Archive for the ‘Fellowships, Grants and Awards’ Category

Clinton Global Initiative

2012 has been a year of memorable accomplishments for AAUW’s many fellowships and grants recipients. Last week we highlighted some fellows from our 2012 Following the Fellows series; this week we want to showcase some of our other fellows. Publishing books and articles, giving TED talks, and hosting a national television show are just a few examples of the impressive things AAUW alumnae have done this year.

More than 15 current and former fellows published books this year, in genres as varied and unique as the authors themselves. From Rose Corrigan’s work on violence against women to Jessica Faye Carter’s book on women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and from Emilie Zaslow’s Feminism, Inc. to Erin Winkler’s Learning Race, Learning Place, 2012 was a year of innovation and fascinating research.

Besides writing great books, AAUW fellows have also been publishing articles in magazines, newspapers, and journals. Take Vanessa Perez, who became a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, writing about DREAMers, immigration, and human rights. Or Julia Damianova, whose article “The Coming Mediterranean Energy War” was published in The National Interest, or Michal Gilad Gat, whose criminology articles were published in no fewer than three journals. And the list goes on!

AAUW Fellow Amina Tawasil, "33 Bridges, Standing, Still, on a Fluid of Emotions," featured on the Anthropology News website.

2012 has also been a year of prestigious recognition for the diverse work of AAUW fellows and alumnae. In the fall, Carol Tang was named one of California’s Leading Women in STEM for her after-school education advocacy. Barbara Ann Naddeo won the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History for her book Vico and Naples: The Urban Origins of Modern Social Theory. In October, Kristen Johnson was selected as an honoree at the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute’s Women in Action Awards. Not one but two former fellows won awards for translation from the PEN American Center, an international literary and human rights organization: Suzanne Jill Levine received the Literary Award for Translation, and Margaret Sayers Peden received the Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation. In the art world, current American Fellow Amina Tawasil won an award in the American Anthropological Association’s 111th annual photography contest.

Jessica PabónAnd these weren’t the only AAUW fellows and alumnae who made waves this year. Beginning in February 2012, Melissa Harris-Perry began hosting a show on MSNBC. And did you know that Jane Chen was featured in The Impact 30 section of Forbes for her work on the low-cost Embrace incubator for infants? Or that Chen is part of PBS and AOL’s Makers website and documentary, along with women like Lilly Ledbetter and Gloria Steinem, 2003 AAUW Achievement Award winner? Current AAUW fellow Jessica Pabón gave a powerful TED talk on graffiti artists and feminism in November. And in March, Rachael Rollins assumed the role of president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association. And in the past year, many other fellows and grantees have received leadership awards, honorary degrees, and book awards!

AAUW’s Fellowships and Grants Department wishes everyone a happy and healthy New Year. Following the Fellows will continue into 2013, marking five years of sharing alumnae stories. May the new year be filled with inspiring women, powerful connections, and stories that move us.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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As 2012 draws to a close, we’d like to take a moment to thank our AAUW members and supporters for your extraordinary efforts to advance our shared mission. Your advocacy and donations have helped AAUW influence public policy and implement successful and exciting programming throughout 2012. As educated women and men, you are advocates and catalysts for sustainable social change, and your ongoing support will supercharge our efforts to continue to empower women in the new year.

Thanks to your work and generosity, we can be proud of some impressive achievements. Below are just a select few (read the full list). This year, AAUW

