The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is a nationwide network of more than 170,000 members and supporters, 1,000 local branches, and 800 college/university institution partners. For over 130 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Our commitment to our mission is reflected in all aspects of our work.

AAUW’s Mission
AAUW advances gender equity for women and girls through research, education and advocacy.

Medina County Branch

The Medina Branch was founded in 1964 by a group of women dedicated to declaring their common interests in encouraging educational activities, cultural activities and personal growth. They were leaders in our community and instrumental in developing long-standing institutions in Medina County, including the Medina Arts Council, the Women of Distinction Awards, home tours, candidates’ nights, a scholarship fund for non-traditional women students, an annual used book sale, and the Sister-to-Sister Conference for Girls. We proudly celebrated our 55th year at our annual meeting and dinner, June, 2019. Want to know more? Don’t hesitate to contact us at our email, aauwmedinaoh@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you! Thank You!

A huge thank you to our outgoing officers. President Alanna Arnold has done an outstanding job keeping us on-line and focused on the AAUW mission. Vice-President Programs, Susan Holbrook, planned interesting meetings using the technology new to most of us. Vice-Presidents of Membership, Anne Gates and Kathy Kraus, kept us informed and compliant with the state and national organizations. Secretary, Katherine Baker, kept us organized with her timely and accurate minutes. Kim Oliver and her committee presented an exceptional virtual Black History program. Your strong leadership kept us strong through this challenging year.

New officers will be elected and installed at our June dinner. Kim Oliver has agreed to accept the presidency.

Joyce Rynearson will serve as Vice-President Programs. She has already been busy with a committee planning interesting meetings to further the AAUW mission.

Bernice Goertzen will take over Vice-President Membership.

We still need a secretary, a public policy chairwoman, a diversity chairwoman, and a volunteer to update the website and our Facebook account. These are all board positions that are important to keep our group functioning. Please consider joining the board and let Kim know which of these positions you could best fulfill. We are strong together.


AAUW Medina Branch Annual Dinner

Members enjoyed a gorgeous evening dining outside at the Corkscrew Saloon on Thursday. The Branch celebrated adapting and surviving all the changes brought by 2020-2021, while enjoying each others company and a delicious dinner.

Out-going chapter officers Alanna Arnold, Susan Holbrook, Anne Gates, Kathy Kraus, and Katherine Baker  were recognized for their outstanding work over the last two years. Also presented were the new branch officers for 2021-2022, pictured: Vice-President Membership Bernice Goertzen; Kimberly Ortiz, Secretary; President Kim Oliver; Vice-President Programs Joyce Rynearson.  and  .

Also recognized were our scholarship recipients, Mercy W Muchemi  and Aneta Mullins, pictured with Scholarship chairperson, Jill Morton.


Diversity Project Event, June 29

The Medina County District Library and the Medina Diversity Project are partnering to present a virtual program, “Understanding Christianity,” on Tuesday June 29th at 7:00 pm.

Five Medina County clergy members will participate in a forum moderated by Rev. Beth McGuire, formerly with Hospice of Medina County.  The participating clergy are: Father Tony Sejba, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church; Rev. Laura Fitt-Baird, First Christian Church; Rev. Arthur Ruffin, Second Baptist Church; Rev. Luke Lindon, United Church of Christ Congregational, and Rev. Tal Lewis, Medina Methodist Church.  They will share traditions and beliefs within their respective denominations, as well as how they interact with other denominations.

Registration is required.  Go to the Medina County District Library website, www.mcdl.org to register or use this link: Understanding Christianity The Zoom link with be emailed to all registered participant before the event.  You must have the link to access the event.


Need some ideas on how to celebrate Juneteenth? We’ve got a few! Check out this list from our Diversity Committee.

June-teenth will be celebrated by the Diversity Program this Saturday, June 19, (Nine- teenth) at the Pizza Palooza on the Square, 9 AM to 2 PM.

Take the Diversity Challenge at the Diversity Table.  Can you identify these Black and Brown leaders, actors, athletes, authors?  How many clues do you need to identify them?

New Officers & A Position to Fill

Thanks to Cindy Weisheit and her nominating committee for all of their work providing us with a slate of new board officers. For president, Kim Oliver, will be leading us for the next two years. She will be assisted by Joyce Rynearson as vice-president for programs and Bernice Goertzen as vice-president for membership.

We will vote to elect these officers and they will be installed at our June 24 dinner meeting. The position of secretary is still open. We also need a chairman for the Public Policy committee. If you would like to fill either of those seats on the board, contact Cindy at 330-635-0304.

Another Successful Sister-to-Sister 2021

This year’s Sister to Sister event looked a little different as it took place virtually via Zoom. The event almost didn’t happen at all, but thanks to Buckeye Student and Junior Leader, Olivia Ortiz, the planning board was inspired to try a new format. This year’s theme was “How to be Resilient” and featured two guest speakers, Jessica Hazeltine, a Medina Council person, and Ashley Powell, AAUW Medina’s 2020 Excellence in Leadership Award. Hazeltine detailed her experience being bullied as a child and eventually developing the confidence to run for city council. Powell is a former Buckeye Local Schools student, and she discussed her experiences growing up as a black woman in a mostly white community. She discussed how she did not begin to have confidence in herself until her twenties, and she largely attributes that to the people who supported her no matter what. After listening to the two inspiring speakers, the girls were sent to a breakout room where they could interact and ask questions of high school mentors.

