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 7                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     61st year of publication                                                                                                                                                                              

Follow us at                                                                                         March 2017




Make The 2017 Writers’ Tea & Auction

The Best Yet!

                      April 2, 2017

                      Details page 7

Margaret Nijhuis




§  Invite your neighbor or friend to join you at the tea!

§  Ask the businesses you frequent for a gift certificate for the Auction!

§  Craft an amazing item for the auction! More on the auction page 4

§  Buy raffle tickets (this can be done even if you cannot attend)!

§  Send a donation!





§  It is our only fundraiser of the year!

§  Meet two outstanding authors who are sharing their day with us!

§  Visit with AAUW friends!

§  Start your 2017 holiday shopping!

§  Support our Dutchess Community College Scholarship Fund!

§  Support the National AAUW Scholarship Fund – one of the largest in the world for women.

§  SUPPORT YOUR FAVORITE POUGHKEEPSIE AAUW COMMUNITY PROJECT – “Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference,” “Leading to Reading,” “Court Watch,” “STEM,” “International,” “Diversity,” “Extending Girls Horizons,” and “Mothers Group.”




§  Set your GPS for 153 North Parliman Road, Union Vale, NY 12540                                                   -OR-

§  Go to and click on
Writers’ Tea & Auction Directions           -OR-

§      Follow these directions:





A Not to Be Missed Program



Thursday, March 9, 2017

7:00 pm


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall

67 S. Randolph Ave., Poughkeepsie


Presented by

Katherine Vockins,* Founder of RTA

Charles Moore,* Alumni


Our March program will highlight a most interesting and effective program that uses the transformative power of the arts to develop social and cognitive skills that prisoners need for successful reintegration into employment, family and community as they are released from prison.


RTA (Rehabilitation Through the Arts) is a creative arts program, operating in 5 NYS maximum and medium security prisons.  Through workshops and performances in theatre, dance, creative writing, voice, music and visual arts those incarcerated are able to develop life skills and change behavior patterns that help them cope upon release.*


Words from RTA members who are in prison.


“Art allows you to think differently, so you behave differently so that you can get different results.  To me, that’s the definition of rehabilitation.”


“Indeed, people in prison can, while engaged in beauty and the arts and intellectual discourse, be their noblest selves…”


Questions: Sandy Goldberg, 297-7670 &

         Betsy Kopstein, 485-7044


*Continued below



 Online Calendar at

Contact: Kathy Friedman


February 23 Diversity: 5:00 – 7:00 pm

         Diana Cruz will tell her story about living as an

         undocumented student.  She graduated from New Paltz

         and is currently planning to attend graduate school. 

         Boardman Road Library, Poughkeepsie

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


March 2  Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

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

6       Word Games: 1:30 pm

         Hostess:  Linda Lurie (229-9397)

         Coordinator: Betsy Vivas (485-2379)

7       World Travelers: 7:00 pm


         Hostess: Kathy Friedman (485-8672)

         Presenter: Erica Salzmann-Talbi

                  Reservations: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


8       Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

         Il Barilotto, 1113 Main St, Fishkill

         Contacts: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

                  Kay Saderholm (229-8545)

8       International Women’s Day, see page 6

9       General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

          see details on page 1 & 8.

10     Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinator: Leona Miller (471-0777)

10     “The Branch” deadline for April.

11     Bridge 3: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner

12     Aventures en Soleil: 1:00 pm

         Clove Creek Dinner Theater: Lend Me a Tenor

         Contact: Linda Ronayne,

         Coordinator: Ruth Sheets (473-6202)

13     All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: Middlemarch by George Elliot

         Hostess: Bonnie Auchincloss

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

14     Trip to UN for CSW, see page 6

14     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

15     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess: Debbie Luders (223-7397)

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745)

17     Poetry and Plays - Emily D to Tennessee: 2:00 pm

         Topic: TBD      

         Hostess: Maria DeWald (266-4960)

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

                  Barbara Hugo

20     Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami

         Hostess: Linda Lurie (229-9397)

         Coordinator: Shelly Friedman (462-4996)

21     Cuisine: 6:30 pm


         Hostesses: Betsy Kopstein-Stuts (485-7044) &

                   Barbara Van Itallie (462-3924)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


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

         Home of Margaret Nijhuis, 9 McAllister Dr, PV


         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by 3/20

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

22     Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

         Hostess: Janna Whearty (546-9190)

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

23     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Red Lobster, Route 9, Poughkeepsie

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn 

23     Diversity: Out of One Many People: 5:00 – 7:00 pm

         Being African In America.

