April – May 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter mast head

Volume 77, Issue 5

Denise Decker Graveside Service on April 2, 11 am

Denise Decker with WonderDenise’s inurnment will take place on Friday April 2nd at 11AM at Columbia Gardens Cemetery, 3411 Arlington Blvd, Arlington VA 22201.  Services will be conducted graveside by the Reverend Catherine Campbell. Her family has asked that we let them know if we plan to attend. If you did not receive the email with this information so that you can respond individually to the family, please send an email to presarlvaaauw@gmail.com and I will pass on the information to them.  

Carol Dabbs, President

AAUW Branch April and May Programs

We have had an interesting year of zoom meetings, presentations and experiences that we didn’t imagine a year ago!!!  Stay with us as the year isn’t over yet!!!

On Monday evening, April 12th at 7 pm on Zoom.  We will celebrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by recognizing the young women in Arlington who are the top winners at both the middle and high school levels in the Northern Virginia Regional Science Fair. They will also present their projects in virtual format! See below for more information about the STEM initiative and the list of science fair winners.

We are also fortunate to have Dr. Argie Navvada, a prominent NASA scientist, speak with us on women and STEMDr. Kavaada enthralled  24 young women who attended the November, 2019 Lunch Bunch meeting with a discussion of cholera and how her research as an earth scientist is used to predict incidence of cholera in many developing countries. Please plan to join us – and maybe invite your daughters/granddaughters to join in for this evening!!!

Our final meeting of the 2020-21 year will be held on Monday, May 17th at 7 pm on Zoom  will be our celebration of the 2021 Elizabeth Campbell Scholarship, Lunch Bunch Scholarship and Arlington AAUW’s Educator of the Year winners!! We are delighted to have this opportunity to hear from our Arlington student winners on their plans  and our APS educator on their work with our Arlington students!  Please join in the celebration!!!!!!

There will be notification about the Zoom link for each program provided via e-mail just prior to each meeting. 

Meg Tuccillo, Co-VP Programs

2021 Awards Program

Although these are extraordinary times, the branch board of directors has determined that we should continue our awards program at the same level as last year, for a total of $2500:    

    • one Elizabeth Campbell Award (a $1000 scholarship for an Arlington County graduating senior who plans to study the arts in college),
    • one Lunch Bunch Scholarship (a $1000 scholarship for a graduating senior from the Lunch Bunch program who is continuing to college), and
    • one Teacher of the Year Award ($500).

This is where you come in! We need contributions from branch members to fund these awards this year.  To reduce complexity for both you as the donors and for the Treasurer in accounting for contributed funds, the board has further determined that contributions this year be solicited for the overall awards program, rather than for specific awards, which was done in the past.  

Please send your contributions by check made out to “AAUW Arlington, Virginia” with Awards Program in the memo line, to our Treasurer, Mary Spatz, whose address is in our directory. Her address will also be sent by email to branch members with a copy of this message about a week after newsletter publication. (To clarify, such contributions are not deductible from your federal or Virginia income for tax purposes because the branch does not have 501c3 status.)

Carol Dabbs, President

AAUW STEM Initiative

The 2020-2021 STEM Initiative was our participation at the Northern Virginia Regional Science Fair as a society, judging the most outstanding high school and middle school girls’ science fair projects, as well as three runners-up at each level. The science fair was conducted virtually with the students submitting their abstracts and accompanying documentation which were then available on the website through Arlington Public Schools.

Susan Senn, Sara Anderson and Mary Beth Pelosky spent a significant amount of time during the week of March 14-21 reading a total of 70+ abstracts then sorting them in order to read the further documentation associated with each of the more outstanding projects. Susan and Sara  were also category judges in Animal Science and Environmental Science during the week as well. After much collaboration, the winning projects were selected.

The two most outstanding projects were awarded a $100 gift card from One More Page Books and the runners-up each received a $25 gift card also. They have been invited to our April 12 monthly meeting, on Zoom, at 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm where the two top winners will present their  projects.

Please note the focus of so many of these projects. We clearly are raising these young women to be good stewards of their environment. We must continue to support their efforts.

