Celebrating Our Legacy, Enhancing Our Future


Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601



Volume 30, Number 4                                                               61st year of publication                                   http://www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Follow us at  www.facebook.com/AAUWPoughkeepsie2014                                                                  December 2016





Linda Beyer *462-0345*  lmbchanel@aol.com 


Let's share the spirit of the holidays with the residents of Grace Smith House at our December meeting.


The children who are residing at Grace Smith House, a home for victims of domestic violence, are remembered and well-provided for with lovely gifts from various community groups at the holidays.  The mothers there, however, need also to feel that the community cares about them and remembers them at holiday time.  For the past two years you provided a host of wonderful gifts.  They were most appreciated by the mothers.  We are asking members attending the December membership meeting to bring along a donated gift for a mother at Grace Smith again this year.  Please send a gift if you cannot attend.  The gifts will be given at the residence by the staff.  Only gifts accepted no checks and no cash.


If you wish to donate a gift to the mothers, please follow the staff's guidelines:


1.  Gifts must be newly purchased and unwrapped.

2.  Gifts must be something usable by the mothers and

     something personal which is uplifting.

3.  Examples of gifts are the following:




      hair dryer

      costume jewelry


      pocket book

      perfume or pretty soaps





      wallet/key case

      mirror/hair brush set


Please remember, all donations must be new and unwrapped – no checks and no cash.  Just bring yours along to the meeting and we will be sure it gets transported to the mothers!


Thank you so much for sharing your holiday spirit! ■



Presented by Rev. Susan Olin-Dabrowski


December 8, 2016

7:00 pm


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall

67 South Randolph Ave., Poughkeepsie.


December is a month of great merriment but also of great stress.  Meditation has been proven to help alleviate stress.  Each one of us needs to take time to simply “be,” come to our program on December 8, to learn more about how to accomplish this effectively and to eventually make meditation part of daily life.  Our presenter, Rev. Susan Olin-Dabrowski, is experienced and knowledgeable.  No one will be disappointed and will instead become a more serene person.


Susan says the essence of all meditation is focusing your attention and there are, therefore, many forms of meditation.  She introduces a variety of meditation forms for people to explore to find which ones work best for them and to build a 'tool box' of meditations to draw on.  These include: simple quieting meditation, guided imagery, various forms of mindfulness meditation and walking meditation.


Susan Olin-Dabrowski has been practicing meditation for over 40 years.  She is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Reiki Master-Teacher and has a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies.  She began her practice “Whole Person Healing” in 1997 and regularly teaches programs on meditation, Reiki Healing, spiritual development, and a variety of metaphysical topics.  Continued below.


Questions: Sandy Goldberg, 297-7670 sajgold@aol.com &

         Betsy Kopstein, 485-7044 bkopstein@hotmail.com



 Online Calendar at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Contact: Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com


1       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

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

1       Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

         Work on Community Service items for Writers’ Tea

                  & Auction

         Hostess: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)      

2       Art on the Go: 10:00 am

         Front Street Gallery, Patterson

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

5       Word Games: 1:30 pm

         Hostess: Kathy Friedman (485-8671)

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)

5       Bridge I: 12:00

         Holiday Lunch & Bridge at Olive Garden

         Substitutes welcome – please notify a coordinator ASAP

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745)      &

                  Mary Ann Ryan (897-9679)

6       World Travelers: 7:00 pm

         Norway, Presented by Barbara Van Itallie

         Hostess: Barbara Van Itallie

         Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


7       Aventures en Soleil:

         New York Botanical Garden Train Show,

         admission 12:15-12:30 am

         Contact: Barbara Hespenheide, 845 452 3241,


         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

7       Mah Jongg & Canasta: Noon - 4:00 pm

         Uno Chicago Grill – Lunch

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by Dec 5

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman


8       General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

          – see details on page 1 and 6.

