Monterey Peninsula

Volume 71 Issue 4

Monterey County Branch

March/April 2024


Calendar of Coming Events

Wed., March 6 - Hike, Palo Corona

Wed., March 13 - Hike planning meeting, home of Chris Parmentier

Fri., March 15 - Romancing the Coast tours Pt. Pinos Lighthouse.

Sat., March 16, 11:30 am - March Branch Meeting. Pebble Beach Community District Boardroom. Potluck luncheon, fundraiser for AAUW Fund.

Wed., March 20 - Hike, Pebble Beach

April 2-3: Lobby Days. Meet with California State Legislators.

Wed., April 3 - Hike, Calla Lily Valley

Sat., April 13, 2:00 pm - April Branch Meeting. Monterey Public Library. Speakers Aaron Gilmartin and Jane Smiley tell about local history.

Wed., April 17 - Hike, Toro Park

Thurs., April 18 - Romancing the Coast tours Point Lobos Whalers Cabin.

Wed., May 8 - Romancing the Coast tours Nola's Iris Garden, San Jose.

Sun., June 9, 2:00 - 4:00 pm - June Branch Meeting. Casa Serrano, 412 Pacific Street, Monterey. Local Scholarship Program Fundraiser.


AAUW Fund Speaker Event

Potluck Luncheon & Fundraiser

Date: Saturday, March 16

Time: 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

Place: Pebble Beach Community Services District Board Room, 3101 Forest Lake Road, Pebble Beach, beside the Fire Station. (Click here for a map.) Tell the gate guard there is an “open gate” for the AAUW meeting at the P.B. Community Services Boardroom.

Our speaker is Adiba Juya from Afghanistan, who received an International Masters/First Professional Degree Fellowship from AAUW. She is studying at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies right here in Monterey, pursuing a Masters in International Policy and Development. Adiba held several interesting jobs in Kabul, Afghanistan, before having to flee in August of 2021 when the city fell to the Taliban, who then curtailed women’s participation in the labor force very severely. We will hear her story and how she made it to the US as well as about her research on "The Impact of Female Labor Force Participation on Extreme Poverty: Exploring Afghanistan’s Political and Economic Contexts Post-August 2021".

We hope you can come to this exceptional event and leave with a deeper understanding of how important AAUW Fund's role in advancing educational and professional opportunities for women is in the US and around the world. This is a fundraiser for the AAUW Fund, so please bring your generosity and your check books so this distinguished AAUW service can continue!

For the Potluck Luncheon: (finger food preferred)

  • Last names A - Q bring appetizers or side dishes
  • Last names R - Z bring desserts

Coffee, water and soft drinks will be provided. 

RSVP to Gabriele by March 12 at (831) 594-6696 or

Gabriele Simbriger-Williams, AAUW Fund Director


Date: Saturday, April 13

Time: 2:00 - 4:00ish PM

Place: Monterey Public Library

625 Pacific Street, Monterey

(Click here for map.)

Speakers: Aaron Gilmartin, Monterey State Historic Park interpreter, and Jane Smiley, award winning novelist

California's First Theater

Courtesy of California State Parks, 2019

Our first speaker, Aaron Gilmartin, will discuss the early history of Monterey. As many of you know, Monterey is one of California’s most historic cities since it was California’s capital under the Spanish, Mexican and U.S. military rule. Aaron will discuss some of this history and will also share the stories about the adobes still standing in Monterey and the people that lived in them.

Our second speaker is the well known Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jane Smiley, who will discuss her book, A Dangerous Business. We have invited Ms. Smiley to speak with Aaron Gilmartin because this delightful novel takes place in the same historical time period of the 1800s and brings to attention some of the challenges that women had to deal with in that time in history. In addition, the two prostitutes, the main protagonists in the story, take many walks through our Monterey neighborhoods and some of the buildings and places mentioned are still standing today. After Ms. Smiley speaks, the bookstore Olivia & Daisy, from Carmel Valley, will be selling the book, so you will be able to buy a copy of this fun novel after the program.

Suggestions: The best place to park is behind City Hall where there is unlimited parking. Our program may last longer than our usual 2 hours.

Also, the annual Whalefest Monterey is on April 13 so you could come to downtown Monterey for two events! Come in the morning to the Whalefest and in the afternoon to our program at the Library; a lovely day!

RSVP: Deborah Stern by March 25 at or (831) 535-3393.