To go along with the virtual program, the participants were also able to collect a craft kit and create fun projects using instruction videos created by the teen leaders. We are grateful that we were able to have an event at all this year, and much of the credit goes to the teen leaders for being creative and providing young girls with the opportunity to be inspired and learn how to build resiliency.

Sister-to-Sister, (S2S), has been reaching out to young women for more than 20 years. The original S2S project was initiated in 1997 by the national American Association of University Women in an effort to understand the concerns of our nation’s young women and how these concerns affected their educational experiences.

Sister-to-Sister was open to all Medina County young women, ages 11-14, and there was no fee to attend. S2S is made possible by AAUW Medina, Cornerstone Psychological Services, Girl Scouts of America, ZONTA ABC, Medina County District Library, The Medina County Health Department and Cloverleaf schools.



An excerpt from a speech made by a National Board Chairman to a national committee to answer that question.

“I recently had a discussion with a member who was of the opinion that the board is not focused on the right things, among other things; she was upset about the increase in dues and proposed bylaw change. This person felt that we should be solely working on programs and initiatives that would provide more value and benefit to individual members. In other words, she felt the “M” we should be thinking about is membership. I begged to differ with her. When I think of the focus on “M,” two words come to mind: Mission and Management. Now, management is a term often associated with for-profit corporations. However, strong governance along with competent, professional management with vision, is also essential in nonprofit organizations.

“As for mission, AAUW does not exist to serve its members. Its purpose, its mission, is to advance gender equity for women and girls through, research, education, and advocacy. Of course, as a member association, we also want to provide value of membership, but the basic legal tenet of a non-profit is that benefit does not inure to its members except, of course, in a collective and incidental way.”

Member News


I’m working on a comprehensive project to break the cycle of poverty for a group of individuals who live in Union Square, Medina.

Policy makers do studies on breaking the cycle of poverty and there are classes you can take to learn financial literacy, but more can be done collectively at a grass roots level. We work on individual projects and make a difference a little at a time, but think what we could do if all worked together toward one goal. Breaking the cycle of poverty in Medina County.

With that thought in mind, I reached out to Samantha Harr, who is the resident manager for Union Square, to inquire on what services her community could use to improve their current situation. We discussed the barriers to access education and employment. Some of these barri- ers are: child care, background checks, transportation, broadband and technology. Here are a few things we’ve gotten into place:

Education – Project Learn will conduct tutoring for GED’s, Civil Service and ASVAB testing for anyone over 18 years of age in the Union Square Community Room.
Background Checks – I reached out to the Medina County Probation Officer and received information on how to seal records for individuals who have up to 5 felonies. I’m putting together information packets for Samantha to hand out when needed. We are advertising this information through a poster on the new jobs board Samantha has installed.
Technology– Samantha was approached by an individual who wants to help get computers and tech in the Union Square Community Room. It’s great news for this community! He also has donated a large screen TV that will be installed and can be used as a white board. Continuous WiFi is another subject. The Medina school is paying for WiFi through the end of the school year, but after that we will need to find additional resources. United Methodist Church has promised to pay up to 3 months, and I hope that will cover the summer months. We don’t know what will happen when school starts again in the fall
Library – United Methodist Church has put in 2 small bookshelves and books for the children. I have resourced a couple more bookshelves and a hundred books or so to put on them. I plan to install a bookcase for adult learning as well.
Children – Samantha and I met with the new board president of Let’s Make A Difference to see where we can work together with the children and parents of Union Square. I’m looking to make a connection with Big Brothers and Big Sisters too. I’ve heard that Medina County may now have a branch.

What I need from you and other AAUW members is help in filling in the holes.

Some of these young people will need mentors to help them navigate the job market, writing a resume, finding appropriate clothing, learning to dress for an interview, learning good interview skills, etc. These soft skills can be intimidating and overwhelming. Can you help guide someone through this process? These young people just need someone to believe in them and help them up and out of their situation.

I can give individuals information on how to seal their records, but I can’t answer any legal questions or give advice, so if you are an attorney could you volunteer an hour or so a week to answer any questions on how to fill out the form and what qualifies, etc.?

We will also be looking for a couple of tutors for tech once the computers get in. In today’s work world it’s imperative that everyone has good computer and internet skills. Can you tutor in Word, Excel, Google, email, etc.?

When you help with even one of these items listed above you could change someone’s life forever. Union Square is only a starting point. Once a few more connec- tions are made, and more barriers are taken down, I’d like to see this project be duplicated across the county.

Let’s work together for positive change in Medina County. I hope you will join me!

Donna Beheydt, Community Organizer
If you can help, text Donna at 330-703-7607 or email at donna.beheydt@gmail.com

Congratulations to member Ashley Powell who was nominated this week by Leadership Medina County for Excellence in Leadership. Ashley was nominated as an Emerging Leader. Congratulations, Ashley!

