Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


Celebrating Our          Legacy, Enhancing Our Future



Volume 30,  Number 1                          61st year of publication                

Follow us at                               September 2016



June 30, 2016- June 30, 2017


Elected Positions


President                                      Maria DeWald

Program Co-VPs                         Sandy Goldberg

                                                      Betsy Kopstein-Stuts

Membership VP                          Susie Blecker

Educ. Opportunities Fund VP  Linda Olsen Roberts

Communication VP                    Bonnie Auchincloss

Secretary                                     Kathy Friedman

Treasurer                                     Diane Jablonski

Membership Treasurer              Mary Anne Hogarty


Appointed Positions


Assistant Membership VP                 Sheila Zweifler

College/Univ. Rep                      Sherre Wesley

Community Initiative Liaison  Barbara Hugo

Diversity                                      Jacqueline Goffe-McNish

Historian                                      Eileen Hayden

Honor and Awards                     Betty Harrel


Interest Group Chair                           Barbara Lemberger

International Relations              Sabashnee Govender

Immediate Past President          Barbara Van Itallie

Legal Advocacy Fund               Janna Whearty

Newsletter Editor                       Margaret Nijhuis

Nominating Committee             Betsy Kopstein-Stuts

Public Policy                               Patricia DeLeo

Publicity                                      Cathy Kinn

Web Mistress                              Mary King


Off Board Positions


Assistant Historian                             Barbara Hespenheide

Assistant Newsletter Editor      Kathy Friedman

Assistant Secretary                    Susan Doyle

Communications Assistant                Joanne Scolaro

Database Manager                     Claudette Hennessy

Facebook Manager                    Mary Coiteux

Hospitality Coordinators:                  Joann Clark  & Bev Nathan

Photography Committee Chair Bonnie Auchincloss

State & National AAUW Liaison  Mary Lou Davis

Suffrage Chair                            Pat Luczai

Tech Support                              Mary Ann Boylan


Also we have 10 Community Outreach Initiative Chairs,

27 Interest Group Coordinators and 6 Special Event Coordinators.  Complete list under About Us/Officers at


Up, Up and Away

In our beautiful, our Beautiful Balloon...


Join us as Poughkeepsie AAUW takes you for a ride through our 20 Interest Groups, our 9 Community Initiatives, our monthly meetings, and other wonderful events throughout the year! 




September 8, 2016

7:00 pm


The Hellenic Community Center

24 Park Ave, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


You will learn all about the events that make up AAUW, you will see friends you haven’t seen for a while and meet new ones.  Refreshments will be served by our Hospitality Committee.


If you have not already done so, please submit names and addresses of any prospective new members to

Susie Blecker or

Sheila Zweifler



The Hellenic Center is located off Hooker Avenue on Park Avenue between Ziegler Avenue and Grand Avenue.  It is behind the Greek Orthodox Church and next door to Temple Beth-El.


If you have any questions or concerns about the open house, please call Susie (845-462-7074) or Sheila (845-462-6478).



 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman


1       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

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

8       General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

          – see details on page 1.

9       Aventures en Soleil:

  Cathedral of St. John, the Divine, NY, NY

  Contact:  Tori Smith (345-0043)

  Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

9       Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Books: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea &

         The Storyteller by Jodie Piccoult

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinators: Leona Miller (471-0777) &

                  Vicki Greenberg (462-6763)

10     “The Branch” deadline for October.     

12      All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

         Hostess: Cathy Lane

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)


12     Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference Planning:

  St John’s Lutheran Church, Room 208, 7:00 pm

  All help welcomed and needed!!!

  Contact: Diana Babington (471-5385)

13     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

14     Gourmet: Out & About: 5:30 pm

         Charlotte’s, Route 44 east of Millbrook

         Contacts: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

         Kay Saderholm (229-8545) 

14     Pedal Pushers:  10:00 am

         Bike over Walkway to Town of Lloyd

         Meeting point: Rail trail parking lot on Overocker Road

         Leader: Bonnie Auchincloss 

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler

16     Poetry and Plays – Emily D. to Tennessee: 2:00 pm 

         Personal Choice – bring a poem to share.

