Category Archives: Fellowships

Meet AAUW NYC Fellow!

Karolina Lukasiewicz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University (NYU) and adjunct lecturer at Silver School of Social Work, NYU. Her research is focused on welfare programs addressed to refugees and asylees in the United States. She is also a principal investigator in two projects focused on immigrant communities in NYC.  She has been studying the situation of immigrants and refugees for over twelve years. She received ten various international fellowships and awards for her work with immigrant communities. Her articles have appeared in journals such as International Migration and Journal of Family Issues. Additionally to her academic engagement, Karolina is involved in several clinical initiatives as evaluator and employment trainer in organizations assisting refugees. She is a member of different professional organizations, including Influencing Social Policy and International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. Karolina received her doctoral degree in at the Jagiellonian University in Poland in the Center for Evaluation and Analysis of Public Policies.

Karolina Lukasiewicz
The McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
New York University

• Federally funded programs provided by often faith-based organizations (so called VOLAGS)

Refugee Act of 1980, Based on 1951
Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 New York protocol
In 2016 FY: 84,995 refugees resettled to the U.S. and 25,154 were granted asylum
A person fearing of being persecuted for reasons of: race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion
A person is an “asylum seeker” until granted “refugee status”
Asylum – protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international definition of a “refugee.”
A refugee has a right to be protected against forcible return
Eligibility for refugee status is determined outside the U.S. among applicants referred by UNHCR, successful applicants are resettled to the US.


Temporary Protected Status (In 2016 FY, 300,000 individuals had TPS),

  • 13 countries eligible: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen
  • Granted for 6-12 months to those migrants who may not meet the legal definition of refugee but arefleeing—orreluctantto returnto—potentially dangeroussituations.
    Holders of Special Immigrant Visas (In 2016FY:6,336Afghansand890Iraqis)

REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT (implemented through the U.S. REFUGEE

  • U.S. has the largest resettlement program worldwide: accepts the largest number of resettled refugees in the world (in general numbers)
  • Refugees constitute less then 10% of immigration to the U.S.
  • More than 3million have arrived in the U.S. since the Refugee Actof1980 ü
  • Between 1983 and 2004, refugees were mostly resettled to large metropolitan areas: in California (Los Angeles, Orange County, San Jose, Sacramento), the MidAtlantic region (New York) and the Midwest (Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul)


  1. Democratic Republic of Congo(16,370) ; 2. Syria (12,587); 3. Burma (12,347) ; 4. Iraq (9,880) ; 5. Somalia (9,020)
    Top two sending countries between 2006-2016: 1. Burma (159,692) 2. Iraq (135,643).

1. Church World Service (CWS) 2. Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) 3. Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) 4. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) 5. International Rescue Committee (IRC) 6. US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) 7. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) 8. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)->Catholic Charities 9. World Relief Corporation (WR)

Organizations providing services to Immigrant Communities that you can support
1. Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights 2. New York Immigration Coalition 3. Immigrant Defense Project 4. Black Alliance for Just Immigration 5. Counsel on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) 6. Families for Freedom 7. Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights 8. New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC 9. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) 10. Southern Poverty Law Center

Economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. (The Refugee Act of 1980 INA §411.1.):
“earning a total family income at a level that enables a family unit to support itself without receipt of a cash assistance grant.” (DHHS, Code of Federal Regulations -Title 45: Public Welfare, December 2005).

Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
01/27/2017 (1) suspended entry from 7 Muslim countries, (2) extreme vetting, (3) pausing refugee resettlement • Several court rulings enjoined various parts of this executive order 03/06/2017 (1) suspended entry from 6 Muslim countries (2) extreme vetting, (3) pausing refugee resettlement • on June 26th the Supreme Court decided in favour of some aspects of Trump’s executive orders • On June 30th The U.S. Department of State published guidance regarding the admission of refugees: only those refugees who already have close relatives in the U.S. are allowed to enter the U.S. 10/24/2017 Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities
EXECUTIVE ORDERS Enhancing public safety in the Interior of the United States
01/25/2017: Executive order 13768 (1) Removal priorities: broadens categories of non citizens prioritized for removal (2) State/local cooperation in immigration enforcement (3) Sanctuary jurisdictions: federal funds to be withheld from jurisdictions that prohibit exchanging information with DHS regarding immigration status of any individual (4) Hiring 10,00 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers (5) Reporting on immigration status from prisons Developments: 32.6% increase in arrests of removable citizens (between January and March 2017 compared to 2016 ); doubled arrests of individuals without criminal records; Attorney General sends letters to sanctuary cities asking to provide evidence for comply with these orders (Including NYC, LA, Chicago) ; NYC declares to limit cooperation with ICE (e.g. IDNYC)
ASSISTANCE FOR REFUGES JEOPARDIZED 2016 FY: • A rate of 270 refugees a day • 85,994 refugees planned to be resettled 2017: • A rate of 122 refugees a day • 50,000 refugees planned and less than that planned for 2016
Federal budget cuts, as a result resettlement agencies are reducing their staff in the US and worldwide, welfare programs suspended for some period of time
• What is the impact of suspending refugee resettlement for 24 hours? • Imagine three types of security screenings lasting up to 3 years, each valid for around 90 days, different for every family member • During this 24 hour period hundreds of families had to start the screening process from the beginning • What is the impact of the suspension of social programs, e.g. Matching Grant (MG)? • Eligibility to participate in MG only up to 30 days upon arrival • Most of NYC VOLAGs suspended enrolling to MG for a couple of months • Thousands of refugees and asylees irreversibly lost their chance to participate in the program and are left unassisted
• With your local community and local refugee resettling agency sponsor resettlement of a refugee family • Volunteer in a refugee resettlement agency: • Help with English language conversations (e.g. 1on1)–often provided by retired volunteers • Help with case work: welcome arriving refugees, prepare a house and welcome meal for them, assist at doctors appointments, sign up children to school • Organize a trip as part of cultural orientation • Organize celebrations (e.g. welcoming Thanksgiving for refugee community) • Join community gardening (IRC) • Help at Youth Academies
Do you have questions about assistance for refugees? Do you want to assist refugees and don’t know how to start?
Write to me! Karolina Lukasiewicz
Also, watch a movie about Syrian refugees resettled to New Jersey:

Does AAUW provide International Project Grants? 

Yes, AAUW grants International Fellowships which are intended to provide fellows with the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills that will directly benefit their home countries.

To support the continuation of fellows’ work after they return home, AAUW awards a limited number of International Project Grants to International Fellows who have successfully completed the course of study for which they received an AAUW International Fellowship.

The grants support community-based projects that benefit women and girls in the fellow’s home country. The applications start from August 1 to January 15. See below our 2017-2018 Fellowships and Grants Awardees.

Alumnae of our International Fellowships and International Project Grants have tackled women’s equality issues in their communities head-on. From securing property rights for widows to building safe hearths for cassava production, these women are helping the most vulnerable — and the most resilient — members of their communities.

Meet Our Alumnae: International Project Grants

Melita Vaz: Project: Enhancing Aspirations toward STEM Subjects in School Girls in M Ward, Mumbai, India

Melita Vaz (2016-17) used her grant to increase opportunities for school girls in underprivileged communities in Mumbai, India to learn about opportunities in STEM fields and, in turn, develop their resilience, mental health, and economic opportunities.

Dr. Vaz used her 2002-03 International Fellowship to earn a doctoral degree in social work. Passionate about helping underprivileged women and girls overcome challenges through developing systemic support systems, Dr. Vaz has applied her research skills and her vision to organizations such as the Tata Institute of Social Services, the Population Council, and the Government of India.

Mary Dzansi-McPalm: Project: Women Cooperatives in Cassava Business, Saviefe Agorkpo, Ghana

Mary Priscilla Dzansi-McPalm (2012-13) helped women and girls in Ghana improve their earning and safety by helping them develop the skills and technology needed to more safely and efficiently process and market cassava. Dr. Dzansi-McPalm is dean at the School of Creative Arts at the University of Education in Winneba, Ghana. She was a 2001-02 International Fellow.

Diedie Weng: Project: Yongji Organic Farmer Video Network Training Program, China
Diedie Weng (2011-12) trained women farmers in participatory video production to engage farmers in documenting and discussing local techniques and challenges in organic agriculture in northern China. Since completing her grant, Weng has gone on to producing films, including “The Beekeeper and his Son,” her first feature documentary, which premiered at the 2016 DOC NYC film festival. Weng was a 2005-06 International Fellow.