AAUW Arlington Top 2021 Girls Science Fair Awardees

High School Category:

    • Most Outstanding:
      • Madi Goeke – W&L – “A Solution to Plastic Pollution: An Investigation into Microplastic Removal from Water Using Ferrofluid”
    • Runners-up:
      •  Julia Brodsky – H-B Woodlawn – “Optimization of An Electrocoagulation System for the Removal of Polyatomic Ions from Water”
      •  Maya Kaminski – W&L – “The Effect of Artificial Lighting on the Ability to View The Night Sky”
      • Katherine (Kit) Shiells – Bishop O’Connell – “A Study of Popular Artificial Turf Surfaces’ Ability to Sustain Bacterial Growth and Associated Health Ramifications”

Middle School Category:

    • Most Outstanding:
      • Isla Wearmouth – Kenmore – “The Effect of the Type of Stormwater Filtration Method on Collecting Litter”
    • Runners-up:
      •  Nadia Lach-hab – Dorothy Hamm Middle – “Crystal Clear: The Effect of Water Filter Design on Water Clarity”
      • Helena Connel – Williamsburg Middle – “How Clean Are the Rivers and Creeks in Arlington?”
      • Ophelia Tulchinsky – Dorothy Hamm Middle – “The Effect of Type of Salt on the Amount of Corrosion of Wires”

Susan Senn, Coordinator STEM Program

Arlington Branch Named Honorees for 2020

honoreeAt the recent AAWU Virginia Annual Conference, our seven named honorees for 2020 were revealed. An honoree may be selected to be recognized by AAUW of Virginia for service to the branch or community for each $500 donation to AAUW Funds made by branch members, or by the branch itself.  Honorees receive a handsome certificate.

Our members donated $3,649 in 2020, an increase of more than $1,000 over 2019 levels. This meant we could award seven honorees, an increase of two over 2019. There are many deserving members, and it is always difficult to make a choice. Join me in congratulating the following honorees for 2020:

Dottie Clarke, for her service on our Nominations Committee, contributing to a full officer slate in a year with many offices needing candidates, and who contributed a charming introduction to Mary Margaret Whipple at our Awards program in December;

Karen Darner, who not only served on the Nominations Committee, but agreed to be nominated for Co-President for the next two years;

Denise Decker (in memoriam), for her steadfast support of AAUW for many years, capped off by her service to AAUW Virginia as the Arlington point of contact for the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group there;

Terry Bratt, for her service as Secretary 2017-19, and for her willingness to be nominated for Co-President for the next two years;

Barbara Gallagher, for her long-term guidance and organization of the branch book group;

Marjorie Hobart, for her many years of active service to the branch and for her new role as the point of contact for the Arlington branch in the AAUW Virginia Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group; and

Meg Tuccillo, for her many years of active service to the branch, including her most recent incarnation as Co-VP Programs, guiding continuous improvements to our public programs relevant to AAUW Strategic Goals.

It is my hope that I will soon have the opportunity at an in-person gathering to present these honorees (as well as those from 2019) with their certificates.

Carol Dabbs, President

Let’s Talk About Books

The Pearl That Broke its Shell
The April meeting for Let’s Talk About Books is Tuesday, April 27, 2 pm at your regular Zoom location.  Our book selection is The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi.A Place for Us

Our May meeting will be Tuesday, May 25, 2 pm.  Our book selection is A Place For Us by Fatima S. Mirza.

Shortly before each meeting Terry Bratt will send an invitation with the Zoom information. So, watch your email and come join the fun!  Look forward to seeing you then.

See all our books for 2020-21 with a brief description of each on the Let’s Talk About Books page.

Barbara Gallagher, Chair

April and May Plans for International Coffee Conversation Group:

We will continue to meet by Zoom on Wednesday, April 14 and on Wednesday May 12.  The April meeting at 10:30 will talk about how the COVID pandemic has changed our lives.  On May 23 at 10:30 we will discuss the plans for 2021/2022.

AAUW Branch members are welcome to join us.  For more information please contact Priscilla Becker (see directory for contact information.)

Priscilla Becker, lead

Dues Changes For 2021-22

While the amount of AAUW national dues has increased for the 2021-22 fiscal year to $62, $59 of that amount is deductible. State dues remain $15, and branch dues remain $16 for the new fiscal year. This means that the total dues for a branch member are $93 and for a paid life member, $31. Honorary life members (those who’ve paid dues for 50 years) do not pay dues to national, state, or branch. You will receive an email with a link to pay your dues online or by check in the next few weeks. 

