Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601



Volume 29, Number 10

60th year of publication

Follow us at


June 2016





Our thanks to our amazing members and friends who attended/shopped at/contributed to the Writers’ Tea & Auction. Our attendance was 132 but they were all good shoppers so our profits are approximately $8,000.   It is still not too late to send contributions to support our scholarships and community projects to:

Pat DeLeo

PO Box 542, Plattekill, NY 12568.




Join with members from around the state at the AAUW-NYS Summer Leadership Conference!  It will be held July 22-24 at Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, NY.


Features this year include a national AAUW leader presenting Work Smart/Start Smart, a roundtable discussion on programming for success, workshops on developing leadership skills, and the chance to share ideas with other AAUW branches.


The conference is for ALL members!


For $105 ($110 for submitting paper registration) you’ll have an air conditioned room in a dormitory suite (each person has a private room), 6 meals, an ice cream social, a game night, lots of fun, and many good memories.  Registration is available on the AAUW-NYS website at 


We hope to see you there!

Cazenovia 2016 Team


Questions: Betty Harrel (462-2141)

or Margaret Nijhuis (635-8612)



You are cordially invited:


Annual Meeting and Officer Installation Dinner


              with guest speaker

          Lisa Ghartey


Date:     Thursday, June 9, 2016

Time:    Cash bar: 6:00 pm

              Dinner:  6:30 pm

Place:    The Poughkeepsie

                       Grand Hotel

              40 Civic Center Plaza

              Poughkeepsie, NY

Cost:     $45

Reservations required.


Officers will be elected and installed, named scholarship honorees will be recognized and more.


Biography of Lisa Ghartey is available at


JUNE 9, 2016



Phone____________ Email_________________________________

If you are making reservations for more than one person, list all additional names.


The cost is $45 per person. 

Enclosed $_______for _____attendee(s).


Make checks payable to: Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.

Please mail reservations to:

                  Sheila Zweifler

                  8 Van Duzer Drive

                  Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


Reservations are due by May 31st 

(No refunds after June 1st )


Open seating, no table reservations.

Questions: 845/462-6478 or 



 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman


1       The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: Station Eleven by Hillary St. John Mandel

         Hostess: Cathy Lane (229-1036)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

2       Board Meeting: 6:00 pm

         Business meeting and transition planning

         St. John’s Lutheran Church, Wilbur Blvd., Pok.

3       Aventures en Soleil: 1:30 pm

         Chelsea Art Galleries Tour

         Contact:  Send check payable to Ruth Sheets,

         17 Stonehedge Dr. Poughkeepsie, by May 23.

         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

6       Word Games: 2:00 pm

         Hostess:  Gloria Gibbs (454-7262)

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)

6       Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference Planning:

         St John’s Lutheran Church  7:00 pm

         All help welcomed!!!

         Contact: Diana Babington (471-5385)

7       World Travelers: 7:00 pm


         Presenter & Hostess: Margaret Nijhuis (635-8612)

         Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


8       Pedal Pushers:  10:00 am

         Bike to Town of Lloyd, 14 miles

         Meeting point: Rail Trail parking lot on Overocker Rd.

         Leader: Sheila Zweifler (462-6478)

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler

9       Annual Dinner: 6:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

          – see details on page 1 and website.

10     Daytime Literature: 10:00 am


         Time and place TBA

         Coordinators: Leona Miller (471-0777) &

                  Vicki Greenberg (462-6763)

11     Bridge 3: 10:00 am

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner       

12     Gourmet: Out & About: 12:30 pm 

         Brunch:  Queen City Bistro, 206 Main St., Poughkeepsie

         Contact: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

                  Kay Saderholm (229-8545)         

13     All those books...: 1:00 pm

         Lunch and book selection

         Shadows on the Hudson

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

15     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess: Sandy Goldberg (297-7670)

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745) &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

17     Poetry & Play Readings: 2:00 pm 

         Lunch and Planning Meeting

         Shadows on the Hudson

         Coordinators: Jackie Sweeney &

                  Carol Loizides

20     Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Pot Luck

         Hostess: Mariellen Pangia (473-3545)

         Coordinator: Rochelle Friedman (462-4996)

21     Cuisine: 6:30 pm


         Hostess: Maria De Wald (266-4960)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


22     Mah Jongg: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by June 20

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

22     The Ediss Book Group: 6:00 pm

         Book Selection Pot Luck

         Hostess: Betsy Kopstein-Stutts (485-7044)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)


23     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Uno Chicago Grill

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn 

24     Art on the Go:


         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

25     Diversity, One Out of Many People: Details on page 11.

         Trip to NYC Burial Ground, Shomberg Museum 

         Chairs: Carmen McGill (471-0264) &

                   Sherre Wesley (464-4945)

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish



June and summer TBA

Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)



Contemporary Literature:

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

Movie Night:

         Director: Susan Osterhoudt (889-4469)

         Producer: Diana Gleeson

Pins & Needles:

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)      




Jul 17 – 23: Diversity Trip to Jamaica

         Details at

Jul 22-24: Summer Leadership Conference, see page 1.