Jeri Penn, was recently inducted into the Kiwanis Hall of Fame in Medina. You might have seen the nice write up recently in the Medina Weekly News.

She and her husband Alan have been active in that organization for 40 years. During that time she led many community activities to benefit others, including making blankets, collecting personal care items, and giving books to children. She loves sharing her gifts and skills to benefit others.

Medina Branch Earns Awards

State branch awards were announced at two state regional conferences attended by our branch President Alanna Arnold. Therefore, she would like to announce that Medina AAUW re- ceived the following awards: The Diversity and Inclusion Award (formerly called The Daffodil Award) and the Outreach Award for social websites (formerly called Public Communications Award). There were no Starz Awards this year but, beginning next year, the Starz Award will be called the Buckeye Award.

Arnold would like to thank our Diversity Chair AAUW Member Kimberly Oliver for an outstanding job both this year and last. Our audiences loved her and her committees’ ideas and performances for Black History month. Even in a pandemic, she did not disappoint.

Likewise, AAUW Member Mary Baker rose to the occasion to fill the very large shoes left by Pat Chaloupek. Baker has done an outstanding job with both the branch website and Facebook pages. One of the most important criteria for this award is that the branch site be viewed and used. Our site is viewed by many people and the comments left indicate that it is used. The judges are always impressed by how useful our website is in our community.

Thank you for outstanding jobs, ladies, and kudos to all the members who contributed to both the diversity and public outreach endeavors! We are proud of you.


Medina Branch Committees

PROGRAMS 2020-2021

Save the Date!
August 19, 2021, 6:00 PM
Bunker Hill Golf Course
SPEAKER: Olivia Ortiz on “SISTER TO SISTER” program 

June 24, 2021, Election and Annual Dinner

Cocktails at 5:30, Dinner at 6:00 pm.
Where: Corkscrew Saloon, 811 W. Liberty, Medina, Ohio
Cost:  $23.00 per person, all inclusive. (Except for alcoholic beverages.)
Reservations:  To make reservations, send your checks, payable to “Medina AAUW,” to Pieri Levandofsky, 251 Jasper Lane, Medina, OH before June 17. 2021.

April 29, 2021,The World We Live In

Hopefully, you were able to join the “The World We Live In” zoom meeting on April 29. The three experts were very informative about our Medina County environment and provided very positive suggestions as to steps we should be taking. A very big thanks goes out to our three presenters: Ryan Haden, professor of soil science at OSU-Agricultural Technical Institute; Abby Costilow, Medina Soil and Water Conservation District; and Dawn Meyers of the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District.

A special thanks, also, to a very dedicated committee that worked so well and efficiently to put this program together: Alanna Arnold, Julianne Bedel, Lor Breyley, Mary Lou Euse, and Marcia Paladino. Look for more from this group that is passionate about saving our environment. More information on how you can be part of the solution and about upcoming events will be in our newsletter.

March 25, 2021, Music, Musings and Memories with Joyce Rynearson

AAUW member Joyce Rynearson spoke about “ music, musings and memories,” providing recollections of a journey that began at the age of ten when a teenage boy, playing duets on an old upright piano, changed her life. From taking lessons at the Cleveland Music Settlement, to jamming at Kent State, joining a dance band, working as a church accompanist, playing at a hotel in Mexico, entertaining visitors in the Cleveland Clinic lobby— all of these opportunities and more were made possible by that chance meeting years ago.

Joyce and her piano took us on a musical journey of her varied experiences with a lifetime love of music. We traveled with her from classical to jazz, to gospel and show tunes. We enjoyed her rendition of “Maple Leaf Rag,” a Scott Joplin tune, and “This Little Light of Mine.” She also played “What I Did for Love” from “Chorus Line” and “Sea of Love.”

Joyce reminded us of the importance of music in our lives by sharing several beautiful quotes about music:

  • “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human society cannot do without.” (Confucius)
  • “There are two means of refuge from the misery of life—music and cats.” (Albert Schweitzer)
  • “A painter paints pictures on canvas, but a musician paints pic- tures on silence.” (Leopold Stokowski)

Joyce will be playing at the Cleveland Clinic in Medina when Covid 19 restrictions are lifted. We will post her schedule when it is available. Thank you for the special program on music that we all enjoyed.

February 25, 2021, The Green Book: Driving While Black

Our Feb. program highlighted Victor Hugo Green, the African American postal worker best known for developing, writing and publishing The Negro Motorist Green Book, later known as The Negro Traveler’s Green Book. This book, published from 1936 to 1966, provided information on lodging, restaurants, gas stations and the like which African Americans travelling during Jim Crow and racial

Diversity Chair, Kim Oliver hosting the Feb. meeting.

segregation could use to safely travel throughout the United States. Kim Oliver, AAUW Diversity Chair, served as Mistress of Ceremony. The presenters, AAUW members or community volunteers, were Alanna Arnold, Jill Heck, Allison Hoff and Minister Senesa Peterson. Many thanks to Colleen Rice and Leadership Medina County for their help hosting the program on Zoom. 

