Author Archives: kathymquinn

June 2019: Member News

Please give a warm welcome to two new branch members:

Some of you may remember Yauheniya “Zhenya” Cherkas from the Girls’ Recognition Reception, where she was one of a number of scientists who joined the girls at tables for discussions. Zhenya has a BS in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Belarus State University, a BS and an  MA in Mathematics from Temple University, and a PhD in Statistics from Rutgers. She works as a Data Scientist. Here contact information is: 564 Grant Street, Newtown, 18940; cellphone: 267-342-0442; email:

Patrice Pladsen will be familiar to other Cops ‘n’ Kids volunteers where she has already contributed. Patrice is a retired educator with a BS from LaSalle University, an MEd as a Reading Specialist from Arcadia University, and an MS in Education Administration at Rider University. Here contact information is 1566 Brookfield Road, Newtown, PA 18940; cell: 215-595-4838: email:

On a happier note, Angela Felver, who officially graduated from Peirce College in December,  attended her commencement on June 11. yesterday and it was very nice!  She was one of nine students invited to sit on the stage during the commencement as an award winner, and received the PICPA Excellence in Accounting Senior Award.   She graduated Magna Cum Laude and as a Delta Mu Delta Honor Society member. She is beginning classes at University of Scranton for her master the week of June 23. Angie also received a nice write-up on the Peirce blog.

Angie will be stepping up as Scholarship Chair in place of Harriet Freidenreich for 2019-2020.

There have been two sad events since the last issue of Connections.

Kathy Shaginaw‘s mother, Teresa Thrush-Quatro, passed away on the morning of April 24 at the age of 84 in Minnesota. Our condolences to Kathy.

Maureen Corbett‘s (formerly Gross) ex-husband, Mark Gross, passed away on June 5 after a long illness. If you wish to contact her, Maureen will be moving to a new address on June 27: 114 Windham Court, Newtown, PA 18940.

June 2019: Cops ‘n’ Kids Report

Cops ‘n’ Kids Delaware Valley celebrated its partners, volunteers and second successful year with a Meet and Greet at United Way of Bucks County on Tuesday, May 26. Visitors enjoyed refreshments, conversation, and displays highlighting the project’s work.

On June 23, volunteers worked with fourth and fifth graders at Mill Creek Elementary School in Levittown. A new activity introduced there was Cops ‘n’ Kids “Quiet please…I’m reading” doorhangers for the kids to color and decorate as they please.

In July Cops ‘n’ Kids will again be taking part in summer camps in Bristol Borough (Wednesdays)  and Morrisville (Thursdays) run by 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Volunteers are always needed. Contact volunteer coordinator Connie Gruen ( if you are interested.

Branch Scholarship Winners 2019

by Harriet Freidenreich

Maia Kessler

Maia Kessler

Mackenzie Lawson

Mackenzie Lawson

Two exceptional young women were chosen from a very competitive pool of applicants to receive our Makefield Area AAUW Branch Scholarships for 2019.  As you are undoubtedly aware, each year we invite applications from four public high schools in our area: Council Rock South, Morrisville, Neshaminy, and Pennsbury.  Applicants are nominated by their guidance counselors and must be in the top 10% of their class. We are looking for young women who not only excel in their studies, but who are active, who give to others, and who we think have the potential to make important contributions to their chosen profession and to their community in the future.

Our first scholarship winner is Mackenzie Lawson from Neshaminy High School.  In addition to her outstanding academic record, Mackenzie played in Neshaminy’s Jazz Band and Marching Band throughout her four years of high school, was associate editor of the Howler Literary Magazine and Vice-President of the Gender Equality Club.  She was also a member of the World Affairs Club and the National Honors Society.  She participated in a variety of volunteer projects with the Interact Volunteer Club and was a summer hospital volunteer at St. Mary’s Medical Center, along with working at a dining server at Pennswood Village for the past two years.

Mackenzie plans to go to medical school after completing university as a biology major and a public health or women’s studies minor.  She hopes to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology, focusing on women’s health and reproductive health issues, and would love to work with Doctors Without Borders to help provide medical care for people in distress.  Mackenzie will be attending Rutgers University in the fall.

Maia Kessler from Pennsbury High School received the Amy Lowenstein Memorial Scholarship this year.  Throughout high school, Maia has been actively involved in the Pennsbury Drama Club and Musical and the Falconers Audition Choir, as well as taking weekly dance and voice lessons.  She has been member and is now chair of the Prom Committee and belongs of the Thespian Honors Society as well as the National Honors Society.  She has participated in a week-long Appalachian Service Project and the annual Abington Memorial Hospital Christmas Adopt-a-Family program.  For the past three summers she has worked as a Face Painter at Sesame Place.

Maia is very concerned about protecting the environment and plans to major is landscape architecture.  She hopes to focus on ecological landscape design and ecological restoration.  She wants to re-incorporate nature in people’s lives as a cure to what she describes as the “nature-deficit disorder that has recently befallen the population.”  Maia will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall.