9       Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinator: Leona Miller (471-0777)

10     Bridge 3: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner dlr0804@verizon.net

10     “The Branch” deadline for January

12     All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

         Hostess: Peggy Kelland (297-0507)

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

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     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Holiday Party

         All bridge players are welcome – Lunch and game $15

         Uno Chicago Grill

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn cathy@kinn.org 

15     Gourmet: Out & About: 5:30 pm  NOTE TIME

         Plated, Route 52, Hopewell Junction

         Contact: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

                  Kay Saderholm (229-8545) Ksaderholm@aol.com 

16     Poetry and Plays - Emily D to Tennessee: 1:00 pm

         Subject: Irish Poetry – Member selections

         Hostess: Kathy Friedman

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

                  Barbara Hugo BHugo2@gmail.com

19     Manderley Literary Society: 6:00 pm

         The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Rochelle Friedman (462-4996)

20     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Appetizers and Desserts

         Hostess: Mariellen Pangia (473-3545)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


27     The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

         Hostess: Helen Buhler (473-0665)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)


DATE TBA Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

         Hostess: Betty Harrel (462-2141)

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

DATE TBA Photography Club:

         Coordinator: Carol Demicco (845-204-9553




Diversity: Out of One Many People

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Pedal Pushers

         Watch for our return in April .

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler  sheilaz@optonline.net


         We will return in the spring

         Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)




Apr 2: Writers’ Tea & Auction, The Links



Apr 21-23, 2017 AAUW-NYS Convention

         Syracuse Doubletree Inn.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Maria DeWald *266-4960* mfdewald@yahoo.com


Recently, at a convention I attended, I was asked to install the officers.  It got me thinking about leadership and transitions, which, I can safely assume, has been on other’s minds also of late.  Leadership, like life, always involves a pendulum of experiences and feelings, from exasperation to exhilaration to exhaustion to renewed energy and back again.  These last few weeks have seen all of that.


For AAUW, the Girls’ Conference was surely a point of exhilaration.  Through a dynamic community collaboration with Dutchess Community College, we hosted more than 100 sixth and seventh grade girls from around the County.  It involved more than 20 women leaders, “big sister” mentors from area colleges, and over 25 AAUW volunteers.  There were also opportunities for a variety of workshops, activism activities, “girl talk” circles (involving another 13 extraordinary women facilitators) and a parent/guardian workshop series throughout the full day.  Plus, may I add, we already have a recommitment from DCC and our two co-chairpersons and a date and for next year!  That is what I call renewed energy coming from the clear success of this meticulously planned event.


Exhaustion and exasperation came in the form of again realizing just how uniquely difficult it is to crack the glass ceiling of electing a women to federal office.  That continues to be one of the reasons AAUW’s advocacy mission is more relevant than ever, that we need to continue to show all our girls, in the words of Hillary Clinton, they should “never doubt that they are valuable, powerful and deserving” and “not to lose faith in their dreams.”  It is a seed we try to plant every day through initiatives such as the Girls’ Conference and through our interactions with each other and in the community.  It is an outgrowth of the same hope for the future that sustained the women 100 years ago who fought to gain for the women of America the right to vote.  It is what will continue to give us all the renewed energy for action on behalf of all women and girls.


At that same convention, two things occurred.  First, one of the delegates turned out to be a parent of one of the Girls’ Conference attendees.  She herself had attended the parent thread.  She recognized me and relayed that her daughter had gotten much out of it and the parents had ‘loved the parent thread with the personal attachment to their daughters sitting in the next room.”  The other was this….I saw that my friend had a safety pin on her sweater.  She gave me one too. It is meant to indicate that you are a “safe person” to talk to about these tumultuous times.  I wish you and, most especially, your daughters and women friends, many “safety pin” persons.


As we enter this coming holiday season, may it be one of renewed energy for each and every one of you!



Sharon Clarke *473-9468* sclarke5@hvc.rr.com


Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW has volunteered at the Hudson Valley Ribfest for 12 years.  The Highland Rotary offers us this chance to volunteer our time to support AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF).  Our volunteer hours earn LAF cash based on the total hours worked. 


I just received the check from the Highland Rotary for our volunteer hours in August!  The best returns ever!! Our 18 volunteers earned


Our thanks to AAUW members and their friends who gave their time to this project.


