New York State AAUW

October 2011

Editor: Donna Seymour


Local Branch: AAUW - State and National:

Fall Membership Meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 25

5:30 pm Pot Luck at the Unitarian Church, Canton, NY

We kick off the new AAUW year (our 84th!) in with out Fall Membership Meeting and Pot Luck on Tuesday, October 25. We will meet at the Unitarian Church on Main Street in Canton. Set up for the Pot Luck Dinner will be at 5 pm, with dinner & a social time to begin at 5:30 pm. Please bring a dish to pass and your place setting. AAUW will present the 2011 AAUW Research Award to SUNY Potsdam's Dr. Susanne Zwingel for her work on International Women's Rights and CEDAW. Dr. Zwingel will give a presenation on her work. AAUW will also present our 2011 Agent of Change Award to Dr. Margaret K. Bass.

This is an excellent opportunity to bring a guest and/or a prospective member! The branch is extending a special invitation to all new faculty members at the four colleges as a welcome to AAUW and the St. Lawrence County community. The church is fully handicapped accessible and there is plenty of parking on the street and out back.

We will update you on all the latest news from AAUW. There will be a chance to get a ticket on our fall baskets that goes to support our fund-raising efforts for Legal Advocacy Fund and the Educational Opportunity Fund. It has been a very busy fall season preparing voter education for Election Day, Nov. 8. You have many opportunities for personal education and growth via AAUW and our partners, so take advantage everything going on in the wider community.

The Fall Pot Luck is a great time to reconnect with your AAUW friends, catch up on the news, and lend your ideas and energy to the next year of activities. See you there!

Due Reminder Notices are going out in this newsletter for those of your have not yet renewed for 2011-12. Remember that $46 of your national dues is a tax deduction at the end of the year, along with any donations you have made to LAF or the EOF. The branch is pursuing tax exempt status, which will also make Open Windows a fully deducible donation!

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Happy Birthday AAUW: 130 Years Strong

A Look Back:

Usually the words we hear in AAUW are ones like "Look to the Future" and "Spring Forward." But I'd like us to take a minute and ?Look Back. AAUW is 130 years old this year, and our past is an inspiration. Our history made us what we are today.

We all know the story of how AAUW's first research in the 1880's refuted the prevailing opinion that women's health was too delicate to withstand the rigors of four years of college. That was only the beginning of AAUW's groundbreaking studies and projects that were often ahead of the times. Consider a few:

We should be very proud of AAUW's past achievements, but honoring our past doesn't mean resting on our laurels. AAUW's history must motivate us to keep moving forward. This organization was founded by women who knew you have to educate and lobby and act to move women along. That is still our mission: keep pushing and breaking the barriers to women's education and equity. So Look Back at what our AAUW foremothers accomplished and keep building on that foundation.

- Caroline Pickens, AAUW-VA President

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From the President's Desk:

Becky Gerber

This year promises to be busier than ever. Collaboration with our neighboring AAUW branches in Jefferson County and High Peaks begins with underwriting the PBS special on Women - War & Peace and Women at the Front. Upcoming elections and addressing bullying in the schools highlight our commitment on issues that effect women globally and locally. We'll launch a discussion on My Sister's Keeper, introduced to us by AAUW-NYS International Relations Director, Melissa Guardaro, to take action on particular local issues that have the biggest impact on women in the North Country. If you'd like to attend our next board meeting, we'd like to hear your ideas.

Celebrating local women is another important goal for us this Fall, including the Agent of Change Award and AAUW Research Award, which give us a chance to share their accomplishments and leadership at our Fall Membership Potluck. Your show of support will be greatly appreciated, and so we ask you to join us at the potluck and bring a friend as a guest. Bring someone who shares your interests and outlook, and your guest will surely enjoy an evening of friendship, great ideas, and an awareness or our AAUW mission. Often a friend will express and interest in AAUW and I think, why didn't I think to ask this friend to attend with me before? Hope you will ask now!

Our membership allows us to support local programs, offer scholarships, organize events for our community, and contribute to the Legal Advocacy Fund and Educational Fund through donations. If you haven't renewed your membership yet, do so now and help support the AAUW mission, because equity is still an issue.