         The speaker is a native of Africa

         Boardman Road Library, Poughkeepsie

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


23     Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

         Shambala Bracelets

         Hostess: Arlene Seligman (297-0006)

         Coordinators: Arlene Seligman (297-0006) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)

24     Art on the Go: 11:00 am 

         Visiting local galleries in Rhinebeck

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)  

28     The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo

         Hostess:  Barbara Durniak (325-8122)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)


Pedal Pushers: Watch for our return in April.

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler

Photography Club:

         Contact Coordinator

         Coordinator: Carol Demicco (845-204-9553

Trekkers: Returning April 22, 10:00 am

         The Walkway Over the Hudson Loop

         Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)




Apr 2: Writers’ Tea & Auction, The Links, Pages 1, 3-5,7

Apr 21-23, 2017 AAUW-NYS Convention

         Syracuse Doubletree Inn, Page 4

Jun 8: Annual Meeting, Poughkeepsie Grand, 6:00 pm,

         Page 3

Nov 4 Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference, Dutchess

          Community College, Page 9


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Maria DeWald *266-4960*


I’m addicted to sayings and quotes.  They are inspiring, motivating and they have the power to provoke new thought. They have the power to break down old beliefs and inject wisdom into your life.  For example, I love Yogi Bera quotes like this one: “If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else.”  They always make me laugh but they also always stick with you, because they are true in the most uncommon, common sense way!


I think AAUW has always known where it is going.  We have had the same mission, goals, and beliefs from its founding.  But, to mention another quote Will Rogers said, “even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there!”  So, being on the right track does not always mean success all of the time.  It takes thoughtful and consistent action and, most of the time, collaboration with others.


Some evidence of some of those actions is coming up in March.  Two are being facilitated by our International Initiative.  The first is International Women’s Day, this year being held at Dutchess Community College on March 8 from 4:00-7:00.  Or, perhaps you want to participate in the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women being held at the UN in NYC on March 14.  Our monthly program on March 9 is on art therapy.  Our only fundraiser for the year, The Writers’ Tea & Auction, missing March by only a few days on April 2, needs your support so we can fund all of our important community initiatives, scholarships and fellowships.  They each represent the right track of fulfilling our mission so “we don’t end up somewhere else” and they all allow each of us an opportunity to not “just sit there.” 


One last quote for the day is this one by Dwight D Eisenhower: “Neither a wise woman, or a brave woman lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over her.”  Alright, I changed it from “man” to “women” …you get the idea!




Thursday, June 8, 2017

          6:00 pm


The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel


Guest Speaker:


       Sandra Opdycke

         When Women Won the Vote




Making a planned gift to AAUW is a simple way to support our mission and leave a lasting impact.



Benefits of Estate Giving


For more information and giving options, please call AAUW’s Planned Giving office at 877-357-5587.



Volunteer(s) Needed

Ruth Sheets *473-6202*


Position Available: Soleil Interest Group Leader 

Each month Soleil takes a “field trip” to a museum, local business, garden, or other fun, educational venue.  The Soleil group leader oversees the annual planning meeting, emails the members (about 150) about trip details and Soleil rules, and attends the September Open House to talk to potential new members.  (Trip arrangements are planned by trip coordinators, not the Soleil group leader.)  If you are interested in this relatively easy way to serve the many appreciative Soleil members, please contact Ruth Sheets at 845-473-6202 to discuss.  It is a perfect volunteer job for a new, or not-so-new, AAUW member who wants to get involved, but doesn’t want to overextend herself!  This position could be shared by 2 people.




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)


Anonymous, 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



Eleanor Aronstein, President, Schenectady Branch AAUW 


Come to AAUW-NYS Convention in Syracuse!