Oct 23: Woman of the Year honoring Krista Jones,

         see page 5.

Nov 5: “Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference”

         at DCC.  See page 6, 7, 10

Apr 21-23, 2017 AAUW-NYS Convention

         Syracuse Doubletree Inn.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Barbara Van Itallie *462-3924*


This is my final message as President since my term is coming to an end June 30.  It has been my honor and pleasure to lead this group.  As I have said in my previous messages, I am particularly pleased and proud of the contributions we have made to our community and to our members.


I believe that if you get something out of an organization, you should give back to it as well.  So I am particularly happy when members who were not previously in leadership positions came forward during my term in office.  Diane Jablonski, Kathy Friedman, Sandy Goldberg, Betsy Kopstein-Stuts, Janna Whearty, Bonnie Auchincloss, Mary Anne Hogarty, Pat De Leo and Sherre Wesley all stepped up to leadership positions on our board during my tenure.  I am particularly grateful for their service to AAUW.  And to the other board members, who have served  in their current or other positions for several years – Maria, Linda R., Susie B., Jackie, Kris, Eileen, Barbara H., Barbara L., Cathy, Margaret, Betty and Mary Lou – I am particularly thankful for your help and support.


Sue Doyle came to the assistance of the board as our Assistant Secretary in the last two years as did Claudette Hennessy who will become our Database Manager; others who continued to serve in a variety of capacities: Sharon, Joanne S. Marcine, Mary, Mary-Jo and Mary Ann B.


Our initiatives are our connection to our community and bring not only good work but our name out there.  Sabashnee Govender took on the role of the leader of the International Initiative in the last year. Diana Babington has taken on the leadership of the Girls’ Conference for our Branch.  The remainder of our initiatives continue to be headed by people who have served us for several years and we should all thank them for what they are doing in our community: Jackie, Peggy, Betty, Anthula, Christie, Lula, Kay, Kris and Ann P.


Sheila Zweifler stepped forward to not only organize our annual dinner, but also to assist the Membership VP.  Carol Barmann and Joanne Long took over for Pat Luczai to lead the Woman of the Year event.  And Lula and Linda continue to run our Writers’ Tea and Auction.  These events are special and draw our membership together and I thank all of these leaders for their efforts.


Our interest groups, of course, are what draw in and hold our members.  Several women new to branch leadership stepped forward in the past two years to lead or co-lead some of our groups: Leona Miller, Vicky Greenberg, Jackie Sweeney-Quinn, Tori Smith, Betsy Vivas, Mary Ann Boylan, Mary Ann Williams, Shelly Friedman and Blanche Bergman.  And, of course, thanks go out to all of the other interest group leaders who have done so much for us over the past several years: Carol, Mary, Ruth, Linda R., Mary Ann R., Donna, Ann W., Linda F., Barbara L., Celia, Kay, Sue O., Dina, Sheila, Arlene and Jeanette.


What a large group of wonderful workers for our organization!  If you are not yet among them, please consider how YOU might become involved to lead, coordinate and plan for Poughkeepsie AAUW.


I leave you in good hands with Maria DeWald.  She will do an outstanding job.  Thanks to all of you for supporting me over the past two years.



Betty Harrel *462-2141*


We’re hoping to see many Fuzzy Friends at our annual dinner!  They belong in our Leading to Reading family reading kits and will go to children throughout Dutchess County who are in stressful situations.


Please bring SMALL (up to 8” high) NEW stuffed animals and place them in our collection basket.  They’ll help bring smiles to little faces and will help young children cuddle something warm and comforting while they’re reading our beautiful, new books.



Mary Coiteux *226-8275*

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


“Hats Off” to Diane Jablonski who was honored by the Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus on May 14th as the Lucille Pattison Woman of the Year.


“Hats Off” to Jackie Goffe-McNish and her Diversity Committee for presenting Dr. Nada Hollaway speaking on “Islam.” 


“Hats Off” to Sabashnee Govender and the women who shared their experiences at the Commission on the Status of Women (Mary Lou Davis, Gwen Higgins, Diane Jablonski, Margie Ouart, Margaret Nijhuis, and Christie VanHorne) and also to Christie for bringing us “Street Vendors of Hanoi.”


“Hats Off” to Ann Pinna and the women of Court Watch: Elaine Anderson, Joanne Dyson, Mara Goldstone, Liz Graham, Sandy Lash, Flo Mondanaro, Margaret Nijhuis,  and Sandy Sherman for their recent work with the Funds for Modern Courts and spending many, many hours to bring it to a conclusion.


“Hats Off” to Barbara Hugo who was reappointed trustee of Dutchess Community College for a term ending 2022.


“Hats Off” to our Leading to Reading volunteers who have worked hard this year to help improve literacy skills in our area.  They’ve put together family reading packets, served as celebrity readers in pre-school classrooms, helped middle school students design bookmarks and write book reviews, wrapped piles of gifts for children in temporary shelters, included senior citizens in our project, sought outside funding, and sponsored a Children’s Book Week celebration.  Congratulations for many jobs well done!


