Tag Archives: Scholarship

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 kjl409@nyu.edu
Also, watch a movie about Syrian refugees resettled to New Jersey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY4mI12OMjE

A New Mentoring Program for Middle and H.S. Girls!

A New Mentoring Program for Middle and H.S. Girls!

We are pleased to announce a new Empire State Virtual Branch Leadership program for middle and high school girls as part of the New York State Project, Leadership: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.  Leadership, character development, feminism, advocacy and philanthropy are all essential parts of this project. We are calling this piece of the project, “Standing Tall with Eleanor and Michelle.”  This project is being funded by the Empire State Virtual Branch and a $500 grant for AAUW NYS.

Three on site visits of 90 minutes are planned with our coalition partners – Kechie’s Project Outreach Schools Bronx NY, YWCA of Yonkers and Mary J Blige Center in Yonkers. Varied formats are being developed to accommodate school and vacation schedules as well ages of our participants. This project come out of Phase 3 of the NY/NJ AAUW WILD Project this summer.

Here are the topics we are planning to develop through this program:

  • Discover your favorite Eleanor quote?
    Find a favorite quote from Michelle Obama that speaks to you.
    What leadership characteristics (virtues) do they share?
  • Explore their pet projects
  • Discuss First Lady “Firsts”
  • Compare/Contrast these first ladies
  • Just the Facts – biographical information
  • Focus on feminism – was ER a feminist? Michelle?
  • How did each first lady support women and girls?
  • Eleanor’s crowning achievement was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why was this so important for her?
  • What do you think Michelle Obama’s greatest achievement is so far? What might she do in the future?
  • Investigate “Let Girls Learn” Why is this initiative so important?
  • In 2012, the United Nations created two new celebrations – International Day of the Girl (October 11th) and International Day of Happiness (March 20th). How do these new celebrations connect to these two first ladies?
  • How did each first lady advocate for? What is an advocate? How does one advocate?
  • Where they philanthropists? What is the classic definition of a philanthropist? What is the new meaning of this word?
  • What has/had heart and meaning for these two extraordinary women? What has heart and meaning for you?
  • Do you consider Eleanor and/or Michelle a role model?
  • Reflect on all the individuals you do consider role models.  List them.
  • What has surprised you in this study? What has inspired you?
  • What has challenged you? What has touched your heart?

“Girls on the Go” is a great way to introduce young women and girls to AAUW as well as for the Empire State Virtual Branch to work with new coalition partners.  Public transportation plus entry fees will be covered for girls and their teachers for events held in the NY metropolitan area.  Here are the events we will encourage these girls to attend:

  • AAUW NYS District V Conference in NYC on October 3rd, 2015 at New York Institute of Technology, “Focus on Feminism: Near & Far, Past & Present”
  • CTAUN Conference at the United Nations on January 22nd, 2016. This year’s theme is : Stewardship for a Sustainable World: Education in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • United Nations Annual Report on Happiness in celebration of International Day of Happiness on March 20th
  • Attendance at parallel events for Committee on the Status of Women during the first two weeks in March
  • Explore Your Opportunities Conference hosted by Westchester American Association of University Women and Empire State Virtual Branch at College of Mt. St. Vincent on April 16th, 2016

Participants would be asked to share their learning with their classmates or write an article for the our newsletter, The ESVB Times.  A suggested format for both the discussion and article could be: What surprised you at this event? What inspired you? What challenged you?  What touched your heart?

If you would like to join the Girls on the Go Committee, please email Joan Monk at ftmaven@gmail.com.

Listening to Her Heartbeat             Learning How Our Brain Works

Creating Blizzard in a Bottle           Observing Flowers

Robots Playing Ultrasonic Cricket!      Hands on Cosmetics Chemistry

Empire State Virtual Branch New Member

Juliet Tarantino, Empire State Virtual Branch New Member

We are delighted to welcome, Juliet Tarantino, newest primary member of the Empire State Virtual Branch! During fiscal year 2015-2016.”

