University Woman Texas

Volume 74 l Issue 1 l August 2022

Message from the President

A big Texas welcome to you from your new president. I am a member of the North Harris County branch and have served as their president for three years. The odd number of years is because we switched from two-year terms to one-year terms and began electing a president-elect who would assume the position of the president the following year. Since becoming AAUW TEXAS president I have been filling the appointed offices with wonderful women from around the state. The new board has met once officially on July 21 and has just begun working on our strategic plan.

When I vacated the office of Vice-President of Programs, that left a vacancy; thank goodness, Terry Whalen was willing to step in and fill this office for me. There are three new District Representatives: Cheri Butler for the North District, Cheryl Fuller for the Central District and Stephanie Jones for the West District. Other new officers are Margaret Carlson as Bylaws/Parliamentarian Chairman and Margo Johnson as Branch Services Officer. Shirley Selz will fill as in the SHARE Program Coordinator position. In our communications department we have a new Facebook manager, Jerrilyn Woodard-Entrekin. I am very thankful that all these ladies said yes. The new AAUW TEXAS BOARD IS EXCITED AND READY TO SERVE YOU. LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN HELP!

At our first board meeting on July 21, we approved the yearly budget which included money budgeted for each Texas branch to have a Zoom account at the state’s expense. Just sign up with Zoom and turn in your receipt to Diane Roberts, the state treasurer. [email protected]

I was in Austin on August 1 to testify at the State Board of Education about the social studies standards. The SBOE is in the process of adopting new standards for social studies K-12 – something they have not done in years. Since I was already in Austin, I arranged a meeting with Kevin Stewart, our lobbyist from the last state legislative session. We have hired him again for the 2023 legislative session and will be picking the topics and eventually the bills that we want to back this year. These are some of the categories that were important to us in the last legislative session:

  • Medicare advancement for maternity care – last session passed it to 6 months, it should be 12 months.
  • Sexual assault – in the workplace- treatment of the victim, what if she gets pregnant?
  • Workplace issues
  • Neonatal care – Texas can be compared to a 3rd world country
  • Women’s health issues
  • STEM issues for education
  • Childcare

Of course, since then the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. This is one of the most recent upheavals for women no matter where you stand on the issue of when life begins, one cannot deny the confusion, fear, and loss of dignity that many women feel due to the decision. I will send out a survey soon to all of you with the issues on them so that you can prioritize the ones you are most interested in following closely this legislative session.

Pat Rehm’s Public Policy committee will be getting out information to you shortly about ways you can become involved in the fall election. See her article in this newsletter. 

Terry Whaley and her committee are working out an exciting plan for programs. The Board is rolling and has many great things brainstormed that we are working out the details on.

STAY TUNED! This is a time when AAUW is most needed. Girls and women need to know that they are valued and that they can succeed.

Mary Smith

AAUW Texas President

September Zoom Conference Calls

Please RSVP to the Board Member who is hosting to receive the Zoom link.

Zoom calls can be accessed by phone for anyone unable to connect virtually.

September 6, 6:30 pm - Membership

Sara Wood [email protected]

September 8, 6:30 pm - AAUW Funds

Margie Poole [email protected]

September 13, 6:30 pm - Public Policy

Pat Rehm [email protected]

September 15, 6:30 pm - Programs

Terry Whaley [email protected]

Are you ready for the new year? Texas branches are filled with smart, capable members dedicated to promoting equity and education for women and girls. Your membership is valued, and your help is needed, as we work toward increasing our membership and keeping our organization strong and relevant.

It’s no secret that membership renewals have been challenging this year as we learn to navigate the new National “Community Hub” database system. Your perseverance and innovative problem solving have been very impressive! All your extra effort to ensure membership retention is appreciated. Check out this link if you would like some time honored strategies:

AAUW is pursuing a goal to have our membership become more diverse, equitable and inclusive. We want to have policies and programs that encourage the representation and participation of different groups. Our aim is to have women of different ages, races, ethnicities and cultures join our branches and enrich our membership.

How do we gain visibility among diverse groups? Maybe a community service project with a local like-minded organization of women of color, such as a Black sorority or The Hispanic Women’s Network. Or, to connect with younger women, have a voter registration drive on a nearby college campus. I know your branch will brainstorm some great ideas! For more information on this subject:

The first Zoom call for branch Membership VPs, and all who are interested, is Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 PM. I look forward to seeing you there.

Let’s make 2022-2023 our best year yet!

Sara Wood

AAUW Texas Membership VP



Calling all branches to share in the AAUW Texas SHARE opportunities. What is SHARE? Our own Texas creative program for Supporting Hard-working Affiliates Rising to Empower. Good news – the Board has budgeted some money in 2022-23 to help support branch projects, support student participation in the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), and to assist college student affiliates with their AAUW mission-based projects. Watch for a later edition of the UWT for additional information and application forms.

Public Policy Update

Summertime has brought us into a new organizational year, and the new board will continue to make public policy one of its priorities, by providing advocacy information and opportunities to our statewide members. We are anticipating the usual quarterly Zoom meetings this month, including the one for public policy advocates on September 13.  As the fall elections come closer, the public policy advocates' discussion will focus on ways to get out the vote. Since AAUW is a non-partisan organization, our GOTV activities must strive to increase voter turnout regardless of party identification. 

