Monterey Peninsula

Volume 71 Issue 5

Monterey County Branch

May/June 2024


Calendar of Coming Events

Wed., May 1 - Hike, Palo Corona

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

Sat., May 11 - 10:00 AM - Noon, New & Prospective Member Welcome, Church of the Good Shepherd Parish Hall, 301 Corral De Tierra Rd, Salinas.

Wed., May 15 - Hike, Garrapata inland

Thurs., May 16, 3:30 - 5:30 PM - May Social and Annual Branch Meeting at home of Maureen Vieth, 25320 Boots Road, Monterey.

Fri., May 31 - Romancing the Coast tours Leonoff Glass Studio & Gallery

Wed., June 5 - Hike, Pacific Grove Art Walk

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

Wed., June 19 - Hike, Ft. Ord Monument



Date: Thursday, May 16

Time: 3:30 - 5:30 PM

Place: Home of Maureen Vieth, 25320 Boots Road, Monterey (Click for map.)

At the brief business meeting, our Branch Officers for 2024-2026 will be voted on by a majority of those present. See the slate below. Other nominations may be made from the floor with permission of the nominee. The following women have agreed to be nominated to lead our branch, starting July 1, 2024:

Co-Presidents:  Debbie Hobbs & Anne Albano

Co-VPs-Membership: Kenis Dunne & Judy Nejasmich

Treasurer: Pat Fletcher

Co-Secretaries: Noelle Hetz & Andrea Madsen

For information about the social event, see the Presidents' Message below.


Scholarship Celebration/Fundraiser


Date: Sunday, June 9

Time: 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Location: Casa Serrano, 412 Pacific St., Monterey (Click here for a map.)


Please join us to meet and celebrate this year’s scholarship recipients. You will hear from several of the scholars who will share how our scholarship made it possible for them to achieve their goals. It’s also a chance for them to meet inspirational women (that’s all of you) and thank you for making their scholarships possible.


We encourage you to bring a friend, so they can see how our work directly benefits women in our community. Our venue is the historic Casa Serrano in Monterey and docents will be available for a brief tour. As it’s Sunday, parking is free on the street and nearby city lots. Light appetizers, wine and other beverages will be served.  


If you joined us last June for our scholarship fundraising program, you know it’s a program that you won’t want to miss. We hope you can join us!


Kindly RSVP by June 6 to Maggie Pedersen (713-206-6507 or


If you are unable to attend the fundraiser and would like to make a donation to the Local Scholarship Program, please make checks payable to

"AAUW-MPB Local Scholarships" and mail to:

Kathy Poulson, 1092 Presidio Road, Pebble Beach, CA 93953-3124.

The LS Program is a 501(c)(3) program.


Due to your generous donations (and two grants) in the past year, we are able to award $30,000 in scholarships this year to students attending CSUMB, MPC, and Hartnell. Thank you so much!!

Maggie Pedersen and Sandi Berman, Local Scholarships Co-Directors


Use Your IRA to $ave on Taxes and Do Good


Want to reduce your tax bill and do good at the same time? Taxpayers aged 70½ or older can make distributions from an IRA directly to a charity such as our Local Scholarships WITHOUT the distributions being treated as taxable income to the IRA owner. This strategy works especially well for taxpayers who are taking the standard deduction, as Qualified Charitable Distributions reduce taxable income when no deduction can be taken because taxpayers are not itemizing.


In addition, if the donor must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from the IRA, the charitable distribution can count toward the RMD. In 2023, the age at which you must begin taking RMDs changed to 73 years. Talk to your accountant for advice about your personal situation.




Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” – Author Unknown


We are proud to be an organization of volunteers. Whether you have served on our Board, served on one of our committees, led and participated in any of our special interest groups, or volunteered outside of AAUW, you matter.

Please join us at our Annual Branch Meeting on May 16th to celebrate us. It’s a great time to connect with one another and enjoy each other’s company. Bring a friend.

Date: Thursday, May 16

Time: 3:30 – 5:30 PM

Where: Home of Maureen Vieth, 25320 Boots Road, Monterey (Click for map.)

Refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP by May 13 to Fatima Dias at

Along with the festivities, we will hold an election to approve our slate of officers for the two-year term starting July 1, 2024. As we near the end of serving as your Co-Presidents for four years, we want to thank you, our members, for your support and participation. It’s been our pleasure and our honor to serve.

Best wishes,

Fatima Dias and Joanne Webster, Co-Presidents


Lobby Day went well on April 2. Joanne Webster and Marilyn Erickson were part of a team who spoke via Zoom to Senator John Laird's staff assistant, Paige Szabadi, in support of Assembly Bill 2843 "Health Care Coverage for Rape and Sexual Assault Survivors", Assembly Bill 2326 "Protecting Postsecondary Education Sex Discrimination Policies", and Assembly Bill 2099, "Protecting Reproductive Health Clinics". We encourage more members to participate in next year's Lobby Day, as it educates us on the process of passing legislation. These Assembly bills have not yet made their way to the Senate where our Senator, John Laird, would vote on these bills. We encouraged an "Aye" vote on all three bills.

Gov Trek finalists were chosen. If you joined us on Saturday, March 16, for the virtual 2024 Gov Trek Campaign Competition, you know which student campaign team won the highly-contested 2024 Gov Trek mock election competition: Team Vote Eliana. This team included four high school girls from San Ramon, two from Roseville-South, and one from Santa Cruz County. Congratulations to the members of those branch communities and these up-and-coming leaders! The team members will receive internships and awards. To watch the Gov Trek Finale and Campaign Competition recording on YouTube, click here. Maybe next year we can get Monterey County girls interested in this program.

Marilyn Erickson - Public Policy Director

Tech Trek

The Tech Trek Committee interviewed 19 girls from five different middle schools. We selected eight girls for in-person camp in Fresno, two to Camp Carson at CSUMB and three for Virtual Camp. YOUR generosity made this possible. Thank you!

On June 8 we'll host an Ice Cream Social so the girls and parents can meet one another. We also want to give a Goody Bag to each of the Campers. If you have an idea for a small gift that a 7th Grader interested in STEM might like, please let Fatima Dias or Gail Widener know.

Fatima Dias and Gail Widener - Tech Trek Co-Directors

In March, we heard Adiba Juya tell about her experiences in her native Afghanistan and how she fled to the United States, where she is currently a student at Middlebury Institute for International Studies, pursuing a Masters in International Policy and Development, thanks to a Fellowship from AAUW.


Morning Books (via Zoom)


Mon., May 20, 10 AM

No Ordinary Assignment

by Jane Ferguson

Leader: Lois Carroll

Mon., June 17, 10 AM

The Loop

by Nicholas Evans

Leader: Susan Henderson

Mon., July 15, 10 AM


by Geraldine Brooks

Leader: Susan Murphy

Mon., Aug. 19, 10 AM

Roman Stories

by Jhumpa Lahore

Leader: Kathleen Stacey

Kathy Poulson, Coordinator

Joy of Reading Books


Tues., May 14, 1 PM

Mother-Daughter Murder Night

by Nina Simon

Host: Joanne Webster

Tues., June 11, 1 PM

Mountain beyond Mountains:

