catalan and Italian, currently learning French and Arabic.

She worked as a Manager of International translations for Mattel Inc., in El Segundo and WhatsApp in Silicon Valley.Her unique international background and expertise in Business Management and Accounting, as well as cross- functional projects and teams with exposure to upper management. Currently, works in Beverly Hills as a CFO for one of the most prestigious Architects in Beverly Hills. She joined the Board of the Modjeska Club in May 2019.




We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Dr. Sokolowski in a car accident on November 21, 2019. He was a wonderful colleague and everyone in the club appreciated his good humor, dedication, and creativity.  He is sorely missed. The Club left his position of the Vice President vacant until May 2021 to honor his memory.

Dr. Witold Sokolowski worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for more than 30 years   as  the Senior  Materials Scientist on new cutting-edge materials for space science and interplanetary mission applications. He is the author of more than 90 publications, including papers published in leading international technical journals, two US patents, two scientific books (the third book was in final stages) and over 20 NASA Novel Technology Reports (NTR). In the last 15 years, he was involved in lightweight advanced deployable structure/aperture technologies. He was the founder and principle investigator of novel, second generation Cold Hibernated Elastic Memory (CHEM) self-deployable structure technology at NASA/JPL. He authored or co-authored about 90 publications including papers in leading international reference technical journals, 2 US Patents and 16 NASA Novel Technology Reports (NTR). He worked in collaboration with 37 different co-authors.

Dr. Sokolowski recently edited a volume of scientific studies:  Cold Hibernated Elastic Memory Structure: Self-Deployable Technology and Its Applications CRC Press, December 2018. He held two patents, with multiple citations by others: patent US6702976B2 “Cold hibernated elastic memory self-deployable and rigidizable structure and method” (sole author) and as coauthor US5476633A “Ultrahigh-purity dimensionally stable INVAR 36.”  He was the author or co-author of many peer reviewed articles, such as: “Medical applications of shape memory polymers” Biomedical Materials vol. 2: 1 (2007, cited by 291 scientists), “Cold hibernated elastic memory foams for endovascular interventions” Biomaterials 24 (2003): 491–497; “Advanced Self-Deployable Structures for Space Applications” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 44:4 (2007); and “Shape Memory Polymer Foams for Biomedical Devices,” The Open Medical Devices Journal, 2: 20-23 (2010).

He co-authored many chapters in scientific books:  “CHEM Biomedical Applications” (2019), “Improvements for Large CHEM Structures” (2018); “Effect of Cold Storage” (2018); “CHEM Technology Development” (2018), “Properties of Baseline CHEM Foam Material” (2018); “Future CHEM Thin-Film Spacecraft” (2018); “Thermomechanical Behavior of CHEM Foams,” “CHEM for Endovascular Interventions,” “Thiol-ene/acrylate systems for biomedical shape-memory polymers,” (2015); “Shape-Memory Polymer Foam and Applications” (2010). His scientific also articles include: “Shape Memory Polymer Foams for Biomedical Devices” (2010); “Shape memory self-deployable structures for solar sails” (2008); “Advanced Self-Deployable Structures for Space Applications” (2007); “Medical applications of shape memory polymers” (2007); “Surface control of cold hibernated elastic memory self-deployable structure” (2006); “Potential biomedical and commercial applications of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) self-deployable foam structures” (2004); “Applications of cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structures” (2003); “Cold hibernated elastic memory foams for endovascular interventions” (2003); “Die Attachment for −120°C to +20°C Thermal Cycling of Microelectronics for Future Mars Rovers—An Overview” (2001); “Influence of long-term storage in cold hibernation on strain recovery and recovery stress of polyurethane shape memory polymer foam” (2001); “Cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) self-deployable structures” (1999); “Temporally And Thermally Stable Iron/Nickel Alloy” (1995); “Long-term and thermal instability of carbon/carbon composite”  (1994), and many more.

Dr. Sokolowski was a recipient of many awards from NASA and other technical organizations, including the Innovation and Improvement NASA Nova Award in recognition of his continued development and conception of new ideas and improvements of advanced space structures. He was a member of editorial boards for several technical journals and served as an advisor/thesis reader to Ph.D. students at Harvard University and other universities. He was selected or elected to numerous special technical assignments, professional organization/conference committees and journal peer reviews. He was invited to participate in several television programs prepared  by TV Polonia.

After leaving JPL, he worked at Sokolowski Consulting Services on commercial and medical applications of some advanced material technologies as well as a consultant for US and international firms. He enjoyed traveling, sport (skiing, tennis, swimming) and good classical & modern music. He was elected as a journal referee in several technical/scientific magazines and selected to numerous special technical assignments, professional organization/conference committees and journal peer reviews. Dr. Sokolowski served as an advisor and thesis reader to PhD and Master students in smart materials/structures area at Harvard University and other universities.


Raised and educated in art schools in Krakow, Ms. Okuniewska is the mother of three daughters. She is the owner of a small artistic company dedicated to interior design, stage design, event staging, and more. A long-time member of the Modjeska Club's Board of Directors, she was honored by the Polish government for her activities on behalf of promoting Polish culture in the West. Co-organizer of many meetings with prominent representatives of Polish cultural and social life. Responsible for the stage design for club events, balls and stage designs of theater and music performances presented by Polish artists. She loves traveling, art, family meetings and spending time with friends. She looks optimistically at the world.


EWA BARSAM, COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECA long-time member of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, Ewa Barsam is responsible for community relations, recruitment and onboarding of new club members, and outreach to potential partners. 

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