Monthly Archives: May 2023

Strategic Planning and Call for Volunteers

Strategic Planning at Work

On May 20 at 11 a.m., we installed our new president and vice presidents of programming, heard from this year’s Speech Trek winner, and recognized our branch’s named-gift honorees and new 50-year members. We also voted on updates to our branch’s bylaws. More information on these topics can be found elsewhere in the newsletter.

Marty McKnew and Hedda Smithson, two of our strategic planning committee members, substantially revised the bylaws by eliminating duplicate sections and adding new verbiage for our new at-large director positions. Click the link below to read the clean copy of the bylaws.

Contact Marty at to see the marked-up copy of the bylaws.

Click <here> for AAUW Sacramento Bylaws.

Volunteer to join the AAUW Sacramento Board as a DIRECTOR AT LARGE

in one of the following areas:

Member support – Communications – AAUW Priorities – Local Projects – Membership Development

AAUW Sacramento has REGROUPED with a newly Reorganized Board!!

  • Do you want to expand AAUW’s Mission supporting Women and Girls in Sacramento?
  • Would you like to be part of building deeper friendships and camaraderie?
  • Are you looking for a place to share your talents and skills such as enthusiasm, creativity, and bringing people together?

What you will do:

  • Serve as a voting member of the Governing Board
  • Take an active and collaborative role in leading and setting branch goals
  • Maintain active communication with the groups within your focus areas listed above
  • Keep the Board regularly informed about your focus areas’ activities/needs

What you will gain:

  • Leadership skills
  • New friends
  • Satisfaction of making a difference for our AAUW Mission

Sacramento Branch Needs You! Help us RENEW and REFRESH!

For questions or more information please contact President Nancy McCabe. Her contact information can be found in the Membership Directory.

Interest Group Happenings

Interest Group Happenings By Vicki  Nicholson

  • Art & Architecture: contact Deborah Dunn
  • Board Games: contact Ruth Werner
  • Great Decisions I:  contact Cathy Locke
    -June 19, 7 p.m. on Zoom, topic–Energy Security

    -July 17, 7 p.m. on Zoom, topic–Climate Change
    -August 21, 7 p.m. on Zoom, topic–Famine
  • Great Decisions II: contact Lynn Wood
  • Great Decisions III:  contact Kathy Schrumpf
  • Healthy Heart: contact Jane Cooley

    -June 16, 11:30 a.m., Fabian’s Restaurant, 11755 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks
    -July 14, 11:30 a.m., Daniell’s Creperie, 3535 Fair Oaks Blvd, Sacramento
    -August 18, 11:30 a.m., Zocalo’s Restaurant, 466 Howe Ave, Sacramento
  • Readers’ Theater: contact Diane Peterson
  • Scrabble for Fun: contact Vivian Counts
  • Singles Dining: contact Nancy McCabe

Living Our Mission of Equity Book Discussion

Living Our Mission of Equity By Charmen Goehring

We hope you will join us in a monthly equity conversation looking at our own biases and what actions we can take to attract diversity to our branch and become better people in the process. Each month, we read a section of our selected book then meet to discuss what we have learned, along with exploring other issues related to race and equity. We generally meet the first Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8 p.m. on Zoom. This book group is a joint AAUW Sacramento and CHAR event and open to all.

The Zoom meeting code is 737 420 3780 or you can join using this link:

We will be discussing our favorite poems from our latest book, “Call Us What We Carry” by Amanda Gorman at 7 p.m. June 7. If you have questions and to RSVP, please email Charmen at

Book Groups Update

Book Groups Update By Sharon Anderson

Reminder that the “books” page under “Activities” on our branch website ( is now updated to the end of the year (in most cases).  If you wish to see what others are reading, or get ideas for your book group or yourself, please find the books page and take a look.

Each book group has its own tab, by book group number.  (These book group numbers correlate with page 6 of the branch Membership Directory.)  On each list, the meeting days, times and coordinator are listed.  Feel free to call me if you have trouble locating it.