  • Launched the nationwide voter education and turnout campaign It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard through the AAUW Action Fund. This campaign, targeted at millennial women, engaged members and branches in nearly every state and registered tens of thousands of voters.
  • Released Graduating to a Pay Gap, which uses the latest nationally representative data to explore the salary difference between women and men college graduates working full time one year after graduation and examines the effect of the pay gap on the burden of student loan debt
  • Awarded $4.3 million in fellowships and grants for the 2012–13 program year, the largest amount in four years, to support 278 women at various stages in their professional and academic careers, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls
  • Awarded more than $100,000 in case support through the Legal Advocacy Fund to help women like Betty Dukes and Kori Cioca improve working conditions for all women employees at Wal-Mart and women in the military
  • Continued to rapidly expand our use of social and new media tools, experiencing 50 percent growth across many of AAUW’s social media channels
  • Reached more than 600 women and girls in India, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and China through in-country projects implemented by AAUW fellowships and grants alumnae
  • Played a large role in drafting and introducing legislation sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) that would undo much of the harm caused by last year’s Wal-Mart v. Dukes Supreme Court ruling
  • Started a member leadership programs department to facilitate a more focused approach to programs for our AAUW member leaders
  • Continued to expand our global commitment to women and girls through participating in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and the U.S. National Committee for U.N. Women, sending an international delegation to China, and hosting women visitors from abroad
  • Awarded 15 Legal Advocacy Fund Campus Outreach Grants to AAUW branches across the country, which held programs on local campuses focused on issues such as pay equity, dating violence, Title IX and athletics, and gender discrimination in the workplace
  • Saw the dedicated members of the AAUW Action Fund Capitol Hill Lobby Corps make more than 1,200 congressional office visits on protecting college access and affordability, reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, protecting women’s access to contraceptives, preventing bullying and harassment, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and eliminating workplace gender discrimination
  • Reached 30 campuses and more than 600 participants with Elect Her–Campus Women Win, the only program in the country that trains college women to run for student government
  • Helped guarantee that insurance companies cover women’s preventive care services, including contraception, pap smears, and mammograms, without co-pay or cost sharing
  • Confirmed fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter, leadership strategist Cynthia D’Amour, and former AAUW fellow and MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry as 2013 AAUW convention speakers, with more to come
  • Helped prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer so that those with student loans can meet their commitment despite the tough economy
  • Took the lead in efforts to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to a vote. Although the bill failed to overcome procedural hurdles in both the House and Senate, AAUW was recognized by the White House, House of Representatives, Senate, and the press as the leading authority on the bill.
  • Earned a perfect score on our audit thanks to the hard work of the AAUW Finance Committee and staff. See the annual report for specific numbers and a wonderful programmatic overview.
  • Sent a letter to 10 of the largest public school districts urging them to review and correct their reporting to the U.S. Department of Education of an unlikely zero incidents of sex-based bullying and sexual harassment. Several districts responded.
  • Addressed the issue of sexual harassment in grades 7–12 through seven AAUW Campus Action Project grants
  • Ensured that the AAUW-backed Campus SaVE Act was included in the Senate-passed reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

In the past year, AAUW and our advocates have had an undeniable impact in our nation’s capital, on college campuses, in our branches and communities, and around the world. Please make a contribution now so that AAUW can intensify our crucial work to break through barriers for women and girls in the coming year.

From everyone at AAUW, best wishes for a wonderful start to 2013!

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Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg with scholars

Whether you are back at work today, still lounging by the Christmas tree in your pajamas, or making it through winter vacation with the kids, we’d like to suggest a moment of reflection. This year the Following the Fellows blog series profiled some trailblazing, take-no-prisoners AAUW alumnae. As the weather gets colder and we surround ourselves with our loved ones, we want to share a few of our favorite Following the Fellows posts from 2012.

  • In February Melissa Harris-Perry, a 2001–02 American Fellow, began hosting her own show on MSNBC! Harris-Perry says:

When I think about the number of things the fellowship meant to me, it’s really hard to express what it meant — what a difference one year can make in the life of a junior faculty woman. I don’t think it’s possible that the rest of my career could have happened without that time.

  • We met Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, a 2005–06 International Fellow who was recently honored as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for her work with Akili Dada, an organization that is devoted to empowering the next generation of African women leaders. For all aspiring activists, Kamau-Rutenberg has two pieces of advice:

Firstly, put one foot in front of the other. Move. Act. Do something. Second, remember that it’s not about you. Make sure your actions maintain a focus on the lives of the beneficiaries you’re supposed to be supporting.

  • Teizeen Mohamedali, a 2009–10 Selected Professions Fellow, formed a friendship with her AAUW fellowship sponsor, Elisabeth Bathgate, that inspired Mohamedali to prioritize paying it forward in her career and in her support of women’s education.
  • We also remembered renowned Bolivian artist Marina Núñez del Prado, a 1940–41 International Fellow. Her work received critical acclaim, including from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who noted that Núñez del Prado’s work expressed “motion in an extraordinary way.”
  • Anissa Patton, a 2000–01 Selected Professions Fellow and welfare child law specialist, advised young women starting their careers not to get caught up in the hunt for profit but rather to “follow your dreams and love what you do. … Remember, you can always do well by doing good.”
  • This fall, sociologist Jody Aguis Vallejo told us, “It is so important to [reach out to your communities], meet others, network, cross boundaries, build a core group of people who don’t necessarily share the same interests, and attack inequality.”

