Programming for 2020

Vice President for Programming, Susan Holbrook, assisted by her committee, has organized a diverse and interesting schedule of events for this year.

  • 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.


  • Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, 1 pm, Treasures in the Attic

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

Our October Zoom program will be hosted by Brian Feron on October 22nd at 1:00p.m. Brian will share with us the treas- ures 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 will be no business meeting just half an hour of fun learning about this histori- cal house where everything was saved. Guests can ask questions on Zoom by using the “Raise Hand” feature. Alanna Arnold will set up the Zoom meeting and will send the link to join the meeting to all members by October 21.

  • Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, 1 pm, Elections and Your Vote

    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.  Please join us for this non-partisan look at our voting system.

  • Thursday, May 28, 2020 – 6:00 p.m. — Spring Banquet – CANCELLED

Our annual Spring Banquet is when we can enjoy a sit-down dinner while we recap our year, announce our scholarship winners for 2020 and install our officers for the next year. Unfortunately, this year, our Branch Annual Meeting and Dinner has been cancelled due to the current health crisis.

Instead of voting for officers and installing them at a physical meeting, the Board proposed to
do “on-line” voting. Information will be sent to all members with details later this month. Two officers will be elected; they are unopposed at this time. They will automatically assume duties at the beginning of the new fiscal year, July 1, 2020.


March, April and May Meetings have been cancelled.

February, 2020 

Claggett Middle School choir sang several pieces during the event.

The 18th Annual Black History Month Celebration Thursday, February 20, 7 pm.
Second Baptist Church, 451 Bronson St., Medina.

Members of VFW Post 5137 provided an honor guard for the evening.

In partnership the Second Baptist and Fellowship Baptist Churches, we presented a unique program: A Salute to Black Veterans –The Fight for Freedom. This was a community celebration, open to all and featured tributes in song, poetry, dramatic vignettes and historical commentary. Co-chairs are Kim Oliver and Kathy Kraus. The event was reviewed in a recent edition of The Medina Gazette.

January, 2020 

Healthy Choices for YOU (and the Environment).

We’ve been ” Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling” for years, but in our world today, these guidelines are not enough. Join in this interactive program to learn how to make choices that will help us live healthy lives while working to save the environment at the same time. The program will be presented at the home of Cheri Ingraham, 3060 Pearl Rd., Medina, OH 44256. Bring finger foods, snacks or desserts, but no plastic containers!


December, 2019

Holiday Potluck 2019 - FullHoliday Potluck – Please bring a dish to share. The speaker for the evening will be an International Student from The College of Wooster. Held at the home of Alanna Arnold, 200 Glenshire Lane, Medina.

October, 2019 

Women did not yet have the right to vote but one outspoken woman, Victoria Woodhull, seeking equal rights and empowerment for her gender put her name out there for president of the United States in 1870.

At the October 24 branch meeting at A.I Root Community Room, Kathy Kraus, our past president (of Medina Branch), who has enlightened many in Ohio with her historical role playing of women who have made a difference, dressed the part of Woodhull to let us Kathy Kraus as Victoria       know about the brash and innovative woman who was first in so Woodhull                             many things.

Not only was she the first woman to have her name on the ballot for president, she was also the first woman to speak before Congress, and the first woman to open her own brokerage firm. After losing to U.S. Grant, she became a staunch advocate for women’s health and suffrage. “She was a chaismatic reformer, a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur and a visionary,” Kraus added.

“The women who came before us lifted us up. Eleven million women voted in the first presidential election after they earned the right, including my own mother,” stated Annette Barzal. She went on to say that young people of today take these rights for granted and need to realize the struggle that took place.

Barzal introduced Laticia Gerhard, who volunteers with her at the Sharon Township Heritage Society. The women have researched suffragette leaders to create a display at the Society’s 1840 House on the Circle  Kathy is Joined by member Annette  Sharon Center (Rtes. 94 and 162). Call for hours to see      Barzal and Sharon Township Historical when it is open at 330- 239-1755.                                            Society Member, Laticia Gerhard 

Prior to the program which was open to the public, members and guests enjoyed a bufet lunch organized by Jeri Penn and provided by ParTake Kitchen Catering. Appreciation goes out to Jill and Bill Heck, Jill Morton and Diane Novotny for help with set up; Alan Penn for technical assistance, A.I. Root for use of the community room, and Alyssa Alfano for her follow-up article and photos in The Gazette.

