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!


In Memoriam – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Several AAUW members went to hear Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speak in Chautauchua in 2013. Here is a reprint of Pat Chaloupek’s newsletter article from that trip.

Typically, a lecture does not have musical interludes. However, the hundreds who were in attendance for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lecture at Chautauqua Institution on Monday were treated to a show.

Ginsburg spoke on what she admitted were her two great passions – law and opera. During her lecture, which lasted more than an hour, Ginsburg combined live opera with humor as she detailed how often law is a major plot point in operas.

Ginsburg joked that although she is passionate about opera, her own singing skills are poor. “In my dreams, I can be a great diva,” Ginsburg said.

Following her invitation to speak at Chautauqua Institution, Ginsburg said she had to look at operas in a new light as she contemplated the connection between law and opera. “The invitation to be with you challenged me to consider the topic anew,” Ginsburg said. “I find it fair to say that law does have a comparable part in opera.”

Ginsburg spoke about several musicals – including her favorite, “The Marriage of Figaro” – and how law is involved in the plot. Following her explanation of each plot, members of the Chautauqua Opera Company Young Artists’ Program performed arias or ensemble numbers, depending on the opera being discussed.

Additionally, Ginsburg spoke about an event she called “An Afternoon of Music” at the Supreme Court Building. The event has been occurring since the 1980s. At first, it was held every other year. Then it was held yearly. “Since 2002, when I picked up the reigns, the event occurs twice a year,” Ginsburg said.

She also spoke about a comedic opera that is in the works, entitled “Scalia V. Ginsburg,” written by Derrick Wang, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland’s Carey School of Law. The opera uses the justices’ own words to put together the show.

“It’s about two people with notably different views of constitutional interpretation, who nonetheless respect and genuinely like each other,” Ginsburg said.

Following her lecture, Ginsburg also answered a series of questions from the audience.

In 1993, Ginsburg was nominated by President Bill Clinton as associate justice of the United State Supreme Court. Prior to her appointment, she served on the bench of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit.

From 1972-80, Ginsburg was a professor at Columbia University School of Law. Prior to that, she served on the law faculty of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Ginsburg was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. Throughout the 1970s, she litigated a series of cases solidifying a constitutional principle against gender-based discrimination. She has also served on the Board of Editors of the American Bar Association Journal, as well as secretary, board member and executive committee member of the American Bar Foundation.

She also served on the Council of the American Law Institute and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

New Diversity Book Club

As a next step to the collaborative Conversation on Race, AAUW Medina County Branch has started a new book club.  Its goal is to provide a forum for conversation.

The books that have been chosen present stories about human relationships – love, friendships, families – and show how racial and cultural imprints influence the characters and their actions.

Monthly discussions about the books can lead to readers comparing their reactions to the story line and characters. The hope is to create new connections across neighborhoods and strengthen relationships within Medina County.

Find out more about an inter-racial book club here:
Manasota Interracial Book Club |
GUEST EDITORIAL: Manasota Interracial Book Club, learning to read one another

WHEN:  Monday, September 21st, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

WHERE: ZOOM. A link will be sent on request. Email your interest to Kim Oliver at klo44321@yahoo.com

BOOK ACCESS:  Medina County District Library, Book Club Agent, Jeannine Murray. Call her at (440) 759-8806 to arrange for contactless book pick up at 562 Wadsworth Road, Medina (3 blocks south of the library).

We hope you will join us for our first ZOOM  book discussion on Monday, September 21st, 6:30pm to 7:30pm

THE HATE U GIVE”, by Angie Thomas
This story is about a young woman from a poor neighborhood who attends a white preparatory school. She witnesses a crime and is then torn between the two different worlds she in which she lives. The book was made into a movie in 2018, and was nominated for several NAACP Image Awards.

New Medina Branch AAUW Fundraiser

Proudly wear this Suffragette pin to honor all the women imprisoned for campaigning for women’s rights and the passage of the 19th Amendment. Each pin is designed with meticulous attention to detail and cast in lead-free pewter by highly trained craftsmen. Let’s commemorate the long and arduous work of those who fought so hard!