Carol Dabbs, President

AAUW Arlington, Virginia Branch Annual Meeting, March 20, 2021

Annual MeetingThe branch’s annual meeting was held by Zoom on March 20, 2021, attended by sixteen members, well over the required quorum of seven members. Carol Dabbs called the meeting to order at 10:40 am.  

First, we enjoyed learning about Women’s Financial Security from Ann Summerson, a Financial Advisor. In a nutshell, she indicated that financial planning is saving, investing those savings, and covering the risks of both saving and investing. 

Our branch business meeting followed. We first unanimously approved minutes from the 2020 Annual Meeting and received the 2019-20 Financial Report. Carol Dabbs introduced Mary Spatz, who was elected by the Board of Directors to complete the unexpired 2020-22 term as Treasurer vacated by the resignation of Gloria Rothman. 

We then turned our attention to the Election of Officers. 

It was announced that Liz Estabrooks had withdrawn her name from consideration as Co-Secretary; the nominations committee will identify a replacement candidate for consideration by the Board of Directors. 

It was further announced that there was an omission from the slate of officers circulated to the membership on February 21st; the term of Teri Doxsee as 3rd Vice President for Communications is ending this year, and she had been asked and agreed to be re-elected to this position. Teri Doxsee was nominated from the floor with a second, and so added to the slate of officers. Terry Bratt conducted the election using the polling function of Zoom. The Slate of Officers, as amended, was approved unanimously.  

Prior to adjournment, we had announcements from Susan Senn, Carol Dabbs, Meg Tuccillo, Terry Bratt, Margo Horner, Sara Anderson, Michele Milden, and Marjorie Hobart.  

The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 am. 

Carol Dabbs, President

Election of New Officers

The following officers were elected at our Annual Meeting on March 20th; their new terms begin on July 1, 2021.

Co-Presidents (2021-23)

Terry Bratt, a native New Yorker, has been a member of the Arlington AAUW branch for approximately 40 years. Over the years, Terry has served our branch in several leadership roles including president, vice-president for programs, and most recently, secretary. While she was principal of Arlington’s Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School, the Arlington AAUW branch became active in school activities and sponsored the first annual Arts and Writers Fair. Members also became active in the Book Buddies program and helped with RIF book distributions. Terry retired from Arlington Public Schools in 2013 after a career as an educator and administrator that spanned 42 years.

Karen Darner was a speech/language and hearing pathologist in the Arlington Public Schools from 1971-2008, during which she was on leave for two years in the U.S. Peace Corps and returned to teach in Arlington. She also was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates for 13 years, representing primarily Arlington. Her legislation focused on education, youth, women, social justice, transportation, the environment, and Dreamers. During her 40+ years of civic activism, Karen has been an active member of the AAUW Arlington branch, where she served as Treasurer, Co-Vice President for Programs, and on local committees. Karen has served as a board member & volunteer of numerous civic and nonprofit groups, such as the Arlington Planning Commission, Status of Women Commission, the Arlington League of Women Voters, Committee of 100, and the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). In 2009 Karen was the recipient of the Arlington Community Foundation’s Spirit of Community Award and has served on their Board of Trustees. Karen is currently a member of the Virginia Commission on Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders and is assigned to a team that lobbies Member of Congress Donald S Beyer on Alzheimer’s and related issues in Congress.

1st Vice President for Program (2021-23)

Meg Tuccillo (second term), a native New Yorker (same as Terry Bratt!) has been a member of Arlington AAUW branch for about 15 years.  As a member, Meg has held positions as Program Chair for four years and as Co-President for four years. Professionally, Meg served as principal at Tuckahoe Elementary and Abingdon Elementary before being appointed Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services for Arlington Public Schools.  In that role, Meg served as the Title IX Coordinator and worked to ensure equity for young women in the school system.  Although Meg retired in 2012, she continues to connect with the school system through the branch AAUW Scholarships and Educator of the Year processes. 