I look forward to seeing you at the Fall Potluck and throughout the year.

Becky Gerber, President

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Meet Our 2011 Scholarship Winner: LaChelle Dilcox

At our annual meeting in June, Faye White awarded our 2011 AAUW Scholarship to SUNY Canton accounting graduate LaChelle Dilcox of Ogdensburg. LaChelle is continuing her schooling at Canton in the four-year Business Administration major. The 2011 Scholarship was named in honor of branch member Lois Graham, who was a pioneer in the STEM field during her academic and working career. A non-traditional student, LaChelle is a role model within her own family and to other students. She is active in student honors organizations, works full time, and served for the last tax season as a volunteer in the SUNY Canton tax office, helping others. She is a student member of the branch and we look forward to seeing her at meetings and programs.

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Legal Advocacy Fund - Educational Opportunity Fund

Vice President Michele Pinard

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who generously donated to the raffles at the Annual Meeting in June. The bidding was keen on the "baskets," and the total received was $310 that was spilt evenly between the Ed Fund and LAF - a very nice start to this year's fund-raising efforts. An additional $62 was taken in on tickets sold on a copy of Half the Sky donated by Melissa Guardaro for Open Windows!

LAF News: Crossing the Line Report

LAF Program Manager Holly Kearl and AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill have written a report on sexual harassment in grades 7-12. The report is scheduled for release in November. Holly Kearl will be our keynote speaker at the District 7 Spring Conference on March 3, 2012 at Jefferson Community College. The theme is The Bully Culture. (Save the date!)

AAUW's LAF Signs Two New Amicus Briefs

In March 2009, Quinnipiac University announced plans to cut three sports teams and to compensate for the lost opportunities by counting competitive cheerleading as a varsity sport. Members of the volleyball team and their coach filed a lawsuit, Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, and in 2010, the district court ruled that competitive cheerleading is not a sport under Title IX and that the university failed to provide equal athletic opportunities to its female students under the law. Quinnipiac appealed the decision, and the case is before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. AAUW signed a brief written by the National Women's Law Center to support the athletes in the case.

AAUW also filed an amicus brief in support of two female middle school students who were banned from wearing bracelets promoting breast cancer awareness in school. The plaintiffs in B.H. and K.M. v. Easton Area School District, represented by the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit in November 2010, claiming violation of their First Amendment rights. In April 2011, the district court judge entered a preliminary court order prohibiting the school district from enforcing a ban on the bracelets. The school district appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In August, AAUW signed onto a brief written by the Women's Law Center.

EOF News:

AAUW has a long and distinguished history of advancing educational and professional opportunities for women in the United States and around the globe. One of the world's largest sources of funding for graduate women, AAUW is providing more than $3.7 million in funding for more than 240 fellowships and grants to outstanding women and nonprofit organizations in the 2011-12 academic year. Due to the longstanding, generous contributions of AAUW members, a broader community of women continues to gain access to educational and economic opportunities - breaking through barriers so that all women have a fair chance.

Fellowship and grant recipients perform research in a wide range of disciplines and work to improve their schools and communities. Their intellect, dedication, imagination, and effort promise to forge new paths in scholarship, improve the quality of life for all, and tackle the educational and social barriers facing women in the United States and around the globe.

In St. Lawrence County, three different Community Action Grants have been received over the years. The most recent one, for Value U. granted to Dr. Jennifer Ball at Clarkson University, just completed its two year run this past June. The program continues at Clarkson under ongoing student leadership with alternative funding

In all, 30 AAUW Fellows and Grantees are studying at colleges and universities here In New York State from around the country and the world.

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Women at the Front

Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 pm - WPBS-TV

On Tuesday, October 11 at 7:30 pm, "Women at the Front" will hold a frank discussion on what it is like to be a woman in today's highly competitive professional world. AAUW member Andrea Pedrick hosts the live program, with panelists Dr. Carole A. McCoy, President, Jefferson Community College; Dr. Ana Y. Estevez, Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology, St. Lawrence University; Judy L. Getner, former Deputy to the Garrison Commander at Fort Drum; and Retired Lieutenant Colonel of the Canadian Forces, Karen McCrimmon. You can watch the live program starting at 7:30 pm.

