Celebrating Our Legacy, Enhancing Our Future


Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


Volume 31, Number 7                                                       62nd year of publication                                  http://www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Follow us at www.facebook.com/AAUWPoughkeepsie2014                                                                                      March 2018



Margaret Nijhuis margaretnijhuis@gmail.com


April 15, 2018

2:30 – 6:00 pm

The Links at Union Vale


Introducing the second of our two authors:

Jane Lazarre


Jane Lazarre is a prize-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction.  Her memoir, The Communist and The Communist’s Daughter, was published in fall, 2017 by Duke University Press.  Her previous memoir, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons (reissued in a special 20th anniversary edition), Wet Earth and Dreams: A Narrative of Grief and Recovery, and The Mother Knot, are also published by Duke University Press.  Other recent works include the essays, “Once White in America,” “On The Problems of Breathing in America” (both widely published online), “Politics and Art,” in the anthology, “The Racial Imaginary,” Editor, Claudia Rankine et al.; and “Hoarding,” a story, in Hamilton Stone Review.  Novels include Inheritance, Some Place Quite Unknown, The Powers of Charlotte, and Worlds Beyond My Control, reissued in winter, 2017, by Hamilton Stone Editions.


Lazarre has taught writing and literature at the City College of New York, Yale University and Eugene Lang College at the New School, where she created and directed the undergraduate writing program and served on the full-time faculty for many years.  She lives in New York City where she teaches writing privately to individual students.


Lazarre’s essays, articles and reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines and journals, and collected in many anthologies over the past forty years.  She has won awards for her fiction from the National Endowment for Arts and the New York Foundation for Arts. 


Additional information, interviews and commentary on her works can be found at: www.janelazarre.com and www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org


See BELOW or www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org for Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction reservation form!!! 


Please join Poughkeepsie AAUW and Vassar College’s Campus Life ALANA Center, Career Development Office and Women’s Studies Program for this timely and relevant panel discussion.





Thursday, March 8, 2018

7 pm to 8:30 pm

*The Aula at Vassar College


**Moderator: Wendy Maragh Taylor, Director of the Campus Life ALANA Center, Vassar College; AAUW Member


This program will attend to the challenges women face with having a range of "noise" around us, being pulled in various directions and having numerous possibilities.  The program will be a moderated panel, which will feature three professionals and two students about to graduate.  We will hear different perspectives on the state of things for women given the pressures in the current culture. Opportunity for audience participation will follow.  The program will begin with a welcome and opening remarks by Vassar's eleventh president, Elizabeth Howe Bradley.


**Panelist: Sophia Burns, Student, Vassar College; Leah Feldman, Director for the Center for Victim Safety, Family Services; Cecilia Hoang, Student, Vassar College; Lubna Somjee, Clinical & Health Psychologist/Executive Coach; Shona Tucker, Faculty & Chair of Drama Department, Vassar College


**Biographies, BELOW.


*Directions to Ely Hall (The Aula): Enter Vassar by the Main Gate off Raymond Ave.  Turn left in front of Main Building, take the first right and bear left immediately to Pratt Loop.  Ely Hall is the first building on the right (#18 on a campus map).  There is some parking before the building and some on a loop to the right after the building, otherwise the North Lot off College View Ave will be the next choice.  See the map which works on iPads and phones campusmap.vassar.edu  



Online Calendar at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Contact: Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com


1       Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

         Vassar Hospital, Conference Room B

5       Word Games: 1:30 pm

         Hostess:  Ellie Charwat (462-7061)

         Coordinator: Susan Doyle (914/474-1232)

8       General Membership Program: 7 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

          – see details on ABOVE & BELOW

9       Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinator: Leona Miller (471-0777)

10     Bridge III: 10:00 am

         Hostess: Patty Cerniglia (298-7655)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner dlr0804@verizon.net

10     Deadline for NCCWSL applications

Irene Keyes Scholarship, BELOW


10     “The Branch” deadline for April.

