I joined AAUW’s Blacksburg Branch in 1993 when I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech. At the time, I was pursuing a degree in education and I had heard about AAUW’s gender gap research.

I was interested in how, I as a teacher, maybe favoring male students unknowingly over female students. I am a member of a group that supports an all-female college since 1986, and I had read many articles about how women thrived in all-female schools because they made room for them to lead. At the time, VMA was discussing allowing women (they are just down the street from VA Tech), and the issues of women and leadership were hot. AAUW was a great outlet for me to discuss these topics with very admirable women: women who were pioneers in their fields and who were proactive about equity.

I waited twenty years between leaving the AAUW Blacksburg Branch in 1998 and joining the AAUW State College Branch in 2018. I was busy with my career and although I had been volunteering as a cashier at the annual AAUW Book sale since 2015, I felt that my schedule was too full. I wish I had joined earlier, to be honest. I received the AAUW Leadership Centre County scholarship in 2010. That should have been motivation enough to join again. What I did not realize at the time is that even though I was super busy, AAUW could be what I wanted it to be on my schedule because the programs are open and there is no pressure to be 100% “in.”

The women who belong to AAUW are like soul sisters — we all have a desire for equal opportunity for all. The members are inspiring and have rich stories to share of advancement, hardship, and memories of when life for women wasn’t at all what it is like today for women. I learn new things from our branch programs. I admire how our branch changes leadership so that many people have a chance to lead and grow. I like what our branch stands for, and how we do good for many local charities with our stellar book sale fundraiser. We are an active large branch, and I can’t say enough about how fortunate I am to know so many AAUW State College members. I very much enjoy being part of a group that seeks to make life better for many.