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AAUW Spring Social 2023

5:00-6:00 p.m. – Social Hour & No-Host Bar

6:00 p.m. – Dinner 

6:30 p.m. – Program

8:00 p.m. – Closing

2023 Spring Social Program


Welcome from emcee Chessa Hickox, President of AAUW-Walla Walla (2022-2023)


Great Explorations in Education (GEE) Annual Meeting            

  • Great Explorations 2023 Event Report (Ruth Ladderud)    


AAUW Program                

  • Scholarships (Michelle Higgins)                

  • Community Mini Grants (Linda Brown)

  • Kitchen Tour    

  • Tech Trek (Chessa and Debbie Dumont)

  • Named Gift Honorees (Donna Rapp and Kay Raddatz)


AAUW Walla Walla Business Meeting    

  • Budget (Kate Venneri)

  • AAUW-WW 2023-24 Leadership Team 

  • Past President Recognition (Mary Cleveland)

  • Passing of the Gavel (Renee Hadley and Chessa)

  • Closing & Raffle (Renee)



AAUW High School Scholars 2023

High school juniors who have excelled in the areas of Science, Technology or Mathematics during high school: 


College Place High School

  • Stephanie Sanchez 

  • Ell Neil

  • Jullissa Rojas


Lincoln High School

  • Ava Herrera

  • Aubree Leal

  • Angelina Chanla


Touchet High School

  • Jacee Tobin 

  • Lia Osorio Contreras


Walla Walla High School

  • Anna-Sofia Foster 

  • Hope McMahon


Walla Walla Valley Academy

  • Samantha Trees


AAUW College Scholarships Recipients 2023


Students Returning to College After a Pause in Education

The following recipients will use their $3000 scholarship to resume their college education after experiencing an interruption or hardship:

  • Alexiah Nuno-Herrera 

  • Crystal Madrigal

  • Jennifer Combs

  • Jessica Lambert

  • Jacquelyn Waggoner

  • Kerrin Griggs

  • Lisbeth Corona

  • Misha Patel


STEM Student Scholars

These college juniors have declared a STEM major and will receive a $3000 scholarship to continue their studies:  

  • Amy Ruiz

  • Dilraj Kaur

  • Emilia Rojas

  • Lexus Brooks

  • Luz Vasquez-Perez

  • Natalie Reyes

  • Wynter Doyle

National Conference for College Women Student Leaders  (NCCWSL)

NCCWSL will take place May 31 – June 3, 2023, at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Our three local students will join women from all over the country for a busy, fun-filled and informative conference geared toward learning, networking, and exploring.


2023 Scholarship Recipients:


  • Samantha Coyle is a Walla Walla Community College sophomore who hails from Pullman, Washington, and is a psychology major transferring to Central Washington University in the fall.

  • Nina Horn is a Whitman sophomore from Bend, Oregon, who is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. 

  • Joy Nampaso, from Kenya, is a college senior majoring in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology at Whitman.


Tech Trek 2023

Our Walla Walla Tech Trek group will attend Camp Dunbar on the Pacific Lutheran University campus in Tacoma (July 9-15, 2023). The Walla Walla Tech Trek group will fly roundtrip from Walla Walla (or Pasco) to Seattle-Tacoma Airport. 


Camp Attendees 

  • Molly Driver (Garrison Middle School)

  • Neveah Evans (Garrison Middle School)

  • Olivia Duncan (Waitsburg School) 


Tech Trek Selection Committee

A huge thank you to these members who read through the applications from the students and their teachers:

  • Brooke Marshall

  • Korrie Beemer

  • Mimi Brown

  • Nancy Abel

  • Sue Wickham


Tech Trek Interview Committee 

Additional thanks to these members who met with each candidate and her parent(s) in person for the Tech Trek interview:  

  • Ginette Raygor

  • Mimi Brown

  • Nancy Abel

  • Tracii Hickman


Tech Trek Camp Volunteers

We extend a huge thank you to Ginette Raygor who has offered her nursing expertise and time to volunteer during the second week of Tech Trek camp! We also thank Mimi Brown for volunteering to chaperone our Tech Trek group on their flight to and from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Mimi is the perfect chaperone as the girls have already met Mimi when she was on the Tech Trek interview team!