September, 2019

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

Breaking the Glass Ceiling panelists, Colleen Rice Carole Kowell, Stacy Bonitz and Amy Demlow react to member Jill Heck’s introduction of Ms. Kowell.

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.

 August, 2019

  • We kicked off our year with a lovely Summer 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.

Past Programs, 2018-2019

May Annual Meeting & Dinner, 2019

The year end banquet was held May 23 at The Tasting Room in Wadsworth. Hospitality Chair Jill Heck made the room sparkle with white and silver balloons table decorations.

President Kathy Kraus took us on a “trip down memory lane” as she reminisced about the two years of her presidency. She announced the awards we earned from AAUW Ohio, including the Daffodil Diversity Award, second place for newsletter, an award for promoting
AAUW activities, and a citation from the city of Medina for our participation
in Bicentennial activities. She thanked all the board members and committee members for their help by giving them a beautiful rose. Past President Cindy Weisheit officially installed our officers: Alanna Arnold, President; Jeri Penn, Vice President for Program; Kathy
Kraus and Anne Gates, Co-Vice Presidents for Membership, and Katherine
Baker, Secretary. We are looking forward to an exciting biennium
with their leadership. 

Cheri Ingraham, Scholarship Committee Chairperson, introduced our scholarship winners: Jeanne Merchant and Ashley Powell. Each will receive $1500 for academic expenses. This is the second year we are helping Jeanne, and she expressed her sincere gratitude
for the support. Mary Baker showed a power point with photos of past AAUW events and projects. The video was made for our 50th anniversary and was updated to the present.
It was a lovely evening to look back at all we have accomplished this year and also to look forward to new challenges. Our Medina Branch is strong and well. We are a group of women who know how to get things done. We are an important advocates for women in our community. 

April 7, 2019 – Baldwin Wallace Senior Showcase.

Members and quests had a full day planned that featured:

  • a delicious buffet luncheon at Strosacker Hall,
  • a pre-Broadway showing of the Musical Arts Department’s Showcase with talented seniors ready to make their marks in the entertainment world,
  • and a tour of the Boesel Muscial Arts Center and the Conservatory of Music by the dean of the department. Thanks to Lee Nichols for arrangements.
















Hands-on blanket making session

The 20th Sister-to-Sister Conference was held at Medina Hospital. With co-sponsorship from eight other organizations, this year’s program focused on the theme, Confidence Is Key. Featured presenters were Samantha Ponomarenko, founder of Buckeye Blanket Buddies project, and Susan Russell, Psychologist, certified trainer and PiYO instructor. See Sister-to-Sister


Young dancers in African dress

The 17th Annual Black History Month Program was held in partnership with Second Baptist and Fellowship Baptist Churches on February 21.  The program celebrated African-American culture in song, dance and personal contributions. The middle school choir, a “pick up choir”, a praise group and little dancers highlighted the evening.


Carol Thombs, Liz Nelson

We met at the home of member Alanna Arnold to hear about “The WOW of Wetlands.” Carol Thombs, branch member and retired science teacher, presented an interactive session on the importance of these natural resources in maintaining global balance.

Earlier meetings:

December 6, 2018. Annual Diversity Carry-in Dinner was held at the home of Jill Heck. Members showed off cooking skills with various ethnic dishes on the buffet table. Guest speaker for the evening was Tanaka Chingonzo, a student from Zimbabwe attending the College of Wooster.

September 27, 2018.  We met at the University of Akron’s Medina County University Center to learn about how AAUW’s national outreach programs, START SMART and WORK SMART, are improving women’s lifetime economic earnings potential. Members expressed interest in pursuing this outreach effort further in cooperation with a local university.

Past Programs, 2017-2018

In May, Members enjoyed an end-of-summer picnic at the pavilion at Bunker Hill Golf Course. Highlights of the evening included hearing from our BeWISE Campers.

In April, members and guests celebrated our year’s activities, recognition of the 2018 Non-Traditional Scholarship Winners and elected officers. Beverly Jones, Master Gardener Volunteer from the OSU Extension Office presented on “Gardening like Monet.”

“Testing Orion: The World’s Next Crewed Vehicle” was presented by Cloverleaf alumna and NASA Senior Project Manager, Nicole Smith on March 22. She discussed the Orion spacecraft — NASA’s new interplanetary spaceship that will launch atop the world’s most powerful rocket to take astronauts on a journey of exploration throughout our solar system. The Space Launch System rocket with Orion is targeted to launch from Kennedy Space Center in late 2019.

