Posts Tagged ‘Fellowships’

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case prevented the women of Wal-Mart from taking on the nation’s largest employer as a nationwide, class-action group. But gender discrimination doesn’t take a day off, and neither does AAUW. AAUW continues to stand behind the women of Wal-Mart because we firmly believe in protecting the rights of Americans to bring class-action suits against discriminatory employers. That’s why I asked former civil rights lawyer and 1993–94 AAUW Selected Professions Fellow Suzette Malveaux her professional opinion on Wal-Mart v. Dukes.

Malveaux earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Harvard University, and with the help of her AAUW fellowship, she completed her law degree at New York University. “I was very fortunate to get a fellowship from AAUW to go toward my legal education,” she said. “At the time, I was wrestling with whether I wanted to go to law school. It was organizations like AAUW that really made a difference in terms of giving me the financial confidence to make that decision and pursue a career as a civil rights lawyer.” Malveaux said the AAUW fellowship gave her the freedom and flexibility to work at a nonprofit after graduating, enabling her to carry out her commitment to social justice.

Malveaux began working on class-action litigation with the law firm Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, and Toll. During her career, she worked to secure assets for survivors of the Holocaust and represented victims of the 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riot before federal courts and the House of Representatives. Eight years ago, she was an attorney for the plaintiffs in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and helped draft the initial class certification motion. She reminded me of the time, resources, and courage required to bring a class-action suit against an employer, especially one as powerful as Wal-Mart. “I find the women of Wal-Mart inspiring. They have been in the trenches for the last decade.”

Malveaux now teaches civil rights and fair employment law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. In 2006, she co-authored Class Actions and Other Multi-Party Litigation, and in March of this year she published “Class Actions at the Crossroads: An Answer to Wal-Mart v. Dukes in the Harvard Law and Policy Review. Referring to the Supreme Court’s decision, she said, “I share AAUW’s disappointment. The case has made it more difficult for employees and for women who are trying to challenge systemic gender discrimination to do that in large numbers. The class action is so important because it really does level the playing field between giant corporations and employees with little resources to challenge discrimination.”

Despite these setbacks, Malveaux believes we have a lot to learn from Wal-Mart v. Dukes, not only in terms of how discrimination works but also about what it takes to achieve justice. “I would take courage and inspiration from the women who have had the audacity to challenge Wal-Mart. It’s a great example of how together, we as women can do extraordinary things.”

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Melissa Rogers.

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Logan, pictured here with her daughter, divides her time between the United States and France.

When I met 1950–51 AAUW International Fellow Nicole Prévost Logan at the AAUW national office in Washington, D.C., I had no idea that I was sitting across from a woman who had spent more than 30 years traveling among three continents, mingling with officials and dignitaries from all over the world, and learning several languages along the way. But in the conversations that followed, it became clear to me that Logan has led a truly extraordinary life — from living on the front lines of a civil war in Lebanon to organizing arts festivals in South Africa to excavating a 12th-century Russian city.

Born and raised in France, Logan attended the elite Institute of Political Studies in Paris and earned her law degree from the Sorbonne. She would have taken the bar exam had she not seen an announcement for the AAUW International Fellowship and decided to apply. Although it took three months to find a political science program in the United States that would accept women, Logan eventually arrived at Stanford University. “That fellowship was essential. It gave another dimension to my life. The whole world opened up because of it,” she said. A half century later, AAUW is still opening doors for women of all nationalities through its fellowships and grants.

A photograph of Nicole Prévost Logan in a political science class at Stanford University in 1950, found in the AAUW archives

While at Stanford, Logan met her future husband, Alan, who was to become a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service. Her new book, Forever on the Road: A Franco-American Family’s 30 Years in the Foreign Service, chronicles her adventures with her late husband and their four children. Between 1951 and 1984 the family was stationed in 10 countries, including Taiwan, the former Soviet Union, Nigeria, Belgium, and South Africa. Despite the fact that the Department of State discouraged diplomats’ wives from working, Logan tried to find a job at each post, working as an editorial assistant, an interpreter, a French teacher, and a radio newscaster, among other things. She said these jobs were an integral part of her learning process, allowing her to learn about local perspectives on American foreign policy. “Each job gave me another approach to that country.”