“Hats Off “ to Lila Meade and her Vassar Haiti Project members who have worked so hard for sustainable health care at a clinic in Chermaitre, Haiti.



Barbara Hugo *876-6686*


Each year, we honor members of our Branch with a donation given in their honor to the AAUW Educational Opportunities Fund.  Below is a short paragraph on each recipient.  Come and join us as we introduce and congratulate them at the Annual Dinner on June 9


Linda Roy


Linda joined AAUW in 2009, and enjoyed participating in book clubs and Word Games, but it was Leading to Reading that truly called out to her spirit as an educator.  When she joined LTR, she packed books, did fund-raising, and scheduled people to do public readings.  Linda also happily sat on the committee that led to the establishment of LTR’s latest initiative, Books for Babies, which will give a book to every child born at Vassar Hospital – 2,500 babies each year!  When she retired, AAUW met a real need to stay relevant and find others of like mind.  Though Linda had become a school principal, “My classroom experience – teaching children to read – was the most enjoyable.  So, finding Leading to Reading enabled me to make a difference by continuing to bring reading to the community.”  Linda graduated from Vassar with a BA, earned her Masters from Bank St. Graduate College of Education, and SAS from Fordham University.


Ann Carmen Pinna


Ann has been a lifelong follower of the teachings and example of Eleanor Roosevelt, focused on issues of social justice and human rights.   When Ann first joined AAUW, she got involved with Leading to Reading, an effort she still champions.  More recently, however, she found a footing in the Court Watch program where she organized the initiative, Stand Up to Domestic Violence.  For Ann, going into the courts is heartfelt and important.  It means looking for systemic breakdowns, talking to judges about making improvements, and seeing that women are treated fairly.  She has also organized a day-long training for new court monitors.  Ann is very impressed with the role AAUW plays in advancing gender equality, and she loves networking at the Branch – getting to know women, their struggles, hopes, and vision.  She feels tied in kinship to AAUW’s members and their commitment to do “what’s good and what’s best” to empower others.   Her legendary organization skills were put to good use 3 years ago when she helped to organize the State Convention at Honors Haven and helped with program development as well.  Ann graduated from Regis College with a BA in English, earned her MA in Education from SUNY Albany, and also studied at Oxford University, Harvard, and NYU.


Eleanor Burch


Ellie joined AAUW in the 1960’s when the biggest fund-raisers were 3-day long book fairs at the old Poughkeepsie YMCA!  Like many members of long standing, she left the organization for a few years to attend to work and family, and rejoined when she retired.  As “Corresponding Secretary”, Ellie hand-carried the latest edition of the Branch to the Poughkeepsie Post Office with two little children draped over her arm, and licked hundreds of stamps each month.  “That’s a lot of licks,” Ellie said.  “Zip codes were just getting started and there was a nasty little man at the counter who was strict about how things were done.”  More recently, Ellie led one of the largest and most venerable Interest Groups, the Manderley Literary Society, and then passed the baton several years ago.  When she moved to Poughkeepsie with her husband, she knew no one when she arrived.  AAUW then became her lifeline to interesting people with similar interests.  “There were not many things for young mothers to do then,” she explained.  The AAUW has allowed Ellie to keep up with “what’s going on and what’s important in the world.”  She has held a number of positions on the Board over the years, but clearly, the role of Corresponding Secretary was the most memorable.  Ellie earned her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees at SUNY New Paltz.


Karen Haynes


Karen joined AAUW in 2005.  Shortly before, she had left a long-term volunteer spot with the Girl Scouts and was looking for a compatible organization with a similar mission and philosophy.  In AAUW, she found just that – “a great group of like-minded professional women with an orientation to service.”  In fact, she has come to think of AAUW as “the place where leaders go after Girl Scouts.”  Karen saw an opportunity to bring to AAUW a way for women to experience nature together, to be active in the outdoors – so she established a new Interest Group, Trekkers, and it has become an AAUW mainstay.  Through Trekkers, women share their passion for the outdoors.  “After all,” she explains, “nature feeds body, mind and soul.”  Karen has made life-long friends through Trekkers, and stresses that the IG “leaves no one behind.”  Trekkers walk the Rail Trail as well as more challenging terrain, and “because it’s such a wonderful way to meet new friends, there’s always someone to walk with you.”  Karen also participates in Pins & Needles, World Travelers, and Movie Night.  “AAUW fills my life.  It brings women together, and Interest Groups are at the heart of it.”  In 1978, Karen graduated from the St. Francis School of Nursing in Hartford, CT, and worked for many years as an Emergency Room RN at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie.  She is now a Legal Assistant in her husband’s law firm. 