June Book Groups

Book Group 1:
The Lincoln Highway,
by Amor Towles, on June 8; coordinator is Joy Clous

Book Group 2:
The Final Case, by David Guterson, on June 6;  coordinator is Carol Hayes

Book Group 3: 
The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, on June 28; coordinator is Carolyn Meeker

Book Group 4: 
Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo, on June 14; coordinator is Pat Morehead

Book Group 6: 
Covered with Night: A Story of Murder, by Nicole Eustace, on June 19; coordinator is Kim Rutledge

Book Group 8: 
Secrets of Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women, by Eliza Reed, on June 26; coordinator is Diana Squire

Book Group 10: 
*Barbeque*, on June 15; coordinator is Sandi Schoenman

Book Group 12: 
Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus, on June 1; coordinator is Linda Cook

July Book Groups

Book Group 1:
TBD; coordinator is Joy Clous

Book Group 2:
TBD;  coordinator is Carol Hayes

Book Group 3: 
Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro, on July 26; coordinator is Carolyn Meeker

Book Group 4: 
The Promise, by Damon Gadget, on July 12; coordinator is Pat Morehead

Book Group 6: 
*No meeting*; coordinator is Kim Rutledge

Book Group 8: 
Joan is Okay, by Weike Wang, on July 24; coordinator is Diana Squire

Book Group 10: 
TBD; coordinator is Sandi Schoenman

Book Group 12: 
*No meeting*; coordinator is Linda Cook

Tech Trek is Getting Ready for Blast Off!

Tech Trek is getting ready for blast off! By Lori Franz

Can you believe it??  It is less than two months until the UC Davis Tech Trek camp welcomes 90 campers.   We are so proud that our branch has recruited and will send six campers.  We were delighted to receive a slot for one of our alternates as we initially were allocated only five slots.  The campers have completed their applications and have just received an opportunity to sign up for one of five exciting core classes which will run the week of their camp.   Here are the descriptions of each focus.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have the opportunity these girls will have??

ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY:  Examine the structures of various organ systems through dissection.  Look at lungs, hearts, bones and eyes!   Learn how your body works by using equipment to measure blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and respiratory volumes.  We will gather data, build a model lung, and more!  (Warning: Not for the faint of heart. Dissection of animal organs is included each day.)

ASTRONOMY & SPACE: We’ll spend the week exploring the frontiers of aerospace. We will delve into astronomy, space and NASA career-related topics. We’ll learn how NASA studies Earth, including its climate, our sun, and our solar system and beyond.  You’ll discover many ways to be a part of a very large international team whose goal is to better our life on Earth and enable future exploration to reach new heights beyond our planet.

HIGH ENERGY ENGINEERING:  Find out about the vast and growing career field of engineering. Using a STEM approach, we will engage in hands-on team projects while exploring topics like environmental, structural and electrical engineering. We will investigate a diverse set of real problems and use the engineering design process to build prototypes to try to solve them! Join us in building a desalination device and racing solar cars. We will focus on renewable energy and celebrate with a s’more party using our homemade solar cookers!

STORYTELLING WITH DATA:  Data is more than just a bunch of spreadsheets. We collect data for a reason: Data is power — the power for good, the power to change, the power to protect.  In this class we will use the same methods that scientists at companies, like Google and Meta, and in government use to make the world better with data. Campers will learn how to collect and analyze data as well as use infographics and other visual techniques.  You’ll put your new skills to work to create your own powerful visual stories on topics you choose, proving that data is POWER!

WEARABLE TECH:  What does this mean to you? Movies show us versions where the heroine has glasses that can see through walls or rocket shoes that let a person fly. Although these are extreme versions of wearable tech, they are not far off from what is possible; shoes with GPS and glasses that are wearable computers already exist.  Find out more about this growing industry. Through creative expression, you will learn how to design, code and sew wearable pieces with functional technology. By the end of the week, you will each engineer a drawstring bag that can solve an everyday problem.

Our Tech Trek committee continues to plan a meet-up with our campers and will make sure everything goes smoothly.   We have been busy making sure all the vaccinations and paperwork is complete.

In addition, we are excited that our branch is also sending three girls to the virtual Tech Trek camp that allows girls who prefer to be at home to learn from there and also helps us provide STEM activities for those who can’t go to the residential camp because of the limited space.

Named Gift Awards 2023

Named Gift Awards 2023 By Charmen Goehring

Each year, we are given the opportunity to recognize members by giving a portion of our Funds donations in honor of members who have given of themselves for our branch. This year, we honor three members who have worked hard for several years to have the Sacramento branch participate in Speech Trek.

Shari Beck is known as the “volunteers’ volunteer.” She is reliable and has a great sense of humor. Ann Arneill is considered a “secret weapon”, busily writing articles and keeping the branch informed about Speech Trek. Kathleen Deaver is a supportive team member — we don’t always see her name associated with Speech Trek (and Tech Trek) as she often works behind the scenes.