This is only a sampling of the many women we profiled in 2012. This is by no means an exhaustive list. For all the great stories from 2012, check out the Following the Fellows series! Next week, we will highlight other fellows and accomplishments from this year. For more information and updates on AAUW’s amazing fellows and alumnae, check out our Twitter page. If you are an alumna, if you would like to be featured on the blog, or if you just want to keep us informed about your accomplishments, e-mail us at fellowships@aauw.org.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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Image courtesy of Barbara Romzek“Be flexible; what works today may not work tomorrow.”

Barbara Romzek believes this motto can apply to anyone’s career and life plans. Certainly, it is one that she herself has lived by. When Romzek received an AAUW American Fellowship in 1978, she had already learned the importance of being open to change. Describing her academic career as an “evolutionary process,” Romzek changed her research focus while she was a student during the Cold War. She switched from a comparative study of the challenges that U.S. and Soviet government employees face in balancing personal lives with public sector jobs to an exclusive focus on government employees in the United States. Concerns about accessing reliable data and being able to have open and honest conversations, given the tense political situation, prompted her to concentrate on the United States.

Romzek credits her AAUW fellowship with allowing her to dedicate a year to writing, which she says made for a better dissertation and ultimately a better job. That extra year became pivotal for her career path. After completing her doctorate, Romzek began teaching at the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration, an opportunity she sees as being directly tied to her research and fellowship.

Becoming an administrator was not something Romzek had planned. After more than a decade of teaching, she reluctantly accepted her department’s chair position. For years, Romzek’s research had been in public administration, so the new job was almost like field work. It did not take long before Romzek discovered that she found the job intellectually and personally rewarding. From there she continued to rise through university administration. Last summer, she left Kansas to move to Washington, D.C., to be the new dean of the School of Public Affairs at American University.

With all her responsibilities as dean and professor, Romzek still finds time to publish academic articles and contribute to books. Until recently, her writing focused on formal accountability in public administration, which has to do with balancing responsiveness and efficiency while doing your best at work and being a well-rounded person overall — no small task for employees. Lately, Romzek has been writing about informal accountability between government contractors who are not required to work together but should. For example, contractors in social services like foster care and mental health agencies do not have to consult each other, but it is in the best interest of a child in their care that they do communicate. After a career of research and work in public administration, Romzek is still intrigued by the subject and continues to write about it.

According to Romzek, everyone should “develop a plan that allows you go get to the life you want, but be flexible with your goals along the way.” Life is all about hard work, perseverance, direction, and flexibility. The combination has been successful for Romzek. She proves that dedication, passion, and a willingness to adapt make for an impressive path.

Romzek’s American Fellowship was sponsored by the Florence Edna Rowe American Fellowship, an endowment created by AAUW of Texas in 1964.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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Image courtesy of Kristina HalonaKristina Halona was one of those kids who were obsessed with anything that flew. She remembers the exact moment when she looked up at a low-flying jet traveling over the isolated Navajo reservation in Arizona where she grew up. The awesome power of the machine, the stark contrast between its technology and her life without running water or electricity, changed her. From that moment, Halona was always outspoken about her love of engineering. In high school, a combination of talent and supportive teachers helped Halona find opportunities and mentors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

A school counselor told Halona about an intensive multi-year STEM summer camp at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Teachers and counselors also encouraged her to join an after-school STEM club and travel to local universities to meet professors and students. Through these experiences she was able to develop her skills, talk with engineering professionals, and begin to see herself as an aerospace engineer. Even though there are few women — especially Native American women — in the STEM fields, Halona never doubted her path. When Halona first attended the Phillips Academy camp as part of the Massachusetts Science for Minority Students program, she had to work hard to catch up to the students who came from privileged backgrounds. That summer marked her first trip outside of Arizona and her first time on an airplane, but despite being out of her element, Halona held her own and successfully completed all three summers of rigorous courses

With all her hard work and success, Halona is still very aware of what her life could have been like — Native American teen dropout rates are double the national average. Even more seriously, she notes that youth suicide rates on tribal reservations are up to 10 times higher than among the national population.