Deborah Stern, Programs

Nicola Reilly, President and CEO of the Monterey Symphony

At our January branch meeting, Nicola Reilly spoke about how the Symphony survived the pandemic and about its future, and her own path to leading the organization. She and her accompanist then performed two classical pieces, a lovely conclusion to an enjoyable program.

The February meeting was with the Santa Cruz County Branch. Speaker was Holly Martinez, Executive Director, CA Commission on the Status of Women & Girls; shown here with our co-presidents Fatima Dias and Joanne Webster.

IBC (Inter-Branch Council) luncheon meeting, Seascape Golf Club, Aptos


Our newsletter is chock full of engaging and fun activities, all brought to you by fellow AAUW members. Whenever you participate, you get smarter, make a friend, create change, or simply enjoy an afternoon out. That all happens because someone stepped up. So, we invite you to check out this newsletter and think if there’s a role for you.

The Nominating Committee is busy filling Board openings. The presidents are termed out, and there are various openings on the board and on committees for Programs, Scholarships, Tech Trek and more. Contact committee members Anne Albano, Julie Smith or Chris Parmentier to learn more and to sign up.

We’re thrilled that CSUMB will host Camp Carson, our county’s first Tech Trek camp. During the week of July 14-19 we can volunteer for a morning, an afternoon or more to see campers from throughout Northern California in action. Sharyn Siebert will have the volunteer schedule and signup in the coming weeks.

Sharyn is also busy recruiting a Camp Director in Training for next year along with other staff. If you have a young woman in your life who’s a STEM professional, suggest she lead a two-hour hands-on workshop. Do you have time and the rapport to be a dorm mom? Give Sharyn a call to learn more or get signed up. 

We look forward to seeing you at our programs, for a Romancing the Coast outing, on a hike or at Camp Carson. Thank you for being part of our branch.

Fatima Dias and Joanne Webster, Co-Presidents


The death of Karen Hall left many of us bereft. Karen was a chemist and worked to see women and girls succeed in STEM. To honor her dedication to Tech Trek, her family generously suggested In Memoriam donations to the program. We hope to send one girl to camp in Karen’s honor. See the In Memoriam for details.

Thankfully a committee quickly formed to keep the program on schedule and are deep in the recruitment of rising 8th grade girls to attend Tech Trek this summer. Seaside, Los Arboles, John Gutierrez, El Sausal and Buena Vista are the middle schools targeted. If you know a math or science teacher at any of these schools, please mention Tech Trek to them. Here is a flyer in English. Here is a flyer in Spanish.

Fatima Dias, Co-President


For the first time, AAUW will host a camp at CSU Monterey Bay, Camp Carson (named for Rachel Carson). Camp will run from Sunday, July 14 through noon, Saturday, July 20.

CSUMB requires a ratio of 1 adult to 10 students so we need volunteers to be available for lunch, in the classroom and to generally support the girls and instructors throughout camp. Shifts can be as short as a morning or as long as the full week or anything in between. Your help is needed as one of these "day trippers". It is a wonderful experience to view Tech Trek first-hand, by helping out on a single day!

BONUS! Any members who are Aquarium guides would be most welcome to come and help the campers enjoy their trip there even more. I have arranged for free admission for our campers and accompanying adult staffers. The likely dates for this activity would be the afternoons of July 16 and 17.

Any volunteers should email me and tell me what they would like to do.

Sharyn Siebert, Coordinator (


Summary from "The Role of California School Boards"

By Seena Trigas, Member AAUW-CA Public Policy Committee School Board Project

AAUW California is concerned about the censorship of classroom material, the heightened enforcement of board policies rejecting diversity, and providing discriminatory policies against gay and minority students. The State Board of Education (SBE) is the controlling structure for K-12, and is the governing and policy-making body of the state for public education. Among its duties is the adoption of statewide academic standards for content and of curriculum frameworks. These inform and guide the local school boards in development and implementation of specific curricula for K-12 students, and serve as the basis for the adoption of instructional materials. School board members represent districts within the school district boundaries.

In 2023, AB 1078 was passed, requiring the California State Department of Education to assess if school boards are in compliance with state laws requiring public schools to provide diverse and comprehensive education. It requires local school districts with insufficient instructional materials to correct this and authorizes the department to purchase (at district expense) adequate curricula if the district restricts students from learning about important topics like racism, sexism, and gender-based marginalization. AAUW branch members play a critical role in ensuring all California school boards are governed by board members who will follow AB 1078, and who oppose policies that infringe on the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students.