Linda Roberts


Linda joined AAUW 17 years ago, and after a hiatus to attend to her career as a teacher, resumed her membership in 2006.  Her first position on the Board was as Legal Advocacy Fund Chair.  Since then, she has been the New York State Convention Treasurer for 4 years, Educational Opportunities Fund Vice-President for 3 years, Co-Chair of the Writers’ Tea for 5 years, and Chair of the Auction for the Writers’ Tea for 7 years.  “The Auction,” she explains, “is a full time job.”  Linda loves the Poughkeepsie Branch.  Whether at a Membership Meeting or the Annual Dinner,  “Sometimes I look at the full room and marvel at the thousands of years of education and experience gathered together in the same place.”  Inspired by all the bright, engaged women who believe in what AAUW stands for locally and nationally, she is proud that the organization treats the status of women as a class issue, furthering women’s rights and equal pay together.  In the past, Linda has been a member of the Daytime Literature, Mah Jongg, and Poetry & Play Readings Interest Groups.  She earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees at SUNY New Paltz.


Mary-Jo Cottrell


When Mary-Jo retired in 2008, she moved to New York and reconnected with her dear friend, Carol Maestropietro, who ushered her into AAUW.  Shortly after joining, she was recruited to help with “computer work” – the massive job of converting the Branch’s pen-and-ink membership records into a useful digital database.   Mary-Jo took on the added task of supporting Woman of the Year until 2013, when the database had reached a point where she felt called to “really get it organized – get it cleaned up and pretty.”  She began working with Mary and David King to build consistency throughout; making sure all the information was up to date.  The team, which included Jeanette Cantwell and Mary Anne Hogarty, worked diligently to combine the Application and Member’s Profile into a cohesive accurate report, and to ensure the national and local databases matched.  Throughout the process, Margaret Nijhuis was her “guiding light,” and Barbara Van Itallie a steady source of support.  “It was fun!  It was a great deal of work, but it was fun.  Everyone had suggestions – there was always something that needed to be figured out.”  Mary-Jo appreciates the way AAUW embraces differences among members.  “You can do a little or a lot.  You can work individually, in small groups, or large ones.  There is always a nice opportunity waiting for you.”  Mary-Jo received AAS degrees from both Dutchess and Broome Community Colleges.


Emerging Leader: Kathy Friedman


Kathy Friedman speaks for many when talking about why she has become such a devoted member of AAUW.  “The women in the organization are very ‘real’ – they’re not just trying to impress.  We’re all making an effort to enrich our own lives and the lives of others.”


She first joined the organization in the ‘80’s when her children were small, but went back to work full-time as a teacher and school librarian (her first love) in the ‘90’s.  Kathy rejoined in 2011 shortly after she retired.


This was good news to those who knew how talented she was, and she was quickly tapped to become the Recording Secretary, a role she has agreed to fill for a second term.  Kathy also supports the Branch’s initiative, “Leading to Reading;” and coordinates the Interest Group calendar for the newsletter, saying she “really whittled that into shape.”  She helped recast the By-Laws as well, and very much enjoyed problem-solving with other Board members at a recent retreat.


We are so happy to recognize our richly-deserving and well-respected friend with this year’s Emerging Leader award.



SUNDAY October 23, 2016 

To Honor the 2016 Woman of the Year

Krista Jones


Sparrow’s Nest of the Hudson Valley

Co-chairs: Carol Barmann *229-9063*

         & Joanne Long *229-0664*


Krista Jones is the Founder and Executive Director of Sparrow’s Nest of the Hudson Valley, a nonprofit charity that provides home-cooked meals for local families living with cancer.  After one of her best friends died of cancer in 2010, she formed this organization in 2012, and it has grown from serving five families to over one thousand individuals with the same love and care that Krista had when she prepared meals for her sick friend.  Krista works every day to improve the lives of women, children, and families in our community.


Please save the date and join us as AAUW honors this very worthy recipient.



Susie Blecker *462-7074*

Sheila Zweifler



By now you should have received your dues notice in the mail with an addressed return envelope.  Please send in your check, along with the Member Profile Sheet, so we can update our membership records.  This is very important since it is our way to keep track of your interests and abilities so we can contact you if we need your special abilities or if there is some pending activity we think might interest you. 


And, even though we would be very sorry to see you go, if you feel you cannot continue your membership, please let us know as soon as possible.  You can do this by checking the box on the member renewal form and returning it to Mary Ann Hogarty.  Of course, you can also email or call Mary Ann, Sheila Zweifler, or myself, but please inform one of us if you are planning not to renew.


Make life easy for those involved in branch membership records – pay before the June 4th deadline.  You will also have a chance(s) to win free National dues ($49) by paying on time.


Please make checks payable to: Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. and mail to:


Mary Anne Hogarty

20 Innsbruck Blvd

Hopewell Junction, NY 12533


ON ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE, please remember that in September we will be having our annual, new member Open House.  No details yet, but please think of those friends, neighbors, relatives, who may wish to join our organization and submit their names and addresses to Sheila or me at the following emails:


Susie Blecker

Sheila Zweifler


Finally, Sheila and I want to thank Margaret Nijhuis, Mary Ann Boylan, Jeanette Cantwell, Claudette Hennessey, Kay Saderholm, and Sheryl Miller for helping us get the membership letters printed, stuffed in envelopes and mailed in a timely fashion.  Without your assistance the job would have been an overwhelming chore instead of a fun morning.