Allan, Geri                          Auchincloss, Bonnie

Barton, Marge                    Cotter, Marguerite

Clarke, Sharon                            Demicco, Carol

Epstein, Paul                      Govender, Sabashnee

Harrel, Betty                      Harrel, Bill

Humbert, Janice                Humphrey, Marcine

Humphrey, Keith               Miklau, Marilyn

Seligman, Arlene               Seligman, Gilbert

Van Itallie, Barbara           Van Itallie, Phil


Check back next summer for details for 2017.



Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


members of our branch!  Each year we honor our members by naming Educational Foundation gifts in their honor or memory, selecting a Cornerstone Award recipient, or possible other ways.


If you are interested in serving on an Awards Committee, please contact Betty Harrel at 845-462-2141 or bharrel28@gmail.com.  It will involve one meeting with some follow-up emails.


If you would like to nominate a member – or yourself - please send an email with the name of the person, her AAUW roles, and why you feel she deserves the honor.


We’ll look forward to announcing our 2017 winners! ■




APRIL 2, 2017

Patricia DeLeo *883-5181* pattide2@optonline.net  


Jim DeFelice


With great enthusiasm, the AAUW Tea Committee would like to introduce you to noted author Jim DeFelice, our featured speaker at the Writers’ Tea & Auction on Sunday, April  4.  Jim's works have appeared and debuted on the NY Times Best Seller List fifteen times.  In additional to penning over fifty fiction and non-fiction books, Jim is a distinguished screenwriter and video game developer.


Jim's most famous work, AMERICAN SNIPER, detailed the life and service of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and was the number one best-selling non-fiction title in America during much of 2012 and 2013.  The movie, based on his book, was nominated for six Academy Awards and smashed box office records. 


His newer work, AMERICAN WIFE, explores the female perspective of military life and service.  Written with Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, shares their private story.  It is an unforgettable testament to the power of love and faith in the face of war and unimaginable loss--and a moving tribute to a man whose true heroism ran even deeper than the legend.  In early 2013, Taya Kyle and her husband Chris were the happiest they ever had been.  Their decade-long marriage had survived years of war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from Taya and their two children for agonizingly long stretches while he put his life on the line in many major battles of the Iraq War.  After struggling to readjust to life out of the  military, Chris had found new purpose in redirecting his lifelong dedication to service and to supporting veterans and their families.  Their love had deepened, and, most special of all, their family was finally whole.

Taya Kyle acknowledged Jim in her book. “To Jim DeFelice: What a tremendous blessing to have had your skill, your humility, your compassion, and grit with “American Sniper,” “American Gun,” and now “American Wife.”  With Chris and me both, you have been friend, writer, and counselor who has laughed with us through the tears.  You have taken on more work for less money and recognition than anyone probably should ... I am honored to know you and to work with you.  I look forward to our next literary adventure."


Jim's new book, FIGHTING BLIND, tells of a remarkable soldier's courage after the battle that blinded him and nearly ended his life.  Emphasizing his NO-LIMITS philosophy, Major Ivan Castro's memoir is an exhilarating look at the human spirit through one man’s attempt to defy physical limits and live life to the fullest.


Jim is currently working on a number of screenplays for possible future projects, based on American Wife and Fighting Blind.  His next book, West Like Lightning, a popular history on the Pony Express and American enterprise, will be published by William Morrow/Harper Collins in June, 2017.


Jim will share an inside look at his career and works.  Put

April 2 on your calendars and reserve your seat early.  This event is limited to 150 people. ■



Sabashnee Govender *914-850-0195* Sabashnee@aol.com


It was standing room only on Sunday, November 6th, at the Vassar College where an All Community meeting was held hosted by the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance.  There was a vast array of people attending, representing people of different ages, gender, religion, professions, interest groups and political views.  AAUW members was also well represented.


The program was held to discuss details of a refugee resettlement program for the Poughkeepsie area and an opening of a local office by Church World Services (CWS).  The growing Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance members include Vassar College, DCC, SUNY New Paltz, Mount St Mary, Bard, Vassar Temple, Christ Episcopal Church, Masjid al –Noor Mosque, Arlington HS Refugee Project, Dutchess County Interfaith council and Greater Newburgh Interfaith Council.  Several speakers from these groups and others presented their concerns and interests.