This year, the NYS AAUW Convention is being held in Syracuse (April 21-23).  If you've never spent time in Syracuse, you've missed a gem of a city.  As one of a string of mid-sized cities along the northwestern border, it offers varied cultural and culinary attractions.  It boasts a lovely old theater which has been rehabilitated and now serves as a venue for touring shows.  It boasts its own wonderful opera company with a first rate orchestra!  It is home to the Erie Canal Museum and the Everson Museum of Art (designed by I.M. Pei) and the Onondaga Historical Society.  On Sundays, the carillon of its magnificent cathedral is played for almost an hour at noon and there are park benches nearby so you can enjoy the music.


The Doubletree Inn offers comfort and good location; you're almost in downtown Syracuse and you're very close to Syracuse University - with its lovely campus and walking areas. 


Syracuse combines the sophistication of an arts-savvy city with the charm of a small upstate city.  It's a great place for an AAUW Convention... and the opportunity to participate in both AAUW activities and enjoy the many attractions of this lovely city should be an inducement to attend.




Linda Roberts *227-5287*


April 2nd marks our eighth annual Writers’ Tea & Auction!! We are now taking reservations and are hoping for a “full house” so please send in your reservation as soon as you can!  Arrangements have been made for you to pay by check or credit card (See page 7 for the invitation).


Auction items are coming in but we can use many more of your beautiful handcrafted items and gift certificates to name a few suggestions!  Please contact me or anyone on our committee to make arrangements for us to receive your donation.  We will need a description of your item(s) to include in our program booklet.  All donations must be in by March 18.  This will enable us to have everything ready for you to view and bid on when you arrive at The Links.


Two forms are on our website for everyone's use when they are soliciting items for the auction.  First is a letter for potential donors explaining who we are and our programs supported by this fundraiser.  The second one is a simple tax form for donors.  We don't assign the value of the items - that is up to the donor but do remember we are a 501( c)3.


The theme of this year's Raffle Basket is "Around the World."  We are looking for donated items from you and businesses you frequent to fill this basket.  Raffle tickets are available before and on the day of the Tea from committee members.  During March I will be selling them at all events.


For auction bidding, we will be using the same method as last year  where you will be assigned a number to use with your name on the bidding sheets.  The Auction will take place before the tea is served and the authors speak.  There will be no bidding at intermission to enable us to streamline the checkout process.


Please remember that this is the only fundraiser we have for the entire year.  This is your way to support our scholarships and wonderful community initiatives.



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181*  


It's my Voice


"On January 21, 2017, at least half a million people descended upon Washington, D.C., to march for gender equality.  Millions more joined in sister marches across the United States and around the world.  Never content to sit out history, AAUW members were right there front and center. AAUW staff, members, and supporters marched to make their voices heard in our nation’s capital and across the country.  The AAUW delegation came to D.C. by bus, plane, train, and automobile. All came with the same goal: to proclaim that women’s rights are human rights." 


In support of the Women's March on Washington, many Hudson Valley AAUW members participated in the sister march across the Hudson.  Since that event, invitations and opportunities to march in support of social/political causes stream the news, internet, Facebook, and e-mail.  Due to the success of the Women's March, scientists are planning a march on Earth Day, while other nationally organized groups are planning Washington marches and actions for February, March and April.  These missions include tax awareness, climate change, environmental concerns, jobs, justice, poverty, education and immigration.  In the absence of an official AAUW endorsement, how do you decide if you want to participate and how can you safely participate?


Research.  What is the purpose of the event?  Awareness?  Support?  Resistance?  Protest?  Who is sponsoring the event?  Is it a familiar group?  Grass roots?  What is the mission of the group?  Is this a legal event?  Have the proper permits been obtained? 


Plan.  Park several blocks from the event, use public transportation, or arrange to be dropped off and picked up. Have a fully charged cell phone replacement battery and notify someone you are participating.  Check in before and after the event.  Bring water.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Have ID.  Carry an emergency contact number.


Signs.  Make two - one for you and one for someone else.  Foam boards and magnum Sharpies work best.  What is your message?  Keep signs positive.  Are there phrases, themes, or statements unique to the cause?  Creativity is welcome.  If your picture should be taken, is this a sign you are happy to be photographed with?  A front page?  Avoid vulgarity. 


