The Branch

Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


Volume 26, Number 4                  Our 57th year of publication                                            December  2012





 Online Calendar at


1        Trekkers:  9:00 am – Mansion Main Parking

  Vanderbilt Estate Walk

         Organizers:  Pat Luczai (463-4662), Peggy Kelland (297-0507) & Karen Haynes

         Coordinator: Karen Haynes (297-5700)

3       Word Games: 2:00 pm

         Hostess:  Eleanor Aronstein (462-6452)

         Coordinator:  Eleanor Aronstein (462-6452)

4        World Travelers: 7:00 pm, see page 7.

         Presentation: Egypt, Margaret Nijhuis

         Reservations necessary.  Contact Jeanette!

         Coordinator: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


5        The Ediss Book Group: 7:30 pm

         Book: When Women Were Birds

         by Terry Tempest-Williams    
         Hostess: Betsy Kopstein-Stuts(485-7044)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

6       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

         Bethel Missionary Baptist Church

10     “The Branch” deadline for January     

10     Movie Night: Time TBD by show

         Movie: Group members will be notified the

         Thursday before - sign up with Sue.

         Discussion: Eveready Diner, Rt. 9, Hyde Park

         Director: Susan Osterhoudt (889-4469)

         Producer: Diana Gleeson

11      Bridge I: noon - 4:00 pm

         Uno (on the arterial) - Lunch ($15)

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745)      &  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

11     Bridge II: noon – 4:00 pm

         Uno (on the arterial) - Lunch ($15)

         Coordinators: Cathy Kinn &

                  Janet White (462-6675)

11     Bridge 3: noon – 4:00 pm

         Uno (on the arterial) - Lunch ($15)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

11      Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

  Le’ Express, 180 New Hackensack Rd, Rt 376

  Contact: Kay Saderholm (229-8545)


         Calendar continued below...



AAUW Membership Meeting – open to all!

What Is a Locavore?


Reinventing the Journey from Earth to Table to Your Body!

Hudson Valley Solutions for Our Broken Food System


Date:  Thursday, December 13, 2012

Time:  7:00 pm

Place:  Hellenic Center, 54 Park Ave., Poughkeepsie 12603


Come and join us for an evening of exploration with the vanguard of food advocates and producers in our region.  Together, we will imagine new ways of relating to food, and of making healthy, delicious, sustainable foods available to all in our communities, schools, and homes.


Food has never been more central to our public discourse, and that is fitting given the degradation in public health.  We know we have to do things differently, but what?  This evening will begin to answer that question in ways that will enlighten and even delight you.  Join the conversation, and learn ways to translate this new information into your own buying habits and your own kitchens. 


Our panelists will cover the issue of food from different perspectives ranging from the impact on regional economics and culture, to the effect on personal health and home life.  We will also enjoy tastings of several drinks and dishes made from local ingredients!


Didi Barrett, AAUW member and our newly re-elected representative to the New York State Assembly, will moderate the panel discussion. 


Joe Baldwin, Director of the farm advocacy organization, Earth to Table, and a 1974 graduate of the CIA, is vitally concerned with “de-sugaring” America, and restoring sanity to the food production cycle. 


Susan Grove is the Executive Director of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, an organization that works toward a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley.


Roufia Payman, DT, CDN, is the Director of Outpatient Nutritional Counseling at Northern Dutchess Hospital.


Please below for more information on our outstanding panelists.


Calendar Continued from above…

Online Calendar at

12      Mah Jongg: 1:00 - 4:00 pm  

         Hostess: Shirley Granda (452-2686)

         Coordinators: Amy Schwed (462-2269) &

                  Gerry DiPompei (635-2050)

13     General Membership Meeting:  7:00 pm??

         Note this is a Thursday night!!!!

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

                   – see details on page one.