         Hostess: Kathy Friedman (485-8671)


         Coordinators: Jackie Sweeney (518/947-6682) &

                  Barbara Hugo

19      Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Book: Once We Were Brothers by Ronald Balson

         Hostess: Pat Gullick (221-0042)

         Coordinator: Rochelle Friedman (462-4996)

20     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Presidential Potluck

         Hostess: Blanche Bergman (462-3955).  If it rains

                   Barbara Lemberger (635-8516)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


21     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess:  Anne Valentino (221-2591)

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745) &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

22     Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

         Project: TBA

         Hostess: Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)

22     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch ($15)

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn 

23     Art on the Go: 10:00 am

         Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry

         Leader: Carol Mastropietro (221-8862)

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

24     Bridge 3: 10:00 am

         Hostess: TBA

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

27     The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: Flowers in the Blood by Gay Courter

         Hostess: Cathy Lane (229-1036)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

28   Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

         Hostess: Contact Coordinators

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

28     Mah Jongg: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by Sept 26

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)





Trekkers: Time and Date TBA

         Ferncliff Woods, Rhinebeck

         Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)




Diversity, One Out of Many People:

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


World Travelers:

         Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


Word Games:  

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)





Oct 15:  AAUW-NYS District 4 meeting, see page 5.


Oct 23: Woman of the Year honoring Krista Jones,

         see page 7.


Nov 5: “Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference”

         at DCC, see page 5.


Apr 2: Writers’ Tea & Auction, The Links


Apr 21-23, 2017 AAUW-NYS Convention

         Syracuse Doubletree Inn.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Maria DeWald *266-4960*


First, I am truly humbled and excited to have the opportunity to serve as your AAUW Branch President for 2016-18.  I will do my best to honor your confidence in me as we, together, continue to do all we can to promote the mission of AAUW.  I know I have a hard act to follow and again sincerely thank Barbara Van Itallie for all her help during this transition.  She was a truly marvelous president and a great mentor!


As I thought about a possible theme for my administration, I had some difficulty finding one that would incorporate my feelings about all that AAUW is and does.  As a grassroots organization since 1881 it has done so much to improve the lives of millions of women and girls.  Our own model branch has been there supporting all these efforts since 1925.  In addition, one of the most inspiring dates of progress for women, the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in NYS, is being celebrated in 2017.  Add to that the true enhancement of our well being through our organization, whether through interest groups, initiatives, advocacy, gained friendships or a shared common language with so many wonderful, passionate, interesting, strong women, and it stymied me for awhile.


Then I thought of art and music, another form that enhances our lives every day and speaks to diverse audiences in a meaningful life-enhancing way.  So I came to the thought of a musical CLEF, which means “key’ in French, and represents the pitch of different notes.  Some may primarily think of the widely known G-Clef, but there are actually three different ones that serve to note music for all instruments and voices, no matter how different they are.  One of them, the C-Clef is the symbol found above and will represent my theme of “Celebrating our Legacy, Enhancing our Future”.


It is not hard to look at our legacy and find much to celebrate. Let’s make sure we share the good news and, most especially, participate in the celebration of NYS Women’s Suffrage this coming year!  Watch the branch newsletter to learn how you can support our efforts to mark this occasion.


Enhancing our Future is up to all of us.  But, in a nutshell, isn’t that what AAUW seeks to do… one of the key involvements that enrich the future for All women and girls, both collectively, as a community, and individually?  I know you would not have joined AAUW if you were not interested in building a better world and a better you!  Thank you for being part of our present and future and for your support and participation in whatever way you may choose to fulfill your partnership with AAUW. 


In future columns, I will tell you a little about myself, but for now, I hope to meet many prospective, continuing and new members at our annual Open House on Thursday,

September 8 as well as at our many programs and events.  I truly look forward to working with you all to “Celebrate our Legacy and Enhance our Future!”



