Born in Coventry, England, Danuta (“Donna”) Solecka Urbikas immigrated to the USA with her parents and sister in 1952, settling in Chicago, Illinois, and growing up in the Polish community. After attending Catholic grade schools and a public high school in Chicago, she graduated from the University of Illinois – Chicago Circle with a degree in biology and began teaching high school biology.
Currently, Donna is an award-winning author and finalist in the Chicago Writers Association, Society of Midland Authors, Midwest Book Awards (as part of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association), and Bronze Winner of Foreword INDIES Book Award.
In 1976, she took her first trip to Poland to meet relatives and explore her parents’ home towns. On the cusp of the Solidarity Movement, her travel was restricted by the Communists and the trip became a significant life experience. Later, she graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois, with a master’s degree in environmental engineering and went on to work on water and wastewater compliance at coal and nuclear power plants.
As a full-time mother at home, she joined the Unitarian Church of Evanston, Illinois, was a school volunteer, and began writing. The author returned to work as a consultant for a large engineering company and then, as an owner of her own company, she worked on hazardous waste clean-up projects, permitting, and wastewater treatment.
She is a graduate from the University of Chicago’s Certificate Writing Program and has participated in many writing workshops and conferences.
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On a second visit to Poland with her son following the fall of Communism, she was able to finally visit her mother’s birthplace. The author is a cancer survivor and volunteers for various non-profits, currently working as an Illinois Licensed Real Estate Broker and writer. Widowed and living in Chicago, she has three adult children.