AAUW San Juan 2021 NCCWSL Fundraiser

May 15, 2021

AAUW San Juan is kicking off its NCCWSL Fundraising Campaign on May 15!  Based around the donation by Hyatt Place SJ/City Center of a 3 day/2 night stay, we’re raising funds to send Puerto Rican college women to AAUW’s 2022 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). Each year we sponsor students to attend this conference, which will develop female leadership in Puerto Rico.

Donations can be of any amount. But, until midnight on June 19, each donation of $25 will receive a chance for a 3 day/2 night stay at the Hyatt Place SJ/City Center hotel. This stay is good until 12/15/2021 and requires a reservation to save the date. This offer includes complimentary American Breakfast, WIFI throughout the hotel, and note that taxes are included. Upon your donation, you will receive an email with our thanks and your ticket number. The drawing will be on the night of June 21, 2021, at our NCCWSL program, where we will hear from the seven women we sponsored to the virtual conference this year! Please join us.

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We, and a generation of student leaders, thank you for your kind donation to keep the program going!

Mission Statement: To advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.

Vision: Equity for all.

Values: Non-partisan. Fact-based. Integrity. Inclusion and intersectionality.

AAUW San Juan is a branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) active in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We currently number about 70 members and more than 130 friends.  We actively raise money for the San Juan Research and Projects grant, part of the more than $6 million dollars AAUW gives to women scholars annually to help them finance their education. We support national initiatives like Work Smart, and sponsor women to the National Conference of Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL), as well as raise money for local community projects.

We also have a lot of fun! At the moment on Zoom we are hosting numerous interest groups, such as our bookclub, film group, Great Decisions activity, monthly Sip ‘n Chat sessions on topics of the day, and from September to May we host a 7:15 pm program with female speakers, on topics of interest to our members and the public. We also publish a monthly newsletter with information on national and branch activities, as well as articles of interest.

In person, we have bi-monthly walking groups in the San Juan area, and occasional walking tours in OSJ (all activities require masks). Typically, we also have parties and social events for members and their friends and families, but for the moment those are on hold.

We believe in equity for women – in all spheres of life – and we work toward achieving that through research, education, advocacy and philanthropy.  Join us! Send us an email at: aauwpr@gmail.com for more information or with a request to get our newsletter.


Our Speakers Series on Zoom

May 24, 2021

New Beginnings with Plant-Based Desserts

Laura Pérez, graduate of our local Academia Maria Reina and the founder of Mucho Gusto, speaks about her journey as an entrepreneur: raised in PR, traveling the world, and returning to raise her children and begin a business. Her goal is that plant-based desserts will make a positive impact on the food scene in PR, and through collaborating with local food artisans and farmers, she can be part of the rise and growth of the plant-based movement in Puerto Rico.


April 26, 2021

What Ancient DNA Says About Puerto Rico’s History

Dr. Nieves-Colón, an anthropological geneticist, and currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, speaks about her research into the threads of Taíno genetic material in the present day Puerto Rican population. Able to explain complicated concepts with ease, she sheds light on the juxtaposition of the myth of Taíno extinction colliding with a sense of national pride in Taíno culture on the island, where people still consider themselves Taíno today.

February 22, 2021

Habitat for Humanity PR: Women Build

Amanda Silva, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Puerto Rico, explains what Habitat is doing to help with the housing shortage on the island. She highlights the Women Build program, which is a construction skills and jobs opportunity for women in Puerto Rico. It is an inspiring story of women getting the training to tap into this rapidly-growing sector.


January 25, 2021

The Many Transformations of Jan D’Esopo

Added by @alycehenson_photography Instagram post When I think of Jan D' Esopo, I think of a vibrant women that lives life to the fullest on her terms. She's the owner of theArtist, gallery owner, patron of the arts through the Puerto Rico Charitable Trust for Education of Young Musicians, keeper of The Gallery Inn in a 17th century building in OSJ, owner of the fabulous Cannon Club – Steinway Piano Bar, creator of a music series and a podcast during the pandemic and much more, Jan D’Esopo has reinvented herself over and over again, adding facets to an impressive and inspiring life. Join us for an interview of this interesting woman who has redefined herself in her adopted home of San Juan.



