Biography

Executive Board

 

Judith M. Slisz, Vice President Judith Slisz serves as Vice President of AAUW-CT. She has participated in the strategic planning process during the past year. She is particularly interested in the goal of the national AAUW to advance equity for women and girls through education and advocacy. For the past three years, she has worked with the local branches in coordinating the recruitment and registration of women to the National Conference of College Women Student Leaders, with scholarship aid from the branches matched by AAUW-CT. She has served on the Committee for Scholarships for high school students awarded by the Meriden-Wallingford branch. Currently, she is working with college contacts at area community colleges to explore how AAUW can further support underrepresented groups of women in pursuing their educational and professional goals. Judith began her career as a teacher of high school English; she went on to teach at area colleges before transitioning to higher education administration, serving as Director of Assessment at Manhattan College and Associate Dean at Marymount Manhattan College. Currently, she serves as an evaluator for STEM projects at community colleges in the Southwest, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Mary M. Mazur, Secretary In 2006, she was introduced to AAUW by a friend and joined the local Branch, the Lower CT Valley affiliate.The following year she was nominated and elected to the position of Co-Treasurer and served in that position for several years. In 2010, Sheila McPharlin and Mary were elected as Co-Presidents. Mary and Sheila then re-established the Scholarship Committee which had ceased to function due to lack of participation and publicity. She is still on the committee and is pleased that the number of applicants per year have increased along with the monetary amount that they have been able to award as scholarships. In 2011, she was elected Co-President, then Vice-President in 2012, along with heading the Annual Fundraiser. She was again elected President in 2013 and still chaired the yearly fundraising event. She Co-chaired the Program Committee in 2016 and took over that position until she decided to retire from that position last year. Presently, she is retired from her position on the LCV Board but remain active on the Scholarship Committee. Mary graduated in 1966 from Rivier University in Nashua, N.H. with a major in Biology/minor in Chemistry. She then earned her M.T (ASCP) from the Carney Hospital School of Medical Technology in Boston, MA. Mary retired and moved to CT in 1998 and have been actively involved in volunteering positions ever since. Over the past four years she has been President of the Friends of the Lyme Public Library, Chair of adult programs for the library, Secretary for the local Hadlyme Public Hall for 14 years and a Literacy Volunteer and Instructor.

Shannon Smith, Treasurer Shannon N. Smith serves as the University Controller and Chief Accounting Officer for Yale University.  Shannon has oversight of a broad range of areas including general accounting, financial reporting, tax, gift accounting, investment accounting, payroll and treasury. Yale University has approximately 15,000 faculty and staff, 13,500 students, $4 billion in annual operating revenue, and $30 billion in endowment. Shannon joined Yale in 2019 after spending more than 25 years as a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). During her time at PwC, Shannon led the higher education and not-for-profit group for Connecticut and western Massachusetts, she co-authored the firms publication on Emerging Issues for Not-for-Profit Organizations and Perspectives in Higher Education, and was a contributor to the Wiley publication of Financial and Accounting Guide for Not-for-Profit Organizations. Shannon earned a B.S. in accounting and human resources from Drexel University. She is a member of the AICPA, CSCPA, and of NACUBO and is licensed as a certified public accountant in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. Shannon serves as on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for the Boy Scouts Connecticut Rivers Council.  

Kathleen Holgerson ’89 (CLAS) on Oct. 15, 2015. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Kathleen Holgerson, Co-Chair College/University Partnerships Kathleen Holgerson is the Director of the Women’s Center and former Program Coordinator for the Violence Against Women Prevention Program. Kathleen is an alumna of the University and volunteered at the Center as an undergraduate student. She has extensive administrative experience, including staff supervision, budget oversight, and program development, in non-profit organizations and higher education, as well as successful grant-writing and fundraising experience. Her work focuses on coalition building; creating opportunities for critical reflection and creative education work; addressing barriers to access related to various forms of oppression at the individual and institutional levels; and promoting equity from an anti-racist feminist perspective. She recently co-authored “Where do we enter? How do we stay? The role of consciousness raising in developing Women’s Center professionals.” in University and College Women’s and Gender Equity Centers: The Changing Landscape. She currently serves as the co- College/ University rep from UConn and the co-chair of the AAUW CT College/University network. She hopes to create stronger connections between community and local advocates and students, staff, and faculty at Connecticut colleges/universities and to facilitate a more diverse and engaged community across the state in the service of an anti-racist feminist agenda.

