The Pine - January 2020

The Official Publication of AAUW MN

  • A Message from our President
  • AAUW Funds
  • AAUW-MN Public Policy Update
  • Downloadable Public Policy Instructions
  • NCCWSL Grant reminder
  • MN AAUW Grant Application Period - EXTENDED
  • Around the State - Minneapolis, Ely & Grand Rapids share what they are doing!
  • Share your AAUW Branch experiences
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A message from our president, Lisa West

Dear Members,

Some updates for January:

AAUW MN Annual Meeting

Preparations are underway for the AAUW MN Annual Meeting, scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020. By next month’s Pine, I anticipate being able to give you more details. So, please look for that

AAUW Regional Convention

The AAUW Regional Convention planning is nearing completion (June 18-20, 2020, in East Moline, Illinois). Details and updates are being posted on the AAUW Illinois website.

Minnesota is now one of 13 states planning or invited to this Convention.

Here is the current list of speakers:

  • Lisa Maatz
  • Denise Lieberman
  • Kendra Davis (seen in the picture to the right)
  • Pam Thiel
  • Rockford Branch
  • Paula Purdue

and breakout sessions:

  • WorkSmart
  • Cybersecurity
  • Running for Office
  • Title IX
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Muslim Women

We’re still waiting to hear about our requested LAF speaker. Please consider attending this Convention!

AAUW Legislative Day

As you’ll see in other articles, planning is underway for an AAUW Legislative Day at the State Capitol, likely sometime in April.

As always, please let me or any AAUW MN Board member know if you have a question or need help with something.

I hope your new year is off to a good start!


January Quote: “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” ~ Amelia Earhart

AAUW Funds

Barb Wonson Liukkonen


We in MN-AAUW can be proud that we have initiated and completed 12 American Fellowships, 2 International Fellowships, and 8 Research and Projects Grants to stipend-producing levels. Here is a brief summary of the amazing women funded through our MN-supported International Fellowships and Research and Project Grants, for the year 2019-2020. Keep in mind that stipends from multiple funds are usually required to produce sufficient funds to support a Fellow or Project.

International Fellowships:

Maria Cristina Miranda Vergara, from Mexico, is working on her Ph.D. in chemistry at Notre Dame. Her specialization is in biochemistry. Vergara’s research is advancing our understanding of the mechanisms by which the metalloproteinase MMP3 produced by cancer cells or the cells surrounding them in the tumor microenvironment contribute to normal breast development and breast cancer progression. Her research will help understand how the activity of MMP3 contributes to the breast-cancer progression to develop therapies against cancer with the fewest side effects. Miranda Vergara stands for leadership in science through education and service. Maria received funding from the Ida H. Hyde International Fellowship, as well as two MI-supported International Fellowships.

Linet Makori is from Kenya and is studying computer and information sciences at St. Mary’s here in Minnesota. She’s completing her M.S. in Data Intelligence and Geo Analytics. Linet is passionate about utilizing information technology for the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls. Over the last nine years, she has worked as a systems analyst in the education sector in Kenya. During this fellowship year, her goals are to complete her master’s degree, expand her network of women in STEM and continue supporting Tunapanda Institute through its Tech Dada program in mentoring girls living in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums. Her studies are funded through the Barb Link International Fellowship, as well as the Alice McKee and Great Lakes Region International Peace Fellowships.

Minnesota-initiated Research and Project Grants are supporting six women with Career Development Grants and also two Community Action Grants in 2019-2020.

Career Development R&P Grants:

Elisa Aigamaua, at Northeastern University in Boston, is a software engineer on the test engineering team at Twitter where she writes automation for the video team. Her current work focuses on testing backend services for media monetization and UI automation for publishers. Her goal is to study audio and video compression and encoding techniques and algorithms while pursuing a formal education in computer science by obtaining a master’s degree, which will enable her to contribute to the video features codebase. Her work is partially funded through the Alberta McNeal R & P.

Jaime Wintringham is at the Suffolk University in Boston, working on her medical dosimetry

certificate. She currently works in cardiovascular research with the Thrombosis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group at Brigham and Women's Hospital and is pursuing a postbachelor’s certificate. Medical dosimetrists create computerized treatment plans and perform dose calculations for patients undergoing radiation therapy. Wintringham plans to take her own personal experiences with family members undergoing treatment to create better quality-of-life treatment plans for patients. Jaime’s efforts are partly supported with a stipend from the St. Paul Branch Founders R & P.