14      Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: Man in the Wooden Hat

         by Jane Gardam

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinators: Diana Gleeson (229-8458) 

                  & Tiz Hanson (229-9394)

17      Manderley Literary Society:  7:30 pm

         Book: When Women Were Birds

         by Terry Tempest-Williams

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Ellie Burch (297-7828)

18     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Festive Appetizers and Desserts for the Holidays

         Recipes: Mary Lou Davis

         Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie

         Coordinator: Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924)

20      All those books...: 7:00 pm     

         Book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

         Hostess: Ruth Kava (471-0480)

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)


No December meeting for:


Art on the Go

  Coordinator:  Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

Aventures en Soleil

         Coordinators: Peggy Lombardi (635-9091) &

                  Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

Contemporary Literature

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

Pins & Needles:

  Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

           Jane Toll (463-2712)

Women’s Personal & Professional Development:

Coordinator:  Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


         Tee Off:  Play will continue in June, 2012.

         Coordinators:  Terry Schneider (849-1122) &

                  Carol Mastropietro (221-8862)




Jacqueline Goffe-McNish *471-7220*   


An Attitude of Gratitude


Recently I went to an event which was well attended by many women from all over Poughkeepsie.  I saw many women who I know and love.  I saw students who I teach and women with whom I work, worship, and play.  In that group, was one woman who reminded me of something I need to improve; we all need to improve.   We do not say “Thank You” enough.


I saw the former Dean of Academic Affairs of the college where I teach.  This woman mentored me twenty-one years ago.  She protected me when I could have made devastating mistakes in judgment,  placed me on committees to ensure my professional growth, and allowed me to cry out my frustrations in the privacy of her office more times than I want to remember.  Every time I see her I am overwhelmed with gratitude and tell myself that I am going to send her an extensive thank you letter.  I keep forgetting to say “Thank you.”  I am grateful for everything she has done but I walk away and forget until the next time I see her.  I decided that what I need is an attitude of gratitude.


This attitude is much more profound than a feeling.  It is not a one time superficial expression of gratitude.  It is not a memory that comes and goes.  This is a deep intrinsic understanding that our lives are intertwined and no one becomes who she is without multiple individuals contributing to her growth.  It is a heart, mind, and head ‘thing’ that enhances both our horizontal and vertical relationships in that it forces us to acknowledge, with humility, that “no man is an island.”  So, I invite you to give thanks with me.








Supporters of The Branch!!


Annual contributions from members help defray the expense of publishing The Branch.  All patrons and sponsors are listed in each monthly newsletter unless anonymity is requested.                                 


Patrons ($25 or more)

Catherine Albanese  Lula Allen  Mary Bagley

Marge Barton  Joan Cordani  Marguerite Cotter

Lillian DePasquale  Ruth Gau  Gloria Gibbs

Sandra Goldberg  Betty Harrel  Doris Kelly 

Jean Miller  Cathy Pété  Jacqueline Prusak  Esther Reisman

Margaret Ruggeri  Terry Schneider

Mary Louise Van Winkle


Sponsors ($10 or more)

Brenda Schaffer


To add your name to the list, mail a check payable: “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.” to Margaret Nijhuis, 9 McAllister Drive, Pleasant Valley, NY 12569




Judith Lombardi

Marge Barton


On a beautiful fall day, 80 friends, family, colleagues and AAUW members gathered together at the Villa Borghese to honor Judy Lombardi as our 2012 Woman of the Year.  What a wonderful afternoon we all had with attendees greeting old friends and meeting new ones.  The room was abuzz during the cocktail hour.


It was inspirational to hear about Judy's journey in the field of Domestic Violence.  She shared some of her experiences and asked us all to take whatever steps we can to help keep families safe.


AAUW selects one woman each year to honor for her contributions to the community in a professional and volunteer capacity.  We will be asking for nominees early in 2013.


I would also like to acknowledge committee members whose hard work made this day such a success: Mary Lou Davis, Mary-Jo Cottrell, Elaine Crosby, Betty Harrel, Judy Linville and Margaret Nijhuis.




Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612*


The directory had just been printed when I learned I had omitted one of our new members:  Marlene Straus.  If you need her contact information, please get in touch with me.


You should have received your directory in the mail by the time you receive this newsletter.



Amy Schwed *462-2269*

Kay Saderholm *229-9679*


While attending one of our special interest groups held at The Manor at Woodside, I passed a resident’s room with the following quote on the door: “In a world where you can be anything - be yourself.  This resonated with me in a number of ways.  First of all I admired the self-esteem of this resident.  Then I was projected right back to the November program that featured Dr. Michael Fowlin.  His performance “You Don’t Know Me Until You know Me” mesmerized the audience.  Mikey, as he likes to be called, spoke about the masks people wear that hide their true selves from everyone around them.  Once we take those masks off, we can truly “be ourselves.”  But most of us are so used to wearing our masks that we never remove them.  Perhaps we wear them because we fear showing ourselves as we really are, thinking that people won’t like us that way.  Possibly it’s because we have difficulty separating what we believe in and stand for from what we project.  The different characters Michael used to portray the many-faceted world of bias that we are all familiar with was mind-boggling.  He completely removed his own mask and shared his history and the reasons behind the development of each of the characters he portrayed.  His performance made us aware of how insidious some of our prejudices are and forced many of us to become introspective about why we are what we are.  Until we began to examine ourselves, with an open mind, no changes can occur.  Once we start the process and perhaps share our insights with others, I believe we can really get to know each other.  With these understandings come respect  which eliminates disrespect.  It’s hard to be biased when you respect the other person!


This got me thinking about how lucky we are, as Poughkeepsie AAUW members, because our diverse membership allows us the opportunity to get to know many people who qualify as “others” by Dr. Fowlin’s descriptions.  The most astounding thing you will discover is that we are all so much more alike than different from each other!  Once that happens, it’s really much less necessary for any of us to wear our masks.




Jan 10  From Inertia to Vitality – A Woman’s Journey to Mental          Health


Feb 14 Miss Representation – documentary


Mar 14 The Global Woman’s Crisis – an evening with          Geeta Desai


Apr 7 Writers’ Tea, The Links at Union Vale




Four Members of AAUW

Our congratulations:


From Athena Awards Press Release, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce


The 2012 ATHENA honorees, all chosen by a diverse selection committee because of their demonstrated strengths in career excellence and leadership, community volunteer involvement and willingness to serve as a mentor, especially to women in the business community, include:

        Joan Crawford – Deputy Executive Director, Family Services, Inc.

        Geeta Desai – Management Consultant, Global Business Advantage, Corp.- AAUW

        Cecilia Dinio Durkin – Founder/Owner/President, Women’s Work - AAUW

        Jacqueline Goffe-McNish – Professor, Dutchess Community College - AAUW

        Maureen Kangas – General Manager, Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center

        Dr. Kathleen Mantaro – Medical Director, Vassar Brothers Medical Center - AAUW

        Sharon Matyas – Special Events & Community Relations Manager, Culinary Institute of America

        Sister Rose Marie Mullen, (Sisters of St. Francis) – Historian, Saint Francis Hospital & Health Centers

        Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega – Owner, Dr. Michele Winchester-Vega and Associates


The ATHENA Award is given annually to a member of the community who best embodies the ATHENA Leadership Model. The Model is unique in that it focuses on personal traits of strong, successful leaders. It captures the spirit and collaborative leadership style often exemplified in women leaders, while also recognizing the importance of qualities such as courageous acts and fierce advocacy in the pursuit of excellence.


May Mamiya, (AAUW) recently retired from her position as Director of Case Management at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, was the Hudson Valley’s 2011 recipient.


The award is officially presented at the ATHENA Awards Brunch on

December 2, 2012

The Grandview

12 noon – 3 pm


Tickets for the ATHENA Awards Brunch are available to the public at a cost of $75 per person.  For more information contact Whitney Bowers at 845-454-1700 ext. 1000 or .