Named Gift Honorees

Named Gift Honorees are individuals who are nominated by members and recognized for their outstanding service to our branch. The branch will make an $8,000 donation in the honorees' names to the Greatest Needs Fund of AAUW National.

Hall of Fame 


Diane Reed    

This is Diane’s inaugural year in the Hall of Fame; she has been recognized for her contributions three times previously. She was nominated this year by Kay Raddatz, who writes, “Diane has been managing the Collectibles category for over ten years and will soon be moving to the Boston area. Using her experience as a former bookstore owner, she has done an incredible job of evaluating and pricing collectible books for the book sale, especially in the last few years when we received several very large donations. Many members don’t realize Collectibles is about 19% of our total book sale revenue. Diane is also an expert at knowing which books to sell on ebay or at auction. We are so fortunate to have had her help!”


Ruth Ladderud    

Ruth is an amazing individual that always makes people feel like they are welcome. She is a public servant that doesn't always receive the appreciation and applause that she deserves. I'm so glad she is in AAUW and our "benevolent dictator.” 


Kay Raddatz     

Kay spends so many hours a week organizing the book sale including book sorts, book pickups, book categories, all of the details at the ice chalet, communications with the public, and the list goes on. She has organized booths at several community events throughout the year – on top of the big sale in February. She is amazing!


2023 Honorees

Please note: The numbers in parentheses indicate statements by different members nominating and recognizing the same honoree. 


Kris Barry     

Kris was AAUW-Walla Walla president (1990-92). Before, during, and beyond her tenure, she developed a great friendship with longtime member Dina Baker. During that time the Dina Baker Walla Walla American Fellowship was established. Our  membership worked hard to contribute such that the scholarship would be fully funded at the required $100,000 level. The fellowship is managed at the national level and proceeds (funds) are given each year to a student in Washington State. As Dina Baker’s health declined, Kris stayed in contact with her and eventually developed a good relationship with the manager of Dina’s estate. In 2020 the result was another gift by Dina to the Blue Mountain Community Foundation. The Dina Baker AAUW Fund beneficiary is our AAUW Walla Walla Scholarship Fund. The proceeds from the Dina Baker Fund are available for our local branch scholarships each year. Thanks Kris for keeping up the good work of AAUW-Walla Walla and providing such a living tribute to a wonderful woman!


Jean Bender 

Jean also wants to acknowledge the team at the Walla Walla General Store. We thank them for their kind donation of $3,000, which is the value of one scholarship that will be granted through the Blue Mountain Community Foundation.


Maryann Cole    

Maryann has done a wonderful job of helping Diane Reed with collectible books for more than ten years. Her attention to detail in pricing books, organizing the Collectibles area and preparing for and setting up the book sale have been instrumental in its success. She has played an important role in training the new Collectibles team and writing the training manual for them. Maryann has graciously agreed to continue to be a resource as the new team takes over.


Ben Fenton

Ben is the manager of Book & Game in downtown Walla Walla. He has been contacting us and donating 15 boxes of new books every year for the past five years. That's approximately 75 boxes of new books!


David Gordon

David is the owner of  Andy's Market and has supported AAUW for many years by allowing us to place a book drop box at their College Place location.  AAUW greatly appreciates this support from our community.


Chessa Hickox  

(1) Chessa has done a wonderful job leading our branch as president this year. She also manages the Social Sciences category for the book sale and has helped to sort books at large donation locations. (2) Chessa has done an outstanding job as AAUW-Walla Walla branch president. She does a great job running our board meetings, facilitating conversations, and providing great advice as we go through another busy and productive year in AAUW. Her energy, ideas, and advocacy impact countless people not just in our branch, but in our community.


