Member News

For more “Member News”, please consult our newsletter, THE ADVOCATE.

“Welcome” to two new members:  Suzanne Auckerman and Diane Banks.  Diane has recently re-joined our Branch.

Deb Fitzgerald is running for Harrisonburg School Board.

Mary McMurray recently received a certificate from National informing her that she is now an “Honorary Life Member”, having been a member of AAUW for 50 years!  Congratulations, Mary!  Our other Honorary Life Members are Terry Showalter and Maggie Sparks.

Michele Hensley is teaching a course on Genealogy for the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) at James Madison University.  Another talented member, Jennifer Cottrell, is teaching “Beginning Zentangle” in the Fall session…she is also a very popular yoga teacher.

Please welcome new member, Harriett “Mikey” Hayes, who is actually a returning member.  Mikey recently sold her house in Bridgewater and has moved into the Bridgewater Retirement Community.  She looks forward to getting back involved in book club.

Rosemarie Palmer was invited to serve on the Advisory Board of the Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project.

We made $425 on our Yard Sale on June 4, 2016!  Thanks to all who helped and donated their cash, items, and time…especially Sue Gier who organized the whole thing, stored the items, and hauled them in her company truck.  Anything leftover was donated to the Gift and Thrift Store.

Kristin Wylie had her baby girl on May 20.  She named her Lucy Mae Watkins.  Kristin will have the Fall Semester off at JMU to adjust to motherhood.

We have a total of 55 members as of May 2016.

Sylvia Rogers, Darlene Baugh, and Rosemarie Palmer attended the State Convention at the Hyatt Regency Dulles Hotel on April 15-17, 2016.  (See photos on our Facebook page).  Our Branch submitted a gift basket prepared by Jan Leach for the gift basket raffle to fund LAF.  We also placed an ad in the program to congratulate the Winchester Branch on their 85th anniversary.

This year our Branch donated $325 to the Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) to help pay for legal assistance in cases of gender inequity and other issues requiring legal aid for our members.  This sum was collected at our gift basket silent auction at our Holiday Tea in early December.  We also donated $500, our annual contribution, to the general “AAUW Fund” where it is most needed.

As of December 2015, we have 51 members in our Branch.

Saturday Morning Physics” is open to high school students, parents, and teachers.  It is a non-credit series of teaching demonstrations offered free of charge at JMU from January through March at 9am to 12noon in the Physics Department in Miller Hall.  Registration is required.  Google “Saturday Morning Physics at JMU” for details.

Our Branch purchased a book in memory of former member, Mary Jo Pribble, who passed away in 2015.  We donated the book to the Massanutten Regional Library.  The title is Headstrong:  52 Women Who Changed Science and the World by Rachel Swaby.  At one time, Mary Jo was the State President of North Carolina AAUW.  Her professional career was as a college Chemistry Professor.

Kristin Wylie at JMU announces an annual symposium hosted by the School of Public & International Affairs at JMU.  This year the focus is Sexual Violence:  Community, National, and Global Dimensions.  On Monday, November 16 at 6:30pm a film will be shown in Grafton-Stoval Theater, entitled “Sex+Money:  A National Search for Human Worth”  A panel discussion will follow at 8-9pm.  The public is invited to attend.  Our branch is a co-sponsor.

Please “welcome” the following NEW members:  Jude McLaughlin, Meg Dutnell, Michele Hensley, Nancy Martin-Finks, Sandra Stroud, and Margaret “Maggie” Sparks!  We now have 51 members in our Harrisonburg Branch!

Members who have recently renewed are:  Besi Muhonja and Carmenza Kline.

Maryjane Chewning’s phone number is wrong in the Yearbook.  Please change it to 828-2750.

Our Branch President, Sylvia Rogers, attended the National AAUW Convention in San Diego on June 18-21, 2015.  A report has been submitted to the “Club Notes” section of the Daily News-Record.

Margee Greenfield just announced her engagement to Eddie Ney.  We send our “Best Wishes” to you, Margee!  Margee is currently back at her summer job as Director of the Governor’s School in Newport News.

Lucy Hoyt (soprano) is now teaching at JMU and Bridgewater College.  She and Eric Ruple will be performing in the concert series at Bridgewater College in the Carter Center on September 15 at 7:30PM.