Please visit www.facebook.com/AAUWPoughkeepsie2014, AAUW Facebook page to view a video of the talk by Maria Hohn, Chair of History Vassar College, and Faculty Mentor VC Solidarity.  You can watch a video of the entire event at



Refugees are expected in the Mid-Hudson Valley as early as January 2017 and can be settled in a 50-100 mile radius of a local office.  Several volunteer opportunities are available, pages.vassar.edu/vcsolidarity.  If you have information for resources re: housing, health, employer, or other, please contact the Vassar Refugee Solidarity or CWS Poughkeepsie.  If you have items to donate (they will pick up large items) contact Patrick DeYoung padeyoung@vassar.edu  or Vassar Refugee Solidarity at hudsonrefugeealliance@gmail.com



Linda Roberts *227-5287* olsen241@aol.com


Please remember that our 8th annual Writers' Tea & Auction will be held on Sunday, April 2 at The Links at Union Vale.  Save the date!  We are thrilled to announce our featured author Jim DeFelice.  Please read the article about him in on page 4.


Each month I will highlight a few items that will be available to bid on at the auction on April 2, 2017.


hand-thrown large (12 inch) tall pottery vessel donated by artist Ellen Wilkinson


14 carat gold and freshwater pearl earrings donated by Lori Walters


original signed and framed

botanical watercolor donated

by Nancy Woogan


I have listed the members of our wonderful long-standing committee below.  All their information is listed in the new AAUW Membership Directory 2016-2017.


Patti DeLeo                       Gloria Gibbs

Marcine Humphrey         Doris Kelly

Ginny Marcus                   Barbara Mindel

Linda Roberts                   Vivian Rose

Suzi Stoller


Please contact any of us if you have any questions or want to know how you can help!


Remember that this is our only fundraiser which supports all of our initiatives and programs.  Our Branch cannot operate without the income from this event!



Diana Babington *471-5385* dibab@aol.com


After a year off, the Live Your Dream 2016 Girls’ Conference came back stronger than ever.  Building on the foundation of a partnership with Dutchess Community College, the conference committee was chaired by representatives of AAUW and DCC.   Over 15 committee members who dedicated themselves to a successful event joined Diana and Lori and met for almost a year of planning.  On November 5,2016 we welcomed 106 girls from 25 middle and elementary schools around the county to the Tenth Annual Live Your Dream Conference.


New this year: the addition of sixth grade girls to the traditional seventh grade girls, a parent thread on bullying and internet safety, lunch with women leaders and a Big Sister program where two college girls “mentored” the girls in each group for the entire day. 


Girls heard from facilitators who offered insight into culture, creative writing, empowerment and cyber bullying, to name just a few.  Gwen Higgins capped the day with an activity that reminded girls of their dreams, their vision and the new friends they made that day.


Over 25 of our members volunteered to help at our event!  And, we were stunned by the generosity of over 55 members who contributed to the Divas, Dreamers and Darlings campaign.  A list of all these wonderful members can be found on our website www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org select: Programs/Community Outreach/ Girls’ Conference


Dreams are alive and well, and “Live Your Dream” will be here for years to come!





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, Carol Barmann,

Mary Ann Boylan, Marguerite Cotter, Lillian DePasquale, Ruth Gau, Gloria Gibbs, Sandra Goldberg, Elizabeth Harrel,

 Joanne Long, Jacqueline Prusak, 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



Barbara Lemberger, Interest Group Coordinator

A column that gives us the news of “What’s Happening” in our Interest Groups.


