Monday, October 24, 2016

Audrie & Daisy: A Documentary About Rape

Fifteen-year-old Audrie Pott killed herself on September 12, 2012, eight days after she had been sexually assaulted at a party and pictures of the assault posted online.

At the Suffolk Country Community College Eastern Campus, Peconic Bay Zonta attended a showing of Audrie & Daisy, a documentary about rape and social-media bullying involving under-age teens. Before the film began, we were invited to say a few words about Zonta International. Afterwards, the audience of about 25 engaged in discussion about violence against women and girls. Serious stuff!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

This Young Woman Excels at Math!

The factorial function of a non-negative integer, denoted by N!, is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to N. It can also be defined recursively as N! = N * (N – 1)! Show the steps required to fully evaluate (((1! + 1)! + 1)! – 1)!

Can you solve the problem above?

Camille van der Watt can! And she did it before she started high school this September.

Recognizing her potential in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Peconic Bay Zonta and Brookhaven Women In Science (BWIS) paid for Camille's tuition at a workshop on scientific computing, held at Brookhaven National Laboratory this past summer.

At a recent event, Camille van der Watt described the summer workshop in scientific computing she took at Brookhaven Lab. She acknowledged and thanked Zonta and BWIS for their support. The woman seen on the screen to the right, Kathryn Meehan, was participating in the event from California via Skype. She is a Ph.D. student in physics at UC Davis and accepted a $1,000 prize given annually by BWIS. A good role model for Camille!

Every student who wished to participate in the workshop was given 10 questions to answer as part of the application process. The question above was #5.

Because space was limited, the selection process was very competitive. We learned through the workshop leader, David Biersach, a technology architect at Brookhaven Lab, that Camille was the first to complete early versions of the aptitude test and scored the highest.

This young woman excels at math!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Exploring Peru

We started our recent September business dinner with pisco sours, a Peruvian cocktail made with aguardiente distilled from fermented grapes. The main course included potatoes and chicken, staples in Peru (along with guinea pig, which no one had the courage to prepare). To finish, we enjoyed a Peruvian jelly-roll cake filled with beach plum jelly, a Long Island embellishment.

The meal was inspired by Peconic Bay member Liala Strotman, who recently returned from a vacation in Peru, and our guest, Susan Smith, who visited Peru several times while she lived in Ecuador years ago to teach English.

Peconic Bay often plans country-themed dinners, for which member Barbara Pierce provides country stats on birth rate, infant mortality, fertility rate and literacy. The numbers tell something about the status of women in a particular country. Here’s a sampling of country stats from around the world. (Think of the cuisines we have explored!)

                birth rate         infant mortality                   fertility rate                     literacy
                (births/1,000)  (deaths/1,000 live births)  (children born/woman)   (% over 15 read, write)
                                       Total    Male    Female                                             Total    Male     Female

China      13.71               21.16   19.43   23.08         1.77                                90.9     95.1      86.5
Italy           9.18                 3.38     3.59     3.16         1.39                                98.4     98.8      98   
India        22.22               30.15   34.61   25.17         2.72                                61        71.8      50.5  
Liberia     37.25               74.52   78.96   69.95         5.13                                57.5     73.3      41.6
Mexico    20.04               19.01    20.91  17.02          2.37                                91       92.4      89.6
Peru        18.28               19.59    21.79  17.29          2.18                                94.5    97.3      91.7
U.S.         13.68                 5.98      6.64    5.3            2.06                                99       99         99

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summary Reports

The "Zonta Rose" was introduced at the
1984 Zonta International Convention in Sydney, Australia.
At the conclusion of each Zonta year, Peconic Bay's president submits a summary report to Zonta District 3. Likewise, chairs submit achievement reports. See below highlights from all reports for June 2015 through May 2016.

President's report – Advocacy: Leadership Matters: At the 2015 District 3 spring workshop for areas 1 and 2, Area 1 Director Patricia Latona suggested to the Peconic Bay club that we organize an event on human trafficking, drawing on the experience of her Zonta Club of Westchester. Pat knew that in recent years, Peconic Bay had looked for activities that 1. increase our international involvement and 2. strengthen the club’s advocacy record.
     Working over many months with Pat, Peconic Bay member Diane Greenberg organized a program on human trafficking at a local library in October 2015. The audience numbered close to 30. Pat was the speaker and discussion leader for the evening. Her knowledge of the topic and experience in presenting the material made the night a success. Pat is a Zonta International representative to the United Nations and is active on the UN Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons.
      She started the program with an overview of human trafficking and then showed the film “Not My Life.” This documentary takes viewers into a shocking world where millions of children are exploited through forced labor, domestic servitude, begging, sex tourism, sexual violence and child soldiering. The ensuing discussion was lively, and Pat was careful to suggest ways that folks could take action now and work toward long-range solutions to the problem.
     Afterwards, Peconic Bay member Kathy Walker thought we could bring the program to her community in Patchogue. Deborah McKee of the Zonta Club of Suffolk was in the audience. Together, Kathy and Deborah, joined by Peconic Bay members Linda Rundlett and Liala Strotman, arranged a successful event at Kathy’s Patchogue church in January 2016. This time, the headcount was over 60.
     Through these two events, Peconic Bay expanded our efforts on the advocacy front and increased awareness of human trafficking around the world. The bonus: joining forces with other Zonta clubs. Thanks to Pat of Westchester; Diane, Kathy, Linda, and Liala of Peconic Bay; and Deborah of Suffolk. PS: Peconic Bay attracted two new members through this activity.
– Mona S. Rowe, President