 January 28, 2021, Sarah Krieger, Medina Battered Women’s Shelter

Sarah Krieger, Advancement Specialist of Hope and Healing, will speak at our AAUW meeting on Thursday, January 28th at 7:30 p.m. She will discuss the progress of the Medina project and then answer your questions about the Battered Women’s Shelter.

As you are aware, this has been a very difficult time for families. Please attend the Zoom meeting to hear how the needs of these families are being addressed.

December 3, 2020, Meet Mercy Muchemi

Mercy W. Muchemi

Our December program will again be a zoom meeting with our STEM Scholar- ship recipient, Mercy W. Muchemi. Mercy is currently working on a bachelor degree in nursing at Fortis college. She has a one- year-old daughter and is working with Visit- ing Angels in Medina while going to school full time.

Mercy has a bachelor degree in International Relations from the United States international University in Africa. She has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya, at Americorp VIP, and at Mama Fauzia Children’s Orphanage. She is changing to a nursing career because she has a passion for helping families and children. Her story is very uplifting.

November- No Meeting due to the Thanksgiving holiday

October 22, 2020, Treasures From The Attic

McDowell-Phillips House, currently being restored by the Medina County Historical Society

Our October Zoom program was hosted by Brian Feron on October 22nd at 1:00p.m. Brian shared with us the treasures found in the attic of the McDowell-Phillips house which is being restored by the Medina County Historical Society. The items include an invitation from Abraham Lincoln to attend his inauguration.

There was no business meeting just half an hour of fun learning about this historical house where everything was saved.

Sept., 24, 2020, Carol Lawler, Medina County Board of Elections

Susan Holbrook and the program committee have been hard at work planning on-line programs for this year.Thursday, September 24. at 1:00 PM Carol Lawler from the Medina County Board of Elections will speak about the many methods of voting and how your vote is secured. This will be a Zoom meeting with Alana Arnold as host.There will be a question and answer session after Carol’s presentation. In order to participate in this you will need to use the “raise your hand” feature in zoom. This is located in a bar at the bottom of your screen. Mark your calendar for all of our upcoming programs:


Vincent van Gogh self portrait, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France

“Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit” is coming to Cleveland from September 9 through November 28 of 2021. This exhibit is 500,000 cu ft. of monumental projections of Van Gogh’s works from the sunny landscapes to the starry nights, portraits, and still life. It is a multisensory exhibit in which you walk through large scale moving images with music. This exhibit will be located at an historic Cleveland venue that is being kept secret for now. Covid 19 safety precautions will be in effect and admission will be managed with advance timed tickets. Go to vangoghcleveland.com to purchase advance tickets. There are several different prices ranging from $30 to $100 per ticket. Most of September and weekends in October are already sold out.

This is the type of trip we would have enjoyed as a group pre-Covid. We can’t do that, but I at least wanted to make sure our members had the information to attend if they choose. Cleveland supports the arts and we are so fortunate to get an exhibit like this.

Great Improvements Ahead

The gifts received for the Battered Women’s Shelter totaled $1600.00. Thank you so much for your support of the facility. I delivered the checks the first of January and they are so pleased we care about the women and children of Medina County.

Jill Morton
Liaison of Battered Women’s Shelter

Did you know the Battered Women’s Shelter has long been a passion of our chapter? We have had a guest room with our name above the door at the shelter. Through the years our members and their friends have found used furniture, painted, purchased privacy blinds, and even installed a kitchen countertop.

Jill Morton and Susan Holbrook arranged our February Zoom general meeting with our speaker, Sarah Krieger, the advancement specialist at Hope and Healing, the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center for Medina and Summit counties. Sarah’s heart has always been in nonprofit work. While in college she helped develop Mission Possible, a service program in the Dominican Republic, and she continues as the Director of that program today. Sarah has also served as Executive Director of a multistate agency that places for credit leadership and service classes in high schools. Sarah has been on the team at Hope and Healing for the last three years, and she gave us an informative presentation on this important local group. 

The calls for help at Hope and Healing have increased due to the coronavirus. The increase has been especially large in the Family and Stability Program which helps with finding jobs and apartments. They also serve as the fiduciary for the Human Trafficking Program and provide housing for these victims on an emergency short term basis. The shelter also has room for senior victims affected by elder abuse. They do help men in abusive situations and work with the LGBTQ community. Those who need the shelter cross all ages, races, and economic groups. 

The clothing bank is always in need of donations which can be dropped off at the Medina office at 696 East Washington St. The shelter employs six psychologists, two youth and four adult. They offer skill classes, therapy dogs, and do allow pets. 

They are in process of building a new facility to further meet the demands for help. When it is complete, they will have a “housewarming party” requesting donations for furnishings. They have always been on our AAUW list of charities to support. Sarah expressed appreciation for that support. It was very interesting to learn more about the grass roots functioning of this group. 

