Welcome to the Southeast Valley, AZ Branch of AAUW!


“Real Change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” 
                                                                    –Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Southeast Valley Branch Summer Book Club

Hi All,

It’s time to get ready for the AAUW Summer Book Club. The names on this email are an assortment of AAUW book readers. Residing in Sun Lakes at this time is no longer key to joining the group. We will Zoom our discussion sessions so you can join from anywhere.  Don’t worry about how to participate in Zoom, I’ll explain it to you before each session.  All you need is a computer or a hand held electronic device that can access the internet e.g. I Pad etc. 

Our meetings will be on the second Monday of June, July, and August at 2:00 p.m. If you do not want to be on this mailing list let me know.  All the details will also be on our website and available to those I may have missed. The three books we will read are listed below along with the dates and discussion leaders.  These were picked by the afternoon book club at their last session.  We try and have lighter reading for the summer months. I hope you enjoy!

June 8    Heaven Adjacent, Catherine Ryan Hyde…Peggy Cherry-discussion leader

July 13   Firefly Lane, Kristin Hannah…Karen Heitman-discussion leader

August 10   The Island of Sea Women, Lisa See…Joyce Ellenbecker-discussion leader

Contact Madeleine Lutz with any questions mldtwinter@msn.com  “See” you soon!    

A Book Report

I Am Not Your Slave, a Memoir 

by Tupa Tjipombo with Chris Lockhart, 2020

This book is so well written, I felt like I was there. It is the horrifying true story of a 14 year old girl in southwest Africa who was sold into a firmly entrenched and shockingly brutal international human trafficking business. Girls and young women from around the world are sold and traded repeatedly, savagely raped, starved, branded, and tortured by notorious gangs, terrifying witchdoctors, Chinese middlemen, Arab smugglers, and corrupt police and border guards. The palms of their hands are sliced, the dripping blood is collected in a basin, drugs are added, and they are forced to drink the repulsive mixture. Any attempt to escape means certain death.

 After 3 years of incredible violence, she is enslaved in a wealthy home in Dubai. Her owner sends her to a large ‘Festival’ in the Dubai desert where international billionaires, including Americans, select girls for a week long ‘anything goes’ orgy.  She is picked by a high-ranking American who is with a United Nations humanitarian program. For a week she suffers horrendous beatings and sexual violence. Using cunning and courage, she finally makes a frightening escape back to her homeland.

Book can be ordered from our Robson Library

by Jan Peterson

Southeast Valley Branch Local Scholarship

AAUW East Branch will award three scholarships this spring.  Three young women were selected by the reader/consultants recently.  Judy Baur, Gail Jones, Anne Newman, Beth Zdeblick and chair, Nancy Andrews chose the following:  Natalie Contreras, Sophie Malleck and Nardia Padilla from Chandler, Perry and ACP Erie High Schools, respectively.  These are three of the six public high schools in Chandler.  Each winner will receive $1000 to further her education.  We only wish we had much more to offer and to more girls.  Thanks to all who participated, AAUW members, friends of members, the readers and the applicants. There will likely be no awards ceremony this spring but we hope to meet the recipients at a later date.  Nancy Andrews.

Scholarships Honor 2 Branch Members

In February, the Branch Executive Board voted to name two of the college scholarships we present each spring to deserving young women attending public high schools in Chandler. Starting with this year’s award and going forward, one scholarship will be named annually in honor of our Branch founder, and still active member, Margaret Horn. She first joined AAUW in 1949 and launched the Southeast Valley Branch in 1989 in Sun Lakes. Nardia Padilla is the Margaret Horn Scholarship recipient.

The second named scholarship annually will recognize a member who has contributed significant time, talent and energy to our AAUW Branch. This year’s honoree is the late Margaret Noser, an active member who served in several officer roles at the Branch and state levels before her death Jan. 22. Sophie Malleck is the recipient of the Margaret Noser Scholarship.

The third scholarship, designated as the AAUW Southeast Branch Members’ Scholarship, goes to Natalie Contreras.

Southeast Valley Branch AAUW Elects New Leaders

Mary Humecke and Candace Cox will lead the Southeast Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) as newly elected Co-Presidents. They assume their new roles July 1 for the 2020-21 term.

Members also elected Judi Edmonds and Judy Baur, Program Vice Presidents; Beth Zdeblick, Membership Vice President; and Debra Austin, Secretary, to the Branch’s Executive Board.  The Southeast Valley Branch of AAUW draws members from Sun Lakes, Chandler, Gilbert, Ahwatukee and Tempe.

Humecke, who joined AAUW in 2019, has a bachelor’s degree in child development from San Jose State University. After working in the savings and loan business, she spent more than three decades in the telecommunications industry with AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Avaya. Following retirement, she earned a master’s degree in biology from Miami University.  