We wish both young women success in their further studies and hope that they will be able to achieve their dreams.

The members of the Scholarship Committee this year were Eileen Heitman, Beth Gentile, Francine Block, Angie Felver, and Alice Snare.

NCCWSL 2019: “a life changing experience”

by Lauren Beebe, NCCWSL Scholarship Recipient

The AAUW’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders was a life changing experience. From memorable speakers to invaluable professional and self-improvement workshops, all three days were filled with moments of self-discovery and growth. Even more meaningful than the provided informational and educational sessions were the private conversations that I had with other attendees. Being in an environment of like-minded and inspirational women was an experience I will be forever grateful for.

Upon arriving to the University of Maryland’s campus I was filled with nerves, expectations, and anticipations. Once I registered and introduced myself to my roommates, the nerves immediately melted away and I was left with unadulterated excitement for the future events and dialogue. My roommates were confident, intelligent, successful, and motivated women who I immediately got along with. Throughout the conference we bonded over common ideals, discomforts, and obstacles associated with being well-intentioned and achievement-oriented women. Our conversations ranged from the current political climate to the sociological meaning behind ghost stories to the calculus involved in economic development. These two new friends expanded my understanding of feminism and humanity. I am looking forward to future conversations and to maintaining our new friendship.

On top of the personal growth that I gained from meeting my roommates and other women at the conference, I also gained valuable tools in navigating my own career path. I learned the best way to obtain an appropriate and deserved salary and how to approach stressors in life in a mindful and productive way. Furthermore, I was able to meet other professionals in my career field and gain insight into the positives and negatives that women in engineering face in today’s society. As a woman, I am valuable in that there are not many female engineers; however, being a woman also places complex ideals for our behavior in the workplace. We are asked to choose between being either assertive or collaborative. These two qualities are placed in conflict with one another. If assertive, then the extreme personality trait of aggressive and bossy is assumed; but if collaborative, we are assumed demure and easily manipulated. If we as a culture aim to develop a more nuanced understanding of personality and behavior—we can be both strong and nurturing. That is what makes us a formidable force in the workplace. We can demand what we deserve, but also ensure that our peers have the same level of respect.

The opportunity to attend NCCWSL was an amazing one and I am beyond grateful for it. Those three days, although short, were powerful and I know that it has propelled me forward both personally and professionally. I made connections that will aid me in my future academic and career goals, and I built relationships that will encourage me to continue to be a confident and self-motivated woman.

Getting to Know…Shyla Jagannatha

by Sharon Abrahams

I met with Shyla at the Edgewood Café on Thursday, March 28. She was extremely charming and so interesting that I frequently had to remind myself why we were there in the first place. She was born in Bangalore, India and moved to the U.S. for graduate studies when she was twenty three years old. She has Masters and PhD degrees in Animal Genetics and Biostatistics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is married and has a son and a daughter. They’re seventeen year old twins. She has no pets.

Her husband, Jay Mysore, works for Bristol-Meyers Squibb. They met when he was teaching at a school where she attended classes. (He never taught her class.) Even though Shyla has advanced degrees in Animal Genetics, she works as a statistician five days a week for Johnson and Johnson.

I was curious to know what she does in any spare time she might have, as she rarely has any. She practice runs for a half marathon every year. She also enjoys cooking and proudly announced that she makes the world’s best baklava.

We spent time discussing what she would choose for any wish that could be magically granted. She wished she could have had more time with her father, who has passed away. (Her mother still lives in India.) What she would wish for humanity is for people to be more tolerant of each other and to treat each other with kindness. When asked what she’d like people to know about her, she replied that she is a very loyal person and wishes kindness for everyone.

Shyla is fluent in three languages, English, Kannada (her native language), and Hindi. She can understand several more.

Shyla has traveled all over the world, both for business and for vacations. Some of the countries she has been to are Japan, Greece, Peru, Malaysia, Sweden, Tanzania,  Germany, France, England, and, of course, India.

How she came to join AAUW was very interesting. Her daughter was nominated for the Girls Recognition Dinner. When Shyla attended with her daughter, she saw Eva Miller, whom she recognized as a biostatistician as well, but didn’t know personally. Eva told her about AAUW. Shyla joined in 2015.

Shyla gave a very unusual answer to the question of what she would choose for a special meal made gratis for her and her guests by a great chef. She replied that it would be a fusion of Indian and French cuisine. She particularly likes to combine the delicate French taste with the spiciness of Indian food. However, there definitely would have to be a moist chocolate cake for dessert. Right on, Shyla! Right on!

PAGES™ Conference April 2019

Philadelphia-Area Girls Enjoying Science (PAGES)™

Saturday, April 13, 2019
Chestnut Hill College
9601 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA

An award-winning program that gives sixth-grade girls a hands-on experience with science with mini-conferences once each fall and spring. Adult volunteers are needed as chaperones and workshop assistants.

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