The Event.  Follow directions of the event organizers.  Avoid confrontations.  Stay positive and don't "buy in" to agitators.  You may leave at any point if you feel uncomfortable.  Leave the event in the company of others.  Respect the role of the police.


After the Event.  Share you experience.  You might inspire someone else to get involved.  Follow up with an additional activity to help your cause.  Contact a government official; volunteer some time; attend a meeting; write a letter to the editor; share with a community group; make a donation.


You may check the AAUW Public Policy page online for updates on events that AAUW may endorse.  In the meantime, use the Two Minute Activist to stay engaged with current issues.  




It is that time of year again.  We are searching for a special young college woman to represent us while having a wonderful experience.  Our scholarship will help one woman attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) scheduled for May 31 to June 3, 2017 at University of Maryland, College Park.


The scholarship we offer covers the registration fee as well as all scheduled meals and housing.  A travel stipend will also be included.  This conference helps college and university women develop leadership skills, network with other student leaders, and interact with women who hold leadership positions.  As America’s premier conference for college women, the conference provides a transformative experience.


Please help spread the word about this wonderful opportunity. “Word of mouth” is very powerful!  Call if you have any questions or could recommend a young woman, Marcine Humphrey 845-485-7697.


There is additional information on our website select Scholarship then Irene Keyes Memorial Fund.



Mary Coiteux *226-8275*

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


Hats Off to member Didi Barrett for her continued support of AAUW principles as a public servant serving in the New York State Assembly.



Sabashnee Govender


“The theme for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, focuses on Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.  The world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women.  On one hand, we have globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, and on the other hand, the growing informality of labor, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts—all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment.” -UN Women


Locally, please join the Women's Leadership Alliance to celebrate women and inspire change.  The celebration will be an event at DCC and NOT a walk over the bridge.


DATE: March 8, 2017

VENUE: Falcon Hall

Dutchess Community College

53 Pendell Road

Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

TIME: 4:00 – 7:00 pm

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Kathleen Durham

Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val Kill


Admission is free. Open to the public


This year AAUW Poughkeepsie Branch will be having a nonprofit table at the event to educate the public on our mission and improve awareness of our community outreach initiatives/programs.  Please stop by our table and say Hello

If you would like to volunteer at our table please contact


#BeBoldForChange IWD 2017 and onwards!


International Women’s Day is both a celebration of women around the world, and an opportunity to educate people about the plight of women in our country as well as other countries. Join us to hear inspirational speeches, share stories and gather together in solidarity.  For complete event information, including sponsors, see link at under Upcoming Events.




The 61st Commission on Status of Women (CSW) will be held from 13- 24 March 2017 at the UN, NYC.  The theme of this year is Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.  Parallel to the UN activities, the NGO CSW Forum, organized by NGO CSW/NY, gives activists from around the world the opportunity to discuss the theme, network, share strategies/good practices, get inspired and lobby governments to implement resolutions and treaties.”


Here is what our AAUW members have said in the past about attending these parallel events:

“As a grief therapist, I work with groups of widows.  Their struggle to adjust to their new circumstances is painful and arduous. ... Being able to hear from and speak to the courageous women who addressed us – some lawyers who are working to change laws – others in the field working directly with woman and their families to overcome the cycles of poverty that feed into wars and disease.  These speakers were an inspiration.  I urge other AAUW members to attend next year.” Judy Elkin LMSW


“What I learned from the Solving the Equation for Gender Equality workshop is that all over the world there is gender inequality.  Also abuse is serious in third world countries”

Nade Owusu­Ansah (10 year old boy who attended with his mom in 2016)


Poughkeepsie AAUW is organizing a bus trip to attend the PARALLEL events.


DATE: March 14, 2017

DEPARTS: Hudson Plaza (near TJ Maxx in Poughkeepsie)

TIME: 7:30 am  Please arrive by 7:15 am

DESTINATION: United Nations Visitors center

(The bus will drop us off and pick us up here)

COST: Members $15

                        Non Members: $ 20


Please let me know ASAP if you would like to attend by bus.