Marcine Humphrey, Public Policy Committee


I was not going to do an election wrap up, but the recent blog from AAUW really inspired me.


Although our efforts to advance education and equity for women and girls are far from over, we should celebrate what we have accomplished.


Read more at:



Senior Advisor And National Advocate At The United Nations Foundation 

Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612*


The Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center at Val-Kill and the United Nations Association Southern New York State Division (UNA-SNY) invite you to meet Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor and National Advocate at the United Nations Foundation.  Ms. Sorensen will speak on the topic "Whose Human Rights" in honor of Human Rights Day.


Date:  Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Time:  11:00 am to 2:00 pm


Henry A. Wallace Center

at the FDR Presidential Library and Home

Hyde Park, NY


This is a free event.

Box lunch will be available for $10.00 (order must be placed in advance) or bring your own brown bag.


RSVP and order lunch by December 3rd

Maureen Benedict 845-229-5302


If you would to hear from ERVK about other programs send your email to Maureen Benedict (above).



Mary Coiteux *226-8275*

An expression of admiration for someone's achievement or contribution and our acknowledgment for it.


“Hats Off” and congratulations to Maria Rosa who is now going to be one of our judges in the New York State Supreme Court 9th Judicial District and to Didi Barrett for being elected Representative for the New York 106th Assembly District.  More on page 7.


“Hats Off” and congratulations to our four Athena Nominees:  Geeta Desai, Cecilia Dinio-Durkin,  Jackie Goffe-McNish,  and Dr. Kathleen Mantaro.  More on page 4.


“Hats Off” to Carole Peterson’s daughter, Janice Peterson, owner of “I Dream of Beading Ltd.”  She donated the jewelry findings and beads for the 17 girls making earrings at the Girls’ Conference.  In addition to making a pair for themselves, the girls made 30 sets of earrings for women at the Grace Smith House.  Thanks also to Cecilia Dinio-Durkin for her donation of paper beads and the use of her tools for the workshop.




Cecilia Dinio-Durkin *471-4492*


The 7th Annual Live Your Dream Girls' Conference was a huge success. Unfortunately, with hurricane Sandy, we had some no shows but we also had some walk-ins. The total attendees this year came to 63 seventh grade girls.


We want to thank Dutchess Community College and DCC's Early Childhood Club for once again sponsoring our event and having Early Childhood Club members volunteer on the day. Thanks also to the many AAUW members and community volunteers who helped with the planning and facilitating of the conference.  Live Your Dream gains the majority of its funding from AAUW Poughkeepsie's Writer's Tea, with generous support from members and non-members.  Thanks also goes to the many local businesses for their cash and in-kind donations: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Fishkill Farms, Goody Goodies, Heart of the Hudson Girl Scouts, Grace Smith House, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Lagrange Lions Club, Mill Street Loft, Planned Parenthood of Poughkeepsie, School Specialty, ServPro of NW and SE Dutchess County, and Women's Work.


There will be more information available about this year's conference on our website.  For now, I'd like to share a few comments from the girls: As the girls made earrings and made a difference, Mary Coiteux overheard two girls' conversation. "Which one do you think a woman at Grace Smith House would like more - this one or this one?"  During our closing ceremony, all of the girls who shared said they loved meeting other girls and making new friends.  Some suggestions for next year are to have a photography and a cooking workshop. Several girls asked why we only do this for seventh graders, why don't we do for it for 8th, 9th and 10th so that they can keep coming year after year?  Many girls answered the survey with arts and crafts being their favorite part of the day.  And my personal favorite response by a handful of girls had to be their answer to the question, what was your least favorite part of the day?  Their answer was - leaving!


I couldn't agree more.  After months of planning, the few hours together went by far too quickly.  A good testament to the day is that many of the volunteers have already signed on to work on the Live Your Dream Girls' Conference 2013!


