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November 1, 2005 > American Association of University Women

American Association of University Women

by Tina Cuccia

Since it began in 1881, the American Association of University Women has promoted equity for all women and girls, lifelong education and positive social change. The nonprofit's nationwide network of AAUW branches totaling more than 100,000 members and 1,300 branches nationwide have, through the years, opened doors for women and girls and have influenced public debate on critical social issues such as education, civil rights and health care. The organization, which extends its reach globally, sponsors community programs, conducts research on women, girls and education and more.

For over 40 years, Fremont has had its own AAUW branch that President Mary Lynn Pelican describes as an association of college and university women graduates whose purpose is to unite graduates of regionally accredited educational institution. The goal is to promote equity, education, intellectual growth and development of opportunities for women and girls.

Pelican, who taught elementary school for the last 36 years, has been a member of the AAUW Fremont branch for 31 years. This year, she volunteered to become president. She is passionate about her work with the AAUW.

AAUW offers many activities and fundraisers including cultural arts and science-oriented events, book discussion groups, lectures, dinners, brunches, fun walks, and more. They hope the many activities they offer will support and encourage women and girls to pursue higher education.

"Other organizations may promote education or business and do great things in the community, but we encourage women to continue their education," Pelican says.

Funds raised by the organization are used for scholarships that help students who have earned an associate of arts degree go on to earn a bachelor's degree and hopefully continue at the graduate level, earning a master or doctorate degree.

For example, each year AAUW works with Ohlone College to offer associate of arts degree graduates the opportunity to receive a scholarship they can use toward their four-year degree. Last year, two $1,000 scholarships were awarded.

The organization also sponsors two students to participate in "Tech Trek," a science camp that takes place each summer for girls who have completed 7th grade.

"A large portion of the money we raise goes to grants and scholarships for students seeking Ph.D.'s - to encourage them," Pelican said.

The Fremont branch of the AAUW also raises money for their Legal Advocacy Fund that provides aid and support for gender equity issues such as female teachers who've been victims of sexual discrimination and denied tenure.

Pelican is hoping that those who would like to support women and girls to further their educations will see the value of the organization and that membership of the Fremont branch will continue to grow. There are currently 94 members. Pelican anticipates membership will increase by 50 members by June of 2006. "That's our goal," she said.

The Mother/Daughter Math and Science Discovery Day on Saturday, Nov. 5 is one way the organization encourages 5th and 6th grade girls to become more interested in math and science. Participants will enjoy a morning of fun and hands-on math/science adventures.

Another upcoming event is "LifeMoxie!" teaching economic power for women as a key to becoming the CEO of your own life on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Orientation coffees are scheduled regularly and are open to new, returning, and prospective members, as a chance to learn more about the association. The next one is on Saturday, Nov. 12.

To find out more about the AAUW and other upcoming events or to become a member of the AAUW, please call the AAUW Information Line at (510) 728-9700 or contact Jeanne Delp at (510) 797-9935,

AAUW Presents Mother/Daughter Math & Science Discovery Day
Saturday, Nov. 5
8:30 a.m. -12:45 p.m.
Hopkins Jr. High
600 Driscoll Rd. Fremont
$12 per mother/daughter pair
Information (510) 656-4966 or

AAUW Presents LifeMoxie! with Ann Tardy
"Economic Power for Women"
The Key to Becoming the CEO of Your Own Life
Saturday, Nov. 12
9:30 a.m. - Noon
University of Phoenix, Room 112,
40440 Encyclopedia Circle, Fremont
$15, Reservations by Monday, Nov. 7
Mail check to: Fremont AAUW, PO 8254, Fremont, CA 94537-8254.
Information: (510) 728-9700

Orientation Coffee
Monday, Nov. 14
6 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Panera Breads
2660 Mowry Avenue, Fremont, CA
Walgreen's Drug Shopping Center, Mowry & Paseo Padre Parkway
(510) 728-9700

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