A possible project for you and your branch could be to register the seniors at a local high school(s) near you. High School principals in Texas are required by law to provide opportunities for their seniors (at least 17 years and 10 months old) to register at least 30 days prior to an election, but past records show that many school administrators do not comply. For information about becoming a Voluntary deputy registrar (VDR), go to

FYI, “National Voter Registration Day” will be observed on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Watch for publicity suggesting ways to participate and promote GOTV. More information is available at the official website, [email protected].


Another pressing topic of continuing interest, especially to members who are retired teachers, is the dire need for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the 2023 legislative session. In a hearing this past June, Rafael Anchia, Chairman of the Texas House's Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee (PIFSC) agreed to review and evaluate the actuarial soundness of the Texas Retirement System (TRS) pension fund and to study possible benefit enhancements. Several TRTA members presented personal testimonies to the PIFSC regarding their personal situations. It is always appropriate to contact your district representatives or senators regarding their perspectives on your issues of interest.

There are many other public political issues which match AAUW's mission of promoting equal opportunities in the current news reports, such as gun violence, book bans, availability of healthcare for pregnant women, disenfranchisement of targeted communities, etc. Feel free at the meeting to suggest other state or national topics to discuss. If time permits, we can also discuss new voting laws in Texas and recognize some other Texas non-partisan groups which are promoting voters' rights. To be sure to receive the September13 Zoom link, please contact Pat Rehm at [email protected]. Thank you!

Pat Rehm

Public Policy

What's Happening in the Branches.........

Why ZOOM Worked Successfully for San Antonio Branch

Once COVID hit, our last in-person meeting was March 2020. We had to pivot and try something different to keep our members in touch and keep our branch membership intact. We chose to employ the new virtual meeting technology on the block. Enter: ZOOM!

We started using ZOOM as soon as we were aware of it and took full advantage of the paid subscription features with the generous support of AAUW Texas. 

Here are some of the primary benefits:

  • Ability to continue meeting. In the early days of COVID the risks of face-to-face meetings were undefined but known to be a potential major health risk worldwide.
  • Availability of a wider array of speakers, expanding beyond our many wonderful local ones, which were a bigger attendance draw.
  • Attendance at ZOOM meetings was 30-40 members contrasted with a normal group of 20-25 for our monthly in-person luncheon meetings.
  • Apprehension regarding increased costs of attending luncheons, driving distance and locating the venue was eliminated.
  • Efficiency in terms of conducting all our meetings virtually, allowed members to manage their time more effectively. Start to finish, most virtual meetings were no more than two hours.

Tell your Branch Board that once again in 2022--2023, AAUW Texas is making paid ZOOM subscriptions available to all Branches who apply.

Cheryl Fuller

Central District Rep

Notes from Cheri Butler - North Representative, NE Tarrant County Branch

Some ZOOM meeting highlights and strategies that worked during the height of the pandemic. These may prove useful to Branches who are still not back meeting in person. Please be reminded that AAUW Texas will reimburse your Branch for the cost of a ZOOM subscription:


ZOOM Program Presenters (who did not incur travel costs, YEA!)

  • Betsy Price - then Mayor of Fort Worth talked about women and leadership.
  • One of our members of color spoke about inclusion. It was wonderful.
  • Director of the Women's Collection at Texas Women's University spoke about that collection and the Texas AAUW holdings and gave a virtual tour.
  • AAUW Texas Political Advisor (formerly "lobbyist") spoke about the legislative process and current bills of interest.
  • Leah King, the President and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County spoke about the impact of COVID on their projects.
  • Teacher and educational consultant spoke about the impact that COVID has had on learning..
  • CEO of the Tarrant County Food Bank spoke about the pandemic and their challenges.


Other successful strategies to engage and retain members: 

  • Used a feature in ZOOM that allows for breaking the large group into "rooms" of 3 or 4 people. 
  • Become better acquainted when not in person.
  • Meet in the small groups ("chat rooms") for 2 or 3 minutes and answer one or two planned questions about ourselves, then move to the next group and CHAT again. Spent about 20 to 30 minutes per meeting in this get-acquainted and caught-up activity. 
  • Created a care team who took it upon themselves to write cards and notes to keep up with all members. Would at times deliver small gifts of candy or cookies. Basically they checked on our members. It worked very well to keep everyone in touch and feeling part of the group and helped retention enormously.


Some IN-PERSON program practices we look forward to RE-instating:

  • First year scholarship recipients should come to our membership recruitment event.
  • College women sponsored to attend NCCWSL should come to speak at a meeting.

Tarrant County Branch - Girls Inc. College Shower

Branch members contributed items for the sponsored student Isabel and awarded $1,000 scholarships to two seniors in the Girls Inc. program.

Elected Officers  

Mary Smith

Terry Whaley

Sara Wood

Margie Poole

Diane Roberts

Lucy Barrington

Elected District Representatives

Betsy Calabro

Cheryl Fuller

Cheri Butler

Stephanie Jones

Standing Committees

Margaret Carlson

Pat Rehm

Appointed Positions

Shirley Selz

Margo Johnson

Communications Team

Malinda Gaul

Janani Janakiraman

Jerrilyn Woodard-Entrekin

Contact at:


Program VP

Membership VP


Finance Officer


South District

Central District

North District

West District


Public Policy

SHARE Grants Coordinator

Branch Services

UWT Editor