She stood quietly, her hands clasped around her purse, flaxen hair in braids across the top of her head, chunky amber beads around her neck. Her costume was magenta with an abundance of lace at the neck. From Slask, she said with just the right accent.

She was asked her name and she smiled."Here," she said, and produced a little white card with her unpronounceable name printed on it. "Why don't I give you this."

She is Sandra Golembiewski, a 30-year-old fisheries biologist, of Polish descent. And like the other people gathered in a reception room of the Capitol last night for a party given by the National Confederation of American Ethnic Groups, for newly elected members of Congress, she is very interested in her ethnic group in America.

Golembiewski liked being asked about her name. "It gives me twice the opportunity to go around telling people where it's from and what it's all about," she said.

"The Polish are in now," said Erica Lengerfelder, who said she is German, not Polish. She leaned over with a playful grin and nudged Golembiewski's arm. "They've got the pope, huh?"

A man nearby smiled wisely. "It's because we pray a lot," he said, lighting his pipe.

The guests came from ethnic councils and communities representing Americans of Polish descent, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Cossacks. They included people such as Catholic University Prof. Richard Kolm, a sociologist and a Polish immigrant who helped establish recognition of ethnic groups in America, and Hilary Czaplicki, from the Polish National Alliance, who came from Philadelphia for the party.

And the members of Congress whom this organization looks fondly upon -- such as Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.) and Rep. Benjamin Gilman (D-N.Y.) -- were there.

"This organization is bipartisan," said its president, Dr. J.B. Genys, a professor of natural resources at the University of Maryland. "We work to promote cultural diversity of Americans. We can have different costumes, we can dance differently, but we are all Americans. And the congressmen here are generally those that recognize American ethnic groups."