Hello crafty ladies! Once again we will be preparing the gift journals for the conference.  We will meet at my house the last week in August for some crafting, conversation, snacks and just fun. For new members this is a great opportunity to meet women of AAUW.  If you can wrap a present, you can help!


If you are interested let me know so I can email you with the exact date and times.


Irene Keyes Memorial Fund Scholarship


What a great year!  We had so many applications!  Finally, our message has reached many area college women.  This year we are supporting two young women to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL)!


Meet Marissa Zuleta, a student at Marist studying Social Work, was just elected president of the Social Work Association.  Marissa has already established herself as an active, socially conscious young woman with great leadership potential.  She has interned at an “Intercultural Drop in Center” in Dublin, Ireland.  Marissa, as a Fulfillment Fund Scholar, has counseled at-risk high school students, sharing her own experiences.  She participated in training at the Family Services Sexual Violence Prevention Department.  She is involved with the Center of Civic Engagement and Marist Campus Ministry, which has given her the chance to volunteer at Clinton Middle School and The Pines at Poughkeepsie.  Marissa says that “immigrant issues are a passion of mine.”  Her professors observe her “passion for helping communities of all kinds” and her “strong social justice agenda.”  When I met her she was so excited and grateful for this opportunity.


We are also pleased to introduce Ashley Clark-Bryant, Biology major at Marist College, who was recently appointed as a Resident Assistant.  Ashley has been developing her leadership strength since high school.  As President of the NAACP Youth Council in 2013-14, Ashley established an after-school program at the Nepperhan Community Center in Yonkers.  She was selected for the Eileen Fisher Leadership Program which promotes leadership through self-empowerment, connection with others and activism in their communities.  She has facilitated her own workshops.  At Marist, Ashley is a member of the Student Academic Council representing the School of Science.  For three years she has helped 7th grade girls experience different STEM fields focusing on medical fields of interest and doing experiments.   She has facilitated workshops with Air Force personnel in education outreach and substance abuse awareness programs. Ashley’s goal is to be a Physician Assistant in Pediatrics.  She is described as “one of the most genuinely motivated students on campus.”  We were pleased to meet this bright, articulate and pleasant young woman.


Assisting these two young women in developing their leadership skills and empowering them through NCCWSL is a great pleasure and a very worthwhile way to honor the memory of our former branch President and friend Irene Keyes.  Special gratitude goes to the committee members Mary Coiteux, Mary Lou Davis, Betty Harrel and Pat Luczai.



Diana Babington *471-5385*


Please Support The 10th Annual Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference for 6th and 7th Grade Girls


Presented by: 

Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. and

The Association of Women at DCC


Dutchess Community College

Saturday, November 5, 2016


You can help inspire a girl to be strong, smart and bold by sponsoring her attendance at the Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference this fall. Our members’ generosity in the past years has made the difference. Your help can come in many forms, but we are asking for sponsorships for individual girls. 


In addition to your sponsorship, each girl will pay $5.  We feel this small fee will ensure that each girl makes a personal commitment to the conference.  


Please fill out the following form and mail it with your check payable to:

“Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.”


To: Diana Babington,7 Birkdale Court,

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Questions: Contact Diana at or 471-5385


I would like to sponsor a girl’s attendance to the “Live Your Dream” Conference.


  *Diva            $25  Covers the cost of one girl’s attendance.

  *Dreamer     $15  Buys a girl breakfast and lunch.

  *Darling       $10  Gives a girl a journal and a memory gift.


Name: ___________________________________________


Address: _________________________________________



Phone: _________________ 

Email: ___________________________________________


Your name will be included in the program book as a donor unless anonymity is requested.


*This is a tax-deductible contribution.  AAUW fundraising helps fund this community project.



Sandy Goldberg, VP Programming, *297-7670*

Betsy Kopstein-Stuts, VP Programming, *485-7044*


Although there are many exciting AAUW events coming up with our May Writer’s Tea, our June Annual Meeting, and all the ongoing activities, our Program meetings for this year now draw to a close.


We want to thank our committee members for all of their input and ideas that helped make this a most interesting, informative and fun programming year.  It takes everyone’s contribution to bring forward worthwhile programs for all of our membership.  We hope you have enjoyed them as much as we have enjoyed planning them.


We especially want to thank Maria DeWald for all the work she did on our Common Core program, Gloria Ghedini who made the initial suggestion and contact with Susan Sprachman for our Women in Iran program, Terry Schneider and Jean Miller for their suggestion on bringing Maria Idoni to speak to us on signs of suicide and what to do when faced with someone struggling, and especially our outgoing President, Barbara Van Itallie, that always was there with a helping hand.


Of course, we need to thank Barbara Lemberger, our Hospitality Chair, her assistants, Joann Clark and Laura Coons and all who contributed our delicious refreshments month after month.


We also want to thank Mary Coiteux and Susie Blecker, the previous Vice Presidents for Programming for all their advice and direction they provided throughout the year.