Barbara Van Itallie *462-3924*


The Poughkeepsie Branch annually presents scholarships to two graduating non-traditional students at Dutchess Community College to further their education at a four year institution.  The two 2016 recipients are Sarah Green and Sekaya Newsome.


Sarah is from Kent, Connecticut and graduated from Housatonic Valley Regional High School, class of 2009.  Her major at DCC was Human Services.  She will be attending Oregon State University, as a Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies student.  She explains, “I took a history class over the summer and my professor asked if anyone in the class was a feminist.  Surprisingly nobody raised their hand, including myself.  For the rest of the semester we discussed what it means to be a feminist.  This sparked an interest for me to study women's history.”  Her long term career goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working to empower others. She says, “I am immensely grateful for this scholarship; it will help defer the cost of textbooks.”


Sekaya is from Beacon, New York and was home schooled through high school.  Her first time being in a public school system was her freshman year at DCC.  She majored in Liberal Arts in Sciences with a concentration in biological sciences. She will attend Binghamton University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biological Sciences.  Her career goal is to become a pediatric oncologist.  She hopes to become an advocate for young girls thinking of going into STEM and human services based careers.  She says that Dutchess Community College has matured her in many ways.  Sekaya writes, “Receiving this scholarship is an achievement in itself. It is the first scholarship that I have received, and the significance of the scholarship is huge.  When I received the scholarship, I felt that I had finally earned my certificate as an educated woman to be a positive role model to my younger sisters, and younger girls who need to know that the world is their oyster.  Thank you so much for the scholarship, this really does mean a lot to me.”


One of these two scholarships is supported by the endowment fund at DCC set up by our branch with member contributions several years ago.  The second depends entirely on donations by our members.  To support this scholarship, please send a donation, made out to “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.,” with “Scholarship” on the memo line, to Treasurer Diane Jablonski, 41 Parkwood Blvd, Poughkeepsie 12603.




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


Patrons ($25 or more)


Catherine Albanese, Lula Allen,  Marguerite Cotter,

Ruth Gau, Gloria Gibbs, Elizabeth Harrel, 

Terry Schneider


Sponsors ($10 or more)



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



Susie Blecker *462-7074*

Sheila Zweifler *462-6478*


Welcome fall!  Sheila and I hope everyone had a fabulous summer and are now ready to start another great year with AAUW.


Please join us for our annual Open House/Reunion!  This will be your chance to welcome prospective new members and welcome back returning ones. 


Sheila and I want to take this opportunity to welcome our most recent additions to our AAUW Poughkeepsie Branch:


Catherine Closs       Sarah Greene

Susan Joseph            Kathleen McDonough

Carol Menken                  Sekaya Marie Newsome

Kathy Timm



Peggy Kelland *297-0507*


Do you enjoy sharing your skills and talents with girls?  We invite all AAUW members and friends to suggest topics, serve on the planning committee, and help with programs - a perfect one-time volunteer opportunity!


An outgrowth of the Girls Conference that we have held for several years, Extending Girls' Horizons, offers a variety of stand-alone events and short event series in leadership development and STEAM to girls in grades 6-12 throughout Dutchess County.  AAUW partners with the Girl Scouts, who arrange for the venues, girls, chaperones, transportation, and insurance, while AAUW plans and presents the programs.



On the dues form this year members were given the opportunity to add a contributions.  We would like to express our appreciation to those who sent donations for specific areas or general support.


         Cynthia Averill             Joann Clark

       Diane Close                  Lynne Doty

       Susan Doyle                 Pamela Edington

       Katherine Friedman      Ruth Gau

       Frieda Gershuny           Gloria Gibbs  

       Sabashnee Govender     Mia Henry

       Christine Houghtaling  Doris Kelly

       Bonnie Kieffer              Mary King

       Sandy Lash                   Barbara Lemberger

       Margaret Nijhuis           Mariellen Pangia

       Jacqueline Prusak         Linda Roy

       Diane Salsberg              Patricia Sheehan

       Gail Simon                   Cynthia Smith

       Patricia Tarquini           Erin Teichman

       Barbara Van Itallie Marilyn Walsh

       Miriam Zimet-Aaron



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 recently appointed by Gov Cuomo to be a commissioner of the NYS Bridge authority.  We all extend congratulations to Diane.  For more information:



Helen Buhler,


Ediss is a small book group which often has openings for guest branch members.  If you are interested in joining us for a certain month or a particular book, contact Helen Buhler at least one week before the meeting.  Our booklists are also available from Helen and at





Attached to your email notification or mailed with your newsletter, is a list of the changes in our 2015-16 directory since the winter update in March.  A new directory will be issued in early November.  Any correction to your current information should be sent to Claudette Hennessy or 236-7991.