 

Branch Presidents

 

Storrs/Willimantic

Carmen R Cid Carmen’s role in AAUW has always been to enhance representation and equity for women in all career fields, while advocating for equity in pay, time management and opportunities for advancement. She has been a member of the AAUW Willimantic/Storrs branch since 1987. She was fortunate to serve in the 1990’s as panel member for the AAUW fellowship applications in ecology, and later chaired the national AAUW full combined fellowship panel for a few years. Currently she is the co-President of the AAUW Willimantic/Storrs branch in CT. She sees AAUW continuing to make a difference in bringing groups of women together to advocate for equity in career advancement and, especially as an ecologist, for global climate change awareness — women are the ones making the difference globally in formulating action plans for climate justice for all.

Stephanie Dubinsky Stephanie Dubinsky is the Co-President of the Storrs/Willimantic branch and former branch Membership Chair. She has an MPH with a focus on program planning and evaluation. She has worked in publishing and advertising, as a psychiatric nurse, and as a Planned Parenthood nurse where she also ran a county STD clinic. For the majority of her working life, she ran an epilepsy education and research program in a large urban multispecialty clinic. Currently she is a retired member of the Ashford Conservation Commission and the Ashford Clean Energy Task Force and worked on Ashford’s Sustainable CT certification committee. She would like to promote AAUW inclusivity by eliminating the degree requirement for membership. She does not feel we need to necessarily recruit the young, but to recognize the power of mid-life and older women in their availability of time, money and experience in the fight for equity. She is in favor of legislative activism, especially on the state and local level. She would also like to see efforts to expand the use of scholarship money to include programs to promote equity in grades K through 12 with the understanding that racism, sexism, ageism, etc. are intersectional and cannot be separated from one another.

Meriden

Karen Grava Karen Grava is serving her second term as president of the Greater Meriden, Connecticut affiliate. She is the former president of the Connecticut AAUW. Karen is a retired public relations executive who retired from the University of Connecticut, where she was  the spokesman and worked for more than 30 years. She was also an adjunct professor of communication sciences. After her retirement, she worked for seven years as Director of Media Relations at the University of New Haven. She is active in the Wallingford, Connecticut garden club, and loves sailing, traveling and antiques.

New London

Gay Clarkson Gay Clarkson BA Art History, MS Art Education Volunteer Gay Clarkson has happily served as a Board Member of  the New London/Waterford AAUW since 2013. In 2015, she became Program Vice President; she is proud to say all of her monthly programs were special and well received. It is interesting to note some of the  speakers even  joined our Branch. Gay finds this especially gratifying since the Branch can only pay speakers $50 per presentation. In 2018, Gay was elected President, and she is doing everything in her power to keep the Branch together during this stressful Pandemic time. There was a lack of members paying their dues. Gay phoned every member and visited with them. Financial Chair Jeanne O’Connell, reports most of the delinquent members have paid their dues. Gay is passionate about fundraising and helping people. She has been fundraising and volunteering since she was eight years old. She is currently serving as President of the Friends of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. She also is a Board Member of S.T.E.P.S and the Recording Secretary of Expressiones. Both of these groups are local non-profits. In 2018, she was elected Volunteer of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. 