Poetry & Play Readings Visits New Jersey

Cathy Kinn*462-3196* cathy@kinn.org

Barbara Hugo *876-6686* bhugo2@gmail.com


What a glorious day the members of the Poetry & Plays Interest Group had at the Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ on October 22.  The festival is the largest of its kind in the US, and it attracts the best of the best – laureates and comers – an incomparable slate of American poets with roots in the 4 corners of the world.  There were new sessions every 90 minutes, and each session offered a choice of three to five panels with different themes.  At some, poets read with great dramatic flair, and then discussed their poetry with the audience.  At others, the country’s most respected poets discussed some aspect of poetics - the structural underpinnings of the art.  The finale was extraordinary!  It included music and passionate performances, and lifted us all to new heights of appreciation.  It was held at the NJ Performing Arts Center and three nearby venues.  Present were people of all ages and all backgrounds.  We offer many thanks to Mary Lou Davis who introduced us to this memorable event. ■



Mary Coiteux *226-8275* mcoiteux@frontiernet.net

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


Hats Off to Dr. Pamela Edington, President of Dutchess Community College, for opening a satellite school on the third floor of the Family Partnership (FP) in Poughkeepsie.  Under her direction, DCC and the FP renovated the space and created an educational mecca closer to the area's underserved population. The result is simply beautiful and so promising.


Hats Off to Ellie Charwat.  She was honored with Marist College's President's Award for her dedicated service to the people of the Hudson Valley.


Hats Off  to Eileen Hayden who was honored by the Dutchess County Historical Society at their Nov. 17th awards dinner, for her role in promoting and preserving the history of Dutchess County.


Hats Off to Carol Loizides for exhibiting her work at the Cornell Street Studios in Kingston.


Hats Off to Karen Goodman whose photographic work will be on display at the Barrett Art Centers Members’ Holiday Show.


Hats Off to Assembly Woman Didi Barrett for winning her third term as Assembly Woman for the 106th District and for her community service.


Hats Off to all the women who made the 6th & 7th Grade Girls Conference such a success. This includes: the Conference Planning Committee & Volunteers, the Big Sister Mentors from our area colleges, Workshop Presenters, Girl Talk Facilitators, and especially the Community Women Leaders who came and had lunch with the girls. 


Hats off to the parents who made sure their girls participated in this important event.


Continued from above.


AAUW members Sharon Rizzo and Gloria Ghedini in class with Susan


Susan was born and raised in Dutchess County.  She and her husband have been married 35 years.  They have a daughter and son, both working in Manhattan.  In her spare time, Susan enjoys gardening (flowers and vegetables), creative healthy cooking, bike riding on the Rail Trail, hiking in the Taconic Range and Catskills, photography, travel, and spending time with family, friends and their three cats.


Betsy and I want to thank Gloria Ghedini for all the work she did in putting together our December program and gathering the information for this article.



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181* pattide2@optonline.net  


Ungilding the Cage


Where do we go from here?  Claustrophobia lingers beneath the unshattered glass like birds imprisoned in a not-so-gilded cage.


I am afraid for young women.  We have to protect women, and especially young girls, from unwanted sexual contact and assault. The recent court "forgiveness" to young men accused of rape and sexual assault must disappear.  A woman's body is her exclusive property and not subject to grabbing and touching.  Legal protection for women's safety on campuses and the workplace must be implemented along with programs to end bullying and harassment.  There must be accountability to end sexual assault in the military.  Work must be done at our state and national levels to protect choice and continue funding of Planned Parenthood, the lifeline of healthcare for millions of women. 


I am afraid for working women.  Trade wars might cripple the economy and deny women economic opportunity and security. The United States, along with Mexico and China, could likely fall into recession.  Up to 4 million American workers could lose their jobs.  Another 3 million jobs would not be created that otherwise would have been had the country not fallen into a trade-induced downturn. 


I fear the termination of the Department of Education will result in the loss of nearly 500,000 teaching positions and the lack of federal aid programs will deny children services crucial for learning. 


I fear a major setback after a short lived success: affordable access to healthcare and its guaranteed applications for all Americans.


I despair for immigrants.  Is deportation, a wall, closed borders and extreme racial/religious vetting America's best solution?  Will families be torn asunder?  Will those already struggling be forced to seek shelter in unknown places?  We must remain actively engaged in working with Congress to reform a broken system.


I worry for a safe and healthy environment.


I fear for the appointment of biased Supreme Court judges.