About the shelter: The Battered Women’s Shelter provides emergency protective shelter for those who otherwise would have no choice but to remain in a violent home. The Medina shelter opened over 18 years ago when championed by Commissioner Pat Geissman. Thousands of adults and their children from Medina, Brunswick, Wadsworth and every corner of the county have come through the doors since its opening. When finished, the Medina shelter will be an environment that encourages peace, while providing respectful surroundings for those that need to stay in the shelter for a few days, or weeks.

Thank you for your consideration,
Jill Morton Cell- 330-760-4448
AAUW Liaison to the Battered Women’s Shelter

Donna Hamilton

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” Groucho Marx 

Our summer book is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. This is a nonfiction book that has been controversial, widely read by book clubs, and should lead to a spirited discussion. Those who have read it responded that it was at times painful to read, but that the important message needed to be heard. Carol Thombs will be leading a discussion on this book in September. 

This past year has been challenging for book club members since we could not meet in person. I want to thank Alanna Arnold and Marcia Paladino for helping our group with the ZOOM meeting technology. We would not have survived without your expertise. 

I am looking for someone to step forward and take over the leadership of book club. I have done this many years now, and it is time for new ideas, a new approach. This has been one of the best and oldest book clubs in Medina County. We need to keep it vibrant and strong. Please let Donna Hamilton know if you would like to do this job. (clover725@ymail.com) 


“Coffee and Convos” is the name of a book group from Ohio AAUW. “Convos” is a text slang term for conversations. Now use that new word in a text to your grandchildren and show them how “hip” you are.

February 2021 – Women and Leadership
Saturday, February 20th, 10:00am to 11:00 am via Zoom
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado Perez 2019 
Approximate Book cost $16
(Amazon Link here)
Lead discussion: Deborah Wooldridge and Rush Rodgers; click to RSVP.


Carol Thombs has been thinking about the book sale fundraiser that we normally have in April. Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to postpone any plans for this important branch fundraiser until April, 2022. Safety will always be our first concern. But, we remain optimistic that we may again serve the book-lovers of Medina.


This year’s Black History Month Program will be a Zoom presentation available to AAUW members and the public. The presentation will take place on Thursday, February 18, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. The topic this year will be “Driving While Black.” We will discuss the particular difficulties that black motorists have historically encountered and The Green Book which was used by black motorists to find friendly accommodations, gas stations, and restaurants while traveling.

To attend, participants must make a reservation at aswarnold@gmail.com or artkathy@zoominternet.net prior to 2:00 p.m. on February 18th. Participants are limited to 100. The first 100 to make a reservation will be sent the Zoom address.


The committee met to discuss the good and bad of our April 29 meeting and to decide where to go from here. While we felt that it was generally a very good program, we learned from this first experience and will use that experience in planning future programs.

After a summer break, it is hoped the committee can continue to provide ways to promote good environmental practices both with our AAUW members and with the Medina County Community. Lor Breyley will continue providing ideas for good practices in the newsletter. One idea we would like to pursue is to learn what really happens to all the materials that people recycle. Having a contest for our members is also being considered. Watch this space for more news on what the Environment Committee will be offering and what you can do to help improve and save our environment.

We might consider a program promoted by some environmentalists. Make the month of July plastic free, i.e. do not buy anything in plastic for 30 days. It is difficult, but even if you aren’t able to do this, trying is very enlightening. The amount of plastic we use is amazing and horrifying!

Human Trafficking
Carol Thombs

The Coalition will have a Poker Run on August 21 from 9 am to 1 pm to raise funds for use against human trafficking. The entry fee is $20 per car plus $15 per passenger. The Run will start and end at the Eagles’ Club. Baskets will also be raffled off. Alanna Arnold is in charge of the baskets. Any good ideas for baskets or anyone wishing to donate a basket, please contact Alanna.

Two of our Medina County SOAP teams visited a total of 18 hotels in Cleveland as part of making hotel staff aware of the potential for human trafficking to occur during the time of the NFL Draft. Posters of missing girls as well as cue cards indicating what to be aware of, and labeled soap and make-up remover wipes were distributed. Stopping the victimizing of girls is the passion of these volunteers. They deserve our appreciation and thanks.

The next big event of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking will be a Poker Run in September or October—date TBA. Participants will drive to different designated places to collect poker cards and to vie for prizes. This could be an AAUW fun event for members and spouses to enjoy our beautiful county and to contribute to the important goal of eliminating human trafficking.

The next meeting for the Coalition will be on May 20 at 6:00 pm. The Coalition is considering becoming a SOAP Project Chapter. Presently we are an affiliate of the Cleveland Chapter. Becoming a Chapter adds responsibilities, but it also has advantages. A vote on this is expected to be taken at the May meeting. All are welcome to join the meeting, and since AAUW has been a leader in the Coalition, our input would be welcomed. Please contact Carol Thombs (330-421-1932 or cgthombs98@gmail.com) for the zoom link.

On May 11 Carol Thombs will be speaking at the AAUW Northeast Ohio Branch (Lake County) Board Meeting. A connection was made through Pat Chaloupek’s friend, Jackie Evangilista, who is on that board. A new, but very small SOAP group has been organized in Lake County. Help is needed to be able to make it a viable group. Carol will be informing their branch about the goals and re- sponsibilities of SOAP and how AAUW’s mission fits with this. This collaboration is a plus for our branch and theirs as we work together for the good of girls and women.

by Anne Gates Co-vice President for Membership

This spring, AAUW members across the country will have an opportunity to vote on a significant proposed change to the current national Bylaws: eliminating the college degree requirement for membership in the organization.