100 pins will arrive on August 11 for AAUW members to purchase and to sell. Orders can be placed with Carol Thombs, 330-421-1932, who will deliver pins to AAUW members. The pins will be priced at $15 each. Bill and Carol Thombs have made the initial purchase. For each pin sold, AAUW will reimburse $5.00 to Bill and Carol. For pins being mailed in NE Ohio, $1.00 should be added to the $15.00 price of the pin. This includes the price of a padded envelope and postage. Carol has the envelopes if you need them. If anything else is added, such as a card, the price may be higher. For pins being sent farther away, the shipping feel will be higher.

All checks for pins should be made out to Medina Branch AAUW. By selling all 100 pins, Medina Branch AAUW will make $1,000.00.

These pins make great gifts and stocking stuffers. They recognize the brave fight Suffragettes conducted to give us the right to vote, and they add to our celebration of the 100th anniver- sary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Thank you for your support!


Suffragists parade down Fifth Avenue, 1917. Courtesy of the New York Times archive.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a milestone in feminist history. But the amendment, widely thought of as giving women the right to vote, did not fully deliver on its promise. Native Americans and Chinese immigrants were not granted voting rights. And, due to Jim Crow laws and other voter-suppression tactics, Black women and Latinas couldn’t cast their ballots until the Voting Rights Act was passed 45 years later.

The same inequalities — racism, sexism and voter suppression — that made the amendment an imperfect achievement in 1920 are fueling the social and economic upheaval we see in 2020. Clearly, our work is not done. Here are five suggestions for delving deeper:

Reprinted from Mission & Action, Aug. 20, 2020 

A Bittersweet Goodbye

Pat receives a going away gift of hand painted art by member Kathy Kraus.

Members gathered at the end of July to say goodbye and best wishes to Pat Chaloupek. Pat will be moving in August to Colorado to be nearer to family.

Masked members visit during Pat’s reception.

Masked members enjoyed the rare opportunity to visit and catch up for a few minutes. Then, Pat addressed the group, updating them on her plans, and thanking them for the many years of friendship and enthusiasm for AAUW projects. Everyone took the chance to let Pat know how much she has meant to us. Over and over members expressed their appreciation of her leadership as President and various project chairs, her graciously given expertise and advice, talent with the written word, (we still need a

Members gathered to wish goodbye and buena suerte to Pat Chaloupek

Newsletter Editor, folks!), and of course, her open and ready friendship.

Wishing you all the best, Pat and know you will be greatly missed.

The Akron Community Fund
Ken Chaloupek Memorial Russ Vision Scholarship
received donations totaling $715.00 honoring
AAUW member and dear friend Pat Chaloupek

A Message from Alanna

Dear Members,

I trust everyone is weathering the virus and making plans to get flu shots.

This year has been, understandably, disappointing, and stressful for everyone. It takes a while but it is possible to get somewhat accus- tomed to using Zoom to attend lectures and meetings, see movies and plays, to visit with friends, and even to tour museums and discover the treasures of other countries. There is no need to feel that you are missing opportunities or that life is passing by without you. Families are visiting again and that is a very good thing.

However, I noticed that many AAUW members have not renewed their memberships. I sincerely hope this is an oversight because each of you has something unique to contribute to our branch. And AAUW needs you, as do we. We rely on your talents to keep our branch alive and to do whatever good we can in this world.

Our focus this year will be on leadership. You are the leaders of this community and you should, therefore, lead. Please send your dues in today. We look forward to zooming with you next week and every month thereafter. You are needed by so many people who look up to you for guidance.

If you have any ideas for programming or safe activities, please con- tact a board member to discuss.

Please stay safe and well.
Alanna Arnold
President, AAUW of Medina

Medina Branch Collects Honors at National and State Level

Medina County Branch earned a “star” for programming in the new national AAUW Five Star recognition program for 2019-2020. President Alanna Arnold received a letter from national CEO Kimberly Churches last month announcing the award.

“Highlighted in the report I submitted,” Arnold noted, “were our entire range of activities from meetings to our co-sponsorship of the Black History Month program and Sister-to-Sister. Meeting topics that reflected AAUW mission and goals – ‘Breaking the Glass Ceiling,’ ‘Women’s Suffrage, a Celebration,’ and ‘YOU and the Environment’ – helped get national attention.”

