Thursday, December 20, 2012

Plan to Show The Invisible War at Your Branch

The documentary The Invisible War, an award-winning film about military sexual assault that features several LAF-supported plaintiffs, is now available to rent from Netflix and to purchase from Amazon.

This important film was recently listed as the 10th movie and the only documentary on Time’s top 100 movies of 2012. It is nominated for the Independent Sprit Awards’ best documentary, and it’s rumored to be on the short list for an Academy Award nomination.

The Invisible War Program in a Box

AAUW members who are interested in hosting a screening of The Invisible War can download the Program in a Box. AAUW members and college/university partner members can show the film for only $150 for a public screening and a discussion guide.

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Bucket Notes from your BFF Joan Monk

Can you imagine a 32-page picture book teaching children of all ages the benefits of kindness through the metaphor of a bucket? Check out Carol McCloud’s “Bucket Books” for students from preschool through middle school. The series has taken off and become one of the most effective character development programs offered to all ages. That's bucket filling and AAUW members had their first introduction to this seemingly simple concept at Summer Leadership at Cazenovia. Some lucky branches went home with buckets of their very own.

Bucket filling is not for children only. Dr. Donald Clifton and his grandson, Tom Rath developed this bucket and dipper concept for corporate America.  Through his 50 years of research providing positive strategies for work and life, Dr. Clifton is considered “The Grandfather of Positive Psychology.”

A bucket-filling branch is a great place to learn. A bucket-filling school is a place to grow and thrive.  A bucket-filling family is a great place to grow up.  A bucket-filling community is a great place to live.   These are places where kindness, respect, fairness, other-centeredness, responsibility, and generosity are part of daily life.

Bucket filling is easy.  It doesn't cost any money.  It doesn't take much time.  It doesn't matter how young or old you are. Bucket filling makes everyone feel good. 

Contact your new BFF (Bucket Filling Fairy aka Joan Monk) to learn how your branch can start a bucket filling project and become part of AAUW NYS Bucket Brigade. You’ll be glad you did!

Monday, December 03, 2012

AAUW NYS to Attend the CTAUN Conf. at the U.N.

United Nations
United Nations (Photo credit: Ashitakka)

CTAUN Conference:
“Advancing Social Justice: The Role of Educators”

AAUW encourages our members to attend CTAUN at the United Nations scheduled for Friday, January 18, 2013 from 9:30 to 4 in New York City. 

Registration Fee: $65
Student Fee - ID required: $40
The Committee on Teaching About the United Nations (CTAUN) will examine the social justice issues of Human Trafficking and Economic Inequality.
Distinguished speakers from the United Nations and International NGOs will provide insight and information helping to empower you with increased awareness.

I believe that education is the civil rights issue of our generation. And if you care about promoting opportunity and reducing inequality, the classroom is the place to start. Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.
     US Education Secretary Arne Duncan,
9 October 2009
To register and obtain additional information, visit

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Planning for the 2013 AAUW NYS Convention and Annual Meeting

Adirondack High Peaks
Adirondack High Peaks (Photo credit: johncudw2399)
Looking ahead - join us at High Peaks Resort at Lake Placid, April 26-28, 2013. Convention 

Convention Director Karen Carr will share more information about the program and the business meeting as details develop.

  • The nominating committee has nominated the following:
    • Maria Ellis as Membership Vice President
    • Donna Seymour as Public Policy Vice President
    • Edwina Martin as Secretary/By-Laws
    • Mildred DeWitt as Treasurer
  • You may read about all four of the candidates and view their images here on the New York state website.
  • Nominations for other candidates will be open to the floor during the business meeting on Saturday morning.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tell Speaker Boehner: We Need Women Committee Chairs

Two Minute Activist

Take Action!
Women showed up at the polls on November 6, and women were elected to the House and Senate in record numbers this year. Yet when the House leadership announced the chairs of the major committees for the 113th Congress, there were no women to be found

AAUW wants to know: Where are the women?
Two House Committees—the Committee on House Administration and the Ethics Committee—still need chairs, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gets to appoint them. Tell Speaker Boehner: Fill those committee chairperson slots with women! These decisions are being made as you read this, so take action now!

To send a message to Speaker Boehner, visit AAUW Two-Minute Activist
 or click on the "Take Action" link in the upper right hand corner of this email.