“Our Branch is full of interesting women with diverse backgrounds and unique experiences,” Humecke noted. “We work together to further our national organization’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, training and fellowships. Our informative monthly programs and public policy outreach give us many opportunities to do that, while our varied interest groups help members get to know each other better.”

Cox, who joined AAUW in 2019, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business and marketing from the University of Iowa and the University of Arizona. She was director of the University of Denver’s Center for Management Development before launching UNIVentures, a consulting firm sourcing and managing faculty/trainers, consultants, U.S. universities and learning events for companies and government entities around the world.

“We’re fortunate to be part of a national organization that’s been advocating for women and girls since 1881,” Cox said. “In the 30 years since our Southeast Valley Branch began, we’ve been actively supporting our communities, awarding local scholarships and promoting opportunities for women.  With nearly 100 members and growing, we see many possibilities for our Branch to continue to develop and thrive.”

AAUW membership is open to graduates holding an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university. For information on joining the Southeast Valley AAUW Branch, go to https://southeastvalley-az.aauw.net/comembership/.

Thank you

I would like to express my appreciation to my fellow Board Members  for this past year. It has been a great year, one that required flexibility.  The time of the meeting changed as well as the place. We were just getting adjusted to our new surroundings when the corona virus and social distancing interrupted our new routine.  I look forward to next fall when we will be able to continue face to face meetings.

The Holiday Luncheon was a great success due to Beth’s hard work and her team.

Celebrate 100 was a tremendous success.  Thank you Mary, Candace and Debra and all those your recruited to help.

A special  Thanks goes to Sharon Gale for all the creative work you did with the decorations for both events.  You surpassed yourself. The settings you created provided an atmosphere welcome and celebration.

The leaders of the interest groups many times get overlooked except by those who attend.  I want to acknowledge the service that you do. The interest groups provide an arena for intellectual stimulation and social connection. The history group is new this year.  It was created out of a desire to explore further into areas not covered by the other groups. Thank you for your initiative. 

The programs are essential to our monthly meetings. This year was exceptional.  

Cheryl has been kind enough these past 2 years editing most of my writing and articles.  Much appreciated.

Thank you all for attending and supporting AAUW in your own unique ways. 

Joyce Ellenbecker
Retiring Co-President 

Amazing Success for Southeast Valley AAUW ‘Celebrate 100’ Dinner

The “Celebrate 100: Women’s Right to Vote” community dinner Feb. 17 was a huge success for the Southeast Valley Branch AAUW, drawing a capacity crowd of nearly 300 and raising over $1,000 for local scholarships.

With 2020 marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment, co-chairs Mary Humecke and Candace Cox dedicated the event to suffragists whose persistence gave Arizona women the vote even earlier – in 1912.

Keynote speaker Dr. Melanie Sturgeon, President of the Arizona Women’s History Alliance, focused on the voting rights push – and opposition – that began in 1883 in Arizona. Repeated attempts for legislation failed, including a governor’s veto in 1903.

Although several played leadership roles through the years, Sturgeon said it was Frances Willard Munds who ultimately led a drive to force a successful voters’ referendum when statehood was achieved. Now fundraising is underway for a statue honoring Munds in Wesley Bolin Plaza near the state Capitol in Phoenix.

“Women stepped out of their comfort zones to get this accomplished,” Sturgeon said, advocating for the power of grass roots efforts and individuals to make a real difference. “Persistence is really important; it took 29 years to get it done.”

To ensure that message would spread to the next generation, the Branch invited five representatives from each of Chandler’s six public high schools and from Onward Hope, an organization that supports youth aging out of foster care. Their dinner tickets were funded by a grant from the state AAUW organization.  Attendees also included representatives of several metro area AAUW branches and state AAUW elected officers.

Designed to raise the Branch’s profile in the community, the dinner was open to the public and publicized in several newspapers. Members contacted area businesses for event publicity and promotion and Orbitel, an area communications company, successfully was solicited to buy a table as a donation for high school girls and scholarship winners.

Tickets were sold for a 50-25-25 raffle that generated $2,300, with half going to the local scholarships the Branch awards to high school senior girls in the Chandler Unified School District. Aisha Beck, a 2019 Branch scholarship recipient now at Arizona State University, was among those attending.

The evening’s 19th Amendment centennial theme was highlighted in red, white and blue table decorations, created by Branch member Sharon Gale, featuring photos and details about leading suffragists.

 Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California

21st Governor of Arizona 

Welcome Message

“Celebrate 100: The Right to Vote”

American Association of University Women, Southeast Valley Branch

Phoenix, AZ

February 17, 2020

5:30 PM


Good evening! I am sorry that I could not be with you all tonight in Phoenix to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. 

