AAUW Santa Maria Branch Blog – February 2018

AAUW Santa Maria Branch Blog – February 2018
SLOCo. & SBCo InterBranch Councils Luncheon

San Luis Obispo County & Santa Barbara County 
Interbranch Councils

The Madonna Inn Garden Room
San Luis Obispo -Saturday, February 24, 2018
11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

11:50 – President of Five Cities Pismo Beach Branch and Chair of the San Luis Obispo County Interbranch Council welcomed members guests.  Susan made a few introductions, including Judy Pfiel, Past-President of AAUW CA and Diane Owens, Directory AAUW CA.  Others to be introduced at the time of presentations.  Susan recognized and thanked the members of the SLO branches for organizing the event and arranging for raffle gifts.

Donna Mertens, AAUW CA President was unable to attend.  Diane Owens, Director AAUW CA; Project Oversight Chair for AAUW CA; and dual member of Lompoc/Vandenberg and Santa Maria Branches represented AAUW CA.  Diane explained that the Central Coast AAUW branches have chosen to have our Fellow luncheons in February as the Fund is the Heart of AAUW.  Diane encouraged members to attend the upcoming state convention to be held in Irvine April 27-29.  Tech Trek is celebrating 20 years, having started in 1998 at Stanford. Diane also reminded members of the upcoming National dues increase of $10, effective July 2018. She encouraged members to volunteer to serve on State committees.  Diane also noted the upcoming National vote to make three bylaws amendment changes:  1] 3-year staggered board terms, 2] opening board service to those outside of the AAUW membership, and 3] eliminating the degree requirement for membership.  The vote to take place this spring.


1:05 – Susan Opava introduced Susan Pease, Tech Trek Director at UCSB.  Susan recognized members who had participated with Tech Trek at UCSB, which started there in 2005. She stressed the importance of participating in the visitation day held each session.  This is a chance to see the program in action. The visitation dates for UCSB will be held 7/26 and 8/02.

Susan Opava introduced Sharon Westafer, AAUW CA Director, AAUW Funds.  Sharon again noted that the AAUW Fund is the Heart of AAUW, with some 1.3 million in CA Fund donations. She encouraged donations be made to ‘unrestricted funds’, although members may certainly choose to name cause. Sharon discussed the various ways that donations may be made.

Daisy Benitez, AAUW Fellow was introduced.  Daisy was born in California but grew up in Texas. She earned her BA degree in Environmental Engineering and her MA in Green Technologies… both at USC.  Her graduate studies were funded by the National GEM Consortium Engineering Fellowship, the American Association of University Women Fellowship and the Switzer Environmental Fellowship. Daisy noted the academic and professional support and encouragement that she received at USC from The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers [SHPE]. Daisy is currently the Regional Director for SHPE.  She will be taking a year off; working at the National Lab in Los Alamos and then plans to work on her PhD.  Daisy thanked the members of AAUW for their support.  She was presented with a gift basket of local items.

The program concluded at 2:00 p.m.

It should be noted that 19 members of the Santa Maria Branch were in attendance. There were gift drawings during the luncheon.