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Bulletin 132 of the Cedar Rapids AAUW Branch – May 2019

“Celebrate Us!”
Spring Luncheon
Saturday, May 4, 11:30 a.m.
Granite City, 4755 First Avenue SE (Order from the menu)

The Cedar Rapids Branch of the American Association of University Women and guests are invited to attend the “Celebrate Us Luncheon”.  We will take a look back at the events and accomplishments of our branch during the 2018-2019 year.  We will welcome new and prospective AAUW members and the nominations committee will introduce the candidates for offices for 2019-2020 and the election will be held.

The program will feature the “Wonder Women” Readers Theater to honor women who have excelled in gaining women’s rights. 12 readers are needed.  Each reader will introduce the woman she is portraying and read her speaking part.  if you are interested in participating call Carole Bernard by April 26 (319 364-7038).

Reservations to Carole Bernard by Wednesday, May 1st.

Nominations Committee Report:  The committee: Linda Topinka, Trudy Sundermann, Sarah Swayze, Carol Berg and Carol Hills have 2 qualified candidates for Branch President: Linda Armitage and Renee Penalver.  Membership and Program officers have no nominees at the present time, so the current positions will continue until nominees are identified and elected.

Biographies for Nominees for Cedar Rapids Branch President are on pages 2 and 3.

Dues: CR Branch Dues $11, Iowa State Dues $10, AAUW Association Dues $59.00  Total = $80  Honorary Life Members Dues are $11. First year members can join for a total of $50.50 through the Shape the Future Member Recruitment Campaign.

Send checks by June 1 to: Treasurer Mary Lawrence, 3701 Hawk Ave SW, Cedar Rapids 52404

Biography of Linda Armitage, Candidate for President

I have been Membership Director/officer almost 4 years. At the end of the first term in 2017,    I was asked to be president, but I declined because more needed to be done to recruit new members. The “Meet and Greet” and orientation sessions that I developed are a large reason that we have gained 26 new members in the last 3 years.  Two terms as Membership Director have allowed me to work with the board to diversify our membership and to promote AAUW at the annual “Butterfly Brunch”, at Legislative Forums, and other venues. I have worked at the state level with Elaine Kresse, State Membership Director.  I am a detail person and with the help of our Treasurer and the team corrected the records which were very outdated. The saying about it “takes a village” is very true. We may be the fastest growing Branch in all of Iowa.

I believe that I am qualified for the position of AAUW President because of my experience with the organization on the local, state, and national level. I attended the 2017 National AAUW Convention in Washington D.C. and was a volunteer facilitator at the convention. I learned about the importance of lobbying for women’s issues and was one of seven Iowa members who went to Capitol Hill to advocate for women’s rights.

I have met with the Dean of Students at Coe College and the Assistant Dean of Students at
Kirkwood to ensure the continuation of our relationship as university partners. I have met with students at both Coe and Kirkwood to encourage them to become e-members.  Kirkwood
had let their membership lapse. However through combined efforts Kirkwood has renewed their membership with AAUW.  That is gratifying.

I graduated from Drake University with a BA in Sociology and a Social Studies Education certificate.  Within 48 hours I had my first professional job at the Des Moines Public Library and shortly after earned a Master’s in Library Science. I had several management positions there.  I am a retired teacher, and Librarian, and school media specialist. I still do occasional substitute work for Washington High School.

I have been a member of the American Library Association and the Iowa Education Association,
ALA Film committee Board member and chairperson for the Iowa Library Association Children’s and Young Adult Committee. I joined AAUW 5 years ago. Other activities in the community include mentoring Immigrant and refugee families, an International Book club, and participating in the Kenwood Neighborhood Association.

I am married and we have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. My family has first priority in my life and close behind family is my dedication to AAUW.  My passion for AAUW, my ability to lead, my time commitment and accessibility have been demonstrated over the last 3 1/2 years.  My knowledge of women’s equity issues and other important issues of AAUW at the National and state and local levels makes me capable to lead our Branch. My experience with the Association adds to my leadership skills. I believe these experiences make me a very good candidate for President for the Cedar Rapids Branch of AAUW.

Linda Armitage, 440 42nd St NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa     Phone: 319 393-0675

Biography of Renee Penalver, Candidate for President

Personal • Born and raised: Bakersfield, California • Renee is adopted from family, and she is very, very close to her niece • She has two dogs, and loves to cuddle with them.

Education • B.A. in Psychology in 2011 from the California State University, Bakersfield • M.A. in Experimental Psychology in 2014 from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) • PhD in Social Cognitive Neuroscience in 2017 with an emphasis in quantitative methodology from UTEP Professional Appointments