The House GOP leadership should be representative of all lawmakers and all citizens. Excluding women from major committee posts is not an option. Urge Speaker Boehner to appoint women as chairs of the Committee on House Administration and the Ethics Committee.

Follow AAUW Public Policy on Twitter
, and read the award-winning AAUW Dialog blog
 for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
Are you an AAUW member? Subscribe to Washington Update
a members-only weekly e-mail bulletin with an insider's view on public policy and politics news, resources for advocates and programming ideas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ithaca College Wins AAUW Campus Action Project

The Ithaca College Seal
The Ithaca College Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The AAUW-NYS Board congratulates Ithaca College. We look forward to the results of their project.

The 2012-13 Campus Action Project will allow teams of faculty and students to bring awareness to the gender pay gap one year out of college and its connection to student debt. Nine teams from around the country were selected to implement projects based on recommendations from AAUW's 2012 research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Men and Women One Year after College Graduation.

There was one winning team from New York State: Ithaca College is a C/U partner with AAUW.

The Ithaca College team will develop a workshop series to address issues pertaining to the pay gap, specifically one year after college graduation. A team of students will video-record the workshops, and format them similar to TED Talks. Each workshop will include 8-18 minutes of lecture-style presentation, and an interactive piece that will take 20-40 minutes. Workshop topics will range from self-advocacy to salary negotiation skills. The video-recordings will be made into short films that will premiere at an event in May 2013 and then will be used in future campus and community trainings.

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Union, Religious, Civil Rights and Sports Activist- celebrate birthdays

Rose Pesotta addresses the floor at the 1965 I...
Rose Pesotta addresses the floor at the 1965 ILGWU convention, December 15, 1965. (Photo credit: Kheel Center, Cornell University)

Three very different women celebrate(d) birthdays on Nov. 20.-- Rose Pesotta, Rev. Dr. Anna Murray, and Billie Jean King. Learn about them.

Nov. 20 is the birthday of Rose Pesotta (1896-1965), a feminist labor organizer and vice president within the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. In 1913, at the age of 17, she emigrated to New York City and found employment in a shirtwaist factory, quickly joining the ILGWU, a union representing the mostly Jewish and Latina female garment workers. Working hard to educate her fellow workers, Pesotta was elected to the all male executive board of ILGWU Local 25 in 1920. In 1944 Pesotta resigned from the executive board of the union in protest of the fact that, despite 85% of the union's membership were women, she was the sole female executive member.

The Reverend Dr. Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray was born on Nov. 20, 1910. She was an American civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, and writer. She was also the first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest and the first black person to earn a doctorate at Yale Law School. She died in 1965.

Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Happy birthday to Billie Jean King, born Nov. 20, 1943. A professional tennis player, King won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles through out her career. An advocate for sexual equality, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs in 1973, was the founder of the Women's Tennis Association, World Team Tennis and the Women's Sports Foundation. One of the 20th century's most respected and influential people, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. In 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, the first female athlete so honored.

Submitted by Donna Seymour

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Saturday, November 03, 2012

One Year After Graduation, Female Pay Lags Behind

One year after college graduation women working full time earn less--82 percent on average--than male counterparts, the American Association of University Women finds in "Graduating to a Pay Gap," a study released Oct. 24.

This is slightly higher than it was in 2001 when, among the same group, women earned just 80 percent of what their male peers earned. Women working full time earned $35,296 on average, versus $42,918 for male counterparts. Business was the most popular major for both men (27 percent) and women (19 percent), but female graduates in this sector earned just over $38,000, while men earned just over $45,000.

The study shows that differences in job type and hours explain part of the pay gap, but about one-third of the gap remains unexplained, suggesting that bias and discrimination are still problems in the  workplace. 

What Can Employers Do?

In light of the findings, authors recommend that employers

  • Increase transparency in pay systems 
  • Ensure clear structures for evaluation
  • Conduct internal pay equity studies and 
  • Take steps to address any gender disparities. 
The analysis is based on data of about 15,000 students who received a bachelor's degree between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, and were tracked by "Baccalaureate and Beyond a longitudinal study" by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education. 

Lower Pay Means Greater Debt Burden

The study also finds women more burdened by student debt. Women and men borrowed roughly similar amounts of money—about $20,000--among 2007-08 college graduates. Women, however, often appear to have a harder time repaying the money for two reasons: lower earnings and a bigger share of the national student loan pie because they are more likely to go to college than men.