Halona in action

Halona in action

While at Arizona State University, Halona was elected to be the student representative to the board of directors of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), of which she had been a member and chapter president for years. Through that position she met her mentor John Herrington, the first Native American astronaut to fly in space, who was also on the AISES board. Meeting Herrington and learning from his mentorship was a meaningful opportunity to Halona since there are not many Native Americans in STEM fields. In 2002, Halona was invited to join Herrington’s family to watch his shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center. Today Halona is a flight test engineer at Raytheon Company in New Mexico.

Halona received her AAUW Selected Professions Fellowship in 2008 while getting her master’s degree in engineering at George Washington University. When she attended AAUW events, she felt in awe of all the members and her fellow grantees. But Halona says that being among them opened her eyes and inspired her to keep going.

A spark ignited in Halona the day she saw that jet flying over her, and it never went out. Halona has lived by her own advice: “No matter your background or where you come from, never give up.”

Halona’s Selected Professions Fellowship was sponsored by the Leona Buckley Miller American Fellowship, established in 1999, and the Flora Rawls American Fellowship, established in 1981.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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Following the Fellows is shifting gears this week. Instead of profiling a former AAUW fellow, we’d like you to meet someone for whom a fellowship is named — Lucy Somerville Howorth. In 1973, AAUW of Mississippi created an American Fellowship to honor one of their own. Howorth was a Mississippi native and a lifelong suffragist, feminist, and politician.

Howorth was born on July 1, 1895. When she graduated from the University of Mississippi with a law degree in 1922, she was one of only two women in her class. After five years of practicing law, she was appointed as a judge and earned the lifelong nickname “Judge Lucy.”

Activism ran in Howorth’s family. Her mother, Nellie Nugent Somerville, was a temperance and women’s suffrage leader. In 1915, Somerville was elected vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was later elected to the Mississippi Legislature in one of the first elections in which women were eligible to vote. Howorth was her mother’s campaign manager during the election. Less than 10 years later, Howorth would follow her mother to the state legislature, where Howorth served from 1932 to 1936. Somerville and Howorth were the first mother-daughter pair to both serve in Mississippi and the second in U.S. history — another pair in Virginia beat them by one year.

Howorth then moved to Washington, D.C., to work for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the Board of Veterans Appeals. She remained in D.C. and worked for the federal government until 1954. Howorth was deeply committed to the rights of women, the poor, and minorities. Outside of the government, her advocacy was mostly done through her leadership positions in AAUW. In 1947, she began her post as the chair of AAUW’s Committee on the Economic and Legal Status of Women. From 1951 to 1955, Howorth was the vice president of AAUW. During her term, she was very vocal in supporting greater inclusion and equality within AAUW.

After decades as a judge, activist, and leader, Howorth passed away in 1997 at the age of 102. Her fellowship has sponsored many women as they make contributions to their respective fields, including 2012–13 American Fellow Cara Jones’ research on women’s reproductive health and 2009–10 American Fellow Sarah L. Franklin’s book on gender and slavery in 19th century Cuba.

Howorth was a trailblazer whose legacy is still felt today. In 2013, 16.7 percent of Mississippi’s state legislature will be composed of women. Overall, women will make up 24.2 percent of all state legislatures, a slight increase from last year. The recent election marked many national firsts, including the highest number of women legislators in U.S. history with 20 senators and 78 representatives in Congress.

Howorth was among the women who fought hard for women’s right to vote and to represent their communities in elected office. Howorth reportedly once said, “I glory in being a feminist.” Her story is a reminder to celebrate women’s empowerment and voice in politics and in our communities.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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The Fellowships and Grants staff at AAUW loves every chance we get to meet and celebrate all of the fantastic AAUW alumnae. When a former fellow receives an award or is recognized for her work, well, we just love to brag about it! So here goes … 1995–96 American Fellow Carol Tang was recently named one of California’s top Leading Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by the California STEM Learning Network!

We first profiled Tang back in 2009 for the Following the Fellows series. Back then, she was a senior science educator at the California Academy of Sciences. Today she is the director of the Coalition for Science after School. Though paleontology research and education are both interests of Tang’s, she readily admits that one passion won over the other: She is deeply committed to after-school science education and the many ways it can change a child’s life.