  • In 2017, she accepted a temporary Visiting Assistant Professor position at Coe College • In 2018, she was promoted to a tenure-track position (e.g. secure position) at Coe o she received a large amount of monies for research and regularly has to budget
  • In 2019, she was promoted as Coe College’s Community Engaged Faculty Fellow o part of Renee’s job will be defining this position and to engage faculty in community work, and work to connect faculty with community organizations Community Engagement • Renee involves community engagement in many of her classes o She has worked with Aging Services of Abbe Health, an Affiliate of Unity Point o Renee and Aging Services will receive an award for their community engagement work in Des Moines on April 29th through the Iowa Campus Compact
  • In 2018, she was selected as a fellow from 1 of 3 professors in Iowa to conduct community research • Renee is the co-director of Psychology Internships at Coe College o She is the liaison between these organizations, Coe, and her students ▪ She has worked with TIES, Four Oaks, Young Parents Network, Waypoint, Aging Services of Abbe Health, Horizons, Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP), Tanager Place, Iowa Women’s Foundation, Willis Dady, Foster Grandparents, Alzheimer’s Association, AARP, & many others • She is a member of the Junior League of Cedar Rapids o She holds three leadership positions: Project Advocacy Chair (she oversees the advocacy for foster youth work done in Junior League), Membership Recruitment Co-Chair (she oversees recruitment activities), and the Diversity and Inclusion Ad-Hoc Committee • She has received several honors in Junior League o received the “Rising Star” award o she was selected to attend a Leadership Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas where the focus was on promoting Diversity and Inclusion in organizations o she was the only recipient of Junior League to be nominated for the Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance’s Leadership for Five Seasons Program
  • She joined the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 2018 • She was placed on the board in 2019 as the Fundraising and Marketing Director. She has been working on two grant proposals to increase the treasury
  • She is reinstating the Coe College AAUW branch, and will act as the faculty supervisor • She secured a table sponsorship from Coe at the AAUW 90th celebration dinner in 2018
  • Through AAUW she has had the opportunity to mentor a young girl through Jane Boyd

AAUW CR Branch Presidency by Renee Penalver

By being branch president I can increase the bandwidth of what I have already been doing, which is promoting and advocating for women and girls through education, research, and advocacy.

What will I do?

  1. Continue the good work that has been happening
    • Make diversity paramount to everything AAUW does
    • Continue general membership meeting


  1. Create a long-term and sustainable internship agreement with Coe College and AAUW (supports AAUW’s 1st initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Have students regularly help with marketing, fundraising, planning, and educational conferencing


  1. Create new programs and events(supports AAUW’s 1st& 2ndinitiatives in the strategic plan)
    1. Focus on initiatives surrounding Title IV, and lead a conference on Title IV similar to how the White Privilege symposium ran at Coe
    2. By creating new programs and events we can continue to recruit diverse women


  1. Create a more cohesive branch—do more things together! Remember that part of why women join an organization is to extend their social and professional networks. (supports AAUW’s 4th initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Programs and socials at different times to accommodate a variety of people
    2. Mobilize and engage all members through these meetings
    3. More community event attendance (e.g. tabling and recruitment at Latino Fest, Juneteenth, Campus College club fairs, Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference)


  1. Increase our treasury through grant writing, fundraising, events, and donations (supports AAUW’s 4th initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Will require more committee meetings in the short-term, but less work long-term
    2. Will increase long-term financial sustainability of branch


  1. Continue our programs(supports AAUW’s 1st initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Remember the mentorship is one of the most important relationship in someone’s life—continue to mentor young women and girls


  1. Recruit more women!(supports AAUW’s 4th initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Continue diversifying recruitment strategies, because better recruitment means less retention
    2. Recruit at local colleges and universities
      • Create on-campus branches at local colleges and universities
    3. Recruit at events where diversity is paramount to the event (e.g. Latino Fest, Juneteenth)


  1. Provide opportunities for educational trainings, conferences, and workshops for our members(supports AAUW’s 1st,3rd, & 4thinitiatives in the strategic plan)
    1. Cultural competency trainings (with local cultural competency trainer, Kim Fitten)
    2. Leadership trainings (e.g. Iowa Women’s Leadership conference)
    3. In-organization mentoring (senior and junior members paired)


  1. Continue to market our name and brand(supports AAUW’s 4th initiative in the strategic plan)
    1. Partner with likeminded organizations for events to promote our name
      • Iowa women’s foundation
      • Junior League
      • Catherine McAuley
    2. Stronger Community Presence
      • .Attend more events (e.g. establish an AAUW community representative at local community events)


Renee’s community involvement at a glance:

  1. Employment at Coe College
  2. Faculty liaison for AAUW at Coe College
  3. Psychology Co-Director of Internships
  4. Coe College promotion to Community Engaged Faculty
  5. Community Partnership Award with Aging Services
    • Civic and Community Engagement in classes
  6. Mentoring young women through research
  7. AAUW CR Marketing and Fundraising Director
  8. Planned Latina Youth Conference in college
  9. Junior League “Rising Star” Award
  10. Honored for National Women’s History month at Coe College for advancing women and specifically women of color
  11. Iowa Community Engagement Research Fellow
  12. Regular community talks and workshops on Cognition
  13. Faculty co-advisor of Latinx

Reports Cont.

Membership, Linda Amitage welcomes new members…Deborah Reed, Julie Mitchell, and Carol Hedberg.

Cast Your Vote! You are encouraged to get on line and vote on the National Association Policy Amendments and the Election of Board Members.

FYI: The Association offers an on-line course called “Work Smart” which is about job and salary negotiations. I want to suggest that we set a goal for how many women in Cedar Rapids register to take the on-line course. It would benefit women in CR and also promote our branch.
Check your records: All of you who have email and internet connection should get on the AAUW. Org website and look up your membership information to make sure that it is up to date. Call or contact me if you have questions. 319-393-0675
Leadership Opportunities: You may apply to be on a national committee or task force

Cedar Rapids Branch Leadership Team 2018-2019                                    

Elected Officers: President: Carletta Knox-Seymour, Finance: Mary Lawrence, Membership: Linda Armitage, Program: Carole Bernard, Secretary: Sarah Swayze

Appointed Officers: Bulletin Editor: Sue Jorgensen, Public Policy: Linda Topinka, Website Manager: Jennifer McNabb, AAUW Funds: Carol Hills, Charitable Funds: Sue Pearson, Fundraising/Marketing: Renee Penalver