We would be remiss not to mention the entire committee as it was through their discussion, brainstorming and direction that made our programs work.  In addition to the names listed above, they are Barbara Durniak, Betty Harrel, Gwen Higgins, Muriel Horowitz, Irene Milliken, Megan Murray, Anthula Natsoulas, Roberta Tracy, Janna Whearty and Carole Wolf.


We have had such great input from so many people that we hope we have not left anyone off the list.  We apologize if we have omitted your name.


As we look forward to 2016 – 2017, we hope to have a year filled with many more exciting programs to share with all of you.  We already have the opening program in October set, bringing back Sue McLane (Victorian Lady) with an entirely new program, but presented in a similar fashion.  She will open up our programming year with “Utopia” which will examine alternative societies in NYS in the 19th century and how they flourished and died.


We look forward to a program committee initial planning meeting Tuesday, May 31st at 7 PM at Betsy Kopstein's home, 100 Frost Hill Rd, Pleasant Valley, NY and welcome anyone who would like to join us.  Just give Betsy or me a call.


AAUW-NYS 2016 Convention Report

Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612*


Convention opened on April 15 at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs, NY.  We had a beautiful week-end in Saratoga Spring with walks through Congress Park and tours of this historic area.  On Friday, Poughkeepsie was represented at the state board meeting by Cyd Averill and Mary Lou Davis.  On Friday night the keynote focused on an eight year state wide campaign for pay equity reform. 


Saturday morning our delegation of Cyd Averill, Mary Lou Davis, Kathy Friedman, Betty Harrel, Diane Jablonski, Geeta Desai, Bonnie Auchincloss, Mary Coiteux, Barbara Van Itallie, Kay Saderholm, Marcine Humphrey, and Margaret Nijhuis was joined by Linda Roberts, Maria DeWald and Janna Whearty.  The business meeting, always an important part of the convention, saw the appointment of Diane Jablonski as treasurer for a one year unexpired term and the election of Geeta Desai as the AAUW-NYS VP for Programming.  Betty Harrel will serve on the board as the Administrative Director to the new President Roli Wendorf.  Mary Lou Davis gave the Nominating Committee Chair reports for the officers and District members of the Nominating Committee.  


The business meeting was followed by a panel discussion "The Path Towards Women's Economic Achievement.”  Programs highlighted included a sheet metal worker who earned her college degree through her union, a window-washing business run by the Orange County YWCA, careers in coding, developmentally appropriate child care opportunities, and the continued struggles for pay equity.  The panel gave an amazing look at women in the workforce.


The Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) Luncheon speaker was the AAUW National LAF Committee Chair, who took us through the fund’s history. Starting with the Cornell 11 in 1980, she went through other cases that have been of special interest.  As one litigate stated "When AAUW came on board, I was at my breaking point.  AAUW brought not only much needed funds but the emotional support I needed."


For the afternoon, our delegation divided into 4 workshops:  "Achieving Paid Family Leave in NYS," “Know Your Rights," “How to Get Women in STEM Careers," and "Strategies for Lifting Women out of Poverty."  Each proved to be very informative and hopefully will lead to programming ideas for our branch.


After a relaxing few minutes to meet with women from other areas, everyone headed to the evening awards banquet.  There were many, many awards!  Emerging Leader Kathy Friedman was recognized, along with Pat DeLeo for her public policy work.  The program developed by Mary Coiteux and Susie Blecker on Campus Safety was recognized and Poughkeepsie achieved the Platinum Branch status.  We also received the highest award for our website, newsletter and overall visibility.  Our social media (Facebook) Public Policy Equal Pay and newsletter, STEM, were also recognized.  Our contributions to the Educational Foundation put us in the top ten and our Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) was also recognized. The speaker for the evening was Leigh Ann DeLyser, Director of Education and Research NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education.  They are expanding programs into all public schools in the city.


Sunday morning started with a report from National by Eileen Hartmann, former AAUW-NYS President and current National AAUW board member.  After district meetings and counterpart sessions, the convention ended with lunch and a call to 2017 convention at the Syracuse Doubletree Inn on April 21-23.



Special Thanks to Mary-Jo Cottrell


If there is an unsung heroine in our organization, it is

Mary-Jo.  For those of you who don’t know, Mary-Jo has been our database manager for the past several years.  When you submit your membership form and your member profile, all of the information is stored in our branch database, and updated as needed.  Mary-Jo has done an outstanding job of keeping this detailed information in absolutely accurate shape.  Our annual Membership Directory is a direct result of her work.  She has been a tireless worker for our organization with little recognition.  Mary-Jo is stepping down from this position at the end of her term in June.  Thanks Mary-Jo for all you have done for Poughkeepsie AAUW.



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181*  


The Election Question


Many politicians search for ways to increase their popularity with voters.  Some respect the multi tasking roles of women, support legislation for equal pay, equal rights and access to health and child care.  And then there are others who put down women in hopes of increasing their popularity among people who think misogyny is macho, make inappropriate sexual remarks, joke about the pay gender gap, try to regulate woman's health and politically discriminate by avoiding legislation.  What is popular to them is unpopular to others...and vice versa.