Meanwhile, Logan was earning a master’s degree in Russian from American University, organizing archaeological workshops for women, and supporting artists struggling under the repressive Soviet regime, all while fulfilling her diplomatic duty to entertain foreign notables. “I never wanted to be just a housewife and family person,” she said. “I like to do everything at the same time.” After her husband’s retirement from diplomacy, Logan organized an archaeological expedition to Moscow with the help of Earthwatch, a nonprofit that involves volunteers in field research. Working within the walls of the Kremlin, her team unearthed the wood foundations of a city 200 hundred years older than archaeologists anticipated.

Logan hopes Forever on the Road will encourage travelers to visit other countries with open eyes and a willingness to learn. “Everybody has a story to tell. It’s a question of finding your niche, what is unique about what you have to say.” She will be sharing insights from her book at the AAUW Lower Connecticut Valley (CT) Branch on August 23 at 6 p.m.

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Melissa Rogers.

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As a part of AAUW’s ongoing commitment to improving the status of women and girls globally via fellowships, grassroots programming, and advocacy, AAUW recently hosted 18 women from the All-China Women’s Federation. The Federation was established in 1949 by the Chinese government and has become the largest women’s nongovernmental organization in that country. It represents and protects the rights and welfare of women and promotes equality between men and women. The visit was sponsored by the U.S.-China Exchange Council, an education and service organization dedicated to professional exchange programs between the United States and China.

The delegation consisted of 18 Women’s Federation executive officials from multiple provinces of China, including Jiangsu, Hunan, Hubei, Yangzhou, and Guangdong; a representative from the Tibet Women’s Association; the People’s Bank of China; and several state ministries. The group was very interested in meeting with AAUW to exchange experiences and views on advancing educational and professional opportunities for women in both countries.

AAUW staff shared information about our programs, membership, and research to break through barriers for women and girls. The visitors were particularly interested in learning about the administration and management of AAUW (including media relations, membership, leadership, and staff jobs). They were surprised to learn that government funding is not a major revenue source and that AAUW members raise funds to support the organization. “But isn’t the government obligated to support these issues?” one participant asked. There were many questions about our International Fellowships, and the women were pleased to learn that AAUW is funding five fellows from China during the 2011–12 academic year and that we have supported more than 100 individuals from China since the fellowship program began in 1917. Staff spoke about our global connections, our recent international delegations abroad, and our upcoming trip to South Africa this fall.

We discussed the gender stereotyping common in both the United States and China — a dominance of women in the arts and social sciences and fewer female scientists and engineers. Similar to the United States, high school girls in China have better grades in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, but it is strongly “hinted” that they should consider the social sciences. We could relate to their revelation that women scientists lack funding to pursue research and professional opportunities and that they often suspend their careers after pregnancy; they then experience great difficulty in “catching up.”

The visit ended with a flurry of photos and gift-giving. We stood together for photos, and we shared many thanks, language being no barrier for gratitude. There was mutual admiration for the visit. They thanked us for hosting them, and we were honored to connect with women from across the globe but not so different from us. They care about what so many women care about: education, economic security, the ability to support and nurture our families, and being valued for our contributions to society.

We all smiled as the cameras flashed, happy to create a memory of a common bond we share with all women.

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AAUW alumna Anamarija Frankić works to restore the oyster population of Boston’s Wellfleet Harbor.

While completing her master’s degree in ecology and limnology (freshwater science) at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, 1995–96 AAUW International Fellow Anamarija Frankić spent five years working as an ecologist for the Plitvice Lakes, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites and one of the oldest national parks in Croatia. This experience opened her eyes to the disjuncture between park management decisions and scientific research, and she realized that “it doesn’t matter how good your science is if you can’t translate and apply it.” She began educating local communities, tourists, and national organizations about the human activities destroying the lakes’ ecosystems but was forced to flee to the United States when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia.

Frankić was inspired to apply for an International Fellowship when she learned that AAUW provided the funds that enabled Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Curie to continue her work. The fellowship came at a crucial moment in Frankić’s career. “It introduced me to the power of community and stewardship. At that point I was still at a crossroads, coming from a war-torn country and being embraced by another country. It’s like being adopted by a community that’s been helping women receive an education for over a hundred years,” she said. With the help of the International Fellowship, she earned her doctorate from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary.