by Tracy Kidder

Host: Diana Paul

Tues., July 9, 1 PM

Democracy Awakening

by Heather Cox Richardson

Host: Debbie Hobbs

Tues., Aug. 13, 1 PM

The Magician's Assistant

by Ann Patchett

Host: Nancy Edwards

Marilyn Erickson, Coordinator

Evening Books


Tues., May 21, 7 PM


by Katy Hayes

Host: Fatima Dias

Leader: Pat Cox

Tues., June 18, 7 PM

Book choosing meeting

Host: Miriam Lilley

Miriam Lilley, Coordinator

Storytellers Book Club


Thurs., May 23, 2 PM

The Lemon Tree

by Sandy Tolan

Host: Cam McAra

Thurs., June 27, 2 PM

The Storyteller

by Jodi Picoult

Host: Fran Muir

Thurs., July 25, 2 PM

The Art Thief

by Michael Finkle

Host: Suzanne Schmidt

Thurs., Aug. 22, 2 PM

Three Hours in Paris

by Cara Black

Host: Arlene Coffman

Arlene Coffman, Coordinator

Banned Books Club

Tues., May 14, 2 PM


by Fredrik Backman

Host: Kenis Dunne

Tues., July 30, 2 PM


by Percival Everett

Host: Suzette Cavanaugh

Thurs., June 13, 2 PM

Oryx and Crake

by Margaret Atwood

Host: Gail Widener

Tues., Aug. 13, 2 PM

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

Host: Dianne Driessen

Suzette Cavanaugh & Kenis Dunne, Coordinators

Hiking Group

Here are the hikes for May and June:

May 1 - Palo Corona with Sue Henderson

May 15 - Garrapata inland with Pat Fletcher

June 5 - Pacific Grove Art Walk with Nancy Soulé

June 19 - Fort Ord Monument with Andrea Madsen

Chris Parmentier and Ardith Peck, Coordinators

Romancing the Coast

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

Wednesday, May 8, 9:45 AM - Tour Nola's Iris Garden in San Jose

Come experience the beauty of thousands of iris from all over the world – in every color imaginable! – in full bloom. We will enjoy a free, self-guided tour of this wonderful garden! We plan to caravan to the farm, on the side of a mountain in San Jose, so we will be graced with a view of the Silicon Valley below. It is easy walking. Picnic tables are available, so bring a bag lunch.


Carpools will leave from California Pizza Kitchen in Del Monte Center at 9:45 am for the 80 minute drive to 4195 Sierra Road, San Jose. (Click here for a map.)


RSVP to Yve Ramos by May 6 (831 655-1555 or


Friday, May 31, 10:30 AM - Leonoff Glass Studio & Gallery

A second RTC trip is planned for May! The place is Leonoff Glass Studio and Gallery, 13766 Center Street, Suite G3 in Carmel Valley Village. We will see a glass blowing demo and view his art glass pieces. There is optional lunch at Rustica afterward. (Click here for a map.)

RSVP to Nancy Edwards by May 25 ( or 831 375-0093).

Linda Hanger, RTC Coordinator

Remember our RTC tour of the Western Flyer? To get a humorous take on the story of the Western Flyer from a short film featuring actor and humorist Nick Offerman, click


Historian Needed

Since its inception, AAUW has maintained a historical record at the Monterey City Library. Our current Historian is ready to retire and we need a volunteer to compile newsletters, minutes, treasurer reports and other memorabilia and submit yearly or every two years to the library’s History Room. Work on your own time in your own home and get the scoop on what happens in our Branch. If this sounds like a good way for you to volunteer some time to help your Branch, please contact Fatima Dias, or (831) 917-4693.



If you have not yet voted regarding this change to the AAUW bylaws, time is getting short. Online voting concludes at 12:00 pm ET on May 15, with results to be announced online.



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

Sharon Brown

Melanie Chavez

Bonnie Hernandez

Tanya Kudar

Anne Mollet

Susan Singer

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 Bios

Sharon Brown

Sharon got her BA and MA at San Jose State University. Retired from teaching college English, she now enjoys writing poetry and music, playing tennis, traveling, and diving into her latest historical obsession - most recently Tudor England. Having lived in Washington state for the last 35 years, Sharon and her husband recently purchased a home in beautiful Carmel Valley and are thrilled to be transitioning back to native California soil. She is interested in a daytime book group, Great Decisions, Hiking Group and Romancing the Coast.

Melanie Chavez

Melanie is originally from Lincoln, CA. She earned her BA in Liberal Studies with a minor in Linguistics from Humboldt State University and her MA in Organizational Development and Leadership Studies from Regent University. A Human Resources professional, she has held positions at FOX-TV, NPR New York, KLOVE Radio, Commune Hotels + Resorts and now serves as the Director of Labor & Employee Relations at CSU Monterey Bay. She is in her 8th year of living in Carmel By The Sea with her two chihuahua mix breed rescue dogs Jimmy Ray and May May, and is a Reiki Master Practitioner and Intuitive Soul Coach. She is interested in Hiking Group, Romancing the Coast, Program Committee, and Local Scholarship Committee.