12     All those books...: 2:30 pm

         The Black Tulip by Alexander Dumas

Hostess: Bonnie Auchincloss bauchincloss@gmail.com

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

14     Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

         Le Express, 1820 Rte. 376, Poughkeepsie

         Contacts: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

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

16     Poetry and Plays - Emily D to Tennessee: 1:45 pm

Deep study of Imagists conclusion

Hostess: Maria DeWald (266-4960)

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

                  Barbara Hugo BHugo2@gmail.com

18     Aventures en Soleil:

Clove Creek Dinner Theater, BELOW

Contact: Linda Ronayne linronay@optonline.net  

         Coordinator: Janna Whearty (546-9190)


19     Manderley Literary Society: 7:00 pm

         Flowers in Blood by Gay Courter

Hostess: Linda Lurie (229-9397)

         Coordinator: Shelly Friedman (462-4996)

20     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Cuisine of Morocco

Hostesses: Shelly Friedman (462-4996) and

Rita Minnerley (471-1515)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


21     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess: Lillian DePasquale (462-4729)

Coordinators: Linda Ronayne (897-9745)


21     Photography Club: 7:00 pm

         Hostess: Contact Coordinator

         Coordinator: Carol Demicco (845-204-9553

22     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Red Lobster, Route 9, Poughkeepsie

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn cathy@kinn.org 

22     Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

         Pressed Flowers Mat

Hostess: Carol Demicco (204-9553)

         Coordinators: Pat Luczai pat.luczai@gmail.com &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)

23     Art on the Go:

Workshop on making Zentangles with Honorah Hinkle

Time and place TBA

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

24     Days for Girls: 1:00-4:00 pm

         Boardman Road Library, refreshment served

Contact the chair: Sabashnee Govender (914/850-0195)

by 3/16/2018 poughkeepsieny@daysforgirls.org

27     The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Hostess: Cathy Kinn (462-3196)

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

27     The Ediss II Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

         A new Ediss group, call coordinator, BELOW

         Coordinator: Cyd Averill *485-2866*

28     Mah Jongg: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Red Lobster, Rte. 9 Poughkeepsie

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by March 26

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

28     Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         Commonwealth by Ann Patchet

Hostess: Lillian DePasquale (462-4729):

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)




Diversity: Out of One Many People: IN APRIL

         Living in America as a Pakistani Immigrant

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Movie Night: Discontinued until new Director and

Producer can be found.

Contact Barbara Lemberger brlemberger@yahoo.com

Pedal Pushers: Watch for our return in April.

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler sheilaz@optonline.net

Trekkers: 10:00 am, April 21

         Walkway Bridge Loop

         Organizer/ Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)


World Travelers: Watch for meetings in Apr, May & June

          Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)




Apr 15: Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction,

The Links

Apr 20-22: AAUW-NYS Convention, Cortland

Oct 14: Woman of the Year, Le Chambord,

Jun 14: Annual Meeting, The Children’s Home

Nov 3:  Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference, DCC


9th Annual Writers' Tea & Benefit Auction

A literary benefit for the AAUW Scholarship Funds,

Community Service Initiatives and Events


Sunday, April 15, 2018     2:30 ~ 6:00 pm

The Links at Union Vale

                                     153 North Parliman Rd., Lagrangeville, NY


Mihai Grünfeld was born in Cluj, Romania where he lived with his family.  In 1969, at age 18, he escaped to Austria.  He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California and is a professor at Vassar College.  We will learn of his extraordinary life through his autobiography Leaving – Memories of Romania


Jane Lazarre is a prize-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction.  Her memoir, The Communist and The Communist’s Daughter, was published in fall, 2017.  Her previous memoir, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons, will be the focus of her presentation. 


High Tea

We will be welcomed with champagne, soft 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, cash or credit card.


Reservations----Please RSVP by April 2, 2018


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/Credit Card.  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


- OR -

To make reservations using PayPal/Credit Card, on www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org, 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 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/Credit Card is $62 per person.


Questions:  Patricia DeLeo, 845/883-5181, pattide2@optonline.net


Open seating, no table reservations.


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.