Frankić strives to continue AAUW’s mission of breaking through barriers for women and girls because she knows that educated women can empower their communities by working for peace and environmental sustainability. She developed the Green Boston Harbor Project at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, in order to integrate education, research, and outreach by getting students, policy makers, and locals involved in coastal stewardship efforts. She mentors several graduate students whose dissertation research contributes to this initiative and leads groups of local youth on canoe trips in the Neponset and Mystic watersheds to learn about pollution and ecosystems.

But like any good ecologist, Frankić understands that local efforts are not enough. That’s why she works to bring grants for conservation and sustainable management to the Adriatic region and serves as an adviser to the Ministry of Culture in Croatia. In addition to teaching at the University of Massachusetts, she is an adjunct professor at the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, Croatia. She has also worked in collaboration with the World Bank to develop coastal management projects in Tanzania.

Frankić’s goal is to engage her students in compassionate, holistic science. She argues that we need to learn to ask and listen to nature for solutions to our problems. “We are afraid to be visionaries and idealistic because everyone wants you to be rough and tough and economically oriented,” she said. “Don’t stop dreaming.”

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Melissa Rogers.

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It’s September! That means scores of students are boarding busses and getting back to school. No matter your student status, check out the long list of opportunities and programs available to both student affiliates and AAUW members.

STUDENTS – Here are some of AAUW’s best bets for this fall. Not a student? Pass this along to someone who is and check out our MEMBERS Section below!

Leadership Training Opportunities – Want to primp your resume? Jumpstart  your career? Prepare for a life in public service? These links can help you out.

  • We’re looking for college student leaders from around the nation to be AAUW campus ambassadors and advise AAUW on student issues.  Become a National Student Advisory Council member – applications due October 1.
  • Get involved with your school’s student government! Find empowerment, encouragement and more through Elect Her – Women  to Win.
  • Meet fellow future leaders, interact with women who are helping to shape a new world, and sign up for inspiring workshops!  Join us June 2011 for the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders!

Campus Action Projects – Looking to make a change on your campus?  Encourage your college or university to implement programs that address barriers outlined in the AAUW report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Concerned about safety? The good news is everyone can help improve the campus climate – find useful information and achievable action items in the Campus Sexual Assault Program in a Box.

Fellowships & Grants – AAUW will give away more than $3 million dollars to women for graduate education 2010-11. Click here for important deadline information!

Graduating Soon? Get Help Negotiating Your Starting Salary – One year out of school women already earn less than their male counterparts.  Visit $tart $mart to learn how you can register for a workshop near you!

Important Discounts – College costs continue to rise, as do the costs associated with attending.  Use your AAUW member benefits for discounts on textbooks, admissions test prep, insurance and other college-life necessities for you or your friends and family!  The discount available from The Princeton Review alone saves you more than 5 times your annual dues!

MEMBERS – Here are some back-to-school and educational tips just for you!

Campus-Oriented Programs

Build ties with your local campuses by offering programming through AAUW partner The Princeton Review. Programs such as “Women and the MBA” and “Getting into Grad School” make excellent branch fundraisers and recruitment tools as well.  Contact Anthony Russomanno for the Princeton Review office nearest you.

the gender-based wage gap. Visit $tart $mart to learn how you can become a facilitator at a workshop near you!

Undergraduate Scholarships – Showcase your scholarships! Use the AAUW State and Local Branch Clearinghouse to attract top applicants through a dedicated portal and still maintain the specifications your branch wants.

The Eleanor Roosevelt Award – Know someone fighting the good fight for equity and education for women and girls? We’re looking for a person, project, org, or institution deserving of our prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Fund Award. Click here to submit your nomination.

This post is by Cordy Galligan, Director of Corporate Relations at AAUW.