Ella Pascale is moving to Park Gables in the VMRC community.  Her new address is 410 Park Gables, 1491 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22802

Lauree Purcell is the editorial consultant and writer for Valley Living Magazine.  Her May 27 issue “Feature” was about Eric Brubaker and his family.  Eric plays fiddle with the popular local band, Steel Wheels.  Lauree also writes the “Shenandoah Spotlight” column, which was about Josh Sundquist, a local motivational speaker and author.

Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell is the new Co-Chair of our Program Committee, replacing Tina Updike.  Tina will continue on the Board as Hospitality Chair.

President Sylvia Rogers presented our “AAUW Unsung Heroine Scholarship” to Laurie Anne Serrell on Honors Day in May 2015.  Laurie is a graduate of Harrisonburg High School and will be attending Eastern Mennonite University in the fall.  Her goal is to become a midwife.  Our Branch Scholarship is $1,000 to commemorate our past president Crystal Theodore.

Sue Gier was announced as our “2015 Honoree” at our annual brunch on March 21 at Bridgewater Retirement Community’s Maple Terrace.  She was presented with a white orchid plant.  Sue has made many contributions to our Branch, such as serving as Finance Officer, Editor of our newsletter “The Inside Track”, and organizing book sales for our fund-raisers.  23 members and their guests attended.

Volunteers are needed for the “Expanding Your Horizons” Girls STEM Conference at JMU’s Memorial Hall on Saturday, March 21.   Mary Perramond, Rosemarie Palmer, and Susan Wheaton were volunteers for this successful event.  190 girls attended.

Volunteers are also needed at the State AAUW Conference in Charlottesville on Saturday, April 18 — volunteers get a discounted registration fee.  See Sylvia Rogers.  Volunteers from our Branch were Lynn Martin, Marty Brown, Tina Updike, Rosemarie Palmer, Diane Banks, Sylvia RogersDarlene Baugh, and Susan WheatonJan Leach did the flowers and table decorations.  This conference was organized by the NW District Branches of Harrisonburg, Winchester, and UVA-Charlottesville, plus West Virginia.  Sylvia Rogers was the Conference Chair.

“Welcome back”, new member Betsy Caudill, who is now living in Madison, VA

On Thursday, February 11, 2014, Cathy Strickler did a presentation on “Climate Change” for the Leaveners Womens Group at the North River Library in Bridgewater, VA.  She reviewed her favorite books on the subject, showed a timely video, and conducted a discussion.  For more information, google “Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV)” for the website and Facebook page.

Heather Banks, writer/editor, will present a roundtable on References:  Problems, Solutions, and Tricks of the Trade, at the American Medical Writers Association–Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference on Friday, March 13, at the Marriott Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD.  In addition to her own graduate work in four fields, she has worked on others’ reference lists for two decades at the Smithsonian, NIH, nonprofit associations, and government contractors and five years as a science journal copyeditor.

Sylvia Rogers, Jean Leroy, Mary Perramond, and Rosemarie Palmer volunteered to help with the “Women in Leadership Conference” held at JMU on January 31, 2015.  Our Branch was also one of the sponsors for this very impressive and worthwhile event, which was to inform college women of future careers offered by professional women in a variety of fields.

A book has been purchased in memory of our dear friend and longtime member, Jeanne Ruff.   Jeanne passed away in October 2014.  Since Jeanne had a collection of Southwestern Jewelry that we all admired, we selected the book Hopi Gold, Hopi Silver, 12 Contemporary Jewelers by Zena Pearlstone.  It can be checked out at the Massanutten Regional Library, or any of its branch libraries.

Welcome to our newest member, Sarah Albrecht, who joined in January!  She has an M.A. in Psychology and lives in Harrisonburg near Lake Shenandoah.  Thanks to Sylvia Rogers for introducing her to our Branch.  We were happy to meet her in person at our last program.

In the January 10th issue of the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, Mary Perramond’s Letter to the Editor appeared, urging citizens to combat human trafficking by signing the petition on our Branch website.

Chris Edward’s Letter to the Editor was published in The Washington Post, reacting to the end of the TV program, “Bill Moyers Journal”.

