Welcome to the AAUW-IA eNetwork Online Branch


The AAUW-IA eNetwork Online Branch offers members of the American Association of University Women:

  • the opportunity to network with Iowans across the state in real-time web-based conversation
  • interactive programs relevant to AAUW’s mission of advancing equity for women and girls
  • ways to create positive change through advocacy and philanthropy

We are a branch that meets via web-conferencing because our members are spread throughout Iowa.  Most of us haven’t met each other face-to-face, but our interactive sessions help us get to know one another as we process information that impacts women and girls.   Where are our members from?

Mary Ann Ahrens – West Des Moines

I’m a third generation Serbian to live in WDM. My grandparents
immigrated to the U.S. via Canada and Hibbing, MN.  My parents
lived in WDM their entire life and when it was yet Valley Junction
a booming railroading town with an underground railroad route.

When I attended school, our student population was very
diverse (Serbian, Latino, Polish, Italian, Jewish, African-American)
and prepared me for the rest of my life.

One unique thing about WDM is Historic Valley Junction.  Thank
goodness city leaders decided to remodel and upgrade the original
buildings downtown and use them as restaurants, and  unique shops.
Each year the downtown is used for many events such as our Farmers Market
in the summer,  Cinco de Mayo Festival, Mustang Car Show, Summer
Antique Jamboree, All Iowa Bash, Fall Antique Jamboree, HGF Tribute
Car Show, Main Street Iowa Restaurant Week, Fall Gallery Night,
Pumpkin Walk,  Sip and Shop, Mingle & Jingle in the Junction…not to
mention Ragbrai when they came thru in the recent past.  West Des Moines  just received substantial funding to upgrade several older structures downtown including the old Lyric Theater building.

Irene Brucker — Loess Hills, IA

I love the Loess Hills.  They are unique in that the blown soil hills occurs in only two other places in the world.

Mary Jane Cobb – Beaverdale, IA

I love living in Beaverdale with the mix of homes built in the 40s and 50s with tree-lined streets. We can walk to great restaurants and shops and neighbors get together for traditions like the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Families walk their dogs or ride their bikes and the Beaverdale Fall Festival is a treat for the entire family!

Maxine Lampe – Storm Lake, IA

Storm Lake is a very diverse community with 35 different languages spoken in the community. We have been featured on National TV for the positive way we have responded to our diverse population. SL is home to Buena Vista University and ICCC. We are also home to the Pulitzer Prize winner, Art Cullen!

Ann Gale – Grimes, IA

Grimes is northwest of Des Moines on Highway 141.  It has a small town feel, but is 17 miles from the Iowa State Capitol, so it is a short drive to Des Moines.  Grimes has an annual population growth rate of 6.5%, and grew from 5,098 in 2000, to 13,562 in 2018.
Two good things about Grimes:

It’s close enough to Des Moines to be able to take advantage of events there while still having a small town feel.
I am within a 20-minute drive of 6 different bike trails – probably more, but I have ridden at least 6.

Jane Nettleton – Algona, IA

Algona, IA is my town. The population is around 6000, but we have plenty to offer. One of the best things is the Haggard-Twogood Trust set up by two sisters of a pioneer Algona family who wanted to keep the fine arts alive and well. Thanks to them, we have many special performances in our town and a community concert series that features a matinee and an evening performance of 6 programs a year plus reciprocity with two other communities, all for $60 per person! An enterprising member of the community is renovating the Carnegie library building to make it a venue for art shows and smaller musical and other presentations. The town was founded and populated in the early days by educated people, many from unrelated families who happened to attend Oberlin College in Ohio and brought its progressive values to Algona. I came here for a year and have stayed for 55!

Jan Mitchell – Des Moines, IA

I live in downtown Des Moines across the street from the skywalk where I can walk to the grocery store, the post office, the bank, medical appointments, and more. My loft looks toward the ballpark where Iowa Cubs Baseball Games are held, and I enjoy seeing the fireworks after Friday evening home games all season.

Nancy Shoemaker – Raleigh, NC

Raleigh is the capital of NC with many urban amenities, but close to the beach, the mountains and “rural” life in general. Do drop by for a personal tour of our universities, tech companies, or vacation spots if your travels bring you to NC!

Ella Heineke-Bauer – Boone, IA

Ledges State Park is just outside of Boone, which has some beautiful trails and scenery. There is also the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad which travels over the Des Moines river valley.

Susan Wakefield – Iowa City, IA

I live in Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa and the Hawkeyes.

I live in the independent apartments with my husband in the Oaknoll Retirement Center. Oaknoll is a community of more than 300 residents and has many activities and amenities which keep us healthy and life interesting. We both continue being active in our interests in the community.

Oaknoll is located just a few blocks from Kinnick Stadium and University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. I don’t go to the football games, but on game days people park in our neighborhood and from my apartment I can watch the black-and-gold-dressed fans as they walk to the game and then back again. We certainly could walk ourselves to where the tailgate parties are going on and just soak up the enthusiastic atmosphere if we want. Or….we can wait inside until the game starts and then venture outside again on streets that are once again passable. It’s fun to be associated with the vibe of University happenings – sports, music, and literature.

Nancy Magnall – Waverly, IA / McPherson, KS

While our legal residence is still Waverly, Iowa, we live most of the time in McPherson, Kansas where three of our grandchildren live.  McPherson is proud of it’s Scottish heritage as evidenced by its bagpipe band which performs in town parades and celebrations in full Scottish regalia.

Penny Foy – Cedar Rapids, IA

I have lived in Cedar Rapids for almost 9 years.  The best part of Cedar Rapids is the variety of things to do:  Theatre Cedar Rapids has awesome shows, the Paramount Theatre hosts many different entertainment options along with Orchestra Iowa, and the U.S. Cellular Center has a huge variety of events every year.  The new downtown library is awesome (I am an avid reader and I used to have a library of over 2,000 books).  I was able to watch it be built – starting in the fall of 2011.  The original downtown library was destroyed in the 2008 flood.

Mary Helen Stefaniak – Iowa City, IA

My favorite place in Iowa City is Prairie Lights – the world-famous independent bookstore that has been a downtown landmark since 1978.  My husband and I also enjoy our historic home in Iowa City – a former stagecoach inn built by Belgian brewer and “city father” Louis Englert back in 1856.

Mary Kuhr – Loess Hills, IA

Greetings from Iowa’s Loess Hills!

Jane Goldsmith – Loess Hills, IA

The Loess Hills, comprised of wind deposited loess soil, follow the Missouri River rising 200 feet above the flat valley.  The steep ridges and sharp bluffs provide a scenic panorama as one travels Interstate 29.  Growing up I walked the hills to bring in the cattle.  Now I hike trails at Hitchcock Nature Center and enjoy top down drives.