AAUW advocates for STEM education. On the national, state and local scene, we are leveling the playing field for girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

About 300 enthusiastic persons of all ages filled the Second Baptist Church on February 22 when we  “Celebrated Unity in Our Community,” AAUW Medina Branch’s 16th annual collaboration with members of the church for Black History Month.

An impromptu Diversity Choir formed for the evening from interested participants who came about an hour ahead of the program for a brief rehearsal. Vocal music, drumming, artwork, traditional African dress and short remembrances from several spokespersons from the community added to the celebratory spirit. Refreshments were served in the community room after the program.

Thanks go to AAUW Branch President Kathy Kraus and Vice President Donna Hamilton, Second Baptist Pastor Arthur Ruffin, Fellowship Baptist Church, Claggett Middle School, Garfield Elementary School, Sharon Elementary School, Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell, Medina Chief of Police Ed Kinney and others for their help in planning this year’s program.


September 27, 2018. , We met at the University of Akron’s Medina County University Center to learn more about how AAUW’s national outreach efforts “START SMART” and “WORK SMART” are improving women’s lifetime economic status.

The Annual Meeting and Spring Banquet on May 17, was the last meeting of this fiscal year.  Programming featured Beverly Jones, Master Gardener, on “Gardening Like Monet” at the Rustic Hills Country Club. Recipients of the AAUW Non-Traditional Women Scholarships were introduced; officers were elected.

     Beverly Jones


Smith answers a question from a student in attendance

“Testing Orion: The World’s Next Crewed Vehicle” , an overview of how the project came about and is moving forward, was presented in March, 2018 by local Cloverleaf alumna and NASA Senior Project Manager Nicole Smith.




January is HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH. Medina Branch is part of the Medina County Human Trafficking Awareness Coalition which sponsored the HUMAN TRAFFICKING WORKSHOP on Jan. 25. See our page Human Trafficking Awareness.

 Medina County Branch hosted a program on January 2018, “Ohio Tales of the Titanic,” featuring author Mary Ann Whitley, co-author of a book by the same name.

Author Mary Ann Whitley

She highlighted NE Ohio connections to the passengers of the ill-fated ship as well as their links to area residents. A tea table, resplendent with a silver tea service and sweet samplings of tea-time treats that could have been served on the ship was set up by branch committee persons. Annette Miller, our “resident” antique collector and expert on jewelry and accessories of the early 20th Century, brought a display for visitors to enjoy. About 100 persons attended to fill the meeting rooms at the Medina Library.


Annette Miller shows a beaded purse to attendees

September 28, 2017

Julia Shearson, Executive Director of the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), presented on “Today’s Muslim Women: Being Muslim in America” at the September branch meeting.

The meeting, with a catered dinner from Miss Molly’s Tea Room, was held at the A.I. Root Company Community Room  with 34 persons attending the dinner and another 20+ arriving for the program which followed.

Shearson has served for 14 years as CAIR’s Executive Director and focused on civil rights advocacy, educational outreach, and media and public relations. Her goal is to help dispel stereotypes of Islam and Muslims and to bring together people of all faiths to work for the common good. She holds masters degrees in linguistics from Ohio University and in Middle East studies from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s degree in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University.

Assisting Shearson with the final part of her presentation and the question & answer session was Dr. Najia Usman, who has her endodontic practice in Medina.

While the two women presented contrasts in appearance and family background, they were sincere in their beliefs and contributed to our understanding of a segment of our population that is becoming a larger part of the American culture.

October, 2017

“Deeper in Debt: Men, Women and Student Loans”

Download the 2017 AAUW Research Report, Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans.

Our panelists:    Aaron Collier-Calafato, monologist, writer, podcast host, and spokesperson/ public relations director for University Circle Methodist Church. Leah Sakacs, member of the Youngstown Branch AAUW and Younger Women’s Task Force, a national director of AAUW, and volunteer Services Coordinator AmeriCorps, Habitat for Humanity/ Mahoning Valley. Barbara Taylor, retired elementary and gifted teacher at Cloverleaf Schools. As parents of twin sons who have recently graduated from college with large student debts, Taylor and her husband–also a retired educator–are now working several part-time jobs to help pay off loans. Paula Maggio, AAUW Medina Branch Co-Vice President for Programming, served as moderator. Maggio is Newsletter Editor and Communications Chair for AAUW Ohio, a writer and journalist who has taught women’s studies at the University of Akron and Kent State University. 