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181*  


It's Your Vote...Your Vote!


A woman has been nominated for president and many assume that women will vote for her.   But that is not the case.  "I'm a woman and I'm NOT voting for Hillary," goes one of the memes.  While AAUW does advocate for legislation and takes political positions on priority issues as outlined in our member-endorsed Public Policy Program, our Policy on Candidates for Public Office (document access only available to members) has always been one of nonpartisanship.  We do not endorse candidates in partisan elections, nor do our branches and affiliates endorse in partisan circumstances."


I should be glad that AAUW is not a PAC or Super PAC and their lobby efforts are grass roots.  I should be glad AAUW will provide nonpartisan evaluations of candidates.  I should be glad that AAUW wants its members to research and draw conclusions based on personal politics.  There is a victory for women to share.  "The glass ceiling is shattered and the sky is the limit."


But I am just a little disappointed.  It's a Fourth of July without fireworks, a parade without a marching band, a birthday without a cake, a Supreme Court without a judge. 


As a Senator from NY, Hillary Clinton scored 100 percent when voting on key AAUW issues, as indicated in the AAUW Congressional Voting Record.  Donald Trump has not held a Congressional office and does not have a voting history.  His positions have been obtained through his speeches, interviews and public appearances?  What I can tell you is the candidates appear to be antonyms, polar opposites and oxymorons on many social and political topics. 


But would you want AAUW to support a woman candidate just because she was a woman?  What if she opposed all your stances on issues?  Shouldn’t we as individuals judge candidates by how they might represent us rather than by gender alone?


Your vote is your vote.  It is up to you to read, listen, and research.  Support the candidate who best reflects your political ideology. 


Find your voting location at

Public Policy/Your Representative or use this link



Peggy Kelland *297-0507*





Saturday, October 15, 2016

9:30 am – 2:00 pm

Schenectady, NY


A day of presentations, re-enactments and networking with AAUW women in our district from Adirondack, Albany, Amsterdam/Gloversville/ Johnstown, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Schenectady.


Details at, see Upcoming Events.



Diana Babington *471-5385*


Your help is needed to make Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference a wonderful day for our Dutchess County girls.  Call or email Diana to give a hand that day or in the days before the conference.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

8:30 am – 2:30 pm

Dutchess Community College


6th and 7th grade girls




Program Co-VPs: Sandy Goldberg *297-7670*

                  Betsy Kopstein-Stuts *485-7044*


The monthly membership programs not only offer a presentation of general interest for members and guests but provide a time for all to enjoy the company of their fellow AAUW members.  They are usually held on the second Thursday of the month.  When needed, business of the organization will also be conducted at these gatherings.  Join us to discover how we can make a change for the better.  Our branch programs are free and open to the public so invite family, friends and colleagues to join you.  Our schedule usually looks like this:



Our exciting program year will start on Thursday, October 13th with a return program by Sue McLane who will be presenting a program titled, "Utopia."   This will discuss alternative lifestyle groups in the 19th century and how these affected women's experience then and now.  She will use costuming as she tells her stories.  The October program will be held at the new Arlington Branch Library on Boardman Road.  On November 10th our Diversity Initiative group is bringing us a program on Islam.  Then on December 8, to help us all through the busy, holiday season, Gloria Ghedini has contacted Rev. Susan O. Dabrowski, who will show us how to relieve our stress though meditation and yoga.  Stay tuned for more specifics.