Bonnie-Lou Hernandez

Bonnie-Lou has been a national AAUW member for many years and is now joining our branch. She received a B.S. Degree from Northern Illinois University in Chemistry and Biology in 1967. She has raised two boys and now has six granddaughters and one grandson. She loves to read.

Tanya Kudar

Tanya earned a BA from Sacramento State and MBA from MIIS. She is interested in the Hiking Group and Romancing the Coast.

Anne Mollet

Anne grew up in Contra Costa County and got her BA at UC Berkeley. After earning her teaching credential at Cal, she taught high school in Iowa, then taught English as a foreign language in Switzerland and England. She came to Monterey in 1979 and taught high school Spanish. She received an MA from MIIS in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages. She was an Instructor at MPC for 10 years before retiring. She has always been an active community volunteer, especially enjoying living history reenacting. Locally, she has been involved with the Aquarium, Monterey State Historic Park, Big Brothers & Sisters, and Monterey Tourist Bureau. For 16 years, she has been a docent at Pt. Lobos. She is interested in the Local Scholarship Committee.

Susan Singer

Susan earned a Bachelors in Education from University of Miami and a Masters in Education from Nova University. She is interested in Great Decisions and Romancing the Coast.


New & Prospective AAUW Member Welcome


A New Member Welcome will be held Saturday, May 11 from 10:00 am to noon at Church of the Good Shepherd Parish Hall, 301 Corral De Tierra Road (approx. 3 miles off Highway 68), Salinas.

(Click here for a map.)

Whether you are a new member, a prospective member or just want to learn more about the interesting activities and programs that our Monterey County Branch offers, please mark your calendar to attend the New Member WelcomeCome make new friends! Bring a friend! We look forward to meeting you! Please feel free to forward this to a friend who might be interested in attending.


To RSVP by May 8 and obtain exact directions, please contact Anne Albano at or 831 595-5394.


Membership Renewal

The majority of you will be renewing your AAUW Memberships in late June (except for those who joined at other times of the year, who have a different renewal date). There are two ways to renew your membership this year, slightly different from the past. Either way, you will receive an email reminder from National advising you to renew.

1. You can respond to the renewal email which you just received from AAUW requiring you to log into your account. Your profile will be there, including any donations you have made, and it will also include your renewal dates and amount due.


2. You can renew by snail mail, sending your dues to AAUW MPB, PO Box 1786, Monterey, CA 93942 with the correct amount ($115 for most members).

Completely confused? Contact the membership team; Julie Smith or Anne Albano ( or We are happy to help you navigate renewal. Remember…not all of you need to renew in June.  

In Memoriam - Karen Snow

March 3, 2024

Anyone who knew Karen Snow, knew that she never met a stranger! What a tribute to the remarkable warm and inviting woman she was. She always has been optimistic throughout her battle with cancer and loved to travel with Wayne all over the world.


Karen was a 50-year member of AAUW and volunteered in multiple areas of the branch. She chaired the gourmet dinner group for decades, opening her home for the kick-off event many of those years. She was a membership co-vice-president with Sharyn for a term. She hosted an annual welcome tea for new members and board members each fall, inspiring some like Nancy to become board members themselves. She often interviewed both for Tech Trek camperships and Local Scholarships. Due to her warm and inviting presence, the interviewees were put at ease and easily answered the questions posed.

Karen was responsible for getting many women involved in the Monterey county branch of AAUW. They have her to thank for the many friendships that resulted from that introduction. No one could say no to Karen when she would say, “You should join AAUW.” Just ask all of us who did so! She will be greatly missed.


A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church (butterfly church), 915 Sunset Drive, Pacific Grove, on Saturday, May 18, at 11:00 am. Reception to follow. All are invited. (Click here for a map.)

Contributed by Sharyn Siebert and Nancy Soulé

Board Meetings

May 2 at 1:00 pm

June 6 at 1:00 pm

CFMC, 2354 Garden Rd.





Sept./Oct. Messenger

Please email articles for the Sept./Oct. newsletter to

Caryl Rojas by Aug. 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