In an online forum last September, Board Chair, Julia Brown, and Vice Chair, Malinda Gaul, provided a comprehensive perspective on the proposed Bylaws change. They stated that in- clusion is a priority for younger people and, given that fifty percent of the U.S. population was born after 1980, AAUW needs to acknowledge this generational shift with respect to removing barriers to membership and keeping AAUW vital into the future. Further, Brown and Gaul underscored that the AAUW leadership has considered racial and social justice and its relationship to the degree requirement; women in marginalized groups are often dispro- portionately affected by issues of equity. They emphasized that AAUW’s reputation and brand are key, and some outside the organization view it as being hypocritical with respect to its emphasis on inclusivity in light of a degree requirement for membership. This can affect AAUW’s ability to secure grants, as some funders do not want to be affiliated with a group that discriminates on the basis of an educational requirement.

A summary of key talking points in support of eliminating the education requirement, as prepared by AAUW’s Inclusion & Equity Committee, is outlined below:

  1.  It is the right thing to do and is in keeping with our mission to advance gender equity.
  2.  Eliminating the degree requirement will bring AAUW membership criteria in line with its mission – to advance gender equity.
  3.  Greater diversity can only strengthen AAUW and our ability to advance equity.
  4.  Times have changed and society has changed. AAUW strives to meet our mission and society’s needs today.
  5.  AAUW empowers women. How does keeping the membership requirement help you empower women?
  6.  Just like our founding mothers, we can be role models for positive change in the world. But we cannot have the impact we seek when our membership criteria don’t match our mission and values.
  7. AAUW is unique due to our breadth of programming, research, policy and advocacy, fellowships and grants, and most importantly, a grassroots membership that can be mobilized to fight for what we believe in. We should open this powerful grassroots network up to all who want to join the fight.
  8. Education comes in many forms. Those who do not have degrees can still be strong advocates for our mission.
  9. AAUW must evolve to survive.

Voting will take place starting April 7, 2021 and will continue through May 17, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Further information may be found in the Membership Toolkit on the AAUW page cited below. Please familiarize yourself with the proposed Bylaws change and exercise your right to vote later this spring.

AAUW. Open membership toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.aauw.org/resources/ member/governance-tools/national-election/open-membership-toolkit/
AAUW. Webinar on membership dues and degree requirement with Julia Brown and Malinda Gaul: September 22, 2020. Retrieved from AAUW.org.


The newly revamped AAUW Public Policy Website is very helpful and easy to interact with – please check it out at: AAUW Public Policy website

2019 -2021 AAUW “Public Policy Priorities underscore AAUW’s mission to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, educa- tion, and advocacy. The work of AAUW builds upon responsible public participation…(aauw.org).” Listed on the website are priorities that pro- vide a basis for AAUW member actions at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Explore the Issues, Get Empowered, and Take Action, are the three main categories you can click on and access clearly stated information within each page. Under ‘Take Action’ for example, there is a Two- Minute Activist page; listing ways you can get involved without leaving your home during our national sequester.

Check out the easy interactive site and I suggest you download the AAUW Public Policy Priorities word document and keep it on your laptop as a reference.

The local medina Public Policy Committee is off to a slow start but will gear up soon as I have had an unprecedented summer and fall with many changes in my job and in family responsibility.

If you are interested in getting involved please contact me – I would love to hear from you.

Cate Hunko, Public Policy, email: chunko@kent.edu

Equity Network Events:

Join us as we engage with the issues that matter most and share helpful resources for taking action. From negotiating your salary and benefits to advocating for change in your own community, the Equity Network is here to help you succeed.Check out our past webinars below and stay tuned for upcoming programs.

Equity Network Events


Scholarship Applications Being Accepted for 2021-22

The Medina County Branch of the American Association of University Women is accepting applications for two $1500.00 general scholarships and one $1500.00 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Math) scholarship to be given to a “non-traditional” woman undergraduate student who is attending an accredited college or university. This applies to the 2021-2022 academic year and applicants must be a resident of Medina County.

A “non-traditional” student is a woman twenty-five years of age or older who is returning to college to finish an undergraduate degree, or a woman who has delayed entering college for several years after completing high school or earning a GED.

The deadline for submission of the application, college transcript, and recommendations is Friday, April 9, 2021. The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of financial need, academic achievement, and clarity of goals and objectives. Scholarships will be awarded in May.

Applications are available through The Akron Community Foundation at www.akroncf.org/Students. For more information email Jill Morton, Scholarship Committee Chairperson at jillmorton@zoominternet.net

Nontraditional Women’s Student Scholarships for 2020-21

Congratulations to our two scholarship recipients for 2020-2021, Aneta Mullins and Mercy W. Muchemi!