December, 2017

Rhia Matsuzki

Diversity potluck dinner at the home of member Jill Heck. Members brought a dish to share. Guest for the evening was a student from Japan studying at the College of Wooster who discussed her transition to U.S. culture.


In September, Joann King, local historian and author, discussed her latest publication, Medina County Coming of Age: 1810-1900, with a focus on notable women throughout the era.

"I first became interested in history when my fourth grade teacher in Paulding read biographies to the class, beginning with Daniel Boone. She noted my interest and brought me books to read." - Joann King

“I first became interested in history when my fourth grade teacher in Paulding read biographies to the class, beginning with Daniel Boone. She noted my interest and brought me books to read.”
– Joann King








October: Info session and panel discussion on what our local schools are doing to enforce Title IX.  (See summary below.) 

November 2016, : AGENT OF CHANGE AWARDS BREAKFAST, at Williams on the Lake. (see tab for Agent of Change.)

December: ANNUAL DIVERSITY DINNER (Carry-in) at the home of member Jill Hecknative-american

Program: John Burke, Medina County Treasurer and historian.



February: BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROGRAM, in conjunction with Second Baptist Church.


April 26-29: ANNUAL USED BOOK SALE. All members.

May 18, : ANNUAL DINNER MEETING, Officers and Committee chairs reported on events of the past year; officers were elected; annual Non-traditional Women Students Scholarships were awarded; program – “Children as Songwriters” with Thomas Sigel.

Thomas Sigel

Ms. Hospitality – Sue Whitfield

Lor Breyley and Jill Morton

Jill Heck

Thomas Sigel with his mother, Marilyn











Summary of Title IX Panel Discussion and Program, October, 2016


Three educators in varied levels of leadership in Medina County schools offered a candid appraisal of Title IX for members and guests attending the October 27 general meeting at Medina Library.
Under the guidance of moderator and organizer Paula Maggio, Co-vice President for Programming, Dr. Andrew Hill, Wadsworth City Schools Superintendent, Jeff Harrison, Medina High School Principal, and Jessica Toocheck, girls head softball coach and teacher at M.H. S., presented an enlightening panel discussion.
Hill, in his third year as superintendent, is capping his career in education as an elementary school teacher, middle school principal and school district superintendent. He earned a BS and M. Ed from the University of Toledo and his doctorate from Seton Hall University. He and his wife Dawn, also a teacher, live in Wadsworth.
With eight years at Medina H.S., Harrison served as Athletic Director and now Principal. He also held various positions within the Cuyahoga Falls City School District. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Akron and a Masters from Kent State. He resides in Montville Township with his wife Pamela and sons Ty and Ryan who attend Medina City Schools.
Toocheck played softball at MHS, went on to become Mid-American Conference Player of the Year at Kent State, spent two years playing professionally with the Akron Racers and then returned to MHS as assistant coach. Named head softball coach in 2001, she has taken the team to the Division I State Tournament. She was inducted into the Kent State Varsity “K” Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Maggio: What do you see as the benefits of Title IX–for both girls and boys?
Harrison: It brings equity to the forefront both in and out of the classroom, it has provided a new focus as far as facilities and numbers of teams, and it has influenced our hiring practices.
Hill: It’s been positive. It creates a means by which individuals can file complaints and provides a non-retaliation clause for people who do so.
Maggio: Does your school conduct a Title IX compliance review?
Harrison: There is an audit of the Athletic Department whenever a new sport is added. Medina has 22 varsity sports and we keep equal access across the board.
Maggio: What do you think is the biggest issue preventing the full implementation of Title IX in our schools today?
Toocheck: We need to push the bar higher and to have the boys rally around the girls to show support for their programs so that both can succeed. We can have more interaction and partnering.
Hill: The challenge is that we must provide a safe, secure environment for ALL students, regardless of gender. With this issue, there are many attitudinal problems to deal with. We need to keep a good balance for male and female students and teach acceptance to views that may not be so popular. It is a continual, evolving process..

