Officers for 2014 – 2015
Co-Presidents: Andrea Challis & Rose Homish
Program VP: Frances Pickard & Gloria Niedbala
Membership VP: Betsey Uslenghi
Secretary: Debi Breit-Adams
Financial Officer: Nancy Mahosky
For membership information, contact Betsey at 724-846-8370.
Next Board Meeting: February 7, 2015 9:00 am (prior to monthly meeting)
Save the Date – AAUW-PA Annual Meeting April 10-11, 2015, Ramada Inn State College
Human Rights —Voter Rights—Women’s Rights
This year’s theme is in keeping with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights movement. The keynote speaker is Dr. Susan Russell, the 2014-15 Penn State laureate. Session topics now in the planning stages include voter rights, human trafficking, human rights across the world, and the next generation of AAUW leaders. An AAUW National representative will also be on hand. Complete details will be available in the February Keystoner, and posted at http://aauw-pa.aauw.net/ in February, 2015.
AAUW WESTERN DISTRICT MEETING was held Saturday, October 18th at the Butler County Community College in Cranberry Township. The following branches were represented: Beaver Valley, Butler, Fox Chapel Area, Indiana, North Hills-McKnight, and Pittsburgh. Ron Cowell, President of Education Policy Leadership Center and Dr. Linda Hippert, Executive Director of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit spoke on concerns, issues, and policies that affect public education.
Report of 85th Annual AAUW-PA Meeting
Each year after attending the annual state AAUW meeting, I return home wishing that our entire membership could have been there to feel the same energy and enthusiasm. From Friday afternoon until Sunday noon, it was continual interaction and dialogue with members across the state and notables from National and others involved with our issues.
My official duty, as a member of the Voting and Elections Committee, was to verify and count paper and electronic ballots, and even though both offices—President (Dot McLane) and Program Vice President (Michele Buford)—were uncontested, we still respected the credible process of meticulously counting each vote before declaring winners.
Julia Brown, AAUW National Vice President, addressed the group both Friday evening and Sunday morning about “Women on all Fronts”, and the other speakers were representatives of that theme, too. Julia said, “We predict the future by creating it ourselves, and the hope for the future of AAUW is in the young student leaders on college campuses.” We, in Beaver County are sitting in a hotbed of colleges that could become our partners so that helpful tools can be offered to young women: How to negotiate a starting salary, how to run for office, how to become leaders, how to secure grants and additional financial aid, and how to bring programs on campus. We can do that! We can approach nearby colleges as to how they can become AAUW/College partners to officially implement these ideas under our name. More members—and that includes students—can amplify our voice on Capital Hill.
Char Rusnak, a scientist working for the Department of Defense, spoke about her experiences as Senior Gender Integration and Human Rights Advisor in Kabul, Afghanistan. In the US attempts to serve as role models for the women, it was/is difficult to change a culture where 90% of Afghan women are illiterate, where the legal age for marriage is 16, but 75% of the women have four (4) children by then and are abused by husband and mother-in-law, and where they are restricted to homes from which they may leave twice in their lives: going from the father’s to the father-in-law’s house and death. We know that persecution of women occurs in many countries, but we are also aware that violence to women occurs here, too, largely human trafficking.
The Violence Against Women Project is one of AAUW’s state-wide efforts to educate and inform about the vastness of the everyday occurrence of violence and what can be done about it One in four women has experienced domestic violence at some point in her life. The Impact Public Policy Grant of $1000 to AAUW-PA on this issue was shared with nine (9) branches who discussed how they applied for and implemented their $100 mini-grants. Their creative planning for public or just branch events included varied programs, such as showing documentary films, ”The Invisible War” and “The Line”; hosting author-advocate of Facing the Monster: How One Person Can Fight Child Slavery; leading discussions on what to do if you suspect human trafficking in your community; developing a pamphlet about breaking the cycle of violence against women; setting up a panel discussion by community agencies on the topic, and holding a Domestic Violence Vigil. We can do any of this! All we need is contact with the proper source so that we can become a resource of information for others on this issue.
With the inception of Girls Recognition Night which recognizes middle school girls who excel in math and science, the STEM initiative can extend beyond recognition and offer continual opportunities with hands-on demonstrations and lab work at Penn State, Beaver Campus, as it is done at the Main Campus. We can do it!
AAUW member Ellen Taylor was a very proud grandmother as she watched her granddaughter, Samantha Hopkins, receive the 2014 AAUW high school scholarship. Darcy Tyhonas, Samantha’s mother and Ellen’s daughter received the AAUW Non-Traditional scholarship in 2007.