Chris Edwards has shared a link to her  article about a summer 2016 trip to the Shaw Festival in Ontario. As of January 9, 2017, it has just gone up on TravelMag, a UK-based blog that has articles from every continent:

We support Linda Dove’s stance in her Letter to the Editor of the Daily News-Record on January 6, regarding alternatives to building a new jail in Harrisonburg.

Congrats to Margee Greenfield for her publication recently aired on WMRA (, our local PBS radio station:  “Applying for College?  You may need something special.”

From January through March 15, national and state dues are half-price for new members ($24.50 instead of $49 national).  Time to think about inviting a friend!

Kim Shipe will no longer be able to serve as our Hospitality Chair.  We thank her for her years of service, providing refreshments at our Programs.

Mary McMurray’s husband Bill passed away on December 30.  He was Professor Emeritus In the English Department at James Madison University.  At his request, there will be no service.

WELCOME to our newest member, Kristin Wylie!  Kristin is a faculty member at JMU in Political Science.  She comes to us from the Austin, Texas branch.  She has a PhD in Government and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas.  Kristin also received a B.A. in Political Science from LSU Baton Rouge.  She lives in Harrisonburg.  Her email is

Updates for contacts:   Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell moved to 486 Myers Avenue, Harrisonburg.  Marilyn Brook prefers her landline phone # 434-1064.  Lauree Purcell is using her cell phone exclusively now #540-246-2283.

Our first book club meeting will be at Pem’s house, on Thursday, September 25 at 2pm.  Come with your suggestions of books to read during the upcoming year.

Please see our brand NEW branch Facebook page for updates and ‘news’.  Do a search for “AAUW Harrisonburg“.  Contributions, concerns, or inquiries can be posted.

An enthusiastic welcome to three more new members:  Diane BanksMaryjane Chewning (MJ), and Deb Fitzgerald!   Deb has already been involved as a presenter for GOTV at our NW District Meeting held on September 20, 2014 in Duke Hall.  She has offered to help us in our next project:  get us trained to assist residents of Rockingham County to get a Voter ID before the October 14 deadline.  Diane and MJ joined at our Wine Reception in August.  Diane is from Staunton, recently retired from JMU, and has an MFA from Syracuse University.  MJ is from Bridgewater and has a degree in Special Education from Radford University.  Please add them to your Yearbook.  You will find their contact information in the private “Members Only” section of this website.

AAUW of Virginia Vision. the State Newsletter, is issued 3x/year:  Fall, Winter/Spring, and Summer.  Beginning with the Fall 2014 issue, the Vision will be emailed to all those members who are online.  The Vision will be automatically postal-mailed to those members who do not have an email address registered with AAUW on the Members Services Database (MSD).  If you prefer to receive a paper copy, please fill out and submit the online form at

Our warmest welcome to newest member, Darlene M. Baugh, who has transferred from the Twin Lakes Branch in Calhoun County, Iowa.  She lives in McGaheysville with her husband Dennis, and has a B. A. in Music Education.  We look forward to meeting you at one of our events soon, Darlene!

Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell is teaching “Zentangle” for the Rockingham County Recreation Department.  It’s a free-form art form; no experience necessary.

The July 16-22, 2014 issue of the North Fork Journal contained an article by Katie King about our scholarship winner, Brittney Delawder.  It was entitled “Broadway High School Grad Wins AAUW Award”.

Two of our members wrote “Letters to the Editor” in the Daily News-Record.  On July 15, Cathy Strickler wrote about “A Safe Path to Energy Future”, a proposal for Dominion Power to change to clean fuel sources.  In the July 18 issue, Chris Edward’s letter pointed out flaws in Virginia’s new law requiring training for voter-registration volunteers.

Another SAVE THE DATE!  Our Branch is hosting the annual Northwest District Meeting on Saturday, September 20 from 10am to 3pm.  Location:  Duke Hall at JMU.  Lunch and presentation by our State Co-President, Sandra Lawrence.  Karen Gerard will lead us on a tour of the newly renovated building.  Invitations will be forthcoming.

SAVE THE DATE!  “Kick-Off” Reception on Saturday, 4pm to 6pm, August 29th – at the home of Susan Wheaton.  For all members to bring their friends and prospective new members.  Newcomers welcome!

Another new member:  Debra Fitzgerald!  Deb is a familiar presence and voice in local and state politics.  She has an MBA in Business from Eastern Mennonite University, and has taught Economics courses at JMU, BRCC, and also for the Lifelong Learning Institute.  Welcome, Deb!  We look forward to your participation in our Branch events and activities.