Among full-time workers repaying their loans one year after college graduation in 2009, 53 percent of women (39 percent in 2001) versus 39 percent of men (27 percent in 2001) were paying a greater percentage of their earnings toward student loan debt than the American Association of University Women estimates a typical woman or man could reasonably afford to pay. Also, women are more likely than men to borrow money for school (68 percent versus 63 percent).

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Monday, October 22, 2012

For a Little LAF Competition Among Branches

This is a gentle reminder from Roli Wendorf, AAUW-NYS Legal Action Fund VP ...the LAF fundraising year 2012 has just a couple of months left. The deadline to send in branch and individual contributions is December 31, 2012. This is a good time to remind your branch members and leadership to send in their contributions and hold their fundraisers.

Check the NYS website for directions, send copy of branch donation forms to Roli, or give Roli a call for help.

AAUW Legal Action provides significant support for cases that fight for legal issues impacting women and girls. Can your branch exceed your branch 2011 contributions? By what target percentage?

Monday, October 08, 2012

Increase US' political and financial investments to end child marriage

From Melissa Guardaro, forwarded from Pathfinder International:
At 12, a girl needs school, not a husband. Yet every three seconds, a girl under 18 becomes a child bride.
Alemnesh* was one of them. At 12, she was married to an older man, a custom common in Ethiopia. Marriage was not her choice; she wanted to stay in school. With the support of a Pathfinder project, she got her wish and is now thriving in school again.
But not all girls have the support Alemnesh had. That’s why we need the US government to commit increased political and financial investments to end child marriage and support married adolescents. Will you take action to end child marriage today?
Our hope is to have 10,000 emails sent to Secretary Hillary Clinton by the end of October. As we approach October 11th, the first-ever International Day of the Girl, help girls like Alemnesh by showing your support to end child marriage.
Together, we can make sure more girls like Alemnesh can have bright futures.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month: Learn About Sor Juana

During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) we hope you'll take a few minutes to learn about Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: The First Great Latin American Poet.
It turned out that the hair grew quickly and I learned slowly. As a result, I cut off the hair in punishment for my head’s ignorance, for it didn’t seem right to me that a head so naked of knowledge should be dressed up with hair, for knowledge is a more desirable adornment,
—from The Reply to the Very Illustrious Sor Philotea de la Cruz, written in 1691
"Sor Juana was published in different parts of the Hispanic world during her lifetime and she enjoyed the reputation of being the premiere Baroque poet in New Spain (Mexico), which earned her both praise and vicious misogynistic attacks. Sor Juana was persecuted for being an intellectual and a woman, a nun, and a writer who wrote quite provocatively in the very Christian New Spain of the 1600s."
This background information comes from  Edsitement!, the National Endowment for the Humanities on the web, which your branch may find a rich programming resource. This particular unit provides background information, guiding questions, and two lessons for high school students. They work for adults just as well.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day of the Girl Oct. 11

International Day of the Girl Child 10/11/12

The International Day of the Girl honors and celebrates girls around the world – elevating the status of girls in our local and global communities, and addressing key issues related to girls’ empowerment, leadership and success.

In December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish October 11th the “International Day of the Girl Child.” This day, the General Assembly noted, is about “helping galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential” (UN GA Resolution 12.9.11).

This October 11th, 2012 marks the first commemoration of this historic day!
What can your branch do to encourage your local girls' organizations to join the celebration?

There is an all day summit where girls from around the world can participate (and get a chance to win UGG boots) . There is also a toolkit from the Working Group on Girls that includes excellent resources, historical information and activities. You can download this toolkit at

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15

" Many Backgrounds, Many Stories, One American Spirit"

Supreme Ct. Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Cesar Chavez
Joan Baez


Visit the Hispanic Heritage Month website hosted by the Library of Congress

Why start Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15?

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

National Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law by Congress in 1968 as a special week and expanded to a month in 1988 to celebrate the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors immigrated from Spain, Mexico, the Carribean, and Cental and South America.

Only Mexico has a larger Hispanic population (112M) than the United States. (50.5 million Hispanics plus 3.7 Puerto Rican residents of a U.S. territory) Source: US Census Hispanic Heritage Facts

Friday, August 31, 2012

AAUW Buffalo Leads Country in Giving

Congratulations and thank you to the members of the Buffalo Branch. They reach into their pockets and give from their hearts. Equity, Education, Advocacy and Research all require philanthropy.