In 2017, we are planning such topics as: how current print media reaches the public, current recycling projects in our community, "Rehabilitation through the Arts," and ending the season with a special performance focusing on Women's Suffrage to celebrate the 100 years of suffrage in NYS


Please check The Branch, our monthly newsletter, and our website  for program details.



Margaret Nijhuis


Want to read a review of the activities of Poughkeepsie AAUW for the year, June 2015 – July 2016?   See  About Us/ History.



Cathy Kinn , Publicity Chair


Have you ever mentioned AAUW in a group of people and met with the response: “What’s that?”  And what did you say?  Do you know we have an “elevator speech”?  It is:


AAUW is a national organization committed to equity and education for women and girls that advocates for positive change.  At the local level we are an active organization with opportunities for learning and growing, community involvement and meeting women with similar interests.


No, we would not spout all this to someone in an elevator, but the basis is there for us to use in our own words.  How can it be that so few in our community know about us?  How many people have we told about AAUW in the last six months?  Kudos to Pat Luczai who, on a Soleil trip to the Whitney Museum, told our doctoral student guide about our organization.  Do you know we have cards to pass out that concisely and clearly explain who we are?  Some of us carry them all the time.  At the next meeting, please ask the nametag person for them.


And let’s get the word out, so that when we go out to dinner with others next summer and say the word AAUW, they’ll say “Oh, I’ve heard about you!”



Barbara Van Itallie,


Our February 9, 2017 general membership meeting will be on the subject of recycling, after a great deal of interest was shown in this subject at a recent Soleil trip.  In conjunction with this program, we will be preparing a handout on various ways to get rid of things we no longer need or want.  Will you please help!  Please send Barbara Van Itallie, , any resources that you know of where we can donate, consign, recycle or simply dispose of unwanted items.  Do you have a favorite place to donate unwanted clothes or household items?  Have you used any consignment stores?  Does your town accept difficult to dispose of items such as electronics or chemicals?  Are you familiar with any useful websites?  Brainstorm with us!  Please send as many details as possible about your suggestion like what they take, location, hours, etc. by December 31.  The final list will be distributed at the February meeting.  Thanks




 Please join the Poughkeepsie Branch of the American Association of University Women, Inc. to:


Honor our Woman of the Year 2016

Krista Jones

Executive Director of Sparrow’s Nest of the Hudson Valley



Sunday, October 23, 2016

1-4 pm

Le Chambord

2372 Route 52, Hopewell Junction, NY


Directions and Complete Biography at


Cash Bar & Hot Luncheon


Name _______________________________________

Phone _______________________________________

Email ________________________________________

If you are making reservations for more than one person, please list all additional names and choices on back.


Meal Choice:

 New York Strip Steak, Sauce Bordelaise                   ____

 Breast of Chicken Francaise                                     ____

Herbed Baked Norwegian Salmon, Maltaise Sauce   ____

**   If you have any dietary concerns, please let us know:

       Vegetarian _______ Gluten Free _______


Price: $50 (includes gratuity)


Reservations and checks due: October 11, 2016

Make checks payable to “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.

Mail to:

Betty Harrel, 28 Laffin Lane, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Questions: Call Betty Harrel    845/462-2141



To make reservations using Paypal go to


If you are unable to attend and would like to make a contribution in Krista’s honor, please send it to Betty Harrel at the address above.  Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW is a 501(c)3 organization.


Krista Jones


Krista Jones has lived in the Hudson Valley for over 20 years, brought to the area as a radio reporter on WDST and WKNY in Kingston.  She later took a position as News Director/morning show co-host on 92.1 and served in this capacity for over 15 years.  After marrying and giving birth to 3 beautiful red heads, the local mom was looking to do something more.  In 2010, one of Krista’s closest friends was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.  Not long after, Sparrow’s Nest took flight.  The 501c3 charity was started in 2012, feeding 4 local families and has grown to an organization that has fed close to one thousand people since its inception.  Krista serves as the Executive Director and sits on many of the board’s committees.  Krista was chosen as a 2014 Pandora Hearts of Today winner, receiving a 25 thousand dollar check to use for the charity.  The charity received the 2014 Organization of the Year Award from the Junior League of Poughkeepsie and the 2015 Headliner Award from the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.  The organization was also recognized by the Dutchess County Organization of Women, as Charity of the Year for 2015.