In the meantime, we are also looking into holding a reunion in the Spring.  If you would like to help with this year's mini-conference or our November conference, just let us know:



Geeta Desai *297-7589*


A few years ago when my husband was ill, I began a journey of introspection.  Sitting in that hospital room, vacillating between hope and despair, I finally realized that I would have to find a way to overcome the nearly constant generalized anxiety that I felt, now magnified by my husband’s diagnosis. Of course, I didn’t have a clue about how to do it.  I only knew that I had to try.


As we waited for doctors to make their rounds each day and with not much else to do, I had plenty of time to think.  As usual, my mind raced to my childhood in India. In my mind’s eye, I saw the slow- moving images of my parents on those long languorous summer days as they spun a life around me that was steeped in family history, political discussions, philanthropy, music and art, trips to the theater and large, riotous family gatherings.  My parents experienced life more intensely than I anyone I know and they wanted their children to share the same feelings.  By all measures it was a good life. However, that day in the hospital also found me thinking about how much that life had not prepared me to live independently of my parents’ microcosm.  Later, on my own, in a new country, I had frequently felt frustrated and overly influenced by others.  And, I had felt “stuck,” unable to make the changes that would help me live my best life.


As I sat in the dappled sunlight that softened the harsh corners of the hospital room, I knew what I was missing; a sense of self in daily life.  Simply put, I didn’t always feel empowered in my daily interactions with the world.  Protected by my parents and family, I hadn’t learnt to practice the personal development behaviors that would reinforce my faith in myself and create an empowered perspective.


I know that I am in good company in my quest for empowerment.  As a matter of fact women in this country, more than men, grow up without the opportunities to practice behaviors that will help them grow in later life.  If this is your quest too, the good news is that becoming aware of the need for change is your first step towards true self-empowerment.



Marcine Humphrey, Public Policy Committee


AAUW and Title IX have a long history.  As a member of AAUW you are part of an association that promotes the fair and equal treatment of women and girls.


The LAF-supported case Parker vs Indiana High School Athletic Association settled when Amber Parker and Tammy Hurley, mothers of high school basketball players, successfully fought for fairer scheduling of the varsity girls’ basketball games in Franklin County, Indiana.


The settlement was approved by the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana.


This may not seem like a major victory, but I bet it is major to the girls on girls’ varsity basketball team in Indiana!



Thanks and Advice

Cathy Kinn, 


Thank you so much for all the cards and notes and best wishes for a speedy recovery from my recent stroke and to those of you who would have wished me well had you known.  AAUW is a powerful force and I am fully recovered.


Because so many of you have told me of others who experienced the same and because time is of the essence, I’ll share what happened and what to do.  I had no numbness nor movement problems, but I was trying to read and I couldn’t put the words together.  I had no pain, I was fully aware, and actually quite chipper.  I just couldn’t read or talk in a way that made sense.  When I was asked my birthdate, I couldn’t remember it nor could I repeat the three words: house, cat, blue.  Following are the warning signs:


F       Face

         Ask the person to smile.

         Does one side of the face droop?


A      Arms

         Ask the person to raise both arms.

         Does one arm drift downward?


S       Speech

         Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.

         Is his/her speech slurred?


T      Time

         If you observe any of these signs, note the time and

         call 911 immediately.



Happy Hanukkah!   



Merry Christmas!   



Happy Kwanzaa!




