Ms. Bożena Nowicka McLees was born in Warsaw, and came to Chicago in 1975. She holds an M.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Polish Language and Literature. She is currently the Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies at Loyola University Chicago, and is also Polish language and literature instructor.  She co-founded the Polish Studies Program at Loyola in 2007 and developed its curriculum over the past ten year.  The program has grown to offer 12 courses that enroll over 200 students each semester, taught by six accomplished scholars specializing in various fields of knowledge about Poland.

Ms. McLees has focused on connecting the evolving academic programs in Poland with the existing network of schools and organizations in Chicago to promote interest and understanding of Polish culture, as well as the maintenance of heritage language skills. Ms. McLees has organized three academic conferences at Loyola, the Chopin & Paderewski Conference in 2010, the Jan Karski Conference in 2014, and ‘The Poles’ section of the Chicago Catholic Immigrants Conference in 2015. She s a recipient of PAHA's Skalny Civic Achievement Award (2011).

Her most notable publications include “Language Diversity in the USA; Polish in the USA” Cambridge University Press, 2010; and a translation of “Five Poems from Vade-Mecum” by Cyprian Kamil Norwid, The Polish Review, vol. XXVIII.