New author, Heather Banks, recently published a volume of poetry entitled Split-Rail Fence.

Welcome back, Leslie Purtlebaugh, our most recent new member!  Leslie served two terms as our co-President from 2008 to 2011.  She was also our named gift honoree in 2012.  Leslie has a B.A. and an M.A. in History from JMU, and is currently Director of Academic Services at JMU in Sheldon Hall.

On June 6, 2014, some of our members volunteered to answer the phones at the NPR/WMRA fund-raiser from 6am to 9am.  Those who served were Margee Greenfield and Marty Brown.

Dr. Margee Greenfield is Director of the NASA/VIMS Governors School at Christopher Newport University again this summer.  12 of her students have research mentorships at NASA and 6 will be at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.   Please note Margee’s new address is 1414 Founders Way, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.

A member of the Archeological Society of Virginia Massanutten Chapter, Rosemarie Palmer, had two articles published in Spring 2014 issues of the Massanutten Chapter Newsletter, “Points”.  They were reports of some of the ancient civilizations she learned about on a trip to Turkey in the Fall of 2013:  “Turkey is for Archealogists” and “Karatepe Held the Secret”.  She also enjoys volunteering at the Court Square Theater, participating in the Blue Ridge Mountain Dulcimer Players Club, and serving as head docent at the 1840s Cromer-Trumbo House.

The Spring 2014 issue of Bloom, Celebrating Valley Women, included an article by Candace Sipos, entitled “Sorry George—Investment Club is Ladies-Only”.  Pem Liskey was one of four local women who started the investment club ENRICH 16 years ago, in October 1997.  The club meets monthly and is still going strong.

On June 11, 2014, 9-11am, Alysia Davis gave a free seminar, “Women and Wealth”, focusing on women’s financial success, at Detweiler Auditorium, 1501 Virginia Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA.  The event was sponsored by the VMRC Foundation and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.  Alysia is a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley.

At our annual potluck meeting on May 5, 2014, Chris Edwards was announced as our “Named Gift Honoree” for the year 2014.  A donation from the Branch will be given in her name to the AAUW National Education Fund.  Chris joined our Branch in 2007 and has since served on the Board, first as Secretary and then as President in 2010-2012.  Chris continues her writing career in retirement as a free lance writer.

Mary Ludwick was the featured “Artist of the Month” in April 2014 at the Gallery in Maple Terrace at Bridgewater Retirement Community.  Thirty-four pieces of a variety of her artwork were on display.  Mary did not have an art lesson until she moved to Seattle in 1960, where she learned oil painting and pastel work in a neighborhood art group.  Upon moving to Tokyo, Japan with her husband in 1963, she and other GAO (General Accounting Office) wives formed an art class taught by Shin Nakamura who introduced her to charcoal drawing as well as oil painting.  Two years later, while living in Hawaii, Mary was the student of Vienna-born Franz Griessler, in a portrait class.  Further classes taken were Japanese brush painting in Frankfurt, Germany and Chinese brush painting in Hawaii.  Her pen and ink and pencil drawings of animals were inspired by trips to Alaska and their farm in West Virginia.

Pem Liskey reports that her youngest daughter, Lesin Dippold, is a member of the Richmond Branch of AAUW.   She has enjoyed a wine tasting evening with them, as well as their book group, Bridge evenings, and their regular meetings.  Lesin is employed by the State Board of Education.   She is a third generation AAUW member, since her maternal grandmother also was an AAUW member in Los Angeles.

2014 is our 85th anniversary year!  Our Harrisonburg Branch was founded in 1929, in Alumnae Hall on the campus of what was the precursor of James Madison University.  Virginia Harnsberger, the college librarian, was our first President in 1929-31.  National AAUW sent an acknowledgement to our Branch, recognizing our 85th anniversary.

