Next Meeting 

AAUW Huntsville Branch’s
Breaking through Barriers Luncheon

Friday, March 22, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
The Jackson Center

Individual Tickets are $60.00 — Tables are $600.00
Tickets must be purchased by NOON on Tuesday, March 19, 2024
Tickets and Tables available Online

Venus Quates, a game-changing US Air Force Veteran and Entrepreneur, boasts a distinguished 26-year career as a technologist with a proven track record in spearheading large-scale technology transformation initiatives globally.

In 2016, Venus founded LaunchTech, which has since gained international recognition for its exceptional growth and outstanding technological contributions. As President & CEO, she leads the award-winning company in delivering cutting-edge technology solutions with a focus of emerging technology, modernization, and support of critical infrastructure. Inc. has recognized LaunchTech among the top 50 fastest-growing companies, the top 5 fastest growing Veteran-owned companies, and the top 10 woman- owned companies in the nation. LaunchTech’s expertise is sought by Fortune 500 corporations, military and defense, state governments, and large systems integrators.

Beyond her professional success, Venus actively serves her community, having contributed her time to the Girl Scouts of USA’s national and regional boards and advising universities, nonprofits, STEM, and veteran-focused organizations. She has also served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence mentoring companies seeking VC and private equity funding.

Committed to diversity in STEM, Venus launched the annual Launching Scholars initiative in 2022, providing scholarships for girls 12-18 to attend cost-based space, aviation, and cybersecurity programs across the US.

A trailblazer in her field, Venus’s remarkable achievements have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and Inc. publications, among others. She remains a source of inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike as she continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of technology and beyond.

Our program theme for this year is Women in STEM.

** Why We Support STEM Careers*Source: numbers lead us to take action to literally close the wage gap for women by becoming wiser advocates for girls and women seeking a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. In the Huntsville Chapter of AAUW, we begin with the woman in the mirror, learning what we can about the advancements in STEM in order to inspire others to excel in a STEM field and invest ourselves in educational opportunities for girls. STEM fields have one goal: solving problems and being innovative to help people.Members and guests of AAUW will meet monthly, October 2023 through May 2024, to meet a subject matter expert who will offer the benefit of their personal experience in reaching their goals in a STEM field and offer a synopsis of the solutions being explored in their field in order to improve the human condition.

2023 – 2024 PREVIOUS Meetings/Events

January 2024

The AAUW Huntsville Branch is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, February 6. Registration begins at 5:30 PM, and dinner will be served at approximately 5:45 PM.

Our speaker will be Ms. Sierra Hileman, who has been a Cyber Systems Engineer with Torch Technologies since August 2023. Ms. Hileman will be sharing her journey to a STEM career and the importance of mentorship to young women. She works on the Distributed Training Simulation & Stimulation (DTS Sim/Stim) Cyber Team in support of Command Control Battle Management Communications Warfighter Training for the Department of Army Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Ms. Hileman graduated from The University of Alabama in May 2023 with a Bachelors in Industrial and Systems Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics. She does volunteer work in her community through Torch Technologies, Huntsville-Madison County Rowing and Water Sports, and First Bible Church.

The meeting will be held at the Shelby Center for Science and Technology (SST) in Room 301 on the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) campus. SST is located on John Wright Drive, NW, and a UAH parking pass is not required after 4:30 PM. Attendees should park in spaces adjacent to the SST building and the Student Services Building (SSB). A campus map is available at

Dinner reservations for the meeting are due by noon on Sunday, February 4. Reservations can be made through the Square link or by emailing and paying at the door with a check or cash. The meal is $21.00 and will be catered by Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe.

Note: Members and guests are responsible for meal costs if reservation cancellations are not submitted to Lois Guendel prior to 10:00 AM on Monday, February 5.We hope to see you there!