Our close neighbor Governor Chris Christie vetoed New Jersey's Equal Pay Bill that would have prohibited employers from paying women less than men for "substantially similar" work.  New Jersey’s bill would have restarted the statute of limitations each time an employee was given an unfair paycheck and allowed the employee to get back pay for the time she was being paid less.  Christie called the bill “nonsensical” and said it would make New Jersey “very business unfriendly."  It's a popular position with NJ business owners; unpopular with NJ workers.


Governor Brown in California (the strictest and most aggressive law), Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York (similar to CA), Governor Malloy in Connecticut and Governors from Illinois, Delaware, North Dakota, and Oregon signed into law measures aimed at narrowing the gender wage gap and guaranteeing equal pay.  This is a highly popular move for incumbents seeking office?


However, this should not be a state by state issue.  All American women, regardless of geography, should be the beneficiaries of equal pay.  While we applaud the states that recognize the pay gap and try to assert that equal work deserves equal pay, federal legislation is needed to bring equality into the American workplace.  


The Paycheck Fairness Act is a comprehensive bill that strengthens the Equal Pay Act by taking meaningful steps to create incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts.  The Paycheck Fairness Act is an overdue refresh to the 1963 law that will help to ensure that all working women get equal pay for equal work.


All over the country, at the state and city level, the demand for equal pay is growing.  Members of Congress need to step up and make change for ALL families by supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act – because if Congress doesn't act, the gender pay gap won't close in our lifetimes.


Make this your popular position.  Don't be a victim of unequal pay because of your address. 


To be or not to be a paid equally?  That is the election.



Interest Groups


Art on the Go

Art on the go will meet on the 4th Friday of the month throughout the summer

Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)


Aventures en Soleil

July 13 11:30 am 

Whitney Museum, NY, NY

Contact: Diane Jablonski (485-6228)

August 18 

Olana, Hudson, NY

Contact:  Terry Jackrel (463-2132)

September 9 12:00 – 2:00 pm

“Highlights” and “Artwork” tours, St John the Divine, Manhattan.  Cost $16

Contact Tori Smith (345-0043)

Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)


Pedal Pushers

July 13 9:00 am

Bike to Hopewell Jct. 16 miles

Meeting Point:  LaGrange Rail Trail parking lot on Old Manchester Rd.

August 10 9:30 am

Bike to Millerton, 16 miles

Meeting Point:  Rail Trail parking lot, Rte. 44, Amenia

Leader: Sheila Zweifler (462-6478)


Movie Night

Time TBD by show.

The movie group does not usually meet in the summer months, but keep an eye out for a “pop up” movie night if a really good movie comes up. 

Director: Susan Osterhoudt


Producer: Diana Gleeson


Mah Jongg 12:00 – 4:00 pm

July 27 & August 24  

Uno Chicago Grill 

Coordinator: Blanche Bergman



Bridge 3 10:00 am-12:00 pm 

July 23 Joanne Dyson (297-1046)

August 13 Raina Maissel (297-8466)

Coordinator: Donna Reichner (298-7732)


Bridge II

July 28 & August 25  12:00-4:00 pm

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch ($15)

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn


Bridge I 1:00-4:00 pm

July 20 Hostess:  Gloria Gibbs (454-7262

August 17 Hostess: Anne Valentino (221-2591)

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



Plans TBA

Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)


 Aug 10 

“The Branch” deadline for the September issue.


Ediss 7:00 pm

July 6

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Picnic, location TBD

August 3

Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

Hostess: Cyd Averill (485-2866)

Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426 or



July 17-23 Trip to Jamaica

Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish (471-7220)




Annual contributions from members help defray the expense of publishing The Branch and other communication expenses.  A special thank you to the members listed below who gave their support this year and, in the case of most, for many years in the past.


Catherine Albanese,  Lula Allen,  Marge Barton,

Mary Ann Boylan,  Joan Cordani,  Marguerite Cotter,

Patricia DeLeo,  Lillian DePasquale,  Ruth Gau,

Gloria Gibbs,  Sandy Goldberg,  Jacqueline Prusak,

Terry Schneider,  Ann Wade


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



Diane Jablonski *485-6228*


The 2016-2017 budget was prepared and approved by the board.  The budget assumes we will have 350 members.  The number of members affects both our income as well as our expenses in paying dues to National and New York State.  Other expenses remain about the same with some minor adjustments.  The Tea income and expense is presented separately.  The funds from the Tea are used to support our Community Initiatives such as Leading to Reading, Health Care, and other programs.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Diane Jablonski, Treasurer.