You can e-mail me

Please make your check payable to:

         Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc

And mail to:

Sabashnee Govender

8 Maplebrook Lane

New Paltz, NY 12561

Please send your checks to me by February 22, 2017


The Parallel events will  be held this year at the Church center building of the United Nations, The Salvation Army building, The Armenian Convention Center and City University of New York.  Map of locations and a list of scheduled events are linked from the date on the home page of our website.  Admission to all events are free – transportation is your only cost.


8th Annual Writers' Tea & Auction

A benefit for the AAUW Scholarship Funds, Community Initiatives and Events.


Sunday, April 2, 2017       2:30 ~ 6:00 pm

The Links at Union Vale

153 North Parliman Rd., Lagrangeville, NY

Jim DeFelice


Author of American Sniper, American Wife, Fighting Blind and some fifty other works of fiction and non-fiction.  Jim’s works have appeared and debuted on the NY Times Best Seller List fifteen times.


Lesa Cline-Ransome


Writer of numerous children’s books and winner of many awards, Lesa will share stories from Light In The Darkness: A Story of How Slaves Learned in Secret and the companion book, Freedom's School.  Her newest book, Germs, will be released in 2017.


High Tea

We will be welcomed with champagne, light drinks and hors d'oeuvres as we arrive and browse the silent auction items.  The writers’ presentations will be accompanied by high tea.


Silent Auction

A silent auction of hand-crafted items and services donated by our members, local businesses and craftsmen.  Checks or cash only.


Reservations---Please RSVP by March 22, 2017


Name__________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                               Phone____________________________




If you are making reservations for more than one person list all additional names on the back. ____________________________


The cost is $60 per person/$62 using PayPal.  Enclosed $______ for _____ attendee(s).


Make checks payable to: “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.” [$20 of the fee is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law]

Mail to: Patricia DeLeo, PO Box 542, Plattekill, NY 12568



To make reservations using PayPal, on, select the homepage link to the tea, then select the yellow (PayPal) button and follow the onscreen directions.  When PayPal asks for special instructions to Seller, click in that box and type tea, your phone number and the full name(s) of those included in your reservation.  You do not need a PayPal account to use this method.  You do not have to contact the tea committee separately.  The cost for the event when using PayPal is $62 per person.

Questions:  845/883-5181,


Open seating, no table reservations.


If you are unable to attend but would like to support our scholarship funds, community initiatives and events please write a check payable to "Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc." and mail it to Patricia DeLeo at the address above or use PayPal.

Poughkeepsie Branch of the AAUW, Inc. is a nonprofit organization [501(c)(3)] that works to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. 




Sandy Goldberg *297-7670*




AAUW, as a service to our members, will be offering a Defensive Driving Course at Uno’s in the Town of Poughkeepsie from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm.


Course will be given by our own AAUW member Michelle Paolicelli.


Ø  Reduce insurance premiums

Ø  Reduce points

Ø  Take the course with friends and likeminded people for a fun time!


Cost will be $22.00 plus whatever you order for lunch.



Susie Blecker *462-7074*

Sheila Zweifler *462-6478*


It is hard to believe but it is already March.  Hopefully, we can look forward to warmer weather and the Writers’ Tea & Auction on April 2nd!


We are thrilled to report that 37 new members have joined our organization since last summer.  AAUW has so much to offer its members and it’s wonderful to see women in the Poughkeepsie area becoming part of our branch.  We are the largest branch in New York State.  On that note, we want to give a warm welcome to the Diane Fiscina.  Diane joined in the summer, but was left off the list of new members.


Just a reminder, new members joining at this time of year get the benefit of 15+ months membership in AAUW for the price of 12 months.  So please spread the word to any prospective members.


There have been some updates to our membership directory. This list was attached to the email announcing the publication of the February newsletter.  If you have not done so yet, please print it and put it with your 2016-2017 directory.


Continued from Page 1



RTA has launched a program with its alumni to develop an original play about the experience and challenges of coming home; this will be staged in NYC in early 2017, and then brought back inside the prison to help the incarcerated better prepare for release.


Today RTA serves 200 prisoners at any one time, teaching in at least one facility every day of the week, year round.  More than 30 arts facilitators travel to remote prisons in 3 NYS counties to teach a wide variety of artistic media.