I run because I can

When I get tired,

I remember those who can’t run,

What they would give to have

This simple gift I take for granted…..

And I run faster and harder






We had a very successful year, due to the hard work of our board members, group leaders and many others. 


Thanks to Sandy Goldberg and Betsy Kopstein-Stuts, our programs were excellent and diverse.  We jointly offered programs with other organizations, which I believe is helpful to our organization in reaching out to the community with important issues as well as marketing ourselves to the community.  These were the programs on the Women of Iran with the World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley, the Victorian Lady with the Poughkeepsie Public Library District, and What a Woman Can Do with an Auto, with the Dutchess County Historical Society.  At our December program our members brought donations for the women residents of Grace Smith House.  Additionally we had a panel on the Common Core, a program on sex trafficking and a talk on suicide prevention.


Our membership stands at 362 at this time, down from a peak of about 400.  New members joined throughout the year and most have become involved in an interest group or initiative.  Our membership team of Susie Blecker and Sheila Zweifler has contacted new members to welcome them to the branch, and to encourage them to get involved. 


Our initiatives continue to have successful, on-going programs.  Our Leading to Reading program, in addition to its extensive activities, continues its Books for Babies so that every baby born at Vassar Hospital receives a book.  The Diversity Initiative held a film discussion, a lecture on Islam and has plans for upcoming trips.  Extending Girls Horizons continues the monthly STEAM and relationship activity events for girls in grades 6-12.  The Partnership for Healthcare Awareness continues its meetings with 8 to 10 young mothers and provides parenting education discussion as well as many other activities.  Court Watch volunteers continue going into Family Court on a monthly basis for the purpose of making sure that women are being treated fairly and justly in cases of domestic violence; this program had a training workshop and added new volunteers this year.  The International Initiative organized a trip to the UN conference on women with a film and discussion afterwards.  I’m happy to report that a committee, headed by Diana Babington and Lori Scolaro of DCC, is hard at work preparing for the next The Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference in November, after a year’s absence.   The STEM Initiative, while holding a joint workshop with Marist College Liberty Partnership in the spring, is trying to determine what programs might be possible to continue in the future.  These programs not only provide valuable community service but are also increasing our visibility in the community. 


Our 20 interest groups continue to flourish and are a popular part of our branch.  These interest groups most likely serve as our best recruiting tool.  They also should serve as a way to publicize our branch-wide events to all members.


Our annual fund raiser, the Writer’s Tea & Auction, was very successful and very well received by the attendees.  We raised more than $8000 for our initiatives and scholarships.  We presented two scholarships to students graduating from DCC to continue their education.  The LAF fund raiser, the Rib Fest, also brought in over $400, which becomes part of our donation to the National LAF.  We contributed $3000, mostly from our branch but from individual members as well, to EOF, and honored six of our members with Named Gifts in doing so.  We gave scholarships to two Marist College students to attend the NCCWSL.  Also, our members contributed almost $900 along with their dues renewal for scholarships and initiatives


We continue to be in a good financial position.  We experimented with accepting payments via PayPal this year for the Tea, and will be determining if this method will work for other payments in the future.

We continue to have outstanding internal communications, with our newsletter, website, Facebook page and e-mails.  We added a photo committee this year.  Articles and press releases were sent regularly to media outlets but we received little print coverage.  Our best hopes for external coverage and visibility appear to be by forming coalitions with other local groups who will share information with their members.  For example, this year we participated in the International Women’s Day walk along with the Women’s’ Leadership Alliance.


Our Woman of the Year luncheon, honoring our own Mary Lou Davis, had over 120 people in attendance.  Pamela Edington, President of DCC, was the well-received speaker at our 2015 annual meeting and dinner, and this year we will feature Lisa Ghartey of the New York Office of Children and Family Services at the annual dinner.