We are fortunate to have as our newest member, Dr. Brillian Besi Muhonja, who joined our branch at our March 29 Brunch Meeting, just after delivering her presentation on “A Kenyan Perspective on Women’s Issues.”  A native of Kenya, Brillian was the recipient of an AAUW International Fellowship that enabled her to earn her PhD in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at Binghamton University In New York in 2008.  She expresses her gratitude by becoming an official member of AAUW.  Employed as an Assistant Professor at JMU in the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Dr. Muhonja’s research, publication and teaching areas include Gender Studies/Feminist Theory, African and African American Feminisms, Indigenous and Contemporary Kenyan Cultures and Language.  She also has a Masters degree in Theater and is curator and editor of the Kiswahili Story Database, which publishes four issues annually.

CHANGE OF ADDRESS (permanent):  Honorary Life Member, Terry Showalter, has moved to Crestwood at VMRC.  Her new address is 1401 Virginia Avenue, Room 116, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.  Phone 540-564-3780.

A warm welcome to another new member, Alysia M. Davis.  You may have met Alysia at our Holiday Tea in December.  She has a PhD in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University…together with other degrees in Economics and Political Science.  After a stint at teaching at JMU, Alysia is now a Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Harrisonburg.  Currently, she is launching Valley Women’s Financial Group to provide an opportunity for professional women to discuss financial topics and to plan for success.

Welcome to new member, Lauree Purcell!  Lauree is the mother of two daughters and formerly worked as a city planner in Virginia and Maryland.  She serves as an editorial consultant for Valley Living for the Whole Family, a free quarterly magazine in the Shenandoah Valley.  The Spring 2014 issue contains two articles by Lauree, one about Laura Douglass, the music director at Asbury Methodist Church, and the other about hiking on her honeymoon with her husband Steve.  You can read them at   More recently, Lauree was a guest columnist for Third Way Café on the internet (, called “Another Way”.  In that article she wrote of her experience at her church’s homeless shelter for the Open Door program in Harrisonburg, and the story of a particular homeless person named Denver Moore in Fort Worth, Texas.

Chris Edwards had an article published in Travelmag–The Independent Spirit, on online travel magazine originating in England and “devoted to the independent traveler”.   Her article was “Three Weeks on the Rails Across North America” dated February 19, 2014, about a trip she and her husband Robin took last year.  You can ride along with them and read all the exciting and informative details at

The late Crystal Theodore, former President and active member of our Branch, is to be honored by an exhibit of her paintings and artworks at a Prelude to the opening of the new Duke Hall Art Gallery in the newly renovated Duke Hall at JMU.  Members are invited to a reception in the courtyard on April 3, 2014 at 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

The Saturday, March 22, 2014, Weekend edition of the Daily News-Record has a featured article about Crystal Theodore:  Celebrating Crystal Theodore.  To read it click on this link: .

On February 6, 2014, Mary Perramond, Sylvia RogersRosemarie Palmer, and our guest Carolyn Frank attended the “Elect Her” Conference at Washington & Lee University in Lexington.  This is a national initiative sponsored by AAUW to encourage and train co-eds to run for student government office, and to eventually seek political office.  Started in 2009, these conferences are currently held at 50 colleges and universities throughout the U.S.  About forty female students from W & L attended.  On the agenda was Sylvia Rogers who spoke about the history and contributions of AAUW.   Also on the agenda was Carolyn Frank who, as former Mayor of Harrisonburg, shared her experiences and provided a role model for the students.  AAUW partners with Running Start in this endeavor, of whom Susannah Wellford is the President.  She provided the workshop on strategies of running for office.

On January 26, 2014, Marty Brown participated in a concert by the New Horizon Concert Band in the Forbes Performing Arts Center at JMU.  She also played a flute-clarinet duet with Jody Evans.  The New Horizon Concert Band is affiliated with the Lifelong Learning Institute at JMU and is under the direction of Dr. Will Dabback, JMU Professor of Music.

SAVE THE DATE!  Lucy Owen Hoyt, soprano, invites you to her “Voice Recital” on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:30pm in the Carter Center at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA.  Eric Ruple will accompany her on piano.  Her repertoire includes French, Swedish, and British art songs, plus a song cycle “Becoming a Redwood” by American composer Lori Laitman (b. 1955).  Lucy is a Professor of Music at JMU and Bridgewater College  .