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE               

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


We all have experienced, or read about, being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. Sometimes, the results are innocuous, or funny, or frustrating or unexpectedly terrific or terribly tragic.  I was reminded of that in the two WWII films I saw recently, Darkest Hour and Dunkirk, where Churchill, certainly an unpopular and flawed choice for Prime Minister, engineered the civilian boat fleet that literally saved the British army and, arguably, laid the groundwork for Allied victory.  It could have gone terribly wrong but, at least in that instance, turned out to be the right action at the right time.  It wasn’t the resources or even the support of his powerful government that led his actions in the end but those of the people.  It was their small boats, their courage and their determination that made the difference.


I also was thinking just today about my Aunt Ida, my father’s youngest and last surviving sibling, whose one year anniversary of death just passed.  My grandparents were immigrants, coming through Ellis Island.  My dad and his siblings were first generation Americans and laid the groundwork for my generation to all attend college and prosper. Aunt Ida, being the youngest, was more than most, a perfect combination of the new and the old.  She was traditional in many ways but modern in many ways (and occasionally rebellious); always prepared and dressed for her day; self-taught, including the piano which she continued to play until a few weeks before she died.  She was always attentive, looking you straight in the eye when she spoke to you as if you were the only person in her world while telling you how much she liked “everything about you” and, in every way, a dynamic women for all 93 years of life.  Not perfect, not always making the right choices, but always moving forward, always learning, always listening.  Really, I can look back on my family, especially the women, and see so clearly how, despite many hardships, they led effective lives and helped to build their families and communities with every resource they had and, most certainly, helped the women who followed to be in a better place.


AAUW helps us to be in the right place at the right time in terms of the issues, the needed advocacy, and the resources needed.  Their respected research on issues such as debt, sexual harassment, salary gaps, and so many others, supports policy initiatives and builds support. Involvement with this organization helps us all to build a better community for women and girls and personally live more dynamic lives. Thank you for being an active member.  You are the ones who make the difference in our times, who are preparing the way for the next generations.


I hope you will be joining us at our only fundraiser, the Writer’s Tea & Benefit Auction, definitely one of those “right places to be!”  It supports all our scholarships and community services, that is, supports our organizational efforts to make a difference for women and girls.  Bring a friend, donate an auction item and make a donation.  You are our “civilian boat fleet” after all! We cannot succeed without you. Reservations ABOVE


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


Every branch in New York State has been asked to highlight one Emerging Leader.  These are women who joined and immediately got involved in helping the branch move forward.  AAUW-NYS will be honoring these leaders at the state convention, to be held on April 20-22 in Corning, NY. 

This year’s honoree, Monique Jones, joined the Poughkeepsie Branch in 2015.  She was introduced to AAUW by attending the Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction with her mother, Mildred Jones.  She was very impressed with the branch and the members she met and decided it was the right organization for her.  After joining, she quickly became involved in a number of activities.  Throughout her membership, she has continued to play an active role. 


As a member of the planning committee for the Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference, Monique helped to develop the programs and was part of the team recruiting middle school girls to attend.  She took part in the conferences and assisted in several areas including registration.  She also volunteered at the Ribfest LAF fundraiser and joined the Soleil day tripping group.  She is currently on the board and is completing her first year as the Co-Program Vice President.


Professionally, Monique is an Associate Public Health Sanitarian with the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health.  We are delighted that she is a member of our branch and applaud her efforts in furthering our mission!


Join Monique and other Poughkeepsie members at the

AAUW-NYS Convention.



Continued BELOW…




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)

Lula Allen, Anonymous, Marge Barton, Mary Ann Boylan,

Sharon Clarke, Lillian DePasquale, Ruth Gau, Gloria Gibbs,

Sandy Goldberg, Elizabeth Harrel, Shaileen Kopec,

Margaret Nijhuis, Jacqueline Prusak, Mary Ann Ryan

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



Not for Women and Members only!

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


April 15, 2018

The Links in Union Vale


Bring your friends, neighbors and colleagues – they might just find that AAUW is the place for them – but certainly they will enjoy the day!  Beautiful location and wonderful people to meet and visit with.  Shopping opportunities also abound so what could be better!!