The Buffalo just received word that they lead the nation in giving. We hope you'll share your fundraising ideas with the rest of  us. We know that your book sale raises substantial amounts. What else do you do?
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AAUW featured in Assembly Task Force on Women newsletter

Check out page 3 in the latest issue of the newsletter for the NYS Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues:

“To commemorate National Equal Pay Day, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee was invited to address members of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Albany. AAUW is a nation-wide network composed of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 600 college/university institution partners. For 130 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day for the purposes of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.”

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

AAUW at the Republican Convention

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 25:  Workers make final pre...
TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 25: Workers make final preperations to the stage for the Republican National Convention at Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 25, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.  (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz is representing us at the Republican Convention this week. Follow her updates at AAUW Dialog, on Facebook, and @LisaMaatz on Twitter. 
"But delegates also have some serious work to do. They must finalize the party’splatform, a statement of the party’s policies that has received an unusual amount of attention and dissent after Missouri Rep. Todd Akin’s comments regarding “legitimate rape” and reproductive rights. AAUW submitted comments to the Republican National Convention platform committee for their consideration as they put together their platform. Based on our own AAUW member-adopted Public Policy Program, these comments ensure that AAUW is part of the process in a meaningful way.... 

"Speaking of delegates, today I’ll be searching out some of the AAUW members who are part of the convention’s delegate body. I know for sure there’s AAUW representation in the Ohio delegation — I’m not at all surprised that my home state had the good taste to elect an AAUW member to their ranks!" 
So, if you know any AAUW members at the convention, ask them to look for Lisa and share their perspective on the doings there. And, follow Lisa. She's a great writer and seems adept at finding the right people to talk to.

Next week she'll be covering the Democratic Convention.
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Women's Equality Day: The Responsibility of Citizenship

Today is Women's Equality Day. The 19th amendment protects our right to vote and bestows on us the responsibility of participating in the public arena - voting, running for office, expressing our opinions, and supporting the constitution.

Today we celebrate the women and men who fought for more than a hundred years for "Votes for Women."

Today we rally to protect and move equality forward.

We assume the responsibility of citizenship. And, it's time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Get Out the Vote Resources

AAUW New York State
It’s My Vote Campaign 

Voter Registration and Education:

 Women wield great power in American politics. More than ever before, women are registering to vote and casting ballots in greater numbers and with more consistency than men. It’s vital that we continue this achievement and engage millennial women.

 There are as many millennials as there are baby boomers — and women ages 18–31 have enormous potential to be as potent a force in politics for years to come. The difference right now is that millennials have yet to establish a consistent pattern of voting.

 By engaging with millennial women, the It’s My Vote, I Will Be Heard campaign will support an enormous generation of young women in establishing lifelong voting habits and to strengthen the voice of women in the 2012 elections.

Here are links to five papers prepared by national that address concerns of millennials in this election cycle. You may find them useful as you plan your Get Out the Vote Campaign. They include:

Feel free to print the issues papers on your branch letterhead as handouts or draw upon them for your campus outreach.

Visit our Public Policy pages to learn more about about AAUW NYS's advocacy issues.
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Friday, August 17, 2012

Johnstown Branch Participating in Consortium Equality Day Event

Members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women's Consortium prepare for a performance in celebration of Equality Day which marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

Pictured left to right: Jahnn Gibson*, Anna Brooks, Catherine Julius*, Elizabeth Russo*
*AAUW AGJ branch members

Equality Day Celebration August 24
On August 24th, the  Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women’s Consortium will  host “Equality Day in the  Park” which includes an ice cream social at 6pm followed by music by Bob and the Bobcats and a presentation of “Failure is Impossible” at 6:30. The celebration will take place at the Charles Jenner Bandshell and park on W. Main St. in Johnstown. 

 “Failure is Impossible" is based on eyewitness accounts and original documents and focuses on several  people who were part of the suffrage movement:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clara Barton, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony. It opened on August 26, 1995, for the National Archives commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  

Consortium members and community volunteers dressed in suffrage attire will mix with the crowd and  read the  play lines.   The Bobcats will host a sing along of suffrage songs. Consortium organizations will have displays and voter registration forms will be available.

