AAUW recognizes two women with local ties

2013-05-06T03:00:00Z 2013-05-07T11:25:05Z AAUW recognizes two women with local tiesJessica Soule Skaneateles Journal Auburn Citizen
May 06, 2013 3:00 am  • 

SKANEATELES | The American Association of University Women named the woman of the year for 2012, and also for 2013.

During a breakfast meeting Saturday, Janet Shadle spoke about a founder of the Skaneateles chapter, Phyllis Carender, who earned the title of Woman of the Year for 2012.

Carender, who died last summer, helped create the chapter in the early 1980s, and served as the first president.

Skaneateles resident Mary Menapace earned the title of this year's Woman of the Year for her work addressing climate change and vertical drilling for natural gas.

The chapter is donating money to the AAUW fund in honor of both women.

During her speech, Shadle held up a photo of Carender so those members who joined after she left could see "all the love and caring in her face."

"For almost 30 years, Phyllis, as social worker and counselor, spent her professional life bringing dignity, encouragement and hope to hundreds of children and their families whose lives had been touched by illness and physical, cognitive and emotional limitations. I'm sure she seemed like a godsend to many," she said.

Carender worked for the Red Cross, Upstate Medical Center, and Cerebral Palsy Center in Portland. She moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2012 to be closer to her family.

"She died this past August, having bettered the lives of all who knew her," Shadle said.

Menapace, too, earned praise for thinking of others in her struggle for taking on the energy industry to push for sustainable and safe methods.

"She has become a community leader in the fight against hydrofracking," Kathy Gorr said while introducing Menapace, a nurse at the OB/GYN Clinic at Upstate Medical Center.

"I am humbled by this," Menapace said of the award. "And I feel gratitude to the American Association of University Women for recognizing that work on climate change and work on energy is worthwhile. I'm simply one of dozens who worked on hydrofracking and natural gas drilling in Skaneateles, and one of thousands across New York state who started asking questions about what's going on in fossil fuel extraction and what's going on with climate.

"It started with questions that turned to alarm, and then inevitably action to work to stop industrial fossil fuel extraction."

She said the state can convert to sustainable energy, relying on wind, water and solar power. 

"It is possible, we can do it," she said.

Before the awards, AAUW President Fran Rotunno Fish spoke about past struggles for equality and the importance of education. Besides AAUW members, Saturday's annual Issues at Breakfast was attended by high school students.

Past members of the AAUW had the courage and intelligence to push for fair legislation to protect their rights and ability to join the workforce, Rotunno Fish said.  

"I think perhaps some of the young women here today may not realize what a fight that has been. Women have gone to jail for you. They were put in detention homes, they were forced to work."

As those young women go forward into the world, they can reflect on role models, past and present, as they make their own waves in the world.

Skaneateles Journal editor Jessica Soule may be reached at 283-1615 or Jessica.Soule@lee.net

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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