Marilyn Erickson - Public Policy Director


Morning Books (via Zoom)


Mon., March 18, 10 AM

Book of Joy

by Dalai Lama

Leader: Loma Livernois

Mon., April 15, 10 AM

The Wife

by Meg Wolitzer

Leader: Sharon Hoffman

Kathy Poulson, Coordinator

Joy of Reading Books


Tues., March 12, 1 PM


by Min Jin Lee

Host: Deborah Stern

Tues., April 9, 1 PM

West with Giraffes

by Lynda Rutledge

Host: Chris Parmentier

Marilyn Erickson, Coordinator

Evening Books


Tues., March 19, 7 PM

Code Girls

by Liza Mundy

Host: Lucy Campen

Leader: Pat Fletcher

Tues., April 16, 7 PM

Invisible Life of Addie Rue

by VE Schwab

Host: Kit Armstrong

Leader: Donna Foote

Miriam Lilley, Coordinator

Storytellers Book Club


Thurs., March 28, 2 PM

One Summer

by David Baldacci

Host: Nancy Soulé

Thurs., April 25, 2 PM

Demon Copperhead

by Barbara Kingsolver

Host: Ruth McMaster

Arlene Coffman, Coordinator

Banned Books Club

Wed., March 13, 2 PM

Nineteen Minutes

by Jodi Picoult

Host: Pat Gotch

Thurs., April 18, 2 PM

The House of the Spirits

by Isabel Allende

Host: Dianne Driessen

Suzette Cavanaugh & Kenis Dunne, Coordinators

Hiking Group

March 6 - Palo Corona - Leader Sue Henderson

March 20 - Pebble Beach - Leader Debbie Hobbs

April 3 - Calla Lily Valley - Leader Andrea Madsen

April 17 - Toro Park - Leader Anne Albano

We will have a Hike Planning Meeting and lunch at 11 AM on Wednesday, March 13, at Chris Parmentier's house. Details for this TBD.

Details will be sent out about a week before each hike. Hikes are always subject to change depending on weather and other factors.

Chris Parmentier and Ardith Peck, Coordinators

Romancing the Coast

RTC events are always open to all members, and guests are also welcome.

Fri., March 15, 11:30 AM - Point Pinos Lunch and Lighthouse Tour

(Click here for a map.)

Join members at 11:30 for (optional) lunch at Point Pinos Grill, 79 Asilomar Avenue, Pacific Grove. Then walk across the road for our 1:00 PM tour of the Point Pinos Lighthouse, led by AAUW member and lighthouse docent Donna Foote. Entry fee: $7.00. RSVP to Nancy Soulé by March 13 at or (831) 236-3763.

Thurs., April 18, 9:15 AM - Point Lobos State Natural Reserve (Whalers Cabin Tour, optional Bird Island Hike) (Click for map.)

Part I, History of Whalers Cabin: 9:15 – 11:00 AM. We will convene at the Whalers Cabin where AAUW member & Pt Lobos docent Cam McAra will explain the history of the building, standing here since the 1850’s and on the National Register of Historic Places. At 10:00 AM we will walk & talk with Marcy Alancriag focused on "The Women Who Saved Point Lobos". Her 1-1.5 mile walk will be on the flats around Whaler's Cove ending back at the cabin.

Part 2, Bird Island Hike: 11:00 AM – 1:15 PM. For those wanting to stay in the Reserve and walk around to Bird Island, Cam will lead the 3-3.5 mile hike. Bring lunch & water to picnic somewhere scenic. Cam will park her car at the furthest point and shuttle hikers back to the entrance at the end of the hike.

RSVP by April 15 to Linda Hanger at or (831) 915-9260.

Save the Date: May 8 - Tour Nola's Iris Garden in San Jose.

Linda Hanger, RTC Coordinator

In January, John Cerney, creator of the murals seen throughout Monterey County and across the country, opened his studio to us. He showed us the Amelia Earhart mural that he’s remaking with a larger Amelia and shared stories from the whole of his career.

John Cerney and Amelia

In February, Romancing the Coast visited Western Flyer, the purse seiner made famous by Ed Ricketts’ and John Steinbeck’s trip to the Sea of Cortez. Education Director Rebecca Mostow explained how student groups will use the newly refitted fish holds for marine science. We enjoyed touring the refurbished cabin and top deck, 80-90% original.