Our amazing Raffle Basket has a theme “For Women Only” and we all looking forward to seeing this basket and buying a ticket to win. 


But our “tea” is for everyone, so bring your best friend – your significant other – and share this lovely afternoon with them.  Some of us have brought our “best friend” every year and they are still planning to come for the 9th time!!


Auction Items


‣Silver and stone cuff bracelet


‣Hand crafted necklace and earrings


‣Exotic pashmina scarf


Reservations, ABOVE




The March Soleil Trip will be

Sun., March 18th

Dinner & Show*, Clove Creek Dinner Theater Fishkill, 1 pm,  $55.25

Contacts: Linda Ronayne linronay@optonline.net

& Linda Beyer send,

Checks payable to Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW

Mail to: Linda Beyer

    14 Kingwood Lane

    Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


*Boeing Boeing, a comedy


This 1960’s French farce adapted for the English-speaking stage features self-styled Parisian lothario Bernard, who has Italian, German, and American fiancées, each a beautiful airline hostess with frequent “layovers.”  He keeps “one up, one down, and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and Bernard’s apartment, at the same time. ■



Cyd Averill *485-2866*


Book enthusiasts looking for a small group experience can join the newly established Ediss II.  As a satellite group of Ediss, our meetings are held on the same night/time (March 27, 4th Tuesday @ 7pm), but in a different location.  By design, the group will not exceed 10 members.  For more info, contact Coordinator Cyd Averill (averillc@optonline.net or





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


For the past several years, the members of the AAUW Cuisine Interest Group have donated money they've accumulated to the AAUW Leading to Reading project.  The money will once again be used to buy new books and increase the reach of our community service program.


Please join me in thanking them for their generosity and willingness to share their love of reading with others! ■



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

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


It is hard to believe but it is already March.  Hopefully, we can look forward to warmer weather and the Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction on April 15th!  


We are thrilled to report that 29 new members have joined since the summer.  AAUW has so much to offer its members and it is wonderful to see women in our community becoming part of our branch.  We have the distinction of being the largest branch in New York State.


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


Talking about dues, National has raised its dues by $10.  This money will go into their unrestricted fund so it can be used to continue their lobbying efforts, research, and awarding of scholarships.  Another way to look at the increase is just 3 cents a day to keep AAUW strong.


There have been some updates to our Membership Directory. This list is attached to the email announcing the publication of the March newsletter.  Please print out the changes and put it with your 2017-2018 directory. ■



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


In our branch, there are several members who go above and beyond in furthering the mission of AAUW.  They willingly share their time and expertise and take part in a number of our programs, projects and events.  We are able to name a fellowship in a member’s honor for each $500 we donate to the national fund.  This year we’ll be honoring the following six members at our annual dinner on June 14th:


AT DELEO spends time researching state and national AAUW positions in her role as Public Policy Director.  She writes a monthly article on ways we can take action, participates in conference calls, and keeps us all aware of when and whom to contact about AAUW issues.  She has also orchestrated several special events, including a Wine Bowl on Equal Pay Day and a Meet the Candidates Night.  Other AAUW activities include the tea committee, Movie Night, Out and About, and Soleil trips.  Community activities include serving as a food bank volunteer, organizing theatre trips, and editing the retired teachers’ newsletter.


After a friend shared her passion for AAUW, SABASHNEE GOVENDER joined our branch in 2014.  Since she grew up in a developing nation, she was intrigued by the organization’s international impact and equity mission.  She chairs the International Relations committee is a member of the AAUW board, and assists with the Facebook page. Her latest project is initiating the Days for Girls Poughkeepsie NY team to make feminine hygiene kits for girls in developing countries.  She has felt both self-empowerment and the ability to help others rise despite the many challenges they face.


EILEEN HAYDEN, the former Executive Director of the Dutchess County Historical Society and a well-known historian, continues to write articles and educate residents about local history.  Throughout last year as we celebrated women’s right to vote, several of her columns appeared in The Branch and the Poughkeepsie Journal as well as other publications.  She serves on the branch board as historian and continues her community service on the Black History Project Committee at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center. The recent recipient of two prestigious awards, she is also active at Val-kill, the Mills Mansion, and Marist College Center for Lifetime Studies.