The program is a partnership between the Northern New York branches of the American Association of University Women and WPBS-DT. The program was created to coincide with Women, War, and Peace, a new five-part series on WPBS-DT. You can also be part of the live studio audience at the WBPS studio on Arsenal Street in Watertown. AAUW-NYS District 7 members are invited to the reception at 6:30 prior to taking their seats starting at 7:15 pm.

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Women, War & Peace

On WPBS-TV from 10 - 11 pm on Five Tuesdays

As part of our District MSK 2.0 (My Sister's Keeper, 2.0) programming this year (as outlined by Melissa Guardaro, AAUW-NYS International Director, in her talk to us at the annul meeting in June) the branches of District 7 are the underwriters for the acclaimed 5-part PBS series, Women, War & Peace, this fall.

Tues., Oct 11: I Came to Testify is the moving story of how a group of 16 women who had been imprisoned and raped by Serb-led forces in the Bosnian town of Foca broke history's great silence and stepped forward to take the witness stand in an international court of law. Their remarkable courage resulted in a triumphant verdict that led to new international laws about sexual violence in war. Matt Damon, who narrates the film, has taped a behind-the-scenes-video talking about why the themes of this series matter to men, too.

Tues., Oct. 18: Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the astonishing story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003. Among the women featured is Leymah Gbowee, the leader of the Liberian women's peace movement.

Tues., Oct. 25: When the U.S. troop surge was announced in late 2009, women in Afghanistan knew that the ground was being laid for peace talks with the Taliban. Peace Unveiled follows three women in Afghanistan who are risking their lives to make sure that women have a seat at the negotiating table. Tilda Swinton narrates.

Tues., Nov. 1: The War We Are Living travels to Cauca, a mountainous region in Colombia's Pacific southwest, where two extraordinary Afro-Colombian women are fighting to stay on their gold-rich lands. They are standing up for a generation of Colombians who have been terrorized and forcibly displaced as a deliberate strategy of war. Alfre Woodard narrates.

Tues., Nov. 8: War Redefined, the capstone of Women, War & Peace, challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men's domain through incisive interviews with leading thinkers, secretaries of state, and seasoned survivors of war and peacemaking. Interviewees include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and both her female predecessors, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; Bosnian war crimes investigator Fadila Memisevic; and globalization expert Moises Naim. Geena Davis narrates.

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Open Windows for Girls

Faye White, chair

Thank you for making our 22nd 2011 Open Windows for Girls another successful year. Over 70 St. Lawrence County girls benefited from your support. This spring/summer, we sponsored individual girls who attended summer camps or competitions:

The girls were from Lisbon Central, Parishville-Hopkinton Central, Gouverneur Central, Madrid-Waddington, Norwood-Norfolk Central, Canton Central, Potsdam Central, and Heuvelton Central Schools.

We also sponsored girls who were members of the following groups:

Please note the number of girls who were participating in STEM programs. This is in keeping with AAUW's goal of getting more girls and women into these key academic fields.

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AAUW Focuses on STEM Education

AAUW has a special interest in making it easier for women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman and AAUW President Carolyn Garfein attended the announcement of the National Science Foundation's 10-year plan to increase workplace flexibility in the STEM fields.

AAUW's 2010 research report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, provides compelling evidence of the environmental and social barriers that continue to limit women's participation and progress in those fields. This report sparked AAUW's renewed commitment to building successful local programs to attract girls and women to STEM fields.

Next year, AAUW will partner with major corporations, government entities, and organizations currently participating in national STEM education coalitions to develop more STEM programs nationwide. These programs will be focused not only on students but also on the adults who can positively influence girls' career decisions. Additionally, in 2012 AAUW will release new research on the role of community colleges in educating students for STEM careers.