Aneta Mullins AAUW Scholarship recipient

Aneta Mullins has been awarded our AAUW scholarship. Aneta attended Midview High School, received an Associates of Liberal Arts degree in 2006 from Lorain Community College, and is presently a junior at Cuyahoga Community College majoring in Psychology/Social Work.

STEM Scholarship recipient Mercy W. Muchemi

Mercy W. Muchemi is our STEM Scholarship recipient. Mercy graduated from State House Girl’s School in 2007. She went on to the United States International University-Africa and received her Bachelors in International Relations in 2012. Presently, Mercy is working on a degree in nursing at Fortis College.

A “non-traditional” student is a woman who is returning to college  to finish an undergraduate degree or a woman who has delayed entering college for several years after completing high school or earning a GED. For more information, go to our Scholarship page.



21st Annual Sister to Sister Conference, March 8, 2020

One of the last events in early March before the
COVID-19 outbreak redirected our lives, Medina’s 21st Sister-to-Sister Girls Conference, was a resounding success for its 42 enrollees, 14 student leaders and over a dozen adult participants.

Keynote speaker, Stefanie Robinson addresses Sister-2-SIster.

The theme of “Be the TRUE You,” was one that has been reiterated a number of times, but this year had a fresh appeal. Keynote presenter Stefanie Robinson brought her message to the girls: ”You do not have to be what people expect of you, but be true to yourself and what you are capable of.” As a person who suffered from low self esteem early on, Robinson went through stages of bulimia, addiction to meds and drugs and was on the verge of self-destructing before she managed to find the strength to accept help and turn her life around. Today, she works with self-help organizations, bolsters courage among young people as well as adults who suffer from issues of dependencies and gets out on the road to speak her message to as many people as will listen. She is executive director of Hope Recovery Community and works with OhioGuidestone.

The junior leaders get a selfie.

Girls from the Junior Leadership Medina organization took on our conference as a group project this year. Many thanks to Carrie Park, Director, her young ladies who added their youthful enthusiasm and leadership to the event and the other teens who helped.

Attendees representing 15 schools as well as homeschooled students participated this year. We thank our special greeter — and his handler — from Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs for coming to welcome our attendees. A big round of applause goes to our host, Medina Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic Hospital, who has solidly supported this project since year one.

AAUW Medina Branch was the initiator of the event as we created a safe setting for young women to come together to meet girls from other schools, learn what it takes to become more self- confident and have fun while learning leadership and social skills. AAUW team members who were part of the project this year are Alanna Arnold, Pieri Levandofsky and Pat Chaloupek.

June Meeting: Basics of Investing, June, 25 at 7 pm

There was a virtual meeting on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. The Zoom meeting was hosted by our speaker Sue Kozak who discussed “The Basics of Investing.”



February Meeting – 18th Black History Month Program Salute to Veterans: The Fight for Freedom

Veteran Tonya Jones next to her picture.

“This year’s event acknowledged and saluted the Black Veterans of the United States of America Armed Forces who fought and continue to fight for all of our freedom even when they had or have none of their own,” announced Kim Oliver, Medina Branch Diversity Chair. The program was highlighted in a recent edition of The Medina Gazette.

The Black History Month program, which has become a tradition in our community, was held Thurs., February 20, at the Second Baptist Church, 451 Bronson St., Medina. Co-sponsors with AAUW were the Second Baptist Church and Fellowship Baptist Church.

From Civil War regiments to Tuskegee Airmen and in present day military incursions, black soldiers have distinguished themselves with valor; they were celebrated in song, poetry and historical readings.

The Claggett Middle School Choir, the Medina Community Choir, and Local VFW #5137 also participated in the program. A “pick-up” community choir sang that evening, having come to the church an hour before the program for practice. AAUW members brought plated snacks and dessert items to the Fellowship Hall for serving following the program.

AAUW Medina County Branch members, Ashley Powell, Kathy Kraus, and Jill Heck. Kraus was one of the planners of the event and offered attendees a look into the life of Col. Robert Shaw.

Oliver chaired the program with assistance from branch members Kathy Kraus and Alanna Arnold, and Pastors John and Senesa Peterson of Fellowship Baptist Church and Arthur Ruffin, of Second Baptist Church.

Also, our thanks to The Foundry (formerly High Voltage Indoor Carting) for allowing us to use their parking lot for overflow parking.

January Meeting – Members Learn Recycling, Reusing and Conserving

With guidance from branch member Carol Thombs, a dedicated environmentalist and former science teacher, thirty of our members learned to discern what materials can be recycled, what can be reused, what is safe for the environment and what products should be avoided.

The program, held January 23 at the home of Cheri Ingraham, was a “hands-on” learning experience for all. Thombs assigned people to groups, and armed them with a bag (reusable) with various kinds of trash items from “paper” plates to wrapping paper. and take-home containers. They were to decide how these products would be classified and record data on their whiteboard. They considered paper with/without coatings, stamped recycle markings on the bottom of the product, shape and condition.

On hand to answer questions on what is being recycled locally was Beth Biggins-Ramer, Solid Waste Coordinator at Medina County Solid Waste District. “Recycled items are commodities, and as such are bought and sold so they need to conform to certain standards,” she stated.