I fear the overturn of Roe v Wade.


I fear for the rights of the LGBT community. 


But "there is nothing to fear except fear itself."  We need to fight for change at all levels of government, industry, and academia.  Use your arm and hammer to free equal educational opportunities, equal pay for equal work, and workplaces free of discrimination."  Keep in touch with your local congressmen, senators, and assemblymen via the Two Minute Activist or their Facebook pages.


It is now, after an election, that the real work begins,” said Lisa Maatz, the vice president of government relations and advocacy.  “AAUW will find common ground with the Trump administration and the new Congress on issues that are important to women and working families.  Women want progress on issues that affect them, and AAUW intends to be a fair critic and a valued ally.  Most importantly, in true AAUW fashion, we will not hesitate to speak truth to power.” 


The cage has a latch.  You must break it open. 



Barbara Van Itallie, bvanitallie@yahoo.com


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, bvanitallie@yahoo.com , 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.■


Happy Hanukkah!!


Merry Christmas!!


Joyous Kwanzaa!!




Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612* margaretnijhuis@gmail.com

On October 15, four members of Poughkeepsie AAUW, Mary Lou Davis, Margaret Nijhuis, Peggy Kelland and Betty Harrel made our way to Schenectady, on a beautiful Saturday morning, to the AAUW-NYS District IV meeting.  We were greeted by great coffee and our former Poughkeepsie member, Eleanor Aronstein, who is now President of Schenectady AAUW.


The first speaker was Angelica Morris, Executive Director of Schenectady County Human Rights Commission.  She gave us a new definition of AAUW – “Amazing Awesome United Women!”  Ms Morris’s topic was “The Sound of a Woman with Dreams and Visions: Women in the Workplace, Looking Beyond Where They are Right Now.”  She does her job with a small budget through networking and cooperation.  Her mantra is “People who come together and work together can accomplish everything.”


She left us with some thoughtful comments:

·        Does no good to complain.

·        We are what we are not what we do (our job)

·        Do not compromise your principals.

·        Leadership begins with maturity

·        Be strong, be kind, be gentle

·        Do the best with what you have – do the best of your ability

·        Seize any opportunity you have

·        The past is the past, let it go

·        Open heart, open mind can change your life

·        Take good advice when you get it


Ms Morris ended with some amazing statistics that show the influence and power of women in the business and the economy of our country.


Our next speaker was Maxine Getty, a re-enactor, portraying Mary A. R. Livermore, an abolitionist, teacher, nurse, suffragette and writer.  Maxine is a retired US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant.


Her presentation was done as Mary Livermore, one year after the Civil War.  She led us through Livermore’s life with all the trials of obtaining an education at that time and living as a Calvinist.  We learned how she became an abolitionist and her life in Chicago as a nurse and writer.


After a terrific lunch, we were introduced to two delightful young women from SUNY Albany who have attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) in Washington as well as the “Elect Her Training” from AAUW on the Albany Campus.  Their trip to NCCWSL was sponsored by the Schenectady Branch.


This wonderful day ended with making bracelets for the local women’s shelter and ourselves. ■





The following is a commentary from Marissa Zuleta, one of our recipients of this year’s Irene Keyes Memorial Scholarship to NCCWSL in Washington DC in June, 2016.


The generosity of the American Association of University Women afforded me the opportunity to hear heroic speeches.  Never in a     million years did I think I would fulfill my dream of              seeing my third grade idols.  I heard inspiring messages from women who fight for equality every day: women like Kelly Tsai who is striving in a world that too often says “no” and Marisa Demeo who validated my bicultural American Dream.  Franchesca Ramsey spoke on the importance of being a catalyst for change at both micro and macro levels.  In a room filled with people of all backgrounds,  Franchesca Ramsey spoke to the audience in their language.  She illustrated how shared experiences can bond us even though we originate from environments very distinct from one another.  ...


NCCWSL (National Conference for College Women Student Leadership) gave me insight into empowering individuals.  My most significant takeaway is an articulation of leadership.  ... a leader is someone who has an objective and guides others towards the same objective.  As I continue working for my MSW, I hope to pursue a career in community planning, specifically in the City of Poughkeepsie.