“Thanks go to our programming vice president Jeri Penn and to her excellent planning committee, Kim Oliver and her team for our diversity efforts and the branch members who represent us on the Sister-to-Sister Planning Board, as well as the members who gave their support,” she added.

In this year of uncertainty and isolation, it gives us something to “hang our hat on” and be proud.

In addition on the state level, we did it again! Medina County Branch members have reason to be proud as once again our branch took home honors at the AAUW Ohio annual meeting.

While sheltering in place rules were in effect in our state, delegates from 16 branches met online to carry on state business, elect state officers and be acknowledged for numerous awards.

Awards received by the Medina Branch this year were:

  • Best Website Feature Event: Sister- to-Sister; Mary Baker, website manager
  • Best Newsletter – large branch: (tie with Middletown Branch), Pat Chaloupek, editor
  • The Social Media Award: Best Facebook page. Pat Chaloupek, site manager
  • First place for “Diversity and Inclusion”, Kim Oliver, chairperson
  • And the STARZ award for all-around efforts – we have won this every year since it was first given; submitted by President Alanna Arnold

Cindy Weisheit, one of the delegates, commented that because 66 people were registered, logging in on the “Zoom” meeting took a long time and the meeting lasted about two hours. Other delegates to the session were Alanna Arnold, Katherine Baker, Anne Gates and Jeri Penn.

Candidates for state office were introduced and elected at the meeting. They include: Mickey Radtkie, Toledo Branch, President; Chris Fowler and Marlene de la Cruz-Guzman, Athens, Co-Program Vice Presidents; Linda Lehman, Greater Cleveland Area, Membership Vice President; Naykishia D. Hand, Bowling Green, Fundraising Vice President; Debby Stein, Circleville, Secretary.

There was no candidate at the time for Finance Officer. A nominee has since emerged and will be voted on at an upcoming meeting of the joint Board of Directors, according to outgoing President Nancy Stellhorn.

A slideshow of projects and results of awards will be posted soon on the state website. Awards will be formally presented at the fall summit/convention scheduled for September 12.


AAUW Ohio is hosting our first Virtual Event

Fall Summit Kick off , Part 1, Sept. 12, 2020, 10 am – 12 pm
Women’s Rights and Advocacy 100 years after Selective Suffrage
with Lisa Maatz, AAUW’s former top Policy Adviser

Join us on Saturday Sep. 12 as we hear from our Key Note Speaker Lisa  Maatz.  Lisa, a true champion of Women’s rights, she has developed a reputation for her strategic approach to legislation and advocacy.   Currently serving as Senior Advisor to Ohio Citizen Action, Lisa also provides leadership to several coalitions working to advance opportunities for women and girls, including the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education and the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition. Recently featured in the book Secrets of Powerful Women.

Save the Date for Part 2, Oct.  10, 2020, 10 am – 12 pm
with Dr. Cynthia Anderson,Ohio University Professor,
and Jennifer Lyle, Major of Concord
More to come on this exciting event.

AAUW Ohio remains your best coalition of Ohio friends committed to women’s equality.

Stay safe and healthy

Reprinted from an email sent to the Ohio AAUW membership, Sept. 1, 2020. Be watching AAUW Ohio website for the latest information.


When the dust from most of the recent protesting settled, a group of women, the board members of the Medina Branch of the American Association of University Women, decided the next logical step was to have a discussion about race relations. Kimberly Oliver, Medina AAU- W’s Diversity Chair and candidate for Medina County Juvenile/Probate Judge, contacted Colleen Rice, Director of Leadership Medina and Pamela Miller, Chair of the Diversity Project, an offshoot of Medina AAUW. The three groups partnered to offer a Zoom community discussion on July 23, 2020.

The title of the community discussion, which was widely advertised, was “Let’s Talk: A Discussion on Systemic Racism.” The purpose was to encourage people to talk about an uncomfortable topic—race relations. But the goal, according to Oliver, was “to gauge the state of race relations in Medina County, to identify strengths and weaknesses in the community, to inspire self-examination and to engage with others to acknowledge, confront and advance the goal of a better community.”

Seventy-five community members participated—from high level corporate executives to retired concerned citizens. Participants were fairly representative of the community in terms of sex, race, and age.

