Empire State Virtual Branch Won Many Awards!

NY State Convention Logo 2016Congrats to all the ESVB members and friends who made possible winning so many awards at the AAUW NYS Convention April 15-17, 2016, Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn, NY


1) Award of Distinction for our quarterly Empire Virtual Times newsletter
2) Award of Distinction for our Website
3) Award of Merit for Social Media
4) Award of Excellence for Visibility
5) Membership Award with 10% increase for recruiting and maintaining members
6) 21st Century Program — Silver Award for the  Mentoring
at the College of Mount Saint Vincent
7) Public Policy Award for Voter Registration & Education Award
8) Public Policy Award for STEM
9) Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) Star Branch      Fourteenth (14th) Place Per Capita
Contributions. Specials thanks to our generous members including Dot McLane,
Dr. Chigurupati Rani, Joan Monk!

NYSE: Empowering Women & Girls to lead

nyse-600x320 (1) NYSE Press Photos | American Association of University Women
March 30, 2016 | Opening Bell

It was with great pleasure that Edwina Martin, AAUW NYS president, Melissa Guardaro, UN representative and Maria Ellis, AAUW NYS C/U Director & ESVB President participated in the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell on March 30, 2016.  Representatives and guests of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) visited the New York Stock Exchange to highlight Women’s History Month.  In honor of the occasion, AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE and AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho, rang the NYSE Opening Bell®.

Attendees included AAUW’s national staff, our Public Relations manager, Ryan Burwinkel, Nicole  Phillips and representatives from Verizon and Symantec and other AAUW corporate partners.

Public Policy

Cases Settled!

by Nancy Mion, Public Policy Director
Empire State Virtual NY Branch

It is exciting to know that three cases supported by LAF have been recently settled. The cases are: Moshak, Mason, Schlosser vs University of Tennessee which was successfully settled for over a million dollar in January 2016 found; Jaureguito and Wartluff finally settled with Feather River Community College after ten years. Check the LAF Webpage at http://aauw-nys.org/laf_casesupport.htm and the Spring 2016 Focus.

Thank you to the following members of the Empire State Virtual NY Branch for their generous contribution to LAF Fund: Dorothy McLane; Heide Parreno, Chigurupati Rani & Maria Ellis.


UN Announces First-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

 by Donna Seymour
AAUW NYS Public Policy VP

The United Nations announced the first High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The panel will give recommendations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women globally and improve women’s leadership in sustainable economic growth.

“The empowerment of the world’s women is a global imperative,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Yet despite important progress in promoting gender equality, there remains an urgent need to address structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment and full inclusion in economic activity. If the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.”



What is happening in Diversity?


Heide Parreño
Diversity Director
Empire State Virtual Branch

In September 2015,  Governor Andrew Cuomo  announced a new “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion policy” for the State University of New York . It was immediately adopted by the SUNY Board of Trustees. The plan  requires  a chief diversity officer in each of the 64 SUNY campuses. The officer will   promote inclusiveness and implement best practices for diversity.  Included in the policy’s plan is a tool where students can voluntarily self identify their sexual orientation and gender identity. The goal of the plan is to define diversity broadly to include race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. It also includes more options for registering age, socioeconomic status, status as a veteran, disabilities, first generation students and whether or not a student plans to work on or off campus while in school. The policy includes plans to increase diversity among students faculty and staff. ((Democrat and Chronicle, Saturday, September12, 2015, p. 9a)

There has been a surge of protests nationally from colleges and universities about racial discrimination and lack of diversity. Across the nation, students demand an end to systemic and structural racism on campus. The top 7 most common demands at 51 U.S campuses are: 1). Increase diversity of professors, 2) require diversity training, 3) fund cultural centers, 4) require classes for students, 5) increase diversity of students, 6) track race related offenses, and 7) expand mental health resources. These has been collected on a website called THE DEMANDS.


Locally, in Rochester, New York, the University of Rochester medical students focused their protest on racism as a public health concern. “ We, as future physicians, could not stay silent because we know that medicine is not immune to the racism that is rooted in our education, housing, employment and criminal justice system.” Guylda Richard, president of the Student national medical education.

Where is AAUW in all of these?

On December 15, 2015,  a Webinar was held to take a first look at AAUW’s New Tool Kit.
How many of NYS Board of Directors attended, branch leaders, diversity officers?
What is a follow-up in public policy?
Where do we get the information?

At ESVB we continue to have a Facebook page. I recruited a new member of our diversity team.  Her name is Dr. Doris Meadows. I will do a formal introduction in our next newsletter. I welcome suggestions for our diversity team and active participation in our membership in diversity and inclusion.

Student Leadership Development and Career Fair at the NYIT

AAUW Logo               NYIT Logo

The Empire State Virtual NY Branch AAUW & The New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)
invite you to join us at Student Leadership Development and Career Fair at the NYIT
NYIT, 16 W 61st St, New York, NY, 10023, 11th floor Auditorium
April 22, 2016, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Free for all students!

Come join us to learn how to negotiate your first job and learn about what employers are looking for in potential employers.

Register at http://goo.gl/forms/eBWMRZXrYO

For more information, email Michelle Messenger at mmesseng@nyit.edu
Or Maria Ellis at mellis@fsacap.com

Celebrating Mentorship at the College of Mount Saint Vincent!