SANDY LASH has taken part in a number of AAUW activities, including the Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction and the Daytime Literature Group.  As one of the leaders of Court Watch, she regularly observes Family Court proceedings, serves on the monitoring team, and develops monitor training programs.  She has fostered the expansion of the project to other areas of the state and has been a speaker about the initiative at both the Summer Leadership Conference in Cazenovia and the Westchester Branch.  She is currently on the board and is completing her first year as the Co-Program Vice President.


As one of the initial members of “Leading to Reading,” JUDY LINVILLE has helped to shape the project.  She attends work sessions, reads in a pre-school, provides books for two of the Laundromat Library sites, and serves on the planning committee.  She has been the branch secretary and was on the Executive Committee.  One of her articles was published in the AAUW-NYS Remarkable Women book.  For several years, she’s been on the Woman of the Year Committee and has been chair of the annual dinner meeting.  Her community activities include serving as a Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie associate, past president of Mills Mansion Board of Trustees, Vice President of the Staatsburg Library Board, and on the Poughkeepsie Library District’s Big Read committee. 


After joining AAUW right before retirement in order to find a book group, JOANNE SCOLARO quickly became involved in other facets of the branch.  She helped to launch the website, serves as assistant on the web page and newsletter, and became the first Communications Vice President.  She has continued to update the web page, helped to streamline publishing the newsletter, and sends out the membership Alerts.  Taking part in Pins and Needles introduced her to quilting.  When she’s not traveling, she spends time taking Italian, quilting classes, and enjoying her reading. 


Please join in congratulating these women and the leadership roles they have taken in AAUW!



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


In Living Color


While researching for an article on diversity, I encountered a new word, at least to me: colorism.  Embarrassed at not knowing the word, I asked a few friends if they were familiar with the word. Three of ten correctly defined it. Attempts included home decoration specialist, fashion consultant, photographer, cosmetologist and fabric designer.  My favorite response was it is the difference between the eight color Crayola Box and the 64 Crayola Box with the sharpener built in.  Three people correctly defined colorism: discrimination of race within a race based on skin color with the lighter shades considered preferential and darker shades undesirable.  


Author-activist Alice Walker is the woman most often credited with first using the word colorism, both out loud and in print. However, intra-racism has been practiced for centuries.  Universally, people and race are categorized by color: black, brown, yellow, red and white.  Skin lightening is practiced by different cultures, and what color denotes in one society does not always translate to another.  The United States, Latin America, East and South Asia, the Caribbean and Africa all grapple with colorism. It is an interracial and an intra-racial problem.  While many hide from the tanning effects of the sun, others bask for the seasonal tan.  “For every African-American girl hiding from the sun ...there is a Korean-American girl playing in the shadows as well.”  Women in India fear class and caste misrepresentation and discrimination based on shades of color. 


Lori Tharps in The Color of Racism in America states “in the 21st century, as America becomes less white and the multiracial community—formed by interracial unions and immigration—continues to expand, color will be even more significant than race in both public and private interactions.  Why?  Because a person’s skin color is an irrefutable visual fact that is impossible to hide” while race may be camouflaged in heredity, history, mind and spirit.


How can we profess to be a diverse society if color continues to separate race from race and shades of color cause division within race?  How and when will we become colorblind?


Jane Lazarre, prize-winning writer of fiction and non-fiction, confronts some of these issues in her memoir, Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons. “I am Black,” Jane Lazarre’s son tells her. “I have a Jewish mother, but I am not ‘biracial.’  That term is meaningless to me.” She understands, she says—but he tells her, gently, that he doesn’t think so, that she can’t understand this completely because she is white.  Lazarre’s memoir shares coming to terms with this painful truth, of learning to look into the nature of whiteness and how skin color impacts self-image and how skin color comes with its own discrimination.  She shares how color impacts within a family.


Is our world Black vs White?  White vs People of Color?  Color vs Color?  Light vs Dark?  Why do we need a color spectrum at all as descriptors of people?  Ironically, black and white do not appear on the color wheel.  Ruth McBride, mother of author James McBride, identified what should be the universal color, the color of water.


