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WREI UPDATE— Issue 11

 

June 12 , 2002

IN THIS ISSUE
WREI Bids Farewell and Welcome
2002 Fellows Salute
WREI Fellow Awarded Ford Fellowship
WREI Fellows Meet With Colonel Martha McSally
Former WREI Fellows

 

DID YOU KNOW. . .
The average woman over 65 who lives alone spends more than $1.14 for every $1.00 of after-tax income. Shelter accounts for the largest chunk (almost 25 percent) of her expenditures, followed by health care (15 percent). Food is third (about 13 percent).

 

WREI BIDS FAREWELL AND WELCOME

Rachel Mears, director of the Congressional Fellowship program, will be leaving WREI at the end of June to put her graduate degree in folklore to work at the Library of Congress. She will be processing collections for the American Folklife Center’s veterans history project.

Rachel has done a fantastic job in recruiting, selecting, orienting,
placing and supervising the classes of 2001 and 2002 and she will be
truly missed. All at WREI wish her the best as she embarks on this new adventure in archiving.

We also welcome our new summer interns Claire Hebenstreit and Alexis Rhudy. Claire, a senior at Smith College, is majoring in sociology. She spent the past semester designing and conducting her own survey on the issue of abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education in secondary education and its impact on sexual behavior. Alexis, a senior at Eastern Michigan University, is studying psychology with a minor concentration in criminal justice. With this academic combo, it should come as no surprise that law school looms in her future.

 

WREI SALUTES THE CLASS OF 2002

On June 5th, the outstanding women in the class of 2002 were recognized at our annual Capitol Hill reception. A crowd of nearly 100 friends, family, and former Fellows heard from this year’s class as well as from their Congressional “bosses,” Reps. Carolyn Kilpatrick, Betty McCollum, Adam Schiff, Bobby Scott, and Diane Watson.

Trenace Richardson, who began a musical ministry in her teens and is now working on her Ph.D. in educational administration, wowed the crowd with an a cappella rendition of “If I Can Help Somebody.“

 

FORMER WREI FELLOW RECEIVES FORD FELLOWSHIP

Congratulations to former WREI Fellow Kimala Price (class of 1999–2000) who was recently awarded a Ford Fellowship to complete her dissertation at the University of Michigan. Kim is writing on political issues surrounding RU-486 and plans to receive her doctorate in political science by 2003.

Funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies, the Ford program awards up to 40 dissertation fellowships to minority students for their final year of graduate school. It includes a stipend of $24,000, tuition and fees waiver, plus all expenses paid to attend up to three annual conferences at the Ford Foundation. Recipients are expected to finish their dissertations during the award year.

For more information on the Ford Fellowships and other pre- and post-doctoral funding programs, visit the National Academies online.

 

WREI FELLOWS MEET WITH COLONEL MARTHA McSALLY

In May Darlene Iskra, retired Navy Commander who is a current WREI Fellow in the office of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), arranged to bring Colonel Martha McSally to meet with WREI Fellows and staff. Col. McSally is the Air Force fighter pilot who filed suit against the Department of Defense (DoD) for requiring that U.S. female military personnel in Saudi Arabia wear the abaya, the head-to-foot covering that Saudi women are required to wear in public. Col. McSally provided a lively and informative history of her frustrating attempts to work her objections to this discriminatory policy up the chain of command. Although the requirement has been lifted by the current commander in Saudi Arabia, it could be restored in the future, so Col. McSally’s lawsuit continues.

Moreover, Senator Cantwell, with Senator Bob Smith (R-NH), has introduced legislation prohibiting the DoD from requiring that the abaya be worn by U.S. servicewomen.

 

FORMER WREI FELLOWS: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Deborah Alexander, class of 2001, and current student of law at Rutgers University recently won a school-wide competition on writing Tort law. The general topic was Tort Compensations for Victims of Terrorism and her paper focused on—and was titled—the Politics of Compensation. As she stated in a recent email to WREI, “Once hooked, always hooked on congressional/legislative impact on our lives.”

Deborah also reports that she will be interning this summer for a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey. She writes, “thank God for the writing competition and the WREI fellowship work—that's what I think!”

While a WREI Fellow, Deborah was assigned to the office of Rep. William J. Pascrell (D-NJ) and worked on environmental issues, teacher shortages, and a Congressional task force on brain injury. She received her master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, with a cross-disciplinary concentration in political science and history and a certificate in women's studies. A graduate of Boston University's School for the Performing Arts, she has spent more than twenty years as a professional musician with orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including work under conductors Bernstein, Mehta, and Dutoit

Other news: Deborah’s husband Scott, after a scary six-week hiatus due to downsizing, is now working at a good job in network security in New York. They are also enjoying two baby robins that just hatched in the back yard, and a new kitty, Bailey, who torments Scritchums, the senior cat in the household.