On November 12, 1975 the Poughkeepsie Branch held a dinner at the Vassar Alumni House to commemorate the International Women's Year and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of our branch. Eight women were honored for outstanding service to the residents of Dutchess County. Since that time, the Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW has selected a local woman to honor as our Woman of the Year. These women exemplify the goals stated in AAUW's mission statement:
The American Association of University Women advances equity
for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
We invite you to nominate candidates for consideration of this honor using the form linked below to print, fill in and mail. Your nomination will be in consideration for two years from the date you submit the form to one of the Woman of the Year Committee Co-Chairs: Gail Sisti, 313 Forest Rd, Wallkill, NY 12589 or Mary Lou Davis, 125 Andrews Rd, Lagrangeville, NY 12540
"“Nobody has the right to sit down and do nothing"
Ceal Sommer exemplifies many facets of AAUW’s program and ideals—pursuing advanced degrees, a career in scientific research, lifelong education and continuing contributions to the community. In 1934, before it was popular for girls to pursue careers in math and science, she received a B.A. from Hunter College with a major in pre-med. After that, she earned her M.A. from Columbia in bio-chemistry. As one of the earliest registered medical technicians in New York, she worked on many research projects, including breast cancer and the Rh factor. She taught at the St. Francis School of Nursing, 1940-1944. At that time she was a member of our branch; later she became a member-at-large when she returned to New York City in 1979.
She retired four years ago. However, in 1993 she began working with Astor Headstart teaching English as a Second Language to Spanish-speaking parents. In addition, she also teaches a citizenship class at Astor. She is a volunteer with Dutchess Outreach. Active with Temple Beth-El, Poughkeepsie, she has also served on the board of Jewish Family visiting service at the Jewish Community Center. She currently volunteers Mondays at Overlook School in their Grandmothers’ Storytelling program. She was 84 years old.