Peggy Kelland *297-0507*


Didi Barrett, previously elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election last March, has been elected to the new 106th Assembly District, including the towns of Milan, Pine Plains, North East, Stanford, Amenia, Clinton, Hyde Park, Pleasant Valley, and Poughkeepsie.  A resident of the Hudson Valley for 25 years, Didi has been a community activist, writer, and leader of not-for-profit organizations.  She recently spearheaded the creation of the Dutchess Girls Collaborative after earlier affiliations with Girls Incorporated of NYC (founding chair), New York Women's Foundation, Planned Parenthood of NYC, the Women's Campaign Forum, and NARAL Pro-Choice New York (former board member). She helped launch and is a board member of the North East Dutchess Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.  She is a trustee of the Anderson Foundation for Autism, a board member of the Millbrook Education Foundation, and a trustee emeritus of the American Folk Art Museum.  She is also on the board of Sprout Creek Farm and the advisory boards for Poughkeepsie Plenty and SEED. She currently lives in the Town of Washington with her husband and two children.  “I’m really excited,” Barrett, 62, of the Town of Washington, said after winning the 106th Assembly District election Tuesday. “It’s been an incredible six or seven months, and I look forward to continuing to work for the mid-Hudson Valley and be sure that our voice is always heard up in Albany.”


Maria Rosa, the daughter of two New York City teachers and a graduate of Albany Law School, lives in Millbrook with her husband and twelve year old twin daughters.  She began practicing law in a Poughkeepsie firm in 1987, making partner after several years.  In 1995 she began working part time as a Principal Court Attorney in the Dutchess County Family Court.  When that became a full time position, she left private practice.  For the past ten years she has been Principal Court Attorney in the New York State Supreme Court, the very court to which she has just been elected to a fourteen year term as a Justice.  She will be serving here in Dutchess County.  Maria said, "Everyone who comes to court should feel they have been heard and that their case received fair and timely consideration".


Congratulations from Poughkeepsie AAUW to Didi and Maria, we wish them well in the coming years.



Continued from above


Barbara Hugo *876-6686*


Didi Barrett, AAUW member and our newly re-elected representative to the New York State Assembly, will moderate the panel discussion.  For years, she has advocated for agricultural interests, believing that the Hudson Valley has only begun to reap the benefits of one of its most important economic assets – rich fertile farmland.  She is on the board of Sprout Creek Farm and the advisory boards for Poughkeepsie Plenty and SEED, among many others.


Joe Baldwin, Director of the farm advocacy organization, Earth to Table, and a 1974 graduate of the CIA, is vitally concerned with “de-sugaring” America, and restoring sanity to the food production cycle.  Recognizing the difficulty of getting good healthy food from corporate sources, Joe is a passionate advocate for personal and community gardens, and a regular contributor to area food pantries.  He believes in introducing children to the pleasures of growing and eating locally raised foods at the youngest age possible, and Joe has become a great favorite among Vassar and Marist college students who want to “eat healthy”.  


Susan Grove is the Executive Director of the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, an organization that works toward a just and sustainable food system in the Mid-Hudson Valley.  The PFP operates a member-supported farm, provides education about food and farming, and seeks to improve access to healthy locally-grown food for all, regardless of economic status.  One of PFP’s projects, “Food Share”, has done much to provide fresh food in parts of the City of Poughkeepsie where there are no supermarkets, where poverty is concentrated at a rate twice the national level, and 25% of residents do not own a vehicle. 


Roufia Payman, DT, CDN, is the Director of Outpatient Nutritional Counseling at Northern Dutchess Hospital.  She also supervises all clinical nutrition, and leads three programs for local residents to help improve their diets.  She has also worked on several healthy community initiatives including program changes within the Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Hyde Park school systems.  Roufia is a guest columnist for Hudson Valley Parent and the Topricin magazines and has been featured in several news outlets throughout the region.  




Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2012-2013


President                              Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Program V.P.                      Barbara Hugo              876-6686

                                             Shelby Outwater          206-2083  

Membership V.P.                 Kay Saderholm             229-8545       

                                             Amy Schwed                462-2269

Educ. Foundation V.P.        Linda Roberts               227-5287

Communication V.P.            Joanne Scolaro             592-8313

Secretary                             Peggy Hansen               473-8453

Treasurer                            Barbara Van Itallie         462-3924

Assistant Treasurer             Jeanette Cantwell           452-4188