The benefits of after-school science programs are twofold. First, these programs offer young people hands-on scientific experience with a mentor that can spark a love for science and form the basis of a future career.  Secondly, science education prepares young people to be creative thinkers and future problem-solvers. Today’s issues, like climate change and public health, are not going away anytime soon. Tang says that since future generations will have to tackle these and other problems, it is important to give young people the skills to solve scientific quandaries. “It would be a crime not to prepare them,” she says.

When Tang discovered that she was being honored as one of California’s leading women in STEM for her work in scientific education outside the classroom, she was both surprised and excited about what this recognition meant for the field of after-school education. Tang says the award helps to erode the stereotype that after-school programs are not rigorous. “In after-school programs it is not about how much the youth are ‘learning,’ it is about how much they are engaging. This can’t be measured with hours or test scores,” says Tang. Programs like the Coalition for Science after School connect youth with scientist mentors who demonstrate that careers in science are not only real; they are also within reach. Tang says this interest in and emotional connection to science is especially powerful for both girls and boys in underserved areas. Identification with science can show youth that STEM education is empowering and an achievable opportunity.

Clinton Global Initiative

Tang applauds AAUW’s role in empowering women and girls in STEM. Programs like the Selected Professions Fellowship, the Tech Trek summer camps, and research are leveling the playing field for women in math and science. And it can all start with simple steps: When Tang was working on exhibits with the California Academy of Sciences, she learned how much a two-hour visit to a museum really matters. If “those 30 words on the aquarium fish label can make a difference,” she says, then the connections made in after-school education can change lives.

Tang’s 1995–96 American Fellowship was sponsored by the Evelyn Fox Keller American Fellowship and the Nora Harris Perry American Fellowship.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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Jessica Ghilani understands that her career is personal and political. For a young, female, tenure-track professor, it can be challenging to establish boundaries while commanding respect in the classroom. This is magnified when you are young, female, and expecting a baby.

Ghilani is very conscious of herself and her surroundings. She recognizes that she is a role model by virtue of being a woman in academia who is balancing a passion for her field with her life off campus. Ghilani is a professor of communication at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg, who specializes in consumer culture, military propaganda, and the history of advertising. Her research and courses allow her to merge her hobbies — she is a self-described political junkie and closet historian — with her academic interest in the evolution of American civic identity. In July 2012, the Journal of Communication Inquiry published her article “De Beers’ ‘Fighting Diamonds’: Recruiting American Consumers in World War II Advertising.” Between a rigorous writing and publication plan and teaching full time, Ghilani still finds time to explore advertising and consumer culture on a much more personal level.

Ghilani launched Consume or Consumedin 2008 as a personal exploration of fashion and today has sponsors and hundreds of followers. The blog is her way to indulge a more frivolous interest while being honest about the ideology of consumerism that tells people they need more things to be happy. She admits that at times she consumes and feels consumed. A recent series on her blog, Professional Pregnancy, explores the unique challenges and rewards of being pregnant in the public sphere. Teaching during her pregnancy has meant establishing — and re-establishing — boundaries with students in very new ways. “Pregnancy is an emotional idea,” she says. “It inscribes ‘maternal’ onto a person who is pregnant.” Personal conversations about health and family that never came up before are suddenly deemed fair game. For a professor who already feels pressure to prove her qualification to students, being so humanized in the classroom means having to navigate new student-teacher relationships.

Ghilani says that receiving the AAUW American Fellowship in 2009 was “the biggest feather in my cap.” She still remembers where she was when she read her name on the list of recipients. It was a moment of disbelief and deep validation. AAUW helped Ghilani to get comfortable with the idea that she had merit and potential as scholar, something she struggled with at the time. Ghilani believes many women, herself included, are socialized to have the impulse to diminish their accomplishments. She says the key is acknowledging that you didn’t accomplish things entirely on your own, but you must also embrace your role in your own success. With big changes coming and a brilliant career ahead of her, Ghilani is another AAUW alumna who deserves to take that moment herself and celebrate her success.

Do you have a story about the overlap between pregnancy and your professional life? Share it in the comments below!

Ghilani’s 2009–10 American Fellowship was sponsored by the Martha C. Enochs American Fellowship, the Carolyn Garfein American Fellowship, and the AAUW Reading (PA) Branch/S. Helen Ahrens American Fellowship.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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When you speak with the Rev. Dori Baker, it becomes immediately clear that this is a woman who has found her calling. She specializes in mentoring young adults — particularly young women — as they figure out their futures. While I feel I have a good grip on who I am and what I want in life, I still felt better after speaking with Baker. I thought to myself, She’s good.