Christina Kay is pursuing study in public health and humanitarian action at Columbia University in NYC. Her past work includes two years in the Peace Corps, where she served as a rural community health advisor in Benin, and several years managing a homeless outreach program in Colorado. She aspires to direct humanitarian public-health programs after completing her master’s degree in public health, either in an international or domestic context. Christina’s study is partially supported through the Inez G. Schaefer R & P Fund.

Rachel Person is working on her MS in Counselor Education at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, with a specialization in student affairs and college counseling. Her goal is to work with special populations, such as first-generation, historically underrepresented, women, and nontraditional students like herself, and to provide needed support unique to those populations. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with and serving as volunteer coordinator for Dance-Ability at East Carolina University, a dance program inclusive of children with disabilities. “Our” Minnesota Muriel Miller R&P Grant funds part of Rachel’s degree work.

Konya Smith, is at the U of TN in Chattanooga, completing her MS in Engineering Management so that she can advance her career in supervision. She would like to gain the knowledge to continue to help other young girls and women to progress in the engineering field in any way possible. There is still a gender gap for jobs and pay in this field, and Smith wants to lessen the perception that women can't do what men can do. Konya’s career development is funded through the Dode Wonson R&P Fund, along with 5 other R&P Grants.

Amy Nelson, at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx, will become certified with a Professional Mariner Training and Captain’s License. As a boat captain with experience ranging from wooden tall ships to motorboats, Amy Nelson’s goal is to encourage and value women as leaders in the maritime industry. She currently works as a research-vessel captain for Shoals Marine Lab on Maine’s Appledore Island. Nelson recognizes the importance of planning for and responding to challenges at sea and is pursuing advanced maritime training to increase her skills as an effective leader and captain. Amy’s work is partially funded through the Susan Lemke R&P.

Community Action Grants:

Rosie Riveters, with project director Brittany Greer, from Alexandria, VA, received a one-year grant from the Wendy Shannon R&P Fund. Rosie Riveters will provide hands-on and interactive STEM programs for girls ages 4-14 in Fairfax County, Virginia. Each session (yearlong and/or summer) begins with the exploration of a STEM concept through interactive mini lessons and group activities; participants then apply that knowledge in a self-guided environment where they interact with completed examples in order to independently choose materials and build a project via trial and error. Girls engage with mentors throughout the


The Arab-American Family Support Center, directed by Sarah Alsaidi, from Brooklyn, NY, also received a one-year grant. AYWA! Stands for College & Career Coaching for Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian Young Women. The AYWA! The program encourages immigrant and refugee girls from Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian backgrounds in New York City to reach their full potential. This project will integrate college and career coaching, field trips and guest speakers to inspire high-school students with positive images of female achievement, build communication skills and prepare participants for higher education and professional success. “Our” Jane Ellen Maddy R&P partially funded this community action grant.

I want to thank our national AAUW staff and volunteer committee members who sift through dozens and dozens of applications each year to identify women and projects deserving of AAUW’s financial support. Anyone who has participated in selection panels knows what a difficult job that can be (although it’s also inspiring to review the accomplishments and dreams of applicants). On top of all that effort, they painstakingly work to match grant recipients with Funds raised by the states that the applicants are from or are studying in.

AAUW-MN Public Policy Update

Jan Carey, AAUW-MN VP of Public Policy

There is so very much to do as we welcome the New Year. 2020 is, of course, building to be the most critical year for our country and AAUW. This update will give you a start to achieving state and branch goals. Much assistance is available using the resources found on the AAUW national website. It begins with our CEO and how we can promote equity for women and girls.


AAUW CEO Kim Churches is providing ‘issue’ updates regularly in webinar format. Hundreds of members are attending these webinars and sharing national perspectives and actions by branch members across the country. The webinars are archived on the national AAUW website. The December webinar will be posted soon.

The October webinar has new information which should be shared with branch members as soon as possible. Watch the recording of CEO Kim Churches’ special webinar exclusively for members with an update on AAUW’s achievements, including reaching our Work Smart goals, rolling out the new 5-star recognition program, and strengthening our governance and sustainability.


Getting ready, it’s going to be a Year of Politics –

There are numerous AAUW Resources branch members may access and use to form actions and strategies to promote the mission of AAUW. Resources targeted to Public Policy are here. I recently received print copies of the Congressional Voting Record. Watch for information in a January 2020 public policy update.