Jane Lazarre will be featured at the AAUW Annual Tea and Auction on April 15.  She will discuss Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons as well as her new book, The Communist and The Communist’s Daughter.


This is a literary benefit to raise funds for the Poughkeepsie AAUW Scholarship fund, community service initiatives and events.



Lila Meade limeade@vassar.edu


The Vassar Haiti Project’s (VHP) sixth annual Art and Soul reception and fundraiser will be held on

Thursday, March 1,

Vassar College Alumnae House.

Event proceeds fund the staffing, supply, and operation of a medical center in northwest Haiti that serves thousands of families from over 40 villages.  Additionally, this year, the project will honor renowned physician, anthropologist, and humanitarian Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, for his extraordinary achievements in the field of global public health and international social justice.


The Art and Soul Gala will feature beautiful, vibrant Haitian art, live entertainment from Vassar student musicians, and cuisine from Poughkeepsie restaurant, Twisted Soul.  The program runs from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and is open to the public.  Tickets are $75 each.  NOTE:  Dr. Farmer will be speaking between 5:00-5:45 pm and will be receiving an award from the Vassar Haiti Project.


More information about Dr. Farmer and his work as well as Art and Soul tickets purchasing information can be found online at www.thehaitiproject.org (Events).  All art purchases are tax deductible.  For more information on ticket prices and availability please contact haitiproject@vassar.edu or call (845)797-2123.


Lila Meade, AAUW member, was a founder of this project and our February speaker, Grace Roebuck, is a student volunteer with The Haiti Project. ■


RITA KAPLAN 1942-2017


It is with great sorrow that we tell you, Rita Kaplan succumbed to cancer after a 2 ½ year battle Friday December 8, 2017 in peaceful comfort at Vassar Brothers Medical Center with her family nearby. Born in Manhattan on September 28, 1942 she spent her adolescent years in Teaneck, New Jersey.  She received her Bachelors’ degree in English minoring in history, from Syracuse University in 1964 and continued on at Yeshiva University to receive her Masters’ degree. She taught for many year, retiring in 2009.


She was active in many local organizations, especially those from her temple.  She joined Poughkeepsie AAUW in 2010. ■


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


International Women’s day

This year the Women’s Leadership Alliance is organizing a bus trip to NYC instead of the Walkway celebration

Date: 03/08/2018

Time: 8:00 am -7:00 pm

Cost is $50, and includes round-trip transportation from Poughkeepsie, admission and private tour of New York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History, and a box lunch.  The day will also include guest speakers and a viewing of “We Rise,” a film narrated by Meryl Streep that puts women at the center of political thought and action that reshaped the country in the early 20th century.


For more information at: https://www.dcrcoc.org/WLA/IWD


You can also celebrate the day by attending the AAUW meeting at Vassar College – see ABOVE & BELOW


Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) Parallel events and Artisan Fair


The Parallel events of CSW 62 will be held from 03/12/2018 -03/23/2018 from 8:30 am to 7:45 pm.


The public is invited to visit the NGO CSW Forum Artisan Fair. The proceeds will go directly to the artisans who are raising funds for their NGOs.


The Artisan Fair will take place on MARCH 15, 2018 from

12:30 pm to 4:00 pm at CCUN (Church Center for the UN).


Our trip this year will coincide with attending the Artisan Fair

Meet us at the Poughkeepsie train station on

Date: 03/15/2018

Time: Depart Poughkeepsie at 6:14 am to Grand Central

Tickets: one way peak $24.75

Return:  whenever you want to

Contact Sabashnee@aol.com  if you would like to take the train as a group and for additional information



Kim Edgar, Co-Director Convention


Corning – Gaffer District Convention Activities


This year’s convention hotel is located in the Gaffer District of Corning and it is located in the heart of Corning’s attractions for


convention attendees and guests to explore by walking, riding the free Corning Visitor’s Bus, or driving your car.