Meet AAUW NYC Fellows

Crystal Chen received her doctorate in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in May 2017, where her research examined the intersections of literacy, teacher education, and urban and multicultural education. Her dissertation is entitled Critical Literacy as Common Ground: The Possibilities of African Immigrant Girls in New York City Public Schools and Community-Based Organizations. Crystal began her teaching career as a high school English teacher in New Jersey. In August 2017, she will be an assistant professor of English Education at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.


Sierra Clouse is a wife, mother, Anti-Human Trafficking Activist, and IT Project Manager. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy at Columbia University. She’s passionate about bringing together the power of people and technology to shift the way we pursue success, community transformation, and social justice in the 21st century.


Gemma Mangione is a Lecturer in the Arts Administration program at Columbia University and a Consulting Analyst with Randi Korn & Associates. She hold undergraduate degrees in journalism and art history and a M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University.Her work connects practices illuminated through organizational ethnography with mechanisms of broader institutional and policy change. She principally interested in the cultural, moral, and political dynamics of legitimacy. To date, Gemma has explored this general theme by examining knowledge politics across humanities and health fields. Her current research compares programs for visitors with disabilities across art museums and botanical gardens and provides an ethnographic perspective on museums’ “health turn” as it gains traction in cultural policy. She has a sustained commitment to exploring how social scientific theory and evaluation practice can together help people make informed choices about the operations of cultural institutions and the values they contain.

Honoring the AAUW NYC Fellows at the Harvard Club!

The Empire State Virtual NY Branch in collaboration with AAUW NYS and AAUW National, hosted a very successful Dinner Recognition for our AAUW NYC Fellows at the Harvard Club in NYC on Thurs. March 16 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  This event was funded by the NYC Metro Funds. Thirty five friends joined us including AAUW NYC Fellows and AAUW leaders from AAUW NYS Board & District V Branches.

Meet AAUW NYC Fellows!

For over 15 years, Ronna Popkin has taught about and conducted research on women’s health and adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the United States. In her dissertation, Ronna examines the consequences of recent advancements in genetic testing technologies and how expanded screenings are shaping communication, beliefs, and decisions about genetic risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Her goal is to conduct policy relevant research on gender, sexuality, and health as a university professor.


Erin K. Maher is a recipient of the 2015-2016 AAUW American Fellowship. Erin is a Musicologist who specializes in twentieth-century concert-music culture in the United States and France, focusing on issues of exile and migration, national and religious identities, gender, and disability in the lives of musicians. She received her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed her dissertation, “Darius Milhaud in the United States, 1940–71: Transatlantic Constructions of Musical Identity,” as a 2015-2016 AAUW American Fellow. Erin has presented her research at local and national conferences–as well as at last year’s annual meeting for AAUW North Carolina–and her guide to scholarship on Milhaud is forthcoming in Oxford Bibliographies Online. She currently teaches at Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.


Charlotte Walker-Said is an American Fellow. Charlotte is Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Africana Studies at the City University of New York-John Jay College. She completed her PhD at Yale University and has taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and Webster University. Her research focuses on Christianity and law in Africa and their effects on women’s rights.  She works on gender and persecution in West Africa has led her to work with female asylum seekers and refugee populations seeking entrance to the United States and the United Kingdom.  Her book on the history of Christianity and Law will be published in 2018.

AAUW Fellows

Lamia Bazir
Lamia Bazir

Lamia Bazir is currently working for the cabinet of the head of the government of Morocco, on the development of the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Lamia was a fellow of the American Association of University Women, and a representative at the United Nations. Her experience includes political analysis for the Arab League, consultancy with Transparency International, and field research in Niger.

Prior to this, she earned a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University and a master’s in international development from Sciences Po Paris. She was also student valedictorian at Al Akhawayn University where she completed her undergraduate studies.

Most recently, Lamia won the United Nations’ Award for Volunteering attributed by the UN and MBC group for her social venture “Empowering Women in the Atlas”. She is also known for her inspirational speeches delivered at Al Akhawayn university, Stanford University, and the UN Youth Assembly.