December 2023

Learn how one young girl from Fairfield, Alabama, an industrial steel town, was ignited for lift-off to pursue her dreams, achieving professional success in an exciting industry, despite the discouragement from her peers and high school teachers in the 90’s.Register at Ross is currently a Senior Manager of Engineering Support for Production Operations at United Launch Alliance (ULA), a leader in commercial space flight with a 100% success rate… (more*)Please join us Tuesday, December 5th at 5:30 pm in Rm. 301 of the Shelby Center for Science & Technology (SST). Dinner at 5:45 & program at 6:15. options: – Register at to order and pay for dinner – Register to attend without dinner – To pay at the door:  email – Students may register with, and we may be able to sponsor your dinnerStudents: If you’d like to attend, we may be able to cover part or all of your meal, and you’re always welcome to attend without an email reservation (send us an email to the address above to let us know).Reservations are due the Sunday prior at noon.Dinner will be catering from Taziki’s.Parking is in lots adjacent and to the south of SST.*More…ULA’s primary customers are the Department of Defense and NASA, and recently, in addition, Amazon, as they begin launching a constellation of satellites for Internet service.Ross brings 24 years of aerospace industry experience to her position at ULA, including 10 years at ULA’s rocket factory in Decatur, Alabama as electrical systems test engineer and 12 years of experience at her company’s headquarters located in Centennial, Colorado.Ross holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and technology from Alabama A&M University, a Master of Science degree in computer information systems from University of Phoenix and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in project management from American Continental University. While at Alabama A&M, she was a member of the Marching Maroon and White Band, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

The Girl Scouts of Colorado honored Ross as a 2019 Woman of Distinction and as one of the 100 Distinguished Girl Scouts Alumnae of Colorado. The Denver Business Journal recognized her as a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2015 and was recently honored by the Birmingham Chapter of NOBLE as a “WOMEN of the Year March 2022” National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.Ross is a frequent guest speaker in schools across the country to encourage kids to be excited about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by sharing her personal story about overcoming the odds that were stacked against her. Adults will find her presentation to be a valuable resource for inspiring youth and other women to be confident and courageous and may also learn how critical ULA is to our country’s security and economy.

November 2023

Angela Rittenbach, President and CEO of Riverstone Solutions Inc, an engineering and cyber security company, directly supporting national defense and NASA will speak to our branch on “‘C’ Yourself in Cybersecurity: 10 Qualities that Empower Women to Pursue a Career in Cybersecurity.”

Please join us Tuesday, November 7th at 5:30 pm in Rm. 256 of the Engineering Building (ENG). Dinner at 5:45 & program at 6:15. can be made at or by emailing and paying $21 at the door with a check or cash. If you’d like to attend without dinner, please RSVP through the email link.Reservations are due the Sunday prior at noon. Dinner will be catering from Taziki’s.

Students: If you’d like to attend, we may be able to cover part or all of your meal, and you’re always welcome to attend without an email reservation.

MORE…Women are gradually making their way into the historically male-dominated profession of cybersecurity. Ten years ago, the percentage of women in the security industry was around 10%. In the last few years, women have actively positioned themselves for growth within the security profession in both government and private industry, now making up about 24% of the workforce.

Although there is a tremendous amount of focus on diversity in the industry, a career in cyber or many other STEM fields isn’t on the radar of many young women. This discussion highlights some of the key qualities that make a cyber career a potential fit for some who might not otherwise consider it, or for anyone letting ‘Imposter Syndrome’ get in the way. Learn more about ‘How’ and ‘Why’ women pursue a career in cybersecurity.

OUR SPEAKER’S BIO…Angela Rittenbach is the President and CEO of Riverstone Solutions, Inc., an engineering and cybersecurity company located in Huntsville, AL. Riverstone Solutions Inc. (RSI) delivers cloud, data and cyber focused professional services to commercial and federal clients as a woman owned and HUBZone company. RSI directly supports the US Air Force, Missile Defense Agency and NASA programs and was recently awarded a Missile Defense Agency Mentor Protégé Award

Prior to founding RSI, Angela worked in industry roles in network and database administration, software / system engineering and program management and brings this breadth of experience to her role as a community leader and in leading RSI.

Angela is a long-time advocate for Women in Technology and STEM programs and currently serves as the President and Founder of CyberReach.Org, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to Connect, Prepare and Grow a Qualified and Diverse Cyber Workforce. Angela has served the Huntsville community on the Cyber Huntsville Board and The Catalyst HUBZone Accelerator Board. She currently serves on the GEO Huntsville Board of Directors as the Data Analytics Committee Lead, The Huntsville/Madison Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council and was recognized this year by Business Alabama Magazine as one of “Women in Tech: 23.

October 2023

On October 3rd, branch member Dr. Tyesha Farmer, assistant professor of genetics in the Department of Biological Sciences at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU) will recount the monumental journey of the Human Genome Project, an international crusade to chart the entire human genome, and delve into the latest endeavors to craft a more inclusive pangenome reference that captures the rich diversity of the human population.