Our traditional Friday afternoon pre-convention activity will be held at the Corning Museum of Glass.  Two sessions of sandblasting workshops involving decorating a drinking glass are planned.  Attendees can pick either the

1:30 pm or 2:30 pm workshop times on their registration forms.  The museum has docents throughout to help guide you through the expansive site featuring many glassmaking demonstrations by professional gaffers and exhibitions, plus a fun gift shop to visit.


Registration is through the Convention Registration on the AAUW-NYS website at $30 per person by Sunday, April 8, 2018.  Individuals do not need to attend the convention to participate in this pre-convention activity.  All registered participants must pick-up their convention badges which serve as the museum admission ticket from the Radisson Hotel prior to going to the museum.


On both Saturday and Sunday mornings of the convention, we will be offering both a guided tour of the Gaffer District and nearby Chemung Riverfront and an exercise walks starting at 6:30 am from the hotel lobby.  No registration will be required for the walks, however, attendees whom donate at least $10 to AAUW Action Fund will receive a special AAUW-NYS Gift.


Throughout the weekend, the hotel indoor pool will be available for the annual swim laps for AAUW Action Fund.


On Saturday Afternoon, Yoga Instructor Kim Knapp will be leading a gentle yoga class as one of the afternoon workshops.  Please note your interest in this workshop on your registration form and please bring exercise clothes and a yoga mat.


On Sunday Afternoon, we have arranged for a post-Convention docent-led activity at the Rockwell Museum starting at either 1:00 pm or 1:45 pm for $9.50 per person through the Convention Registration on the AAUW-NYS website by Sunday, April 8, 2018.  You do not need to attend the convention to participate in the museum tour.  All registered participants must take their convention badge which serves as the museum admission ticket.


After the Rockwell Museum Tours, you can stop at the Corning Museum of Glass to explore their Earth Day Nature Academy Celebration with hands-on exhibits before heading back home. 


On behalf of the Convention Planning Committee, we invite you to join us for this Moving Onward Empowering Women Weekend in Corning. ■


Biographies of Program Participants from above…



Moderator: Wendy Maragh Taylor received her Bachelor's degree in English and American Literature from Brown University, and Master's degree in Clinical Social Work at New York University. Wendy is currently the Director of the Campus Life ALANA Center (an acronym to include various communities of color) at Vassar College and a member of AAUW.



Sophia Burns is a senior Urban Studies major at Vassar College with concentrations in Political Science and Geography.  She is a first-generation college student and a native of the Philadelphia area.  During the spring semester of 2017, she studied social movements and political thought in Havana, Cuba. As a 2017-2018 fellow for “Young People For,” Sophia is building the Resilient Youth Collaborative, a mentorship and community-building organization for children of incarcerated parents.  She is also completing a senior thesis that seeks to create an understanding of the impact of mass incarceration on the local level through oral history.  She will continue this project at the MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute at Skidmore College during the summer of 2018. After Vassar, Sophia plans to pursue a career in social research.


Leah Feldman, MPA, has been working in the field of interpersonal violence since 2005 and began her work in Dutchess County at Family Services in 2009.  Currently, she is the Director of the Center for Victim Safety and Support at Family Services, overseeing non-residential rape crisis, crime victim, and domestic violence services.  In this role, she has been instrumental in partnering with the community to implement and manage evidence-based systems enhancement projects with multi-disciplinary teams.  She was vital to the development of AAUW Court Watch and is a member of AAUW.  She participates in numerous local and statewide committees and boards and has a certificate in Leadership Coaching through the Leadership Practices Inventory.  Her areas of interest include leadership coaching and development for women and young professionals.  Leah is a certified fitness coach and Girls on Guard self-defense instructor. Leah holds a BA in Psychology from Siena College and a MA in Public Administration from Marist College.


Cecilia Hoang (she/her) is a senior at Vassar College studying Sociology and Asian American Studies.  Her family is from Vietnam and now lives in Arizona.  During undergraduate years, she has taken on leadership roles on Vassar's house team and student government.  Last year she served as the Vassar Student Association's first Chair of Equity and Inclusion and worked with students, administrators, and faculty to improve the college

experiences of students of color, first-generation and low-income students, and survivors of sexual assault.  This role has given her an inside look at the operations of Vassar College and inspired her to pursue a career in higher education.  She is now applying to jobs in the field and hopes to one day earn a doctorate.