Baker is the new chaplain and director of spiritual life for Sweet Briar College and the current scholar-in-residence for the Foundation for Theological Education. What Baker finds most fulfilling about working with college-age women is that they are at the point in life when they are asking the hard questions. As they grapple with finding what gives their lives purpose, Baker wants to be a conversation partner and a mentor for their paths forward.

Before Sweet Briar, Baker taught at several different universities and ministered in various capacities. This allowed her the flexibility and independence to write about what interested her — academic, feminist theology. Her latest book, The Barefoot Way, uses stories from personal encounters to amplify the voices of young women.

When Baker received an AAUW American Fellowship in 1998, she was in the process of writing her dissertation. At the time, her daughters were very young. “The fellowship literally paid for my child care while I wrote,” Baker says, and it gave her the time she needed to write. It also provided her the inner capital or self-esteem to know that what she had to say was important to someone. Students often tell her that she is a role model because she has a career and has raised a family. Baker credits opportunities like the AAUW fellowship that made it possible to do both and not choose one or the other.

Baker had many words of wisdom to share:

  • “Complex questions require answers from new partnerships.” Baker is a strong supporter of interfaith collaboration and dialogue. When people of different faiths and nonreligious individuals come together, they are able to find common concerns shared by allies. Speaking and listening deeply to another person opens doors for new resources and new ways of understanding the world.
  • “When it feels like you failed, it is just another important part of your story. Listen to that experience.”
  • To young women who are looking to become better or more confident public speakers: Practice! Take every opportunity to speak. Spend time to find out what it is you are compelled to speak about.
  • Becoming a leader is not a solo journey. It is important to build community and seek voices from people outside your comfort zone.
  • Don’t be so anxious, everything unfolds at its own pace.

It is encouraging knowing that women like Baker are listening to the next generation of women leaders and encouraging them to raise their voices loud and strong.

Baker’s American Fellowship was sponsored by the Ohio Golden Year American Fellowship and the Anne Pannell Taylor American Fellowship, both established in 1980.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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At age 18, Kate Cerulli knew she had found her passion. While working at a summer camp for inner-city youth, she got to know some kids whose families — and mothers in particular — had experienced domestic violence. That personal connection led to a career dedicated to combating domestic violence using her academic and professional passions: science and law.

In 1991, while in law school, Cerulli received an AAUW Community Action Grant to study the local government’s response to cases of domestic violence in Buffalo, New York. She credits the grant with providing her the opportunity to learn about research, which greatly influenced her subsequent work incorporating scientific research into law.

Domestic violence is a pervasive issue — 1 in 4 women experience it in their lifetimes. Yet Cerulli firmly believes the problem is fixable, and she is a pioneer in combining law and science to combat domestic violence. While in law school at the State University of New York, Buffalo, she established the Clinic for Women, Children, and Social Justice, which trains lawyers to effectively try cases related to domestic violence. Cerulli is also the director of two institutions at the University of Rochester. The Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization uses evidence-based research to provide resources to community partners to end domestic violence. And as director of the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership, Cerulli is pursuing a plan to identify and fill the gaps in basic needs and services for women.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it is more important than ever to increase awareness of the issue and how to end it. Cerulli points to the continued delay in reauthorizing the Violence against Women Act as evidence that domestic violence is becoming less of a national priority. Domestic violence affects our entire society because it impacts our workplaces, homes, religious institutions, families, and communities. Advocacy is needed at all levels of government because there have been significant cuts in funding across the United States for domestic violence programs, which hurts advocates on the local level.

“We all have to do more with less,” Cerulli says — and she is not one to back down from a challenge. Change will happen, but it cannot occur at just the individual level. She believes a paradigm shift is needed for society to rethink how the media is portraying and at times even glorifying domestic violence.

Her advocacy work is a direct result of what education can inspire. “Admitting that education is a lifelong pursuit leaves you open to new opportunities,” Cerulli says — and education is something she sees as being close to AAUW’s heart.

Cerulli’s Community Action Grant was sponsored by the May Carlgren Bana/Ohio Division Research and Projects Grant, which was established in 1982.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

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