Juliet Tarantino joins the AAUW with international experience in education and academic training in anthropology (MA in Anthropology for The New School for Social Research). While an undergraduate student at the University of New Hampshire (Dual BA in Anthropology in International Affairs), she organized and led a week-long social justice awareness trip of twelve students to Nicaragua, where trip participants learned about the work of local grassroots organizations and facilitated classroom art activities. Her thesis, based on original research she conducted in Ecuador, examined the entanglement of Ecuadorian Otavaleño’s rejection of tradition alongside their utilization of distinctive traditional dress to bolster their sales of artisan-made items. After graduating from college, Juliet was selected by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education for the position of North American Culture and Language Assistant and taught English in Madrid.

Back in the U.S. and determined to maintain the level of Spanish fluency she had gained in Madrid, Juliet took on the role of Bilingual Intake Coordinator at an immigrant legal services and refugee resettlement agency in Chicago. There, she compiled a series of client stories expressing how their lives had changed after gaining residency in the U.S. She also worked as an independent translator, translating personal statements in support of VAWA cases. Inspired to engage more critically with issues of social justice, Juliet gained her master’s degree in New York City, and began teaching academic research writing to college-bound seniors from underserved high schools. She also coordinates low-cost Spanish classes in her Brooklyn neighborhood as a means of building community. She is interested in immigrant and refugee issues, scholastic achievement gaps, and using research and education to teach social justice.

Title IX

What is title IX?


Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination in education. It covers women and men, girls and boys, and staff and students in any educational institution or program that receives federal funds. This includes local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, career and technical education agencies, libraries, and museums. Music classes or choirs, sex education classes, and sports involving bodily contact are exempt from Title IX, as are religious institutions if the law would violate their religious tenets. Admissions policies at private undergraduate institutions are also exempt.

Did you know that Title IX requires recipients of federal education funding to evaluate their current policies and practices, adopt and publish a policy against sex discrimination, and implement grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee discrimination complaints? All schools must publicly appoint at least one employee to coordinate Title IX compliance.

Title IX affects all areas of education, including:

  • recruitment, admissions and housing;
  • career and technical education;
  • pregnant, parenting, and/or married students;
  • science, technology, engineering, and math education;
  • sexual harassment and assault;
  • comparable facilities and access to course offerings;
  • financial assistance;
  • student health services and insurance benefits;
  • harassment based on gender identity; and
  • athletics.

For more information about Title IX, email connect@AAUW.org.

Empire State Virtual Branch NCCWSL 2014 Scholarship Winners!

The Empire State Virtual Branch is proud to announce the two winners of
NCCWSL 2014 Scholarship Award of $500 each!

Come and join us at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), the nation’s premier conference for college women, on June  5-7, 2014
at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

NCCWSL Scholarship Winners Revised 5-3-14Dr. Rani, Maria Ellis, Kimberly Picone, Katherine Moreira & Savi Alex

The Empire State Virtual Branch has awarded a scholarship to Katherine Moreira and Kimberly Picone, senior students at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, New York. Katherine & Kimberly along with their mentors, Dr. C.S. Rani and Maria Ellis will attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), the nation’s premier conference for college women, on June 5-7, 2014 at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. The NCCWSL is a transformative experience that teaches our mentees how to get the most from their college experience. It’s a fast-paced, two-and-a-half day event that addresses the needs of current and aspiring women student leaders. At the conference, our mentees, Kimberly & Katherine will choose from over 50 workshops that offer women preparation for professional careers following college; introduce them to incredible role models including AAUW Women of Distinction. The NCCWSL features many interesting speakers including Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation. For more information about the CMSV Mentoring Program and/or NCCWSL, email Maria Ellis, AAUW NYS Membership VP at mellis@fsacap.com.

Empire State Virtual Branch NCCWSL 2013 Scholarship Winner!

Donya NasserThe Empire State Virtual Branch is proud to announce Donya Nasser
The winner of NCCWSL 2013 Scholarship
Award of $500!