Thanks to Carol Thombs for preparing the program, Beth Biggins-Ramer, Solid Waste Coordinator, Cheri Ingraham for hosting in her lovely home (she used regular plates and table service and cloth napkins) and to the members who provided snacks/ treats with no single-use plastics.

DECEMBER MEETING- AAUW Medina Branch December Diversity Dinner

Thank you to everyone who generously gave money or gift cards to The Children’s Center last month. The final total, $530, helped provide Christmas presents for children served by the Center during the holiday. Our members really came through again!

Guest presenters with the International Student Exchange program – Garance Deret, from France, and Pareeda (Beam) Techawongprasert, from Thailand—were welcomed at the branch Diversity Dinner, held Dec. 10 at the lovely holiday decorated home of President Alanna Arnold.

Deret, enrolled as a senior at Medina High School, is from Joinville de Pont, France,
a commune in the SE suburb of Paris. She has a special interest in graphic art and has taken Advanced Drawing and 3-D Art and Design as courses this year. Outside of school, she was enrolled in ballet at Medina Centre for Dance Art and was preparing for an upcoming recital. She has four siblings and has been studying English since grammar school, with the hopes of teaching English. Duret is staying with Kate Owen and family on East Washington St. in Medina.

From a city with a metro area population of over 14 million persons, Pareeda (Beam) Techa- wongprasert calls Bankok, Thailand home. Beam, as she likes to be called, is being hosted by the Lorton Family and is a senior attending Wadsworth High School. Her favorite subjects are math and science and she is considering a career in engineering. She, too, is interested in dance, and has had training in traditional Thai dances.

She commented about her new “American look” –blonde hair, which she has been trying out, and which her parents would be surprised at. “Our schools are more strict back home; kids wear uni- forms and cannot change their hair color.”

American kids more dependent on using cell phones, the girls stated, saying that in their home schools, electronic use was more regulated. Both young women are finding Americans friendly and hospitable and have enjoyed being a part of the international experience. They were looking forward to school vacation and getting to participate in more activities, including some opportunities to travel out- side the area.

The ISE has been bringing together ex- change students and volunteer host families for nearly 40 years. Students arrive in August for the 10-month program and stay through the school year, Hamilton has been with ISE since 2007 and currently has 12 exchange students that she is responsible for in Medina and Summit County.

The branch thanks Alanna and Jack Arnold for generously opening their home for the dinner meeting and Jill Heck and her assistants for setup and prep work: Mary Lou Euse, Donna Hamilton, Jill Morton, Jeri Penn, Judy Smith and the Arnolds. Moravian Star table favors were made by Euse.


No Meeting. Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.


Celebrate the Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote.

During 2019 and 2020, Americans will celebrate the 100thanniversary of the ratification of the 19thAmendment which legalized women’s right to vote. The AAUW Medina Branch is celebrated this occasion by holding a special local event.

AAUW member & re-enactor, Kathy Krause, portrayed Victoria Woodhull, a leader of the suffrage movement. Ms Woodhull was the first woman to start a weekly newspaper and the first woman to own a brokerage firm on Wall Street, but Woodhull is best known for being the first woman candidate for President of the United States.

Kathy was joined by AAUW member, Annette Barzal, and members of the Sharon Center Historical Society portraying  suffragettes, campaigning for equal rights for women.

Luncheon, for members only, began at 12:00 p.m. The program followed the luncheon at 1:00 p.m. and was free and is open to the public.


“Breaking the Glass Ceiling”, a panel discussion featuring five women in positions of prominence in business and non-profit organizations kicked off the programming for the chapter for this year,  Thursday, September 26 at the Medina Library.

 The program offered insights into how these women rose to their current positions, their thoughts on how to be successful in engaging men and women to find solutions and meet goals, and their views on trends regarding female leadership in Medina County. 




We kicked off our year with a lovely picnic held at the Pavilion at Bunker Hill. While enjoying the great food, this year’s BeWISE campers, Adrienne Raglow and Sarah Keller, and family members were our special guests, describing their experiences at the week-long STEM camp held at Kenyon College in June. BeWISE camp was started in 1989 by members of the board of directors of AAUW Ohio to encourage girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and was one of the first of its kind in the country.

      • JULY 4TH – AAUW branch members dressed as “Suffragettes” for the Medina City Annual Parade. We rode in an antique truck from the Historical Society waving banners.  At right, photo from last year’s parade.
      • JULY 28 – (SUNDAY) – Annual Nate Vermote Run to Freedom, on Medina Square. Both 5-K run and 1-mile walk; start time 9 am. Benefits Medina County Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

The branch offers opportunities to come together monthly to experience programs on topics of interest from NASA space shuttle projects to storytelling, human trafficking awareness to following a student as she re-traced the original “Freedom Ride” of 1961 through the south.  We have active interest groups that discuss pertinent books, visit area museums, exhibits and attractions, and screen current films.

Browse our site and find out how you can be a part of our active organization!

Medina County Branch has a Facebook Page….visit us at http://www.facebook.com/MedinaAAUW to see what people are interested in. Share your thoughts and LIKE us!