Most of us see only the final product — the branch Speech Trek contest. Months before, these ladies are busy contacting schools, delivering flyers, recruiting students, giving informational workshops with the students, providing public speaking tips and even offering suggestions to improve speeches. They also began a members’ Speech Trek Challenge in the month prior to the official competition. As one of the few branches that participate in Speech Trek, we appreciate all their efforts and are proud to select them as our Named Gift Awardees.

Membership Update-New 50-Year Members, Renewal Time and Summer Birthdays

Membership Update By Donna Holmes and Marty McKnew

At our May 20 branch meeting, it was our pleasure to recognize our new 50-year members.  In alphabetical order:

Jean Bonar joined July 1, 1973 in Santa Monica, California where she remained until 1979, when she moved to the Reno, Nevada branch. The moves continued with Jean arriving in Sacramento in 1985.  Along the way, she became a paid life member so if she landed somewhere without a branch, she was still a National member. Jean is also a past-president, serving in 1991-92.

Patricia Peck joined July 1, 1973 and also purchased a life membership.  I was unable to reach Patricia, so all I know is she has a BA and MA in math and math/education.

Hedda Smithson also joined July 1, 1973 and still lives in the same house.  Besides being a biology teacher, she has held numerous positions in the branch and is our incoming program vice-president with Barbara Smith. She is also a past president three times over: 1985-86, 1992-94 and 2004-06.  Lastly, another paid life member!

To become a paid life member requires paying 20 years of National dues, which is all tax deductible the year of purchase.

Having secured 10 new members via the Shape the Future program, we were awarded three free National members for the 2023-24 year.  We chose three longtime members who have consistently given to our branch in many ways: Jane Cooley, Cherril Peabody and Mary Williams.  Thank you for all you do!

Annual Renewal

Don’t forget: It’s time to renew!

Note:  National dues increased by $5 to $72 per year, no change for State ($20) or our Branch ($20), new total is $112 of which $89 is tax deductible.

You may pay online with a credit card by clicking on this link: <Renew> and enter your email and password.

If you paid by check last year, you should have received, by the end of April, a renewal form, return envelope and green sheet showing what is tax deductible.  Please respond quickly and take this opportunity to provide needed updates your directory information.

If you want to print your own here it is: <click here>.

Celebrating June Birthdays! By Donna Holmes

Happy Birthday to All!

  • Della Knowles                                    6/2
  • Patricia Peck                                      6/2
  • Sandra Cavey                                    6/4
  • Mahnaz Khazari                                6/4
  • Shirley Wheeler                                 6/8
  • Pamela Spears                                  6/8
  • Jane Reinmuth                                  6/10
  • Rita Walker                                        6/10
  • Sharon Lee Swanson                       6/11
  • Carmen Hobbs                                 6/12
  • Charmen Goehring                          6/19
  • Kathleen Papst                                 6/20
  • Carol Hayes                                       6/29

Celebrating July Birthdays! 

Happy Birthday to All!

  • Karen Ruth Curtis                              7/1
  • Nancy Kniskern                                  7/1
  • Gloria Sears                                        7/3
  • Karen Ann Rystad                              7/5
  • Patricia Winkle                                   7/6
  • Judy Foote                                           7/8
  • Michele Hobza                                   7/8
  • Linda Sparks                                      7/9
  • Ruth Werner                                      7/10
  • Shari Beck                                          7/13
  • Lisa Howard                                      7/14
  • Vivian Counts                                    7/16
  • Marty McKnew                                  7/20
  • Lori Franz                                           7/24
  • Martha H McDowell                         7/24
  • Joan Heikkila Rhee                           7/28
  • Gina Schumacher                            7/31

Speech Trek Contest Celebrates Its Donors

Speech Trek Contest Celebrates Its Donors By Ann Arneill

The Speech Trek Contest season is drawing to a close.  At the May 20, 2023 Branch Meeting our First Prize winner, Lauren Secreto, delivered her speech on the topic:  “How can communities, organizations and citizens of all ages help protect and expand voting rights?”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many Branch members who contributed to Speech Trek in 2022.  We appreciate our long-standing contributors and welcome the many new contributors this year.  Because of your generosity, we can award $1,075 in cash prizes to our winners each year.  Donors include Sharon Anderson, Ann Arneill, Kathleen Asay, Alice G. Bauer, Shari Beck, RosaLee, Black Jean Bonar, Margaret Brown, Karen Burley, Kathleen Deaver, Deborah Dunn, Lori Franz, Cheryl Fuller, Joan Hammond, Elizabeth Jordan, Catherine Locke, Elaine Moody, Susana Mullen, Bonnie Penix, Diane Petersen, Ann Rhodes, Georgia Richardson, Elizabeth Rose, Sandi Schoenman, Kathryn Schrumpf, Hedda Smithson, Diana Squire, Shirley Wheeler, Linda Whitney, Patricia Winkle, and Gloria Yost.