—–from Medina Branch Newsletter, Nov.-Dec. 201


PROGRAMS 2015-2016

AUGUST: Membership Picnic, Krabill Shelter, Medina County District Parks

Members assemble on the patio of Krabill Shelter on Chippewa Lake

Members assemble on the patio of Krabill Shelter on Chippewa Lake

SEPTEMBER: Wine and Cheese “Meet and Greet”; special visitor Nicole Ward, member of the Cleveland Branch AAUW and AAUW-Ohio College/University Chair.
OCTOBER: AAUW community partnerships: representatives from the Children’s Center, Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the Battered Women’s Shelter highlighted their missions and AAUW involvement.
DECEMBER: Annual Diversity Carry-in Dinner. Members of the Medina Diversity Project joined us for dinner and discussed the progress of this community based group since its inception at last year’s Black History Month’s “Community Conversation.”
FEBRUARY: Black History Month program in cooperation with Second Baptist Church. Margaret Mitchel, President and CEO of YWCA of Greater Cleveland led a discussion on “It’s Time to Talk”, a follow up to last year’s session “Does Race Matter?”
MARCH: Where is AAUW going with STEM programming? Karen Sands on the latest AAUW reports and an overview of the upcoming Tech Savvy program.
MAY: Tameka Taylor, President and Owner of Compass Consulting Services on “Can Women Really Have It All”?

PROGRAMS: 2014-2015

MAY 21: ANNUAL MEETING AND DINNER – new officers were elected; scholarship winners announced and welcomed. Held at Williams on the Lake.
SEPTEMBER 28:  the 50th Anniversary Luncheon and Celebration, at the Blair Center, Westfield Center.  See 50th Anniversary.
OCTOBER 23:  Sister Ann Victory of the Coalition to End Human Trafficking led this info session.
DECEMBER 4: Annual Carry-in Diversity Dinner. Program: Kathy Kraus as Jeannette Jenkins, member of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).
JANUARY 27; Arts & Excursions presented an afternoon tea, at the home of Ann Thomson, in honour of the fifth season of the popular PBS television series, Downton Abbey.

Members tried on an oversized cloche hat from the Downton Abbey era. Several dressed in period clothing for the event.

Members tried on an oversized cloche hat from the Downton Abbey era. Several dressed in period clothing for the event.







• The American Association of University Women (AAUW), Medina County Branch, and Second Baptist Church of Medina held their 13th Annual Black History Month Program on February 12. Following up on the many questions raised by events in Ferguson, Cleveland, and New York, this year’s program featured a panel discussion titled “A Community Conversation: Does Race Matter?” Moderated by retired Judge James Kimbler, the panel included Medina Mayor and Safety Director Dennis Hanwell; Medina Schools’ Superintendent David Knight; Medina High School students Michaela Lyons and Delontaye Morrow, and Medina High School teacher David Johnson.
About 75 people listened to the panel discuss their thoughts on race relations in Medina County, then asked questions and added personal experiences. The interchange among panel members and attendees was respectful and honest. The overall assessment seemed to be that Medina gets high marks for its openness and inclusivity as far as race is concerned; it appeared that there was more separation based on socioeconomic status.

At the end of the program, a number of persons expressed interest in continuing the dialogue. Branch member Pamela Miller and the Rev. Cornell Carter agreed to coordinate further sessions for anyone in the community who wished to participate. Out of the follow-up meetings, a community group was formed: The Medina Diversity Project.

MARCH 26: BEING “TECH SAVVY”  Project Chair Karen Sands enlightened us about the upcoming Tech Savvy program, the one-day STEM workshop for middle-school aged girls that was to be held  April 25 on the campus of Stark Technical College.  She also reported the latest data from the newly-released AAUW study: “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.”

Programs: 2013-2014

January Membership MeetingMAKERS-logo for web
Members turned Ann Thomson’s family room into a video screening room as we watched a  presentation of last year’s PBS Special “Makers: Women Who Make America, Part 1.” This segment focused on the 50’s and 60’s with major events and commentaries by women who have had an impact on women’s rights. We learned about Gloria Steinem, MS Magazine, the National Organization for Women and the Women’s Liberation Movement.
December Membership Meeting:
Nearly 30 branch members and guests gathered at the Homerville country home of Marilyn Sigel on December 5 for the annual Diversity Dinner. The carry-in dinner, featured harvest foods and Native American inspired dishes. Following the dinner, Terry Weaver, A.I. Root Middle School history teacher and member of the Lakota Nation, presented insight into her heritage.

Terry Weaver in Lakota regalia with Mary Gresco

Terry Weaver in Lakota regalia with Mary Gresco


November Membership Meeting
Our program featured Colleen Rice,  Executive Director of Leadership Medina County, with a discussion of the program and its current projects and goals.

Colleen 11-14 for web

Colleen Rice