The presentation will illuminate the profound implications of this comprehensive resource in deepening our understanding of genome variation, human health, and disease states. Finally, Dr. Farmer will share snippets of her own journey in genomics, underscoring the necessity of embracing equity in the field through the study of diverse genomes by individuals from diverse backgrounds.More on Dr. Farmer below.Please join us at 5:30 (dinner served at 5:45, program at 6:15) on Tuesday, October 3rd at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) campus in the Shelby Center for Science and Technology, (SST) room 301. Park in spaces adjacent to SST and the Student Services Building (SSB) are due the Sunday prior at noon, and can be made at or by emailing and paying $21 at the door with a check or cash. Dinner will be from Taziki’s.Dr. Tyesha Farmer is a Genetics professor and Title III Activity Director at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University where she teaches Genetics and Molecular Biology courses and leads multiple efforts to broaden participation in STEM for underrepresented students. With recent emphasis on bioinformatics and genomics, Dr. Farmer has collaborated with government and industry partners to cultivate avenues for research training and skill based digital credentialing, furthering her mission to democratize computational resources. As a Title III Activity Director, she oversees strategies to bolster retention, persistence, and graduation rates of STEM majors. Her unwavering commitment to support and create opportunities for disadvantaged and underrepresented students in STEM has earned her a feature on the BioHackathon podcast entitled “Science for Everyone.”Dr. Farmer’s research background encompasses cancer biology and genomics, health disparities, and cellular responses to bioactive compounds. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Alabama A&M University and holds a PhD in Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. A native of Sumter County in Alabama’s Black Belt region, Dr. Farmer’s roots and humble beginnings are the driving force behind her passion to provide exposure, to uplift, and to empower her students.

September 2023

This is the first general meeting after our summer break! It’s going to be great to see you again and educate ourselves this year about local women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math as well as local women’s history. Bring a guest!

Please join us at 5:30 (dinner served at 5:45) on Tuesday, Sept. 5th at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) campus in the Shelby Center for Science and Technology, (SST) room 301. Reservations can be made here: or by emailing and paying $21 at the door with a check or cash.

Ms. Donna Castellano will review “Places Where Women Made History”, an 18 month program that brought significant recognition to Huntsville women who shaped our local, state, and national history. Donna’s research brought hundreds of people together in our city, including Governor Kay Ivey, to acknowledge women who advanced voting rights, the ability to serve in public office, and preserve the built environment. Her research continues to be a catalyst for progress and solidarity while highlighting Huntsville as an inclusive community. A brief presentation from Ms. Daisy Raymond, NCCWSL scholarship award recipient, will follow. We can’t wait to hear about your experiences in Maryland, Daisy!

The Shelby Center for Science and Technology (SST) building address is shown on Google Maps at 301 Sparkman Drive; the private road on campus is John Wright Drive. Park on the surface lots closest to the SST. Please refer to the maps and photos that are attached and call Frances Akridge 256-503-1515 if you have questions about access or logistics. Signs will be posted on walls and hallways to guide you. “We got you”.

2022 – 2023 PREVIOUS Meetings/Events

Tech Trek 2023 is June 11 – 17Tech Trek is a residential, STEM program for rising 8th grade girls offered by American Association of University Women (AAUW) Huntsville branch and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Volunteers are encouraged to join us (most positions are no experience necessary!); visit the page.

May 2023 Member Meeting and Dinner

Members, please join us on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, for our spring celebration as we install our newly elected officers, learn about the State of the Huntsville, Branch, and the announcement of the 2023 Eve Award Recipient.

When-Tuesday, May 2, 2023; Registration begins 5:30 pm, dinner at 5:45 pm, installation of officers, State of the Huntsville Branch, Presentation of Eve Award at 6:15 pmWhere– First UMC, Wesley Center 2nd floor dining room (elevator available) 111 Greene St. (formerly 120 Greene), HuntsvilleDinner- cost $21.00Reservations are required by 4/30 at noon.
Greek Salad, Grilled Chicken, Basmati Rice, Pita Bread, Tzatziki sauce, Dessert, iced tea; for a vegetarian meal, contact Lois Guendel.  Reservations may be cancelled by 5/1 at 10 by contacting Lois.  If not cancelled, you will be billed. If paying by check, contact Lois.

Instructions to the Building: You can park along Greene Street, or if there are spaces, park in the lot on Randolph Avenue. To enter the building, get on Randolph Avenue, between Greene Street and Lincoln Street. Halfway in the block, turn northwest into the church parking lot. Daycare pick up may be occurring, so parking may be hit-or-miss. Enter the doors to the building. A hallway on the right will lead to the elevator. On the second floor from the elevator, turn right to enter the main landing, then turn left to the small dining room.