Branch Awards $15,000 in Scholarships for Coming Year

Branch awards $15,000 in scholarships for coming year By Cathy Locke

Five women have been selected to receive a total of $15,000 in scholarships from AAUW Sacramento for the 2023-24 academic year.

We received 11 applications this year. After reviewing the applications, the scholarship committee selected seven finalists to participate in interviews on Zoom. We had a strong pool of candidates with compelling needs, making the final selection process particularly difficult.  Thanks to the generosity of our members and friends, we are able to award scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each to Elizabeth Adam, Erin Gottis, Nichole Overbay, Wahida Rasoli and Natalia Safi.

Elizabeth Adam, 40, is studying anthropology and economics at UC Davis. She previously received a branch scholarship in 2020-21, when she was a student at American River College and a member of AAUW’s campus affiliate. She served as president of AAUW@ARC before transferring to UC Davis in fall 2022.  She currently works as a student contracting trainee with the US Geological Survey in Sacramento and has a 12-year-old son.

Erin Gottis, 42, is majoring in graphic design at Sacramento City College. After working for 20 years in special education and with students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, she decided to pursue her dream of working in an art-related field. As the parent of a child with a chronic medical disability, Erin said she hopes to use her graphic design skills to “contribute to the advancement of marginalized groups in my community.”

Nichole Overbay, 30, was selected to receive our scholarship for a second year. She transferred to CSUS in January. She is pursuing a degree in exercise science with the goal of becoming a physical therapist. Her interest in the field grew out of her own experiences recovering from serious injuries she suffered in a vehicle accident when she was 17. She is expecting her third child this fall and said she has arranged to take classes online so as not to interrupt her education.

Wahida Rasoli, 32, is majoring in Asian studies at CSUS after completing her associate degree in social justice and ethnic studies at American River College in 2022. She immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan in 2018. She worked for women’s and children’s rights in Afghanistan, where she held positions with human rights and civil society organizations. Since coming to the US, she has worked with the International Rescue Committee as an interpreter to help new immigrants get settled. Her career goal, she said, is to become an advocate for human rights and women’s rights. She has three children.

Natalia Safi, 50, also is a recent immigrant, coming to the United States from Ukraine in 2019. She is majoring in business administration at American River College and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the field. Natalia said she would like to work in business management and possibly start her own business. She has two daughters, ages 11 and 16. “As an immigrant and non-native speaker of English, I understand the challenges of pursuing higher education in a foreign language,” she said. “However, I am determined to overcome these challenges and succeed in my academic pursuits.”

We look forward to hearing from the recipients during a branch meeting this fall.

Again, we thank branch members for your ongoing support of the scholarship program through regular contributions, memorial gifts and bequests.

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards – and Printable Articles

New AAUW CA Project – School Boards Observation
Submitted by Liz Jordan

AAUW CA has approved a new project, the AAUW CA School Board Project, which is to enable monitoring school boards and how they may be affected by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials. This is happening in numerous other states and may also be underway in CA.

The AAUW California Public Policy Committee has been approached by an organization called Equality California, whose mission is to “… bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United Statesstriving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people.”  Their current and most immediate concern is the country-wide wave to install extremely regressive members on school boards, by organizations whose objective is to ban books and censor educational materials that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ and other marginalized groups.

AAUW California shares this concern.  We recognize the intersectionality of the challenges faced by all women – be they straight, white women; women of color; or lesbian, bisexual or transgender women – and support the struggles of all our sisters.

As an organization that was founded on the principle of advancing educational opportunities for women and girls, we also share Equality California’s alarm at the speed and breadth of educational policies that are taking those efforts backwards.  We, like they, want to do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen in California.

Equality California has called on us to join their efforts to assess the current climate in California, and to help them identify and support non-partisan school board candidates who can counter this trend.  Their organization is looking for qualified progressive candidates whom they will train and financially support to run in the most vulnerable districts.  The state Public Policy Committee has voted to engage, and the AAUW California Board of Directors has approved our decision.  Now it’s your turn – we need your help!  With over 9,000 members, we are in a unique position to provide “eyes and ears” on the ground to assist this project.  We are calling on each of you – the public policy leaders for your branches – to get us started by completing a brief survey – which you can find here – by the end of May. Once we have the results, we can determine additional ways in which you can each be of service.  Working together, we CAN make a difference!

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