Celebrating Mentorship at the College of Mount Saint Vincent!

Celebrating Mentorship at CMSV1Maria Ellis’ Mentee, Katherine Moreira and Maria Ellis
Joan Monk and her Mentee, Kimberly Gomez

Mentoring Day at The Button Show
The Rushphilonthropic Art Foundation
Saturday, Feb 12, 2016

Rani                  Button HeadJhanielle Daley
Dr. Rani and her mentee Jhanielle Daley

Button Bathtub

Lady in the Button Bath Tub!

Button Dog




2016 AAUW NYS Emerging Leader Award

2016 AAUW NYS Emerging Leader Award

Michelle Messenger photo

Michelle Messenger is a member of the Empire State Virtual NY Branch who was approved by the AAUW NYS Board during our 2016 Fall board meeting to be the 1st member of the AAUW NYS Student Advisory Board.  Michelle will be participating in our AAUW NYS Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY and will also be working with the Empire State Virtual Branch and the New York Institute of Technology on a one day joint conference on Friday, April 22, 2016 featuring the Start Smart workshop and a Career Fair.

Michelle is a senior at the New York Institute of Technology and will be graduating as an Engineer in May 2016.  She loves Math and Science and she founded the Society of Women Engineers at the NYIT. She was drawn to engineering because both her mom and grandmother were computer programmers. Michelle’s career aspiration is to create better things for people who need them. Michelle interested in bionics and would like to work on creating a device to help people walk or hear again!

More Complaints Than Findings!

by Donna Seymour
AAUW NYS Public Policy VP

Education Department has received more than 1,000 filings on racial harassment in higher ed in last seven years. But only a fraction result in any findings.

In an op-ed this month on rising racial tensions on campus, Education Secretary Arne Duncan noted that in his seven years in office, the department’s Office for Civil Rights has received more than 1,000 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. He said this statistic was an indication that the current concerns about race on campus are “no small issue.”

Duncan didn’t note how small a proportion of those complaints have resulted in findings of discrimination. Most of the complaints, in fact, never result in a complete investigation by OCR, let alone a finding. That isn’t necessarily a sign of weak complaints or of poor enforcement by OCR. A review of more information provided by the Education Department, however, may illustrate why students are turning to campus protests and not to Washington with their grievances.

During the Obama administration, the Education Department has received 1,073 complaints about racial harassment in higher education. Generally, the number of complaints a year is up, compared to prior years. Since 2010, the smallest number of complaints in a fiscal year is 137 (in 2010). In the five years prior to the Obama administration, the number of complaints never exceeded 95 and was generally smaller than that (in the 50s). An increase in complaints does not necessarily mean that the situation on campus is worse, since a variety of factors (such as outreach to encourage complaints, or the government signaling interest in enforcement) can be a factor in the number of complaints.


Legal Advocacy Fund at Work for Pay Equity in the Workplace

Nancy Mion, ESVB Public Policy Director

New LAF Case – It is always exciting to learn about a new LAF case. The most recently adopted one reflects how the gender pay gap can impact on a woman’s life long earnings.  The Legal Advocacy Fund provides individuals support as they fight for their rights. These are real people who need our financial and organizational help as their cases set precedents and draw attention to inequities.

You may want to share this case with your members. (You may receive info about this case from several other AAUW NYS sources too.) Here is a short summary you might want to use.

The most recent case adopted by the AAUW LAF is Rizo vs. Fresno County Office of Education. It vividly demonstrates the effect the gender pay gap has on women’s salaries. The plaintiff Aileen Rizo, a math consultant, learned that a male colleague, with less experience, was hired on the 9th of 10 steps, while she had been hired on the first step. When she filed a complaint she was told that starting salaries were based solely on the employee’s previous wages. Since women are generally paid les then men, this practice perpetuates the wage gap. Rizo eventually filed suit under the Equal Pay Act and California sex status discrimination statutes

Want to know more about this case? Check out http://aauw-nys.org/laf_casesupport.htm

The Deadline for National AAUW Receiving Your Branchs 2015 Contributions to LAF is December 31. Individual donors often give their donations in December. Please encourage your members to support LAF with their personal contributions to this important AAUW Program. Do ask them to give you the money now before the end of the year deadline.

AAUW-NYS Convention

Do you have concerns about handling your finances and college loans after college?


APRIL 16, 2016 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM

 The American Association of University Women New York State Board is pleased to announce and welcomes ALL College and University students to join us for a day of learning and inspiration!

Come and hear great speakers including our keynote speaker, Dean Nada Marie Anid, Professor and Dean of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. Her expertise includes Industry-academic partnerships; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Emerging Technologies; Sustainability; Global Engineering Education and STEM K-12 Outreach.

Dean Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D., is the first female dean of NYIT’s School of Engineering and Computing Sciences (SoECS). In this role, she oversees 77 engineering and computing sciences faculty members and approximately 1,700 graduate and undergraduate students at campuses located in Manhattan and Old Westbury, N.Y., the Middle East, and China.

To pre-register for this educational and fun event, email Maria Ellis, AAUW NYS College & University Director at mellis@fsacap.com or for more information call 973-216-4181.


Do you have concerns about handling your finances and college loans after college?
This student conference includes a workshop with financial counselors.