Board Position Update

A candidate is still needed for the position on the AAUW Monterey County Branch Board as Program Director, as well as a team to help her. The job description is available from the Nominations Committee, Anne Albano.

Contact Anne at or 831-595-5394 for more information.



Anne Albano and Julie Smith, Co-VP Membership

To protect the information of our members, membership information about new members and changes for current members will not be shown in the newsletter. Instead, we will list their names, for you to go to the password-protected online directory (see the third column below) to see what is new, allowing you to make changes in your printed directory. - Editor

Directory Updates

If there are errors or changes in your directory listing, please tell us so corrections can be made. - Editor

New Members

Rochelle Dolan


Online Directory

The password to our protected online directory on our website in the Member Center is on the second page of your blue membership directory. (If you cannot find it, call Julie Smith or Anne Albano.) This is where all of our members' contact information is readily accessible.

New Member Bio

Rochelle Dolan

Rochelle attended Northeastern University, earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering. Later, she became certified as a CPA through the CA Board of Accountancy. She and her husband Roger lived in the area previously, moved away and now have returned. She is interested in the Hiking Group.

Remembering Ruth Muldoon

At the time Ruth's In Memoriam was written, there was no time to obtain a picture. Her daughter Terry has kindly provided one, adding to our memories of her mother.

In Memoriam - Karen Hall

July 14, 1956 - February 9, 2024

Karen Louise Briggs Hall, 67, passed away unexpectedly on February 9. She was born in Castro Valley to Richard and Doris Briggs. She studied Biology at Hartnell College, UC Berkeley, and completed her Bachelor of Science at California State University Hayward (CS East Bay). Her first professional position was at Carnegie Institute in Palo Alto. After marrying and starting a family, she relocated to Salinas and was a chemical analyst at Paul Masson and Constellation Brands Winery for almost 30 years.

Karen was a devoted volunteer within the Methodist church, American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Steinbeck House. Within AAUW, Karen was particularly supportive of Tech Trek, our free-to-attend residential STEM camp for middle school girls. Her family asks that those who want to honor her do so with a donation in her name to Tech Trek; if we can, we’d like to send a girl to camp in her honor this year. 

There are two ways to donate:

  • Online, click In the box that says "Use this donation for", select "Tech Trek - Fresno Camp" on the drop-down menu. When you reach the next page, write "Monterey County, Karen Hall" in the note field.

  • By check payable to "AAUW-CA SPF" with "Tech Trek, Monterey Peninsula - Karen Hall" in the memo line. Send it to AAUW MPB, P.O. Box 1786, Monterey, CA 93942.

Karen is survived by two sons David (Savannah) and Steven; two grandchildren; and siblings Linda (Daniel) Crotty, Suzanne (Robert) Wood, and Richard Briggs.

Board Meetings

March 7 at 4:00 pm

by Zoom

April 4 at 1:00 pm


(2354 Garden Road)





May/June Messenger

Please email articles for the May/June newsletter to

Caryl Rojas by April 15.


If you paid the full $115 AAUW yearly dues, $69 of that is tax deductible. In addition, any donations to our charitable funds will be tax deductible for a tax year if paid by December 31st of that year and if you itemize deductions. Note that a donation to any of these three areas can also be made in honor or in memory of a friend or family member. More information and a donation form (optional) may be found at this link to our website. If making a donation directly from an IRA as a qualified charitable donation (QCD), consult your tax advisor or for further information.

Tech Trek

Make check payable to "AAUW-CA SPF"

with "Tech Trek, Monterey Peninsula"

in the memo line.

Send to AAUW MPB

P.O. Box 1786

Monterey, CA 93942


Make check payable to "AAUW"

with "AAUW Fund"

in the memo line.

Send your check to Gabriele Simbriger-Williams

P.O. Box 1786

Monterey, CA 93942

or donate at, including your member ID for branch credit.

Local Scholarships

Make check payable to "AAUW-MPB Local Scholarships".
Send your check to
Kathy Poulson
1092 Presidio Road
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Newsletter Schedule

Newsletters are published around the 1st of the months of September, November, January, March and May. There will be short "eblasts", containing reminders or special announcements. If you do not receive a newsletter, please contact me so we can fix it. Please note that newsletter content will relate only to AAUW and branch matters, a policy of AAUW National.

Caryl Rojas, Newsletter Editor