Everyone was divided into groups of 5-7 participants, a facilitator, and a scribe to take notes. The following pre-prepared questions were presented by the facilitators for group discussion:

-What do you think “systemic racism and institutional racism mean?” Are there differences between the two?
-Have you ever witnessed someone being treated unfairly because of their race? If so, how did you respond and how did it make you feel?
-What does “white privilege” mean to you? How do you think white privilege affects people’s attitudes about racism in our community”
-Have you ever wondered why people of color are not doing as well as whites – in education, employment, housing, health, wealth? Why do you think that is? What are the barriers they face?
-How have recent events made you think differently about racial disparities? Have these events inspired you or discouraged you from reaching out?
-What are some actions you’d like to encourage the community, businesses, or government to take to address systemic racism? What are you willing to do?

After an honest discussion in which participants acknowledged that systemic and institutional racism were problematic in the United States, everyone talked about what might be done and what they could do to help alleviate the problems faced by African Americans.

PROGRAMS 2020-2021

Program Sept., 24, 2020 

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.

Please join us for this non-partisan look at our voting system. Check the September newsletter for login instructions.


Meanwhile, a new Environmental Interest Group is forming. The first meeting will be held Monday, August 24 at 1 pm online via Zoom.

This will be an organizational meeting to consider areas of concern and how we will function. According to group chair Carol Thombs, there are options for examining specific areas such as recycling, or the environment in general and to do individual or team research. 

Those persons who would like to learn more and have a positive impact on the environment may join in by notifying Thombs by email or texting 330.421.1932. 


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

Don’t wait for a new job or a performance review to learn to advocate for yourself at work. Sign up for AAUW Work Smart Online and join the fight to eliminate the gender pay gap!

by Anne Gates and Kathy Kraus, Co-vice Presidents for Membership

Thank you to all of you who have renewed your AAUW Membership for 2020-2021! Although we remain socially distanced for the foreseeable future, we can stay close in spirit as we renew our commitment to the mission and goals of AAUW.

As we look ahead to the coming year, we are reminded of our common focus:

  • Economic Security: On average, women currently are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. At the current rate of progress, the pay gap will not close until 2093!
  • Education: Although 60% of college graduates are women, barriers and biases persist.
  • Advocacy: Local, state, and federal policies and legislation that promote women’s success are essential to achieving the goals of ending discrimination and ensuring equity.

These priorities provide a broad canvas on which our local branch can make its significant mark!  July’s “Let’s Talk: A Discussion on Systemic Racism” is an excellent example of how we can collaborate with community partners to achieve our collective goals. What other ideas can we generate for the months ahead?

There is much to be done! If you have not yet renewed your membership for the coming year, please do so as soon as possible; our fiscal year began July 1. The 2020-2021 dues are $76  ($59 national; $11 state; $6 branch), of which $56 is deductible as a charitable contribution.

You may renew in one of two ways:

1.      Write a check to Medina County Branch AAUW and send it to Pieri Levandofsky, Treasurer, at 251 Jasper Lane, Medina, OH  44256; or

2.      Log in with your ID online at aauw.org/membership/ and pay by credit card.

Finally, the Membership and Program Directory is in process. Please check your information and contact Anne Gates with any updates. The current Directory may be accessed online at medinacounty-oh.aauw.net/; go to the Membership tab on the top right of the page and enter the password. If you need access to the password, contact Membership Co-Chair, Anne Gates.

Please contact either one of us with questions regarding your membership. We look forward to your participation in another outstanding year of programming, advocacy, and service in support of women and girls!

CULTURAL INTEREST — Stay-at-Home Style

Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is proud to once again be a part of Common Ground, the Cleveland Foundation’s community-wide initiative to inspire connection, build community, and create positive change. This year, we will present a virtual program centered around our new digital exhibit, Women & Politics | Empowered to Fight, Empowered to Lead presented by PNC. Participants will first learn about the historic struggle for voting rights and then discuss the issues faced by voters today.

Be among the first to experience the brand-new virtual version of Women and Politics, as our experts guide you through the story of women’s empowerment, from the early days of the suffragist movement to the election of northern Ohio women to positions of power on the local, state and national levels. After a brief introduction, participants will be split into one of three groups, where you will dive deeper into the virtual exhibit to answer a thought-provoking discussion question with your group. Finally, you will come back together to share what you have learned and explore the resources available to those wishing to make change within their community.