Dr. Lubna Somjee is an award-winning psychologist and executive coach.  As an executive coach, she works to maximize professional or leadership growth, for those at all stages of their career, or business.  She leverages insights regarding leadership, business, organizational life, change management, and human behavior and helps clients and teams shift to best practices.  Additionally, Dr. Somjee is a licensed psychologist in New York State and provides evidence based individual and couple’s psychotherapy, and has a specialty in health psychology.  She speaks to audiences regarding the workplace, leadership and psychology, and has been featured in media outlets ranging from NPR to FastCompany to the Poughkeepsie Journal.  She volunteers with organizations including but not limited to, leadership programs for the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and NYS Psychological association, sits on the executive board for the Women’s Leadership Alliance, the American Psychological Association, the Hudson Valley American Heart Association, and sits on the Committee of Trustees for Poughkeepsie Day School.  In her down time, she enjoys international cooking, home renovation, and time with her family.



Shona Tucker is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Vassar College Drama Department.  She is a professional actor, director and an award-winning playwright.  As an actor, she was most recently seen at Yale Repertory Theater in the world premiere of Amy Hertzog’s new play, Mary Jane.  She also premiered Danai Gurira’s, Eclipsed at Yale.  Ms. Tucker has directed and performed in theaters across the country, including: New York Theatre Workshop, The Actors Center, The Public Theater, Circle in the Square, The Pearl Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, and La MaMa, E.T.C., Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theater Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stageworks/Hudson, Arena Stage, The Acting Company, Hartford Stage, American Conservatory Theater, and Half Moon Theatre Company. Her television and film credits include: James Franco’s King Cobra, the FOX television series; Lights Out; Walk the Fish directed by Kathleen Man; Preaching to the Choir: On the One, Third Watch, New York Undercover, Law and Order, and One Life to Live.  She is an AUDELCO Award winner, a Schomburg Fellow and Fulbright Scholar.  She is currently writing her play trilogy, Mississippi Mud and hopes to have it produced this summer.  Ms. Tucker earned her BS from Northwestern University and MFA at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.



Monique Jones, 849-1692, myj712@aol.com

Sandy Lash, 227-4650, sjlash@optonline.net 


Irene Keyes Memorial Scholarship




Applications are being accepted for the Scholarship to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL).  The conference which takes place on the Campus of the University of Maryland from May 30 to June 2, 2018 is the premier conference for college women.  All of our past scholarship recipients have been so impressed, transformed, grateful and strong!  This conference means to prepare the next generation of leaders.  There are 50 workshops, Women of Distinction awardees and speakers, a graduate school college fair, and pre-conference community projects.  College women gain confidence to return to their campuses and communities ready to take action.


All the details and applications can be found on our website, www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org, where you can read the reactions from former attendees.  This is an ongoing, exciting effort to honor Irene Keyes, past president and dear friend, and to support the mission of AAUW, co-sponsor of the conference.


Please reach out to college students, professionals on campuses and women involved in activities with college women.


Donations to the Irene Keyes Memorial Fund will help us continue this program in the future. ■



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 Branch member and Master Gardener Cathy Lane for her presentation of "Home Composting" at the LaGrange Library.



Auction Items


6 new (never worn) handmade hats in several colors, detail work by Nanette’s Hat Club, Florida

Reservations, ABOVE





Come to the first planning committee meeting:

Monday, March 5, 2018

5:00 pm

Dutchess Community College

Hudson Hall, Room 315.

Contacts:  Diana dibab@aol.com &

Lori lori.scolaro@sunydutchess.edu



Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2017-2018


President                              Maria DeWald                       266-4960

Program Co-VPs                 Monique Jones                      849-1692

                                             Sandy Lash                           227-4650

Membership Co-VPs                    Susie Blecker                        462-7074

                                                      Sheila Zweifler                      462-6478

Development VP                  Jocelynn Banfield                 454-5551

Communications VP            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 (845-635-8612).