May/June 2023 Newsletter

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Volume 79, Issue 5

May/June President’s Message


Dear Arlington AAUW members,

Our annual STEM Awards Zoom Event on Monday, April 17th was a fantastic evening. Not only did we get to hear from HB Woodlawn graduate Kate Spencer, owner of Fast Raft Ocean Safaris in Monterey, CA but we also got to meet the APS girls who were our 2023 Science Fair awardees.  The science fair projects covered a wide variety of interests from aquaponic farming to heart rate research to electric volt generation to turning vegetable waste into paper to name just a few. After the students presented their projects and took questions from each other and members, Kate spoke about her path to becoming a whale watching captain and naturalist that included a stint as an intern at the Smithsonian. It was truly an inspiring evening for all who attended. Many thanks to Susan Senn who moderated the presentations in addition to being a Science Fair judge along with members Sara Anderson and Barbara Smith.

At our annual meeting in March we elected our new officers for the years 2023-25. Terry Bratt will continue as president, Barbara Smith and Barbara Gallagher were elected Co-Vice Presidents for Programs, and Joy Gatewood was elected 3rd Vice-President for Communications.  We appreciate the work of the following officers: Karen Darner for serving as Co-President for the past two years, Meg Tuccillo for serving as Vice-President for Programs the past four years, and  Teri Doxsee for serving as Vice-President for Communications for the past four years. Kudos to them and to all the Board members for a job well done!

Coming up on May 15 we will have our annual Scholarship and Educator Awards reception that will take place at the Women’s Club of  Arlington at 7:00 pm. On June 6 we will have our last meeting of the year at Marrymount at Ballston – more information on the program is below. Also in early June your Board members will be meeting to plan the program and calendar for 2023-24 and would welcome your program ideas. E-mail us with your ideas before June 8!   It is now also time for us to pay our annual dues.  Everyone will receive an email from AAUW Katrina Sue Breese with information on how to remit your dues payment on line.  Sending your dues payment to our Treasurer, Mary Spatz is still an option. Both Mary and Membership VP Candace Lilyquist have worked very hard with National to make the new website work more smoothly for us this year. We are very appreciative of their efforts to get our records straightened out. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful spring!  The rainy weather we have had of late should mean a beautiful May full of colorful flowers.


Terry Bratt and Karen Darner, Co-Presidents

Membership Meetings

We had a WONDERFUL, AWESOME, INSPIRING zoom meeting with the 2023 Science Fair girls on April 17 with nine incredible young women winners sharing their science fair projects and giving impressive descriptions of each project. We were also thrilled to welcome and hear from Kate Spenser, an HB graduate and current captain, owner and chief naturalist for Fast Raft Ocean Safaris in Monterey Bay.   If you missed it, you missed a great chance to hear from these girls who give hope for our future!!!!!!!

Join us May 15th 7 PM at The Woman’s Club for our Annual Awards Meeting

Fortunately, you have another chance to hear from young these women who will be shaping our world’s future!! Our annual awards event is coming on Monday, May 15th, IN-PERSON, at The Woman’s Club of Arlington, 700 S. Buchanan St, Arlington, 22204, at 7 pm.

We will honor our STEM scholarship winner, Anna Mohanty, along with two middle school Science Fair Award winners, Kira Komlodi and Zeynep Seyran.  We will also recognize our AAUW Arts Scholarship winners, Theresa Provasnik and Sabrina Chaudhri, from Yorktown and our Lunch Bunch awardee, Romaine Terceros from Arlington community High School.  In addition, we will be awarding the AAUW Educator of the Year Award to Dr. Bradley Rankin, a math teacher at Arlington Tech.  It is always inspiring to hear from our awardees and we hope you join us to share in the joy!!!!!  We have missed seeing many of you in person and this would be a great opportunity to celebrate our winners AND celebrate the work AAUW does by coming together and cheering loudly!!!!!

Planning for Future Meetings

On another note, as we begin planning for the 2023-24 year, we would be happy to get any suggestions you may have for great programs that would interest our members, align with our mission and help us all to grow and learn!!  We will be sending out a questionnaire mid-May to gather ideas so start thinking now!!!!!

Framing Your Financial Future

Free Hybrid Event – Tuesday, June 6th at 7 – 8:30 pm

We are pleased to co-sponsor this useful event for women looking to make the most of their financial resources with the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women, Arlington Chapter of The Links, Inc., and Marymount University Center for Optimal Aging.

This panel discussion aims to provide information on how to plan for your future and arrange your finances. The goal is to empower women to save more for today and retirement tomorrow, and be more mindful of financial pitfalls.

Click here to Register.  Registration closes 5 pm June 5th.  Marymount Ballston Campus, 1000 North Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA. Zoom link will be sent after completing registration.

See the Event Flyer here.

Meg Tuccillo, VP Programs

Let’s Talk About Books

The May meeting for Let’s Talk About Books is Tuesday, May 23. Our book selection is The Code Breaker by Walter Issacson.

Our June meeting is Tuesday, June 27, 2 pm.  Our book selection is An Immense World by Ed Young.

Both meetings are at your regular Zoom location. 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.

Go to the Let’s Talk About Books page to see all the books we are reading for the 2022-23 year.  Here are links to the Master Book List so you can see what we have already read.   List by titleList by author Let me know if you  have any problems with the files. 

Barbara Gallagher, Let’s Talk About Books Chair

Future focus for AAUW – Arlington-Branch

June is the month to renew your membership AAUW Arlington (VA) Branch. It is important to scroll down to the middle of the membership landing page. Click on this link to join as a Branch Member.  Please reach out to Candace Lilyquist if you would like support joining online. 