Donya’s Winning Essay:
Women in the United States, and generally around the world, face the stereotype that has been built up against them over decades and centuries of sexism. It is this façade of feminine weakness and the inability to achieve the strength of men that woman must not only endure, but attempt to crumble and invalidate. Young women are born into this generalization of their gender, and even prior to their entrance into this world they are considered unequal to men, whether it is blatantly expressed or implied. We must fight against this male generated theory that women are weak and unable to think past their own “little universe” comprising of concerns pertaining only to their sex. As Ambassador Melanne Verveer gracefully put it, “women’s health translates into everyone’s health,” and of course First Lady Clinton’s revolutionary statement “women’s rights are human rights.”  I have had many experiences with this stereotype, most recently while working on President Obama’s re-election campaign. While canvassing one day in a Conservative area, I was met with a man who responded to my question, “Are you planning to support the President in the upcoming election?” with a brute and swift “No, and the only reason you will is because you are a crazy, lesbian feminist that wants to steal my tax money and use it for your birth control.” I can only imagine what he would have said if I asked him as a candidate campaigning for my own election.

It is important, no, imperative, to have more women in leadership in order to shatter this disfigured conception that has molded and proliferated over time. Women offer a perspective to the table that is unprecedented and insightful because of the experiences they gather as females, their natural intuition and nature, and their ability to endure and adapt. These qualities allow all positions to thrive and expand the boundaries of success and prosperity.

Women, particularly feminists, are not interested in surpassing men or sustaining an “anti-man” mentality; no, they instead would like to encourage a pro-women disposition so that we may attain equality between the genders. We need women in leadership for today and thus tomorrow, so that we can move toward this objective and provide our own with the achievements necessary to see their goals realized. For those girls that aspire to run for office and transform the country as elected officials, we need more female Representatives, Senators, Governors, and Presidents. For those young women who dream to climb up the rungs of the business world’s ladder, we need more female Board members and CEO’s. For those that hope to accomplish eminence in the world of academia, we need more women as authority figures in Universities, especially fulfilling the Presidency role. Currently, we comprise 18% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 20% of the Senate, about 3% of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 15% of Board seats, 23% of college presidencies, and according to AAUW’s director of research, Catherine Hill, almost twice as many male professors as female (64%) have tenure. In a world with nearly half of the population being women (the U.S. an exception with a higher percentage of women than men) it is ridiculous to consider that they do not hold nearly half of the leadership roles. Ignoring the skills and traits that they could contribute, women should hold more of these positions if considering the population alone.

My mother has empowered me since a small child competing with a boy for the safety guard duty in elementary school. I have been encouraged to do the same for the women that I encounter in my community, and have done so through inspiring and remaining active. I was recently appointed President of the Political Science Honor Society, elected Vice President of my school’s College Democrats, and am now starting my campaign for Vice President of College Democrats of New York. However, I have tried to point to the importance of women in leadership roles by taking initiative and beginning the process of establishing an AAUW chapter on my campus. St. John’s University is a Catholic institution, and not the best example of women soaring to new heights and testing their limits. I think establishing a branch is paramount to influencing the common outlooks on campus and shifting that state to one of equality and progress for our sex. It will raise awareness of the current situation to all those that are not conscious of the gender gaps that exist. It will encourage students to change their footprint in history, and take action for the feminist cause. Mostly, it will be a place for young women to discuss their issues, share ideas, and harvest solutions that will provide success they can directly see.

 My father’s dream for me has resonated throughout this past year that I have not had the pleasure of his presence. Precisely one year ago, he helped me realize women run this world, and deserve to come out of the shadows and warm in the recognition that is due to them. For all of these reasons and many more, we need more women in the leadership of today and tomorrow.

Empire Fundraising for NCCWSL Scholarships

Are you familiar with NCCWSL, fondly known as Nic-Whistle?  NCCWSL is the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. Well, Empire is raising funds to send college students to the NCCWSL conference next spring. We’ve had two major gifts of $500 each already. Thank you, Dr. Rani and Empire president Maria Ellis.

To learn more about NCCWSL you can visit the website.  http://www.nccwsl.org/

The Empire State Virtual Branch will donate two $500 awards to two college students to attend the AAUW NCCWSL at the University of Maryland, College Park from May 30, 2013 to June 1st,  2013.

Who will get the scholarships?

The two students who write the best 500 word essays stating why “Leadership for Today and Tomorrow is important” will win the $500 award each.

We will start the contest in February 15, 2013 and end of March 30, 2013.  The awards will be given at the NYS AAUW-NYS Convention in High Peaks Resort, Lake Placid on April 26-28, 2013.

Would you like to help with the contest?

Will you donate to the scholarship fund? You can use the donate button at the bottom of the About or Membership tabs.

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