Samantha Majic

Samantha Majic’s research lies in gender and American politics, with specific interests in sex work, civic engagement, institutionalism, and the nonprofit sector. She is the author of Sex Work Politics: From Protest to Service Provision(University of Pennsylvania Press, December 2013), and the co-editor (with Carisa Showden) of Negotiating Sex Work: Unintended Consequences of Policy and Activism (University of Minnesota Press, Spring 2014). Her research has also appeared/is forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics, Polity, New Political Science, The Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, and Gender and Society.A Fellow of the American Association of University Women, Dr. Majic is also a member of the Perspectives on Politics editorial board.


AAUW Fellowships – deadline January 10, 2013 for Selected Professions

AAUW American Association of University Women ...

AAUW American Association of University Women on Parade (Photo credit: skeggy)

The deadline for the “Selected Professions” fellowships offered by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is Jan 10, 2013.  These fellowships support women in degree programs in which women’s participation traditionally has been low. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

There are two types of special  fellowships. Check out the others types, too. Visit  the range of fellowships.

I.  Science & Technology Group Fellowships.

Applicants may apply for any year of study in one of the following master’s degree programs:

• Architecture (M.Arch)

• Computer/Information Sciences (M.S.)

• Engineering (M.E., M.S.)

• Mathematics/Statistics (M.S.)

II.  Focus Professions Group Fellowships.

These fellowships are open only to women from ethnic minority groups historically underrepresented in these fields.  Eligible groups include African Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics, Native Americans/Alaska Natives, and Asian American/Pacific Islanders.

• Business Administration (M.B.A.) – applicants may apply for 2nd year of study                 only.

• Law (J.D.) – applicants may apply for 3rd year of study only.

• Medicine (M.D.) – applicants may apply for 3rd or 4th year of study only.

Stipend: $5,000-$18,000.

Students apply directly to AAUW, and the deadline is January 10, 2013.  For application procedures and additional details, see the AAUW website.

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Meet Sara Shoener, Completing a Doctorate in Public Health

Sara Shoener

This month’s AAUW Fellow is Sara Shoener at the Columbia School of Public Health. She’ll be sharing her plans with us at the December Empire teleconference.

Sara is currently the Project Manager for a program funded through the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women called the Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors Initiative. They provide training and consultation to attorneys and advocates who work on behalf of survivors of domestic violence, particularly to enhance their consumer rights advocacy efforts.

For example, they just held training on credit repair and advocacy for survivors, and next month they will be hosting training on federal tax advocacy for survivors. This work stems from our goal to enhance women’s economic security in order to successfully seek safety for themselves and their families. They are also about to start working with the White House’s Equal Futures Partnership to expand women’s economic and political participation.Sara’s university (Columbia) had AAUW listed as a potential source of support for doctoral students working on their dissertation research.

Her first contact with AAUW was the submission of her dissertation fellowship application, and then Shana Sabbath emailing to notify her that she was selected.

You can read Sara’s profile and interview here.

Meet Allison Goldberg, AAUW Fellow at Columbia School of Public Health

Allison Goldberg

Join us at 7:15 on Tuesday, November 13 on our Empire Virtual Branch teleconference when we talk with Allison Goldberg about her research on why mothers around the world decide or don’t to vaccinate.

You can read more about Allison and her work here.

To participate in the teleconference, call 712-451-6000, access code: 223128#

Learn about AAUW Fellows Studying in NYS

Each year AAUW provides $4.3M grants and fellowships. One of our new virtual branch programs shares the  incredible stories of the women and the topics these AAUW Fellows are pursuing. Each month we’ll  interview two of them who work in NYS.

The first two fellows shared their work with members via teleconference on September 18. The first summary has been posted. The second will follow.

AAUW Fellow Amina Tawasil

AAUW Fellow Amina Tawasil

Amina Tawasill, a PhD candidate at Columbia University, shared her work studying women pursuing seminary work in Iran. For 15 months, Amina lived in Tehran, Iran and spent time studying women from two kinds of seminaries.

Amina says the AAUW fellowship has made it possible for her to work on her dissertation full time. She has just finished her first draft and expects to complete her work and begin pursuing post-doctoral work this year.

Read her interview here.

You can keep track of the fellows we  interviews on this page.

Members are welcome to join the interviews and we will post future recordings so you can listen if the schedule doesn’t fit your personal schedule. After all, that’s the benefit of a virtual branch!


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