Mary Perramond attended Lucy’s recital and here is what she wrote to Lucy afterward:
“You blew us all away, not only with your magnificent voice, but with your expressive face and gestures, your incredible stage presence, and your natural warmth when talking with the audience.  Your very interesting choice of music was also intriguing, refreshing, and so well ‘executed’ in all respects.  Being a francophone and francophile, I greatly enjoyed the first part of your concert, but I loved ‘discovering’ the beauty and originality of Laitman’s composition, with its gorgeous and evocative lyrics by Dana Gioia.   We brought along a good friend of ours  last night and he said that he had rarely taken in a concert so ‘joyous and gripping’.”

“Thank you” to Jan Leach for preparing several imaginative and appealing themed gift baskets that were auctioned off  at our “Holiday Tea” at her house on December 7, 2013.  Jan does this every year as a fundraiser for national’s Legal Advocacy Fund.  Because of her efforts and our members’ support, we will be able to donate $242 to LAF this year.  We also appreciate Jan and Tom’s generous hospitality in offering their beautiful home for this event, a highlight every year.  This year Tom Leach did an excellent presentation about his father’s squadron just prior to and subsequent to Pearl Harbor and WWII.  We also thank him for ‘manning’ the kitchen duty during our event every year and his ongoing support of Jan and our organization.

Our Finance Officer, Rosemarie Palmer, on behalf of our branch, applied for and was awarded a $100 grant from the state of Virginia AAUW to be used for our STEM Conference for Girls that we co-sponsor annually with JMU.  “Expanding Your Horizons” is to be held in Memorial Hall on March 22, 2014, with several of our members volunteering to help.

Our webmaster and newly appointed Northwest District Representative, Sylvia Rogers, plans to incorporate “Northwest District” news and announcements on our branch website.  Within this jurisdiction are Winchester and Charlottesville/UVA branches, who will be notified and encouraged to access our website for these updates.

Mary Ludwick has three pieces of her artwork in the “Residents’ Show” in the Art Gallery at Maple Terrace, Bridgewater Retirement Community, 210 Virginia Avenue, Bridgewater, VA during the month of December 2013.  Mary works in a variety of media, including watercolor, oil, and pen sketches.  She has had teachers in Japan, Germany, and Hawaii.

CHANGE of ADDRESS:  Marilyn Brook is with us throughout the year now.  She sold her place in Florida and bought a bungalow adjacent to Hillandale Park.  As of December 20, 2013, her new address is 1205 South Dogwood Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 (same phone #).

The Daily News-Record recently reported that Lorie Merrow, director of development of the Fairfield Center, a city mediation organization that puts on the popular annual Harrisonburg International Festival, approached City Council asking for funding for a $12,000 part-time director.  Begun in 1995, this year’s festival held in September in Hillandale Park has grown to 8,700 attendees.  Until now it has been organized by volunteers, but fewer have been participating.  In her appeal, Lorie said, “We don’t want to let the festival go downhill.”

Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell is offering a class in “Zentangle” at the Rockingham County Recreation Department on December 3, 2013 at 6-8pm.  $40 includes all supplies.  Open to ages 12+.  She is also available for private lessons and parties.  Zentangle is a meditative art form with a relaxed focus to create beautiful images from repetitive patterns called tangles.  No artistic ability is needed.  It’s fun, creative, and relaxing.   Contact Jennifer at or 410-804-5393.  Jennifer is also involved in the Divorce Recovery Workshop, an ongoing community event at Otterbein Methodist Church.

Our former branch president, Chris Edwards, continues her activism in the community.  She serves as board member and newsletter editor of Patchwork Food Pantry, and also serves as board member and newsletter editor of Park View Villages, a neighborhood group part of the national Villages network with the goal of helping people “age in place”.  Chris is a board member of Gemeinschaft Home, a transition residence for former inmates.  She is active in Harrisonburg Unitarian Universalists, JMU Lifelong Learning Institute, and local politics.  Chris is well known as a free lance writer for various publications. 

Laura Zarrugh is President of the Board of Directors at Skyline Literacy in Harrisonburg and Lynn Martin is a member of their Board.  Heather Banks and Lorie Merrow participated in the “Play for Literacy” Scrabble Tournament held on September 8, International Literacy Day, at Skyline Middle School.  They helped raise funds for adult literacy programs in our community at Skyline Literacy.

“Thank you” to our Membership VP Marty Brown for hosting two successful branch events at her lovely home recently — the Newcomers Reception on August 23rd and the Yard Sale Fundraiser on September 7th.  As a result, we have four new members and made $700 profit toward our scholarship fund.  We also thank her very supportive husband, Larry Brown, for helping with the yard sale!