Lower Conn. Valley

Mary Jane Peterson Since Mary Jane’s retirement, she has served as Treasurer, Vice President, and now as President of the Lower CT Valley affiliate, along with leading the Evening Book Group for the past 6 years. In the work world, she taught Chemistry/Sciences at Old Saybrook High School, also serving as Science Department Chair, National Honor Society advisor, and American Field Service advisor. Cumulatively, she felt honored to teach for 37 years. Her educational background includes Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Seton Hill University, Master of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, and Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. Professional responsibilities allowed her to encourage many women students to pursue careers in fields in which women are underrepresented. Consequently, AAUW’s objectives of removing bias from education and advancing women in leadership roles, especially in the technical areas, align with my own.

Olga Saubermann Olga Saubermann has been a member of the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the AAUW for seven years. She was the Co Ordinator of the Afternoon Book Group for four years, and the Co Chair of the Program Committee for two years. In 2017 she accepted the position of Vice President, then in 2018, became President of the branch for two years. As President she helped implement changes to our by laws in order to streamline the board. Under her direction we also changed our Social and Financial Policies to clarify ambiguous wording, as well as establish a procedure for inviting the public to attend our meetings. One accomplishment that she is most proud of is the establishment of a donation button on our website that has brought in donations to the branch from outside donors. She is a Registered Nurse who worked for many years in hospital settings. After receiving a degree in Anthropology, she worked in a group psychiatric facility until retiring. At the present time, she is serving on the board as the Past President. She has an interest in looking into diversity at the local branch level, as well as recruiting younger members. She would like to move our branch to look beyond ourselves and, to reach out to other groups with similar missions and goals. She hopes that we continue to have mission driven programs and events on both the local and State level.

Bridgeport

Carole Fanslow Being President of the Bridgeport Area Branch AAUW has been a great honor for her. She joined in 1983 after completing her degree in music – taking 8 years (parttime) to complete, and the first thing she wanted to do was join AAUW. She first served as Co-President with Judi Polizzoti from 2009-12. When she moved to Virginia, she became the President serving until 2021. She also enjoyed being part of the League of Women Voters, and chairperson of the Annual CROP Walk for Hunger in Bridgeport. She always considered herself to be a professional volunteer. Her profession as an organist and choir director has her playing at the Congregational Church of Easton – of course sitting 6 feet apart! Felicia Keeton will become our President in May 2021 at our annual meeting. 

Felicia Keeton Felicia Keeton lives in Westport CT with her husband David.  They have two children, Anneliese and Geoffrey, who both attend the University of Connecticut. Felicia joined AAUW in 1995 and was very active in the Simi Valley, CA branch, holding several positions including President. Upon moving the family to Connecticut in 2003, she maintained a general membership until 2017 when joining the Bridgeport branch. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara followed by a MBA from California State University, Northridge. Professionally, Felicia worked in sales and marketing at AT&T for 36 years and most recently for Gartner, Inc. (until April 2020). She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and co-leader with the Southern New England Project Management Institute (PMI) Stamford chapter responsible for facilitating monthly meetings designed to build networks and capabilities. She is active in her church and enjoys mentoring new project managers plus, most recently, participating in weekly activities, through Westport ReSisters, to get out the vote and turn states “blue”. 

Danbury

Julia Horne Julia Horne received her Bachelor’s degree at Shaw University for Elementary Ed; Master’s Degree from Western Conn. State University; and her 6th year certificate in Admin and Supervision at Southern Conn. State University. She serves as the NAACP Danbury Branch President; President of Danbury P.R.I.D.E. Inc. of Danbury; Chairperson of the Education Committee Zion Baptist Church in Waterbury; and the Pastor’s Aide Society and Camera Crew. She is the Principal of South Street Elementary School and Shelter Rock School in Danbury. Julia has a number of honors, recognitions and awards which include the Heart of Women for “Making a Difference”(2015); Recognition of Outstanding Accomplishments in Education (2015); Eastern Area Links Leveraging Friendship and Service Award (2015); ConnCan Award for Academic Achievement (2015, 2014); Founder and Initiator of “Home Literacy Parties” (2004); Danbury Children First Award for Continuous Collaboration and Leadership of Diverse Parents (2003) and Recipient of NAACP Achievement Award (1994).