Following the Fellows in 2012

December 26, 2012

Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg with scholars

Whether you are back at work today, still lounging by the Christmas tree in your pajamas, or making it through winter vacation with the kids, we’d like to suggest a moment of reflection. This year the Following the Fellows blog series profiled some trailblazing, take-no-prisoners AAUW alumnae. As the weather gets colder and we surround ourselves with our loved ones, we want to share a few of our favorite Following the Fellows posts from 2012.

  • In February Melissa Harris-Perry, a 2001–02 American Fellow, began hosting her own show on MSNBC! Harris-Perry says:

When I think about the number of things the fellowship meant to me, it’s really hard to express what it meant — what a difference one year can make in the life of a junior faculty woman. I don’t think it’s possible that the rest of my career could have happened without that time.

  • We met Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, a 2005–06 International Fellow who was recently honored as a 2012 White House Champion of Change for her work with Akili Dada, an organization that is devoted to empowering the next generation of African women leaders. For all aspiring activists, Kamau-Rutenberg has two pieces of advice:

Firstly, put one foot in front of the other. Move. Act. Do something. Second, remember that it’s not about you. Make sure your actions maintain a focus on the lives of the beneficiaries you’re supposed to be supporting.

  • Teizeen Mohamedali, a 2009–10 Selected Professions Fellow, formed a friendship with her AAUW fellowship sponsor, Elisabeth Bathgate, that inspired Mohamedali to prioritize paying it forward in her career and in her support of women’s education.
  • We also remembered renowned Bolivian artist Marina Núñez del Prado, a 1940–41 International Fellow. Her work received critical acclaim, including from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who noted that Núñez del Prado’s work expressed “motion in an extraordinary way.”
  • Anissa Patton, a 2000–01 Selected Professions Fellow and welfare child law specialist, advised young women starting their careers not to get caught up in the hunt for profit but rather to “follow your dreams and love what you do. … Remember, you can always do well by doing good.”
  • This fall, sociologist Jody Aguis Vallejo told us, “It is so important to [reach out to your communities], meet others, network, cross boundaries, build a core group of people who don’t necessarily share the same interests, and attack inequality.”

This is only a sampling of the many women we profiled in 2012. This is by no means an exhaustive list. For all the great stories from 2012, check out the Following the Fellows series! Next week, we will highlight other fellows and accomplishments from this year. For more information and updates on AAUW’s amazing fellows and alumnae, check out our Twitter page. If you are an alumna, if you would like to be featured on the blog, or if you just want to keep us informed about your accomplishments, e-mail us at

This post was written by AAUW Fellowships and Grants Intern Emily McGranachan.

AAUWguest By:   |   December 26, 2012

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