Registration is free but required. To register, CLICK HERE. This event will be held through the Zoom platform. When you register, we will email you a link that will allow you to join, as well as all necessary login information and instructions.

In the current healthcare crisis, how is a woman with an inquiring mind to keep herself intellectually occupied? Here are few suggestions, and if you find other great ideas, please email them to AAUWMedinaOH@gmail.com and we will add them to our list.

From member, Carol Thombs, here are some tips and a list of local stores offering Home delivery


Medina County District Library – https://www.mcdl.info/emedia – To learn about how to download and read books, audio books, and magazines, and to watch streaming video. Reopened

Cuyahoga County Public Libraryhttps://www.cuyahogalibrary.org – To learn about how to download and read books, audio books, and magazines, and to watch streaming video. Reopening July 6

Project Gutenberg – http://www.gutenberg.org – Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.

Music and Theatre

Great Lakes Theatre @ Home, https://www.greatlakestheater.org/tickets/glt-at-home We can’t wait to get back together at the Hanna Theatre when it is safe to do so. Until then, we’re providing some content we can share at home to get you through this time apart.

Metropolitan Opera – https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/ – The Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark. Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for a period of 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day.

Classical MPR – https://www.classicalmpr.org/story/2020/03/16/free-online-classical-concerts With many arts organizations and concert halls closing their doors due to concerns from the coronavirus, there has been a surge in performances offered for free online during the closures. Here is our updated list of great performances and concert libraries that you can enjoy from home.

Classical FM https://www.classicfm.com/music-news/live-streamed-classical-music-concerts-coronavirus/  – An updating list of all the major classical concerts and events being streamed live, in the wake of coronavirus measures being taken globally.

Jazz.orghttps://www.jazz.org/blog/coronavirus-jazz-livestreams/While the coronavirus shutdown has shuttered many of the world’s musical venues, musicians are responding by webcasting their performances so we can all experience the joy of spontaneous, live jazz.

Art & Museums

Cleveland Museum of Art – https://www.clevelandart.org/visit-plan Reopens June 30.

Western Reserve Historical Societyhttps://www.wrhs.org/plan-your-visit/ Reopens in July.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History – https://www.cmnh.org/visit/welcome-back-protocols, Reopens, July 1

MCN http://mcn.edu/a-guide-to-virtual-museum-resources/ – The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections

Lifelong Learning

MedinaCounty District Library – https://www.mcdl.info/researchIncludes databases that can be accessed for free using your library card. Some options include: Learning Express Library, (career related ), Mango and Transparent Languages, (language learning), Lynda, (technology and career), Novelist, (readers advisory).

Coursera – https://www.coursera.orgOffers free and paid online courses from 190+ leading universities and companies.

TEDhttps://www.ted.com/talks – Not courses, but always interesting, thought provoking talks on a variety of topics.


Gaiam: Flow Yoga for Beginners
Gaiam is a well-respected and popular yoga company with a wide variety of instructional videos. This one takes users through the popular flow yoga, also known as vinyasa yoga

Pilates Essentials
Certified Pilates instructor Lindsey Jackson takes viewers through an hour-long class designed for both beginners and those with pilates experience. For each move, there are variations depending on comfort level.

Yoga with Adriene

For a low-key yoga practice? Try Yoga with Adriene, www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

Stretching – Check out Doctor Jo, a licensed Physical Therapist and Doctor of Physical Therapy. I try to provide the best physical therapy videos and demos of stretches & exercises for common injuries and syndromes. https://www.youtube.com/user/AskDoctorJo/videos

How about walking? Try walking in a new park! https://www.medinacountyparks.com/index.php/parks/medina-county-parks-map


Congratulations to our newest scholarship recipients!

Two Brunswick, OH middle school students have been named recipients of our 2020 Camperships. They look forward to experiencing Camp BeWise and learning more about science and technology. Congratulations, ladies!

Unfortunately, due to the current health crisis, the BeWise Camp is being cancelled for this year. We are disappointed, but feel certain that our scholars will continue to pursue their interests in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology in the future.

Nontraditional Women’s Student Scholarships

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

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.

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.

Previous 2019 – 2020 Programming

Special 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!