A warm “wecome” to new members Mary C. Ludwick, Lucy Owen Hoyt, Carmenza Kline, and Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell, all of whom were guests of members who joined our branch in September 2013, subsequent to attending the Newcomers Reception on August 23rd.

Dr. Margee Greenfield, Director of College Bound Directions LLC, publishes a monthly newsletter with tips for college-bound middle and high school students.  The September 2013 issue contains advice on the application process and also gives information on “College Night” at JMU, as well as future topics.  Her website is  Appointments can be made for individual help and counseling.  Contact Dr. Greenfield at 540-476-0299 or email her at  Also see her Facebook page.  Her office is at 108 West College Street, Bridgewater, VA 22812.

Branch member Cathy Strickler and her husband Charlie, both 69, completed a “Walk for Our Grandchildren” on July 22, 2013.  They walked 60 miles from Harpers Ferry, WV to Washington, DC, as part of an effort to draw attention to the dangers of climate change. Cathy stated, “The walk highlighted the fact that our grandchildren need a climate that is stable and healthy.”  Cathy is the founder of the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley (CAAV); both she and Charlie have been vocal activists regarding climate change and global warming.

Corinne Diop and Daniel Robinson of the JMU Art Department, presented a paper “Beyond the Camera:  3D Technology and Photography” at CONFABULATION, A Symposium on 3D in the Classroom on June 5, 2013 at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, MD.

Sylvia Rogers is the Registrar for the Massanutten Chapter of the DAR.  Her ancestors are patriots Richard Bassett (MD/GA), Jonathan Graham (VA), and Stephen Heard (VA/GA).  Sylvia is also our very capable branch website editor and a willing volunteer at our functions.  She is also our Northwest District Representative.

The Summer 2013 issue of the Virginia VISION featured an article by branch member Tina Updike about our program on “The Invisible War”, an AAUW film about sexual harassment in the military.  This program was co-partnered with the JMU Health Center and the JMU Army ROTC, and was held at Grafton-Stovall Theater on the campus of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  It was free and open to the student body and the community.

Our branch gave a donation to the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, to be built in Occoquan, VA, the location of the Occoquan Workhouse in 1917 where seventy women were arrested and imprisoned for picketing the government for women’s rights.  This association is working to see the memorial built by 2020, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote.  AAUW of Virginia has adopted this campaign as a statewide project. They suggest scheduling a showing of the film Iron Jawed Angels about the first suffragists.

Some good news!  James Madison University has agreed to stabilize and preserve our first branch President’s hand-written annual report from 1929.  She was Virginia Harnsberger, the head librarian at the state teachers college that was the forerunner of JMU, who organized our branch in a faculty room in Alumnae Hall in 1929.  The record book is stored together with an archive of AAUW Harrisonburg’s papers in Special Collections at Carrier Library on campus

Our branch donated a book to Massanutten Public Library in memory of deceased member Kay Harter.  Since Kay was dedicated to her work at Skyline Literacy, the book chosen was Creating Room to Read:  A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy by John Wood (released February 2013).

Linda Dove gave a Brown Bag Lunch talk to members of the Lifelong Learning Institute, entitled “Inside the World Bank”, on February 19, 2013 at the Gilkerson Activity Center. Linda, now retired, was a World Bank official for nearly two decades.

Karen Gerard, our branch secretary, is our university representative at James Madison University. She is the Assistant to the Director of the university’s Art, Design, and Art History Department.

Judy LePera, Ruth Henderson, Chris Edwards, and Linda Dove participated in the Scrabble Tournament on February 24, 2013, a fund-raiser for Skyline Literacy.

Rosemarie Palmer, AAUW Finance Officer, was honored at the Annual Banquet of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society on October 26, 2012, as “2012 Volunteer of the Year”. She volunteers as head docent at their historical Cromer-Trumbo House, gives museum tours, suggests programs, and submits online publicity.

Terry Showalter, our former Branch President, published a book of her memoirs, From the Bronx to Bliss and Beyond, in May 2011.

Tina Updike, Co-VP for Programs for AAUW, recently retired from JMU as Visual Resources Curator in the School of Art, is now a volunteer at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.