Co-2nd Vice President for Membership (2021-22)

Michele Milden (one year term extension), a former Bostonian, has been a member of the Arlington Branch AAUW since 2000 when she first became Membership VP Co-Chair. Michele also served as President, Co-President, Arlington Civic Federation Alternate, Bylaws Chair, Photographer, Lunch Bunch Chair (and later Co-Chair), RIF (Reading is Fundamental) distribution, and Membership VP Co-Chair again. 

Michele retired from the Arlington Public Schools after 35 years of teaching elementary school and ESOL/HILT. In addition to volunteering with AAUW, Michele serves on two other boards; ARTA (Arlington Retired Teachers Association) and BNC NOVA (Brandeis National Committee). She is married to Michael Wiener (Ret. Col. USA). 

3rd Vice President for Communications (2021-23)

Teri Doxsee (second term) is originally from St. Louis, Mo. but has lived in the DC area since she attended Georgetown.  Teri was an ESOL/HILT teacher and Instructional Technology Coordinator in Arlington Public Service until she retired in 2018.  She originally joined AAUW in the late 1990’s serving as Membership VP and Newsletter editor. She rejoined in 2018 and has served as VP for Communication (newsletter and website) and participates in the Lunch Bunch and Book Group.

Co-Secretaries (2021-22)

Candace L. Lilyquist (2nd year of term of Marie Schryver, who resigned) joined the Arlington branch of AAUW in 2020, because of the organization’s ongoing work in equity for women and girls. She has been a member of AAUW on and off for 20 years. Ms. Lilyquist is active in local politics; serves as an orientation chair and regional leader in her professional organization Association of Field Service Employees (AFSE); and is the secretary/treasurer for her condo association. In addition, Candace has held numerous leadership positions (including all executive roles) in her professional organization, League of Women Voters, and in her church affiliations. Ms. Lilyquist is an Organizational Specialist with the National Education Association. She has lived in Texas and Virginia but is originally from Minnesota

The nominating committee is working to identify a Co-Secretary to serve with Candace for this one-year position. Please contact Susan Senn with any suggestions—and self-nomination is allowed!

The following officers are continuing in their positions:

Co-2nd Vice President for Membership (2020-22) 

Gail McGinn has been a member of the Arlington AAUW branch for about 2 years, but was a Member at Large for many years before that.  Gail retired from the Department of Defense with 37 years of service, serving as a Senior Executive in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.  She spent many years working on military family issues and is a member of the Board of Governors of the National Military Family Association, where she also served as Chair for four years.

Treasurer (2021-22)

Mary Mace Spatz was elected by the Board of Directors at the March 3, 2021, meeting to complete the term of Gloria Rothman, who resigned. There will be a short transition period while the bank signatures are changed.

Mary was given a life membership in AAUW when she finished her Master’s Degree in Secondary Science from GW University as a graduation gift from her mother, Lucyle Mace (who was President of the AAUW Arlington Branch 1982-84.)  Unfortunately, Mary did not have the time to enjoy the lovely gift for many years, between raising her two children, and following her husband to assignments overseas to Hawaii and England. And when she did live in the DC area she was busy teaching anything from General Science to AP Biology and AP Chemistry in FCPS.  One of her great joys was helping the girls in her Science Honor Society at Hayfield Secondary School develop a monthly after school science program for the 6th grade girls at Hayfield Elementary School.

Carol Dabbs, President

AAUW Calendar

Our AAUW Calendar has moved to google which means you can check it online from the website or subscribe and see it directly on your phone or laptop! Additional information about the events is available by clicking the item.  Contact Teri at newsarlvaaauw@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Arlington AAUW Executive Committee 2020-21

    • President: Carol Dabbs (2019-21) presarlvaaauw@gmail.com
    • Co-First VPs for Programs: Meg Tuccillo and Chioma Eni (2019-21)
    • Co-Second VPs for Membership:  Michelle Milden (2019-21) and Gail McGinn (2020-22)
    • Third VP for Communications: Teri Doxsee (2019-21) newsarlvaaauw@gmail.com
    • Secretary: Marie Schryver (2020-22)
    • Treasurer: Mary Spatz (2021-22)
    • Public Policy: Sara Anderson

Note from the Editor – June/July Newsletter

Any articles for publication should be emailed to Teri Doxsee at newsarlvaaauw@gmail.com with the SUBJECT line: Newsletter by May 10, 2021


Advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research.