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A renowned bookbinder and conservator, Jill Deiss has cleaned and pressed the pages of historical works like Edgar Allen Poe’s family Bible, John Wilkes Booth’s diary, and Shakespeare’s First Folio. These days Jill is looking forward to pressing and cleaning a letter signed by Eleanor Roosevelt and addressed to AAUW. The conservation of this letter is part of a larger effort to restore noteworthy pieces of AAUW’s history. For Jill, however, this project has special significance, because her history and that of AAUW are inextricably linked.

In 1991, after completing a bachelor’s degree in costume history and design and a master’s degree in library science, Jill started Cat Tail Run Hand Bookbinding. The bindery has worked with clients such as the Andersonville Prison National Historic Site, the Sidwell Friends School, and the Wharton School of Business.

In the bindery’s infancy, Jill was already catering to big-name clients such as the U.S. Park Service. However, after a few years in operation, Jill was told that her master’s in library science was not enough. In order to continue with government clients, she needed to go back to school. “At the time I was feeling very small compared to the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in front of me,” confesses Jill.

It was around this time that Jill learned about the AAUW Career Development Grant and decided to apply. The grant awarded to Jill through AAUW allowed her to return to school. She described the support from AAUW as a shot in the arm and says, “The grant helped me to redirect my life.”

With her academic pursuits, Jill has been able to rise above the often-told stories of undereducated women in rural Appalachia. According to Jill, of all the students in her second grade class, only five graduated from high school; growing up, she knew only two women who had attended college. But this didn’t stop Jill from dreaming big.

After earning her first bachelor’s in 1984, Jill was inspired to look toward bookbinding, thanks to an internship at a museum in northern Massachusetts. After spending many hours helping researchers comb through archives at the library, she was inspired to take a bookbinding course. Jill completed the course and even spent extra Saturdays with the bookbinder on a special project. When she was given the task of restoring atlases for the museum, she was hooked. Jill followed the shift from textiles to books with more formal training at Cornell University’s Department of Library Conservation and the Smithsonian’s Conservation Institute in the late 1980s.

Jill has now been back in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, since 1991. These days she is using her knowledge and expertise in bookbinding and conservation to give back to causes, such as AAUW, that have helped her break through the barriers that women in rural Appalachia often face.

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aluminum-bagThis past winter, for 2007–08 Career Development grantee and sculptor Hanna Stevenson, a typical day began at 5:15 a.m. with a breakfast of ice cream and coffee. To protect her body from the cold Alaskan weather and high winds during her work as an apprentice pipefitter, she wore at least four layers of clothes. She filled her pockets with tools of the trade, including channel locks, wrenches, and a small level. The work bus left at 6:40 a.m., heading for the site where the 10–12 crew members were briefed for the day. A typical day, which was spent entirely outside in below freezing weather, was broken up by lunch, two 15-minute breaks, and an occasional drive to the nearest bathroom.

As one of only two women on the team, Hanna found herself taking on some traditional female roles. “I bring four to five bags of food to share every day, I make the coffee, and I clean up the tiny kitchen area in the back of the bus. If I don’t, no one will.” This experience has pushed Hanna to explore the tensions between the genders through art. “My work on the North Slope in the male-dominated oil fields has been a huge learning experience for me.”

larvaeHanna worked in Alaska in 2005–06 as an artist and an apprentice blacksmith before deciding to go back to school to pursue a master of fine arts degree from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. After graduation, Hanna took the apprentice pipefitter position to enhance her work as an artist by exploring new ways to work with metals. Hanna’s MFA art show focused on sculptural objects of bronze, aluminum, and fiberglass under the theme of transformation. This title seems fitting, as it was Hanna’s goal to move to Alaska on her own to pursue an MFA to “get the most out of life as an artist.” The AAUW Career Development Grant helped Hanna in the last year of her master’s program, allowing her to expand her body of work and to use new materials that would have otherwise been too costly.

According to Hanna, her best artwork to date is “Vehicle of Transformation,” a 7-foot-long rideable “larvae” complete with an old-fashioned tractor seat and rubber-coated cast iron wheels. “I wanted to create an object that was interactive and kinetic. This piece embodies a sense of childhood adventure and limitless joy.”

As Hanna continues on her own journey of transformation, she plans to help other girls do the same. “I hope to combine my art background with my position in the trades to encourage young women in Alaska to better themselves and their place in society through education and the skilled trades … or both!”

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