April 2023 General Meeting and Dinner

Topic- What Human Trafficking is, How To identify it in the community & How to keep yourself & loved ones safe with Bo Williams Public relations and communications officer for the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force

 AAUW Huntsville is pleased to welcome Bo Williams, Public Relations & Communications Officer for the No. Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force ( He joined the war on human trafficking in 2017 after hearing task force founder and president, Pat McCay speak. A professional communicator with three decades of experience, Bo leads online and mass media initiatives for the task force. He also works actively on the Speaker’s Bureau. Bo is a husband, father, and lifelong Alabamian.Bo will speak on what human trafficking is, how to identify it in your community (and what to do if you do), and how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.When-Tuesday, April 4, 2023, registration begins 5:30 pm, dinner 5:45pm, program 6:15 pm, business & voting 7:00 pmWhere– First UMC, Wesley Center 2nd floor dining room (elevator available) 111 Greene St (formerly 120 Greene), HuntsvilleDinner- cost $21.00Meal includes: grilled pork, roasted potatoes, Greek salad, pita bread, cookie, iced teaFor this meeting reservations are being taken by emailing Lois Guendel.Please plan to pay at the dinner with check or correct change.Reservations are NOT being taken on square up this month.

If you need a vegetarian meal, inform Lois when making your reservation.

ALL reservations are due to Lois by noon, Sunday, April 2nd.

2023 Breaking Through Barriers Luncheon 

Did you know? Alabama women on average make 70 cents on the dollar compared to men, all else being equal. After years of attempts to bring equal pay to the women of Alabama, the 2022 state legislature passed House Joint Resolution (HJR) 115, creating a task force charged with amending the current Equal Pay Act passed in 2019. 

Rep. Adline Clarke (HD 97), sponsor of HJR 115, will put forth suggested changes to the equal pay act during the 2023 legislative session based on the task force’s recommendations.

Representative Clarke will then be joined for a panel discussion by (AAUW Member) Amanda Foster, CFP®, CRPS® and AAUW’s representative to the Task Force, appointed by Gov. Ivey.

Individual tickets are $60, and the cost of a table seating 8 is $600. Donations are also being accepted.

Proceeds from the Breaking Through Barriers Luncheon will give scholarships to local women college students to attend AAUW’s National Conference for Collegiate Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) held in June 2023 at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD.

The meal will be naturally gluten-free. There are options below to select vegan or vegetarian meals.

When: Friday, March 31, 2023
Time: 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: The Jackson Center (6001 Moquin Dr. NW, Huntsville, AL 35806)

March 2023 General Meeting and Dinner

AAUW Huntsville branch will be hosting Dr. John Kvach at our general meeting on Tuesday, March 7th.Join us at First UMC, Wesley Center’s 2nd floor dining room (elevator available).111 Greene St., SE, ( formerly 120 Greene).  See location instructions after Dr. Kvach’s bio.Dinner reservations by Sunday, March 5 at noon through the link, or with Lois Guendel if you need a vegetarian meal or will pay with a check.Meal is $21.00 and will include grilled beef with roasted potatoes, Greek salad and cookie.Dr. Kvach is the Executive Director of Singing River Trail, a non-profit dedicated to bringing a 70 mile greenway/trail to North Alabama. Previously, Dr. Kvach was an Associate Professor of Southern History at UAH. He has authored books, articles and blogs on history, southern culture, and American society.Registration begins at 5:30, with dinner at 5:45, speaker at 6:15, business at 7:00 and adjournment a at 7:30.

Where: First UMC, Wesley Center’s 2nd floor dining room (elevator available)111 Greene St. SE, (formerly 120 Greene)

February 2023 General Meeting and Dinner

Igniting the Spark for STEM:  Outreach in our Community with Gayla Suddarth, JRC Integrated Systems. Gayla is also a member of the Tech Trek planning group.

Registration:  5:30 pmDinner:  6:00 pmSpeaker:  6:20 pmBusiness:  7:00 pm

Where: First UMC, Wesley Center’s 2nd floor dining room (elevator available)111 Greene St. SE, (formerly 120 Greene)
Tuesday, February 7, 5:30pm
Dinner:  $21
Reservations and dinner ticket by noon, February 5

Dinner will be Greek Salad, Grilled Chicken, Lemon Rice, tea, water, and a cookie.

For a vegetarian meal or to pay by check, contact Lois.