Our branch was recognized on the State level with many awards, including a Platinum Award for our program on campus sexual assault, Awards of Excellence for our newsletter, website and visibility, an Awards of Distinction for social media, recognition for our Equal Pay Day program, and several other awards.  We also received a $500 grant from the State which we used for Leading to Reading.


Concerning membership involvement, during my tenure almost 25 members who had not been in leadership positions before, came forward to take positions as board members, initiative heads, interest group chairs and event chairs. 


I attended the Cazenovia Summer Workshop and the State Convention in Saratoga Springs.


Some issues that in my opinion should continue to be addressed in the future:


We must continue to encourage leaders to add new people to their committees and in the future should continue to engage members, particularly newer ones, by asking them to participate in projects. 

We must continue our attempts to be visible in the community, particularly by joining with other organizations where we can.  Several of these outside organizations are mentioned in this report.              


As always, we should continue our focus on diversity of membership, programs, age, culture, and issues.

We should continue to include state and national AAUW issues in our programming.  For example, although we held one STEM workshop this year, we should be re-examining our STEM efforts.

We should investigate further our interaction with our local colleges.  At the moment we have no programs specifically for college students.  Some inroads are being made with Marist College, though a STEM program and NCCWSL scholarships, and with DCC, with our scholarships, Diversity programming and the Girls’ Conference.   


Please see the individual annual reports for details about these programs and areas. under About Us.


Again, it has been a pleasure working with and getting to know the board, the other leaders and all members.  I look forward to continuing on the board in the new Immediate-Past-President position.



Barbara Van Itallie *462-3924*


The AAUW Poughkeepsie Branch is pleased to announce the establishment of a new honor, the Cornerstone Award.


This award will be given annually to a member who contributes her energy and effort over an extended period to ensure that the Branch fulfills its mission.  The recipient might be found working in the background, away from the limelight, and/or stepping forward to provide leadership for key activities. These individuals are often repositories for the institutional knowledge of the organization – readily offering advice and counsel to officers, leaders of initiatives, and interest groups.  Such women are truly the cornerstones of our organization.  As we enjoy the fruits of their work, let us applaud their fine efforts on behalf of AAUW and us all. 


Our first CORNERSTONE honoree is Margaret Nijhuis


Margaret joined in 1968, and has made AAUW a focus of her life.  Her contributions surround us and keep us in touch with the organization and each other, most recently through our newsletter, website, and database.  She is the moving force behind the Membership Directory and our new Photography Committee, and she contributes mightily to the Writers’ Tea.  Margaret has served as President of the Branch and has occupied many positions, some formally established, some not, on the Poughkeepsie and New York State Boards.  She has been involved with no fewer than 10 Interest Groups and Branch Initiatives.  Over the years, Margaret has been a mentor to many women, offering her time and extraordinary problem-solving ability with signature sensitivity and good humor to anyone who calls, and many do.  Margaret is our “guiding light”, and we thank and honor her for her wisdom, creativity, unending kindness and generosity of spirit.





Many thanks for the amazing Cornerstone Award presented to me at the June Annual Meeting.  I have enjoyed my years of working with AAUW and I have enjoyed all the wonderful women I have met – both in Poughkeepsie and across NYS.  I appreciate all the help I have received from each of you with the many projects we have done together.  However, I would be remiss if I did not say a special thank you to my husband, Rolf, who not only supports me in any “crazy new thing I started” but offers his help as well.  And now we start a new AAUW year with enough meetings, activities and events to keep us all busy and working for the good of women and girls.

See you soon!


Dinner with Cuisine!


In May, I had a most delightful experience as the winner of the Cuisine Group gift certificate donated for the Writers’ Tea & Auction.  It was a French dinner, starting with wine and a beautiful view of the Hudson Valley all the way to the Catskills.  The menu included Cepes a la Gasco, Slow Cooked Duck Legs and Marinated Red Cabbage and much, much more.  It was a delightful evening with a great group of AAUW women.  I am certainly awaiting the chance to bid in 2017!

Margaret Nijhuis


Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2016-2017


President                              Maria DeWald                     266-4960

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).