In 2020, our nation celebrates this important turning point in the history of our democracy. It is a point of pride – and I say this as the former governor of your great state – that Arizona was the tenth state in the nation to secure the right to vote for women, and that this was accomplished in the very same year Arizona became a state. 

As the first woman to serve in many roles, I believe in the vital connection between education and the opportunity to fully participate – and to lead – in our democracy. 

So, I am particularly grateful to the Southeast Valley Branch of the AAUW for the scholarships you are awarding this evening to promising students. And I wish to say to the current and former scholarship recipients in the audience –I hope that you will use your education to expand your horizons and serve the greater good of our democracy. And congratulations on receiving these prestigious scholarships!

Frances Willard Munds was a voting rights hero in Arizona and the first woman elected to public office in this state. She once observed, “the Arizona campaign for suffrage is probably the most unique in history.” I am proud of the progress we have made along the way. As we look ahead to the next 100 years, let’s work together to expand opportunity and active participation in our democracy to those still left out.

Thank you! And have a wonderful evening.

Miss one of our great Branch Programs or want more information? Notes are taken during a majority of the programs and posted on the Past Events/Footnotes page.    November program is now posted.   

In Memoriam

Margaret Noser passed away on January 22

Southeast Valley Branch of AAUW is sorry to share the news of the
unexpected passing of Margaret Noser.
Margaret was an active member of AAUW in Wisconsin and Arizona.
She was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in
child psychology and post graduate work in special education and
Montessori Education. She taught in Montessori schools in Wisconsin and
was head teacher of the Montessori Lab School at the College of St.
Catherine, in St. Paul, MN.
Margaret joined AAUW in 1985 in Wisconsin where she served in
multiple positions at the branch level. After moving to Arizona and retiring,
she became active in Southeast Valley Branch. She served as co-president
and Public Policy Chair. She developed the outstanding Southeast Valley
Branch website and has maintained it for the last six years. She was an
AAUW volunteer at San Marcos Elementary School.
Margaret was also active at the state level in Arizona, serving two
terms as secretary of the state Board.
Her participation and dedication will be greatly missed.
Her husband, Larry, survives. –Toni Corrigan

Jeannine Garrard Passed Away November 4, 2019

Jeannine Garrard was an AAUW member until the last 2 or 3 years.  She died Nov. 4, 2019,  after a long battle with cancer.  Her son advises there  will be a memorial event in January, 2020.  He will advise us of the arrangement in the near future.     –Karen Shaffer

Eleanor Davis Passed Away February 3, 2020

Eleanor Davis was a member of AAUW for many years. She died Feb.3, 2020.  She has been Ill for a couple of years, residing in the nursing care section of Friendship Village.  Eleanor was an active member of AAUW for many years and was the second president of the Sun Lakes Garden Club and held that office for many years. –Diane Beatty

Pay Equity

AAUW’s Work Smart Helps
Women Gain Pay Equity Through Negotiation

Work Smart is effective: Nearly all participants report having more confidence and better negotiating skills. After attending a Work Smart program, nearly half are able to negotiate for a raise, promotion, or higher-paying job.

Take Work Smart Online Now

Please share Work Smart Online on social media.  And send an email to your friends, family and followers to let them know that one hour of online learning can lead to a lifetime of higher earnings!   

National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL)
University of Maryland in College Park, May 27-30, 2020
Early Bird Applications are now OPEN

AAUW Applications for the National Conference for College Women Student leaders (NCCWSL) are now OPEN. NCCWSL will be held at the University of Maryland in College Park, May 27-30, 2020. This life changing experience will focus on leadership development.

Early Bird Applications are now OPEN to all college and university students and will save $100 off the cost of regular registration. Early Bird Applications close on February 16, 2020.     (Details on AAUW National and AAUW-AZ NCCWSL Scolarships)


AAUW Releases New Research:  Limiting our Livilihood

Limiting our Livilihood: The Cumulative Impact of Sexual Harassment on Women’s Careers.  examines how harassment can have long-term impact on our lives.  This report is based on an AAUW analysis of a review of academic studies on sexual harassment and a nationwide survey of AAUW members and their networks.   Read the Report and the Summary.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES...      Mark your Calendars


Apr 8   AAUW-AZ Spring Board Meeting TBD  
Apr 14  AAUW 2020 Convening Series-Session II – Virtual Convention
Jun 19-21 Rocky Mt. Regional Conference in Ft. Collins, CO  TBD 

Fall Forum 2019

AAUW of Arizona Offers Sustenance for Mind and Body

The 2019 Fall Forum hosted by Northwest Valley Branch was one of the best attended with 115 registrants. Jan Bobbett, Tillie Fortner, Mary Humecke, Margaret Noser and Sara Wolters were among those numbers as they joined other branch members and representatives from numerous organizations. Key speakers filled the day with important reports and announcements.    [Read More]


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