Be involved – AAUW Arlington (VA) Branch is forming a membership committee to actively pursue new members for this group and to build a supportive network for current members. Does this sound like something for you? Contact President, Terry Bratt or Vice President for Membership Candace Lilyquist.

PostcardsYou may have received a postcard from the National AAUW. It is a legitimate* request for any edits to your contact information. However, it comes with a request for a story about the successes you have had through AAUW involvement and is followed up by a sales pitch about purchasing the book that contains all these stories. You can correct contact information and tell your story without buying the book. Buying the book is not required.

*Friends stay vigilant about scammers. They are out there and it was reasonable to think that this postcard was a scam. AAUW National regrets that it did not inform local leadership before it sent the postcards. This was a timing error with the company compiling the books.

Candace L. Lilyquist, VP Membership

Annual STEM Meeting – Science Fair Awardees’ Presentations

Do you know what a Trebuchet is? What food waste can you make paper from? How has climate change affected the honeybee population? How does axon diameter affect heart rate variability? What do you know about the transdermal permeability of anti-inflammatory compounds? Can you more successfully grow lettuce in a vertical aquaponic design? Well, had you attended the monthly AAUW Zoom meeting on April 17, you would know the answer to all these questions. We had an exciting and stimulating set of presentations from nine young women, the first and second place awardees from the Northern Virginia Regional Science Fair that was held on Saturday, May 4, at Wakefield High School. Barbara Smith, Sara Anderson and I, having read through over 100  different abstracts prior to that day, diligently interviewed approximately 40 young women at the fair, and decided on one first place and 3 second place award winners at both the high school and middle school levels. In addition, nine young women were awarded Honorable Mentions. Anna Mohanty, our first place high school winner, will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship for her project, “The Effect of Axon Diameter on Heart Rate Variability”. And our team, Kira Komlodi and Zeynep Seyran, will each be given $100 for their project, “The Effect of Global Warming on the Percent Loss of Honeybee Colonies”. 

Our guest speaker for the evening was Kate Spencer, an H-B Woodlawn graduate and Susan’s former student. Kate owns and operated Fast Raft Tours, whale-watching expeditions out of Moss Point, Monterey Bay, CA. She is a woman of many talents, having initially made her artistry her primary career. She was trained and worked closely with artists from the Smithsonian Institution early on. She has sailed on many commercial ocean-going ships to both Alaska and the South Pacific off the coast of South America as the primary naturalist onboard. But her studies of whales and other ocean mammals led her to buy the Fast Raft Tours business where she operates an ocean-going 10-seat Zodiac, along with her partner, every day the weather is agreeable. Her photos of all the whales she tracks every day for the last 15 years were a delight to see. As an aside, I encourage all of you just to go out to Monterey Bay and make one of her expeditions a must-see, must-do. 

It was an exciting and interesting meeting. I look forward to this event, same time next year. I hope all of you will plan to attend and be filled with awe at the intelligence and effort of all these young women.

Susan Senn, STEM Coordinator

Lunch Bunch

We have had some fun and interesting Lunch Bunch meeting with our young women at Arlington Community High School this spring. 

In March, we heard from Gladis Bourdouane, Assistant Director of Communications with Alexandria Public Schools who immigrated from Central America as a young girl and attended Arlington Public Schools.  The girls engaged in discussion with Gladis about her life, her challenges and the opportunities she took advantage of to reach her goals of becoming a professional in a challenging field. 

In April, the girls  also heard from the interim principal at the Arlington Community High School, Lara MacDonald, about her journey in her professional career. 

Our Lunch Bunch Scholarship winner is Romaine Terceros. She is a strong student, an energetic force, and leader in Arlington Community High School. She came to Arlington from Bolivia, arriving on her own and living with extended family, while supporting herself. She is a senior and is planning on attending college when she graduates this June. She wants to study to be an architect, engineer, or automotive technician and is starting to explore these fields, including taking Career Center classes. She is currently a barista at Starbucks and is hoping for a promotion by the end of the calendar year to a management position. She is an enthusiastic student in all her classes and is a role model for her positive attitude and diligence. She is interested in many areas including photography, cosmetology, and fashion design. She has big dreams and will no doubt forge a path to reach them. She believes that “Your age or where you come from doesn’t stop you from becoming what you want to be.” And she ‘warns’: “Don’t close your eyes everyone, I’m going to be someone big!” Romaine will be attending our May 15th awards event  – please join us to celebrate her accomplishments!

Meg Tuccillo, Lunch Bunch

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 if you have any questions.

Arlington AAUW Executive Committee 2022-23

Term began July 1, 2022

  • Co-Presidents: Terry Bratt (2021-2023) and Karen Darner (2021-2023)
  • First VP for Programs: Meg Tuccillo (2021-2023)
  • Second VPs for Membership:  Candace L. Lilyquist (2022-2024)
  • Third VP for Communications: Teri Doxsee (2021-2023)
  • Secretary: Denise M. Hassanein (2022-2024)
  • Treasurer: Mary Spatz (2022-2024)
  • Public Policy: Sara Anderson

Arlington AAUW Executive Committee 2023-24

Term begins July 1, 2023

  • Presidents: Terry Bratt (2021-2023) and Karen Darner (2023-2025)
  • Co-First VP for Programs: Barbara Smith and Barbara Gallagher (2023-2025)
  • Second VPs for Membership:  Candace L. Lilyquist (2022-2024)
  • Third VP for Communications: Joy Gatewood (2023-2025)
  • Secretary: Denise M. Hassanein (2022-2024)
  • Treasurer: Mary Spatz (2022-2024)
  • Public Policy: Sara Anderson

Note from the Editor – July/August 2023 Newsletter

Any articles for publication should be emailed to Joy Gatewood at with the SUBJECT line: Newsletter by June 15, 2023


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