Advocacy – Completed advocacy activities in two primary areas: 1. Contacted elected officials to pass anti-trafficking legislation and to help victims of domestic violence; 2. hosted two programs on human trafficking. Also have begun a dialogue with The Retreat, which supports victims of domestic violence.
– Barbara Pierce, Advocacy Chair

Membership – Membership remains stable at nine, with all of us eyeing potential members. While we wish to add additional members to insure fresh ideas and sufficient help in projects, we are finding this present membership number and group of women to be working extremely well. Peconic Bay’s membership plan is posted on our website, updated by Diane Greenberg for the years 2016-2020.
– Liala Strotman, Membership Chair

Public Relations – Since we are a very small club, our resources for public relations are limited. Nevertheless, we have garnered articles and photos in the local media by issuing news releases and photos about our club’s activities and targeting them to key publications. We update our website at least on a monthly basis. We also printed business cards for all members this year so that we can hand them out to those interested in our club, and we purchased a new banner to be displayed at our public events.
– Diane Greenberg, Public Relations Chair

Service – This year, we focussed on Maureen’s Haven, which helps the homeless on eastern Long Island; Mayan Hands, a fair trade organization that benefits women and girls n Guatemala; and Pecnic Bay's ESL scholarships for women at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus (Riverhead.) Looking ahead, we will participate in the AdoptaFamily program through The Retreat. We continue to discuss ways in which we can raise money and interact with the local community.
– Kathy Walker, Service Chair

United Nations – Peconic Bay highlights Zonta International’s activities at the United Nations in different ways. Perhaps most exciting was that Liala Strotman attended the official commemoration of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, held at the UN on November 25, 2015. She brought her orange scarf to a club meeting, where she shared information from this event. We would like to schedule a club visit to the UN in the next few months to increase our collective knowledge of the UN.
– Mary Ann Miller, United Nations Liaison

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yard Sale Raises ESL $$$

Peconic Bay Zonta raised over $700 doing a yard & bake sale on June 25. It was a bright sunny day, and we had crowds that came in waves. Notice the Peconic Bay banner hung on Kathy Walker's house. We told many that we were a local chapter of Zonta International, raising money to support our ESL scholarships for women at Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead. Folks were appreciative and approving of our efforts.

Not everything sold, of course, but just at the end, as we were cleaning up, the last puzzles, donated by Barbara Pierce, were picked out by a youngster (in yellow shirt just to the right of the tree) and bought by his mother (to the left of the tree, puzzles in hand). That was a satisfying moment.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered: Barbara, Diane Greenberg, Kathy, Liala Strotman, Linda Rundlett, Liz Freher, Mary Ann Miller, Mary Ann's sister Claire, and Mona Rowe. Our newest member, Annika Shapiro, had donated clothing, but she was out of town for the sale.

Special thanks to the bakers Claire and Linda. Mona scooped up some yummy breads and cookies to snack on for her road trip to Philly and beyond.

Lemon-poppy bread by Claire
Cinnamon cookie by Linda

Friday, June 10, 2016

Peconic Bay Zonta Awards ESL Scholarship to Zhuzhanna Mihal

Zhuzhanna Mihal of Moriches won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women. Peconic Bay Zonta scholarship chair Mary Ann Miller (left) presented Mihal with the award at Suffolk County Community College’s eastern campus, where she successfully completed Level 3 of the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in the college’s ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.
A native of Ukraine, Mihal came to the U.S. one year ago to reconnect with her family. She and her nine-year-old son now reside with Mihal’s sister and her family, and her mother.

Mihal was an accountant in Ukraine, and she hopes to eventually pursue her career in accounting in the U.S.  Learning English is her priority in her educational goals. Also, a proficiency in English will help her communicate bilingually with her son. He is learning English at a fast pace in elementary school, so they are able to teach each other valuable language skills.

Based in Riverhead, Peconic Bay Zonta covers the East End of Long Island and is affiliated with Zonta International, which works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Welcome to Zonta, Annika!

On June 1, the first day of the new year for Peconic Bay Zonta, we welcome a new member. Say hello to Annika Shapiro!

Scroll through older posts on this website and you will spot Annika at our recent activities. Liala Strotman, our membership chair, recruited Annika to Zonta, and she jumped right into our meetings and events months ago. Now it's official.

At left is Annika with a bouquet of yellow roses at our May meeting. A yellow rose serves as the symbol of Zonta Rose Day, which falls each year on International Women's Day, March 8. Zonta International's mission of empowering women through service and advocacy is very much in accord with Annika's beliefs.