December 2022 Meeting

AAUW Huntsville branch will be hosting Dr. Christina Carmen at our next general meeting on Dec. 6th. Dr. Carmen, a Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer, is the founder and CEO of The Talon Company. She will be introducing us to a design project. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn from one of Huntsville’s esteemed engineers. Bring a friend to join us; we look forward to see you!


Meeting Details
Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2022 @ 5:30PM
Location: Huntsville First United Methodist Church
111 Greene St. (formerly 120 Greene St.), Huntsville, AL 35801
Wesley Center Building entrance on Greene Street & Randolph Avenue
Small Dining Room on 2nd Floor (elevator available)

Registration @ 5:30PM
Meal Served @ 6:00PM
Speaker @ 6:20PM
Branch Business @ 7:00PM
Adjourn @ 7:30PM

Registration & Dinner Ticket (Cost $21)

Deadline to register is 12PM on 12/4
*Members who wish to register and pay by check, please contact Lois Guendel.
Vegetarian meal is available if requested by Lois.

Dinner Menu: Our menu includes Greek salad, grilled chicken breast, basmati rice, taziki sauce, pita bread, iced tea, and cookie.

November 2022 Meeting

FREE registration; donations are accepted!  We hope to see you in-person or via live stream.

October 2022 Meeting

We are excited to announce our October meeting! We hope you will join us as we hear from our special guest speaker, Cindy Hewitt, Executive Director of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

Meeting Details
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2022 @ 5:30PM
Location: Huntsville First United Methodist Church
120 Greene St., Huntsville, AL 35801
Wesley Center Building entrance on Greene Street & Randolph Avenue
Small Dining Room on 2nd Floor (elevator available)

Registration @ 5:30PM
Meal Served @ 6:00PM
Speaker @ 6:20PM
Branch Business @ 7:00PM
Adjourn @ 7:30PM

Registration & Dinner Ticket (Cost $21)

Deadline to register is 12PM on 10/1

Dinner Menu: Our menu is lemon herb chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, bread, butter and tea.

Speaker: Cindy Hewitt, Executive Director Huntsville-Madison County Public Library
Speaker Topic: “Huntsville’s 21st Century Library”
Speaker Bio: Cindy Hewitt is the Executive Director of the 10-branch Huntsville-Madison County Public Library System. She was appointed Executive Director in July of 2021 after serving as Interim Executive Director since October 2020. Cindy has served the library for 12 years with prior roles as the Deputy Director and Branch Manager of the Monrovia Public Library. During her tenure as Director in the midst of the COVID pandemic, she developed and executed the phased reopening of the library, the opening of the new North Huntsville Public Library and the opening of the new South Huntsville Public Library. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia and Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama. Before joining public library, she was the librarian at Westminster Christian Academy for 15 years. She and her husband, Ken have lived in the Huntsville area for 29 years and raised their two children here. She is committed to serving our community through her role as Library Director and sees the public library as an essential part of the infrastructure that is needed to sustain a healthy and thriving society.

We look forward to seeing you there!
AAUW Huntsville

September 2022 Meeting

“The Importance of Civic Engagement in Democracy”
Speaker: Kathy Jones

Kathy is an Alabama native originally from Birmingham. She worked as a space flight systems engineer and project manager at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, until retiring in 2016. In the summer of 2017, with the guidance of the League of Women Voters of Alabama, Kathy established and led the Tennessee Valley Local League, as well as serving as its Voter Services Director until the summer of 2020. She served as the state League Secretary for 2019-2021 and currently serves as the President of the LWV State League and considers herself very fortunate to collaborate with amazing and strong women and men dedicated to carrying out the work of the League to make Democracy Work for Alabama!
We are excited to announce our first in person branch meeting of the fall! We hope you will join us in celebrating our 50 year AAUW honorary life members!

Meeting Details
Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2022 @ 5:30PM
Location: Huntsville First United Methodist Church
120 Greene St., Huntsville, AL 35801
Wesley Center Building entrance on Greene Street & Randolph Street
Small Dining Room on 2nd Floor (elevator available)
Menu: Lemon herb chicken thighs, roasted broccoli, mashed potatoes, bread and butter, and tea. Vegetarian: same meal minus chicken. Catered by Good Company Cafe.

Registration & Dinner Ticket (Cost $21):
Deadline to register is 12PM on 9/2 (those who don’t order by this date cannot count on eating)

Registration @ 5:30PM
Meal Served @ 6:00PM
Speaker @ 6:30PM
Branch Business @ 7:00PM
50 Year Honorary member recognition
Adjourn @ 7:30PM