Note:  The full text of Marissa’s commentary can be found at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org / Scholarships/ Irene Keyes


Stay in touch – check your email each day



Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


As always, Leading to Reading is off to a busy start this fall.  Our dedicated volunteers, along with a number of new members, have done the following:


Ø  Assembled hundreds of book kits for children from low income families

Ø  Started the school year as community readers in pre-school centers throughout the county

Ø  Coordinated reading activities at the Poughkeepsie Day School as part of their service learning program

Ø  Prepared books for our gift wrapping sessions at Hudson River Lodging

Ø  Served as one of the community action projects at our Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference

Ø  Started a new story time program at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

Ø  Delivered books and reading kits to Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Tubman Terrace Academic Skills  Program, Grace Smith House, Astor Beacon Head Start, and Brookhaven


Community support has been instrumental in allowing us to purchase books and related materials.  Recently the Wappingers Congress of Retired Teachers provided funds for the second year in a row.  Another repeat donation was made by the Cuisine Group.  Money was received from the Mid-Hudson Panhellenic Alumnae Association in memory of Elaine Crosby.  Another carload of books was also donated by the Wappingers Congress of Teachers.  And of course we are utilizing the money allotted to Leading to Reading from the Writers’ Tea & Auction.


Thanks to all of our branch and community supporters!! ■



Susie Blecker *462-7074* iblecker@aol.com

Sheila Zweifler *462-6478* sheilaz@optonline.net


At this time Sheila and I want to welcome our newest AAUW members: Carol Buyakowski, Eva Cagianese, Donna Gaynor, and Krista Jones who have joined our organization since our October meeting.  We are thrilled to have you and hope you will get involved in the many activities and initiatives AAUW offers.


This fall, our Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW has added 29 new members.  That puts our total membership at 355.  New people bring dynamic ideas and add an extra dimension to our organization.  It is so exciting to see our branch growing and thriving.


By now you should have received the Poughkeepsie AAUW Directory 2016-2017.  It lists the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of all our members.  Please check to make sure your contact information is correct.  If there is a problem,  email Claudette Hennessy at chennessy@hsysgrp.com,   The Directory is a wonderful resource; it contains all of the information stated above and more.  Keep it handy so you will

always be able to contact members throughout the year.  Sheila and I want to thank Claudette Hennessy for taking on the task of producing this year’s directory with the guidance of Margaret Nijhuis.  She did a fabulous job and we appreciate her hard work and dedication.


We are looking forward to seeing all of you at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall on December 8th for our holiday “LET’S DE-STRESS TOGETHER” program.  It will be a fun, relaxing evening so don't miss it!  Also, please remember to bring your gift for the women at Grace Smith House to the meeting.  Happy Holidays. ■



Peggy Kelland *297-0507* smkell45@aol.com


On November 4, we held our popular annual Game Night. Anthula Natoulas brought her extensive collection of math games from around the world, and Gwen Higgins led the girls in a cooperative game and invention of games of their own. Many of the Girl Scouts from our programs also attended the Girls Conference the following day.  Gwen and I will be repeating the "Amaze" Girl Scout Journey, our well-received relationship skills workshop for middle school age girls, in Beacon on Saturday, November 19.


Extending Girls Horizons plans and presents monthly programs for girls in grades 6-12.  Upcoming programs on Friday evenings from 6:30-8:30 at R.C. Ketcham High School on Myers Corners Road in Wappingers Falls could use plenty of one-on-one adult helpers.  December 9 we will hold "Pins and Needles," where the girls will learn to crochet a scrubbie, needlepoint a canvas bookmark, and/or make a string art plaque (all potential gifts) while learning new skills.  On January 13 "Paper Crafts," they will make collages using many assorted paper craft techniques.  As always, all AAUW members and appropriate aged girls are welcome. ■


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:  www.aauw.org                               

NY State website: www.aauw-nys.org

Poughkeepsie Branch website: www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org 


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, MargaretNijhuis@gmail.com (635-8612).