Katherine Vockins founded Rehabilitation Through The Arts (RTA) as a theatre group in 1996 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.  She is Executive Director of RTA as well as its parent agency, Prison Communities International Inc., a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to criminal justice issues.


Today, RTA works in five maximum and medium security prisons.  The program uses theatre, dance music, voice, writing and visual arts as tools to develop life skills and change behavior patterns.  RTA has launched a program with its alumni to develop an original play about the experience and challenges of coming home.  It will be staged in New York City in early 2017 and then be brought back inside the walls to help the incarcerated better prepare for release.


Katherine has produced over 50 classic, contemporary, original and musical performances in prison gyms, auditoriums, school rooms and chapels.  She has even performed in a few.  She has been featured in articles in the NY Times, the Daily News and the New Yorker, among many others, has had numerous radio interviews and was named Huffington Post’s “Person of the Day.”  The Good Witch, a News12 interview of Katherine about an RTA production of The Wizard of Oz at Sing Sing, recently won a New York Emmy Award. 


Katherine also co-produced Dramatic Escape, a documentary that followed RTA through its production cycle of A Few Good Men at Sing Sing, which was released this year.


In May of 2016, SUNY Purchase College awarded Katherine an honorary doctorate for her work with Rehabilitation Through The Arts.


Prior to RTA, Katherine ran an international marketing firm, working with corporate and non-profit clients including American Express, JC Penney, Save the Children, UNICEF and Habitat for Humanity.




Charles Moore holds a Bachelor's degree in Human Services and a Master's in Professional Studies.  He has been involved in RTA since 2004 serving on the RTA prisoner steering committee, as a frequent production manager and the occasional actor. 


Recently, he joined the staff as Program & Alumni Coordinator.  As an RTA alumnus, Charles brings a wealth of insight and ideas to our organization.




Eileen Hayden & Barbara Hespenheide


We continue our look into the past… In 1925 an invitation was sent to women college graduates in the Poughkeepsie area to meet and form a branch of the AAUW.  Over 45 women responded and attended the first meeting at Vassar College, only four years after the national group was formed.  Wasting no time, these women drew up a constitution and bylaws, thus making official “The Central Hudson Valley Branch of AAUW.”  Suggested topics for the following year included education and international relations; formation of study groups for particular topics was stressed.  Early meetings, in the afternoon, were held on the Vassar campus, at the Alumnae House or in private homes.  One such meeting included a talk on nutrition and malnutrition, and the formation of good health habits followed by a call for a volunteer to form a social committee to plan future meeting “arrangements.”  As was the usual custom, the meeting adjourned for tea.


Over the next twenty-five years, guest speakers at these meetings included a broad spectrum of notables:  three Vassar College presidents - Henry Noble MacCracken three times, Sara Gibson Blanding and Alan Simpson;  Eleanor Roosevelt;  bridge expert Ely Culbertson; author Dorothy Canfield Fisher;  local artist Lewis Rubenstein; Edward R. Murrow; industrial consultant Lillian Galbraith; sportswear designer Florence Walsh; as well as AAUW National representatives spoke to eager branch audiences.


By 1950, two hundred members were on hand to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary at the Aula at Vassar College.


The currently named Poughkeepsie Branch has followed a path set forth by the founders with focus on timely topics and informative programs for its members.




Diana Babington  


The Live Your Dream 2017 Girls’ Conference Committee is up and running.  A small group of women, who helped bring the 2016 Conference to Dutchess County 6th and 7th grade girls in November, met at Hudson Hall, at DCC to begin planning for this year’s event.  The success of our event is dependent on volunteers as part of the planning committee, volunteers to work school Open Houses in September and of course women to work the day of our event, November 4, 2017.  So, if you want to help girls see their potential and help them recognize their dreams; why not join us as we make to work our conference, bigger and better!


Contact Diana Babington at   to volunteer or if you have any questions!  Our success depends on your support.


Meeting Dates:

April 3, 2017                  May 1, 2017                  June 5, 2017

September 11, 2017      October 2, 2017   October 23, 2017 November 13, 2017


All meeting to be held at 5:30 pm at DCC, Hudson Hall, Room 315 (Academic Services & Testing).


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).