The ice cream social will be held at 6pm before the performance begins. The cost is $1 per scoop of ice cream and 50 cents for a baked good.

Additional activities slated for August 24 include: 
  • a free 1 hour, one mile guided "Walk in the Footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton" tours at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm presented by the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association. 
  • a luncheon at Union Hall,  $10.  contact Nancy Brown
  • a ribbon cutting ceremony for the "Walk in the Footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton" cell phone tour.

The Consortium supports women’s education, history, culture, leadership and equity. Member organizations include the  Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown branch of the American Association of  University Women,  Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association, the Eclectic Society, Women Democrats, the Republican Women’s Club of  Fulton County,  Soroptimist, Women of FMCC and Girl Scouts of Northeast NY. 

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

New AAUW Virtual Branch Approved

Maria Ellis
 Empire Branch President
Congratulations to Maria Ellis and the Empire State Virtual Branch team that has worked long and hard to give birth to the Empire Branch. The national AAUW board approved the new branch in July and 25 founding members immediately joined the branch.

NYS president Mary Lou Davis became the very first (dual) member and posted the first message on the Empire website:
Since 1881 AAUW has been a catalyst for change.  AAUW believes that together we can transform society for the better. AAUW’s vision is to bring people together united behind the common goal of breaking through educational and economic barriers for women and girls. 
Virtual branches are a great way for college women and busy professionals to be active in AAUW if they have limited time for meetings. [Read more]

How does a virtual branch work?

It's a work in progress. Read more about it on the Empire website. And check out that cute newborn.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Social Security Celebrates Its 77th Birthday Today

One of AAUW's Public Policy Program includes a commitment to continuing Social Security:
AAUW promotes the economic, social, and physical well-being of all persons. Essential to that well-being are an economy that provides equitable employment opportunities, reduction of poverty, a livable wage, quality affordable dependent care, paid family and medical leave, decent and affordable housing, quality affordable health care, and a clean and healthful environment. We support a Social Security system that provides inflation-protected, guaranteed lifetime benefits with a progressive benefit formula, spousal and widow benefits, and disability and survivor benefits. (
Since Social Security celebrates August 14, we thought you might like to know about a few resources you can use for a branch program or draw upon for your website or newsletter.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

AAUW NYS Summer Leadership Conference 2012

The 2012 Summer Conference was a huge success! Many of the presentations will be posted here - keep coming back for more!

  • Donna Seymour, Public Policy, created a powerpoint presentation with much valuable information on "Get Out the Vote".
  • Kimberly Fountain, from the national office, presented an overview of the national initiative "It's My Vote, I Will Be Heard".
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Jean Havens Appointed AAUW NYS Program V.P.

Jean Havens has been appointed, with board approval, to replace Melissa on the AAUW-NYS Board of Directors as Program Vice President. She should be familiar to all as she has served admirably for the last four years as Focus Director.

Jean is employed by the Girl Scouts in the Heart of the Hudson region of New York State and uses her many skills as a writer, editor, and publisher on our behalf in her volunteer position on the state board.  What a talented, energetic, and creative woman she is!

Jean will do a fabulous job working with the board and branches to communicate program ideas and work on the state convention to ensure strong programmatic themes connected to AAUW.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New AAUW United Nations Representative Appointed

An important message and announcement needs to reach you about Melissa Guardaro, our former AAUW-NYS International Affairs Director and recently elected Program Vice President. Melissa has been appointed by the national AAUW Board of Directors as the AAUW United Nations Representative.

You may know that Carolyn Donovan from Long Island has filled those huge shoes for AAUW for many years and has been a wonderful link for us to women's issues around the world. Carolyn has also been the voice of AAUW in her daily interactions at the UN and has served admirably and faithfully.

Melissa has spearheaded the AAUW-NYS project "My Sister's Keeper" along with Joan Monk for the last two years and has positively impacted our branch members across the state, providing a method of understanding about many of the barriers women encounter every day in their lives and giving us ideas for supportive action. She has been an exceptional leader also in working with other board members to advocate for women in Albany  and arranged for members to voice their opinions to New York State legislators this past April. There is no doubt that she will serve the entire AAUW organization well in representing us at the United Nations.

Please join us in congratulating Melissa  and wishing her success as she embarks upon a whole new broad opportunity to impact women and girls.
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