As the AAUW Public Policy committee formalizes its Legislative Day 2020, there are key areas members should read to prepare for our day at the State Capitol. Also, I will assemble more information in a special edition of The PINE.

Report the following to your branch members:

1. How to Host a Rally. The public policy committee has not yet considered a Rally. However, the information is useful if your branch is interested in forming a local event.

2. How to Hold a Meeting with Your Elected Officials.

3. How to Organize a Voter Registration Drive. If you do anything in 2020, it should be this. When I worked at my local college, I organized Voter Registration Drives every election year. Seek out faculty instructors for assistance and support. They can be your best allies.

Click on the link below to download the full descriptions!

2019-2020 MN AAUW Grant Application Period EXTENDED

Running this article again as there have not been any requests since October.

AAUW MINNESOTA will award several grants during 2019-2020 to support branch projects that further the AAUW mission of advancing equity for women and girls. The Branch Project Grant Evaluation Committee will consider the following criteria in rating the applications.

Click the link below to open it and print it.

This document is also on our AAUW-MN state website.

NCCWSL update

Gail Glashan

AAUW of Minnesota, NCCWSL Chair

The AAUW of Minnesota Board is ready to award $1,000.00 to ten Minnesota branches, one scholarship per branch, that send a student to the 2020 National Conference of College Women Student Leaders, aka NCCWS, May 27–30, 2020!

As America’s premier conference for college women, NCCWSL provides a transformative experience for 800+ attendees and prepares them to be the next generation of leaders. I hope your branch will consider giving this opportunity to a deserving young college woman in your community. Then apply for a $1,000.00 grant, which covers the cost of NCCWSL registration, room and board, and airfare.

The deadline to submit a chosen applicant, along with proof of registration, to AAUW of Minnesota is February 1, 2020. Checks will be awarded to each branch in February 2020.

Downloadable materials are now on the AAUW of Minnesota website, click here.

Around the state...

The Minneapolis Branch is collecting books for South Africa Elementary Schools

The Minneapolis branch of AAUW is working on a special project in conjunction with our International Day on So. Africa May 4, 2020.

We are asking all AAUW members and interested people to donate used and new Children’s and Teen’s books (and monetary donations for shipping costs) to be sent in an ocean shipping container from Atlanta to three elementary schools in So. Africa. As many of you know kids in So Africa have zero books…..children have a teacher who has one book in the classroom. This project will help school libraries have books that can be borrowed. Experts there believe that then each book is read by 20 children. The project is being supported by Books for Africa which has an office and warehouse in St Paul. Our current donation level is $3552 and over 2300 books.

You can donate to our project in the following ways:

  • Going to their website and clicking on the category South Africa and seeing “AAUW South Africa Container Project for Memel, Global”.
  • Drop off books at the warehouse at 717 Prior Ave N. St. Paul MN 55104 Phone 651-2518896.
  • Donations can be sent online or to Carole Patrikakos, Deputy Director,370 Selby Ave, #305, St, Paul, MN 55102.
  • Send books to our location: Minneapolis Branch AAUW 2115 Stevens Ave, Minneapolis MN 55404

If you do donate books or funds please label them as AAUW donations.

Please contact me, Mary Moriarty, at, 763-494-8554 for assistance or information.

Thank you, everyone, for any interest you have in our project!

The Grand Rapids Branch begins their meeting with...

The Grand Rapids branch starts off by reading the AAUW Mission Statement.

"To advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy."

We had cards made up and they are placed at the table so we can all read in unison. It is a great way to start our meetings and to realize why we come together.

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The Brunfelt-Sainio Memorial Fund and AAUW Ely

SAVE THE DATE! “Women’s Lives Transformed – the 19th Amendment to Today”

Please join us for a Women’s Suffrage Conference Let’s Celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of our Right to Vote!

When: June 26 and 27, 2020

Where: Vermilion Community College, Ely, Minnesota Speakers Dr. Sara Evans, Author and Historian Dr. Annette Atkins, Author and Historian Linda Wharton, JD, Political Scientist (concentration in gender discrimination and the law)

This conference is made possible through the generosity of the Brunfelt-Sainio Memorial Fund.

Download the flyer for more information.

Share your AAUW branch experiences

What fun idea does your Branch do to get together with your AAUW Sisters? Let Cyndy know by emailing