November 23, 2020

Oversight or Censoring of Puerto Rican Art?

Melissa M. Ramos Borges is a contemporary Puerto Rican art historian, and has curated and co-curated exhibitions in various institutions in her native Puerto Rico. She seeks to correct misconceptions regarding the experimental art produced on the island by rescuing and unveiling a large -but mostly unexamined- body of work created by a group of avant-garde Puerto Rican artists. Although these artists addressed local issues and reacted to shared social contexts, local colleagues considered them transgressors and questioned their “Puerto Ricanness” (puertorriqueñidad) which, she argues, contributed to posteriori-censoring by art historians.


October 26, 2020

How Women in Puerto Rico Obtained the Vote

SUNY Brockport professor and author, Dr. Anne Macpherson, and retired University of Sagrado Corazón professor and author Dra. Maria de Fátima Barceló Miller gave us an understanding of the political actions, many by women, that led to women achieving universal suffrage in Puerto Rico in 1935. Stories of accomplished Puerto Rican women who attempted to demonstrate gender parity included Milagros Benet de Mewton, Ana Roqué, Mercedes Solá, Dra. Martha Robert Besosa among many others.



September 21, 2020

Changes in Inheritance Laws in Puerto Rico that You Need to Know About

UPR Law School professor, Ana Cristina Gómez Pérez, currently teaches a course which is part of a series on the most significant legal changes to the Civil Code of Puerto Rico (Law 55-2020). Having identified and analyzed the most important changes in the area of inheritance law, she will inform us what is on the books today, giving us all a better idea of the road ahead. This is very complicated material!

Final presentation[15405] rev JJA


August 24, 2020

Feminist & Independent Journalism in a Recovering Puerto Rico

Journalist and educator, Cristina del Mar Quiles has worked for the past 10 years in print, radio, multimedia and independently as a reporter, editor and producer for newspapers such as Primera Hora, El Nuevo Día, the Inter News Service news agency, the Center of Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico, and more. She is an integral part of the journalistic project Todas (todaspr.com) born of the desire to see issues that directly affect women reflected in the Puerto Rican press. Todas is dedicated to highlighting the individual and collective struggles of women in the fields of culture, entertainment, politics, economics and social management, and they critically review the information that affects women’s lives in all these areas, recognizing oppression based on gender, race, and social class in order to create a more equitable society.



July 27, 2020

Using Power & Influence in Washington to Increase Equity in Puerto Rico

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gretchen Sierra-Zorita brings a bicultural perspective and sensitivity to her work. Currently, she leads Polivox787, a bilingual and bicultural public affairs and communications practice that offers strategic advice on government policy and relations, coalition building and advocacy and media engagement. Her career as a federal government official, advocate, activist, writer and public speaker has made her a respected opinion leader, sought out for her non-partisan insight and knowledge on the fiscal and humanitarian crisis affecting the island of Puerto Rico.

For audio of this presentation, go to:


June 29, 2020

Resilience, Equitable Development, and Climate Vulnerability in Puerto Rico

Speaking five languages and a graduate of UPR and the London School of Economics, Alejandra Castrodad-Rodríguez has an interdisciplinary background, with over 15 years of experience in regional and local economic development, strategic planning and resilience. Today, Alejandra leads multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral teams in strategic planning efforts aimed at reducing inequity and exposure to risk. Her most recent projects range from disaster risk reduction (OXFAM) to renewable energy (RPPR-RMI) and low-income housing. She was the Program Director of Resilient Power PR, a group that partners with community groups to deliver alternative-power structures to providers of services to the most vulnerable.

Read more about how PR Resilient’s work began, after Maria, in the article HERE.

To listen to Alejandra’s presentation, click