Kathy Jones

(1) Outstanding leader, facilitator, and leader of our service ideals with others! (2) After thoughtful consideration, Kathy Jones agreed to become the book sale co-chair this year after Melanie Plantaric stepped down. Her tasks included ordering the food for the workers who help set up and take down the book sale, lining up members who picked up and served the food, arranging for the WWCC trucks and drivers, and contacting various student groups to help with setup. She went above and beyond when WWCC couldn’t find a truck driver four weeks before the book sale, and when the WWCC basketball team of 25 volunteers had to cancel the day before setup, calling many school contacts to recruit replacement help. Kathy continued to be in charge of scheduling more than 200 volunteers, helping with setup, working the entire sale, and managing the Gardening and Humor categories – all of which she has done for eight years. She also has helped set up and take down the Fourth of July book sale booth and served as a past AAUW president (2020-2021). Kathy is very organized, gracious, and a joy to work with.


Alison Kirby

Alison is the queen of Little Libraries. Literacy and inclusion are at the forefront of her existence, along with humor and kindness. Every time she hosts a book club, she always adds a little something special. I am so glad that she is an integral part of AAUW.  


Heidi McFarley

Heidi is an advocate for women, democracy, and delicious food. She volunteers her time at Hope Street teaching the women how to prepare meals that are simple and delicious. When she is not in the kitchen, she is often doing something that supports women in our community.


Liz McClure

Liz worked at the Blue Mountain Community Foundation and helped us with our scholarship fund. She helped coordinate our scholarship committee's Zoom meetings when we selected scholarship recipients during COVID, and she did a variety of other tasks that helped our organization and other organizations in our community. She just started working at Walla Walla Community College and we wish her the best in her new job!


Janey McKern and Cherie Bernave

Janey and Cherie are Great Explorations (GE) retiring volunteer coordinators. They worked so hard to arrange and organize the many, many volunteers required to work the day of the event, and planned their “retirement” by finding and training their replacements!


David Parodi

David is GE’s long-time, boots-in-the-classroom, supporting committee member. He always attends meetings, quietly watching the planning happening and adds incredibly insightful comments. He is a calm and capable volunteer at the event. This year, he made all the contacts and arrangements to have Jeffrey Townsend provide his videographer skills to make a promo video that will be used to get kids excited about attending GE in 2025!


Ed Plantaric

When we first started using the former YWCA Ice Chalet for book sorting, Ed, along with Mark Raddatz, spent many days dismantling and remodeling the area with a variety of tools to make the space more usable. Since then, he has managed the How-To category, which is perfect for a retired industrial arts teacher. We appreciate his expertise and experience in this area.


Rochelle Short

(1) Rochelle works so hard to get the AAUW name out there. I enjoy the creativity and passion she puts into the professional and consistent social media posts. She spends a majority of the time at the AAUW socials making sure that members have their photos taken, all for a good cause. (2) Thanks to Rochelle for her technical expertise in managing our local website and social media. Her posts on Instagram are attractive and informative. I do not do Facebook, but I am sure it is just as well done. She has helped me immensely by taking excellent photos of new members. She always gets people to smile and whenever possible takes the photos outside in lovely green backdrops. She has also taken the initiative to create banners for advertising all the great things AAUW does for display at our community events. (3) In the short time Rochelle has been a member our social media presence has exploded! Rochelle’s vision and efforts have been phenomenal!


Nadine Stecklein

Thanks to Nadine who provides ideas and insights that contribute to the success of GE. Without her help, we wouldn’t have had Whitman intern Niayah!


Kate Venneri

Treasurer is one of our most important positions. Kate has been fantastic, keeping bills paid on time, reimbursing for expenses and keeping our financial books in order.

Thank you for joining us!

If you would like to participate on one of our committees or in an interest group, please reach out to one of our AAUW  board members, who will be happy to put you in touch with the member who can help you!

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