                                    Budget 2015-2016   Proposed  2016 -17



Investments                                 400.00                        300.00

NYS Awards                                   0.00                            0.00

Undesignated Contributions    100.00                        100.00

Communications Contributions        350.00                        350.00

Dues                                        26,676.00                 27,300.00

Annual Meeting                       4,000.00                    4,000.00

Woman of the Year                 3,000.00                     3,000.00

Other                                              50.00                          50.00

Total                                       34,576.00                  35,100.00




Administration                                    225.00                        250.00

Awards/Gifts                               100.00                        100.00

Caring Comm.                               25.00                          25.00

Convention                                 475.00                        475.00

Directory                                     900.00                        900.00

Donations                                             100.00                        100.00

Dues                                        21,204.00                  21,700.00

Equipment                                     50.00                          50.00

Historian                                        20.00                          20.00

Insurance                                  1,200.00                     1,200.00

Membership/dues collection    1,000.00                 1,000.00

Monthly Meetings                   1,800.00                     1,800.00

Newsletter                                   250.00                        250.00

Other                                            120.00                        120.00

Postage, Mailing                         30.00                           50.00

Printing, Copying                       42.00                           25.00


Special Event Expenses          

Annual Meeting                      4,000.00                      4,000.00

Woman of the Year                3,000.00                      3,000.00

Supplies                                       35.00                           35.00

Total Expenses                    34,576.00                   35,100.00

Net Income/Loss                          0.00                             0.00


Tea Income             

Tea                                             7,750.00                    7,750.00

Tea Auction                             4,250.00                    4,250.00

Tea Raffle                                    900.00                       900.00

Total Tea Income                  12,900.00                 12,900.00

Tea Expenses                         5,000.00                     5,000.00


Net Tea Income available for Community Projects/EOF   7,900.00



Sherre Wesley *462-4945*


Saturday, June 25, 2016, 11:00 am

African Burial Ground National Monument Visitor Center

290 Broadway, NYC


Did you know 15,000 - 20,000 Africans are buried in Lower Manhattan?  As recently as 25 years ago, even that question would have been greeted with disbelief.  Yet in 1991, while conducting an archeological investigation prior to construction of a new Federal Building, skeletal remains in what is known as the African Burial Ground were recovered. 


AAUW’s Diversity Initiative will visit this important – and some say life changing – site.  It will deepen our knowledge of and connection with the role Africans and people of African descent played in the early development of this country.

“The discovery of the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan resonates as one of the largest and earliest sites associated with 18th century slavery in the country,” according to the New York Preservation Archive Project.  It sheds light on slavery in the northern colonies, and acknowledges the critical role Africans played in the building and functioning of New York.


We have engaged “interpreter and griot” T. Rasul Murray to help contextualize and enhance our experience.  Mr. Murray will conclude with a walking tour to nearby Bowling Green.


Contact Sherre Wesley at or

845-462-4945 by June 15 if you would like to attend.  We will provide directions, and coordinate train schedules for those wanting to travel together.  Be prepared for “airport-style security” at the building.  We invite you to join us for what promises to be a poignant yet connecting experience.



Betty Harrel *462-2141*


As part of the Family Services award given to Rita and Barry Rothfeld, a gift was made in their honor to Leading to Reading.  At their recent dinner, they were presented with one of our family reading packets.  The money will be used to purchase books for young children.  Thanks to Family Services for helping to further our mission and spread the word about our community project!



The Coalition on Elder Abuse (a program of the Mediation Center of Dutchess County) presents:



What do they look like?


(A Conference for Everyone)


Friday, June 10, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm  Check-in at 8:30 am


Poughkeepsie Elks Lodge #275

29 Overocker Road

Poughkeepsie NY 12603.


Questions: Kathy Sheehan, 475-5672,



Judith Linville *889-4802*


Join the docent team at Mills Mansion in Staatsburg.  Volunteers can lead or help with tours; assist with school groups; or even participate in costumed interpretations.  The staff will train you and accommodate your schedule because they LOVE volunteers at Mills Mansion.


Contact Don Fraser at 889-8851 ext. 338 to join the fun.





Annual contributions from members help defray the expense of publishing The Branch and other communication expenses.  A special thank you to the members listed below who gave their support this year and, in the case of most, for many years in the past.


Catherine Albanese,  Lula Allen,  Marge Barton,

Mary Ann Boylan,  Joan Cordani,  Marguerite Cotter,

Patricia DeLeo,  Lillian DePasquale,  Ruth Gau,

Gloria Gibbs,  Sandy Goldberg,  Jacqueline Prusak,

Terry Schneider, Ann Wade


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


Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2015-2016


President                              Barbara Van Itallie                462-3924

Program V.P.                      Sandy Goldberg                    297-7670

                                             Betsy Kopstein-Stuts             485-7044

Membership V.P.                 Susie Blecker                        462-7074

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

Communications V.P.          Bonnie Auchincloss              635-5191

Secretary                             Katherine Friedman              485-8671

Treasurer                            Diane Jablonski                    485-6228

Membership Treasurer       Mary Anne Hogarty              221-0203


Association website:                               

NY State website:

Poughkeepsie Branch website: 


AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.                                


In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership.  There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or class.


The Branch is published ten times a year, September through June, by the Poughkeepsie Branch of the AAUW, Inc.  Send articles to the editor: Margaret Nijhuis, (635-8612).