AAUW has a rich history of supporting women in STEM. In 1920, AAUW provided Marie Curie with funds to purchase radium for her research. AAUW also supported Jenny Bramley, who invented the cathode ray tube, the astronaut Judith Resnick, and many other prominent women in STEM.

Since 1888, AAUW has provided more than $90 million in fellowships and grants to 11,000 recipients, and we currently give more than $3.7 million each year to women preparing research for publication, advancing their careers, reentering the workforce, and pursuing advanced studies in the traditionally male STEM fields. AAUW also funds innovative community programs with a particular focus on increasing girls' and women's achievements in STEM.

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Voter Education & Public Policy:

Kathleen Stein

It has been a very busy fall season as we organize numerous voter education programs and prepare for the General Election on November 8. AAUW is working with other community partners to educate voters about the Village Dissolution process and vote in Potsdam. Our Conversations with Candidates are back for the second year, and we have embarked on a new venture, Finding Common Ground, a public affairs discussion video series on WCKN, the local public access channel run by Clarkson University students. Please take advantage of these many opportunities to learn about the issues, the candidates and their positions, and important policy questions facing the North Country.

Conversations with Candidates:

In partnership with the St. Lawrence County League of Women Voters and WKCN, you can watch half-hour video Conversations with Candidates for public office on WCKN (Time Warner cable Channel 30) each week or go to YouTube to view them on-line. Each Friday we tape additional shows in conjunction with the students in CU Comm. 310 and 327 at the studio of WCKN. Both candidates for St. Lawrence County Clerk, Gavin Regan and Mary Lou Rupp, and both SLC Family Court Judge candidates, Cecily Morris and Andrew Moses, will be interviewed, along with several Potsdam Village candidates: Mark Lee, Steve Yurgartis, Eleanor Hopke and Ron Tischler.

Potsdam Dissolution Hearings:

In partnership with the LWV, WCKN and the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, WCKN has been taping and showing programming to educate voters about the Potsdam Village Dissolution vote. So far we have a Potsdam Dissolution Hearing Video Sept., 12, an informational meeting on Oct. 5 with representatives from the Village of Seneca Falls on air. Two addition programs, taped at WCKN, will focus on the Alternatives to Dissolution (Oct. 21) and on a final Dissolution Call-in show (Oct. 28) to answer any remaining questions. Watch local newspapers for air times or check them out on YouTube at the above address.

Finding Common Ground:

Finding Common Ground project is dedicated to finding new solutions to the problems that face us here in the North Country. For too long we have struggled to find solutions that fit our ideologies and cut off our noses to spite our face. Instead we should look for solutions that are driven by our values and accomplish what we are setting out to do. The issue of Home Rule was our first topic under consideration. Filming of a 1 hour public affairs on this topic takes place on Oct. 14 for later broadcast on WCKN. In November, we're going to the issues, challenges, and ideas for solutions around the topic of Pre-K to 12 Education in the county. Stay tuned!

Public Information Meeting on Hydro-fracking:

AAUW, the League, Seedcorn and various other community and college partners are working on bringing Deborah Rogers to the area to speak on Hydro-fracking. Recently, Deborah launched Energy Policy Forum as the pre-eminent web site and blog for discussing the complex problems inherent in shale gas. EPF is a comprehensive meeting ground where geologists and experts from different fields (science, environmental and finance/economics) can educate each other about the economic discrepancies and environmental dangers that surround shale gas drilling. In addition, a public meeting, she would meet with various college classes and groups to further explore this issue. The target dates are Nov. 15 -16; but stay tuned for further details and confirmation.

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Mission Statements:

The American Association of University Women advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. AAUW will be a powerful advocate and visible leader in equity and education through research, philanthropy, and measurable change in critical areas impacting the lives of women and girls.

In principle and 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 AAUW Educational Opportuntities Fund provides funds to advance education, research, and self-development for women and to foster equity and positive societal change.

The AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund provides funding and a support system for women seeking judicial redress for sex discrimination.

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AAUW Book Group and
AAUW's Diversity Book of the Month Club for 2011-12

Branch Calendar of Events

North County Connection - St. Lawrence County Branch Home - Site Map