Following the Fellows

July 23, 2008

Last week I moved back to the United States after a four-year teaching stint in Brazil. Holidays were spent lying on deserted, white-sand beaches; my four-year rent was completely paid for, and I lived with an honest and dependable partner. As I packed up my apartment and spent a weekend saying goodbye to Rio, I had pangs of doubt about my decisions and ultimately about my short- and long-term goals. The move, however, was prompted by a desire to follow my dreams of taking a break from teaching, getting a master’s degree, and working in the communications field.

One day after my move from Brazil to DC, I began working as a fellow with AAUW to help revitalize the Fellows Alumnae Network. My first task was to familiarize myself with the fellows and their respective projects. Since then, I have spent days perusing the profiles of intelligent, driven women throughout the world who have come to AAUW looking for assistance in reaching their expansive dreams, most of which include higher education. AAUW, in the fight for gender equity, has given a boost up to these women, believing in the power they have to shape the world. Seeing the work that they are doing, with the assistance of AAUW, I have become more confident about what I am capable of doing and more determined to really chase after my dreams.

It is my pleasure to introduce a weekly series of blog posts that will highlight some of the current and former AAUW fellows who are serving as inspirations, not just to me as I stumble through this questioning period but also to many other women worldwide who are making difficult choices related to communities, relationships, careers, and families. Little do these far-reaching, and at times revolutionary, alumnae of AAUW know that they are serving as role models on a daily basis; they are raising the bar in fields across the board.

Read other articles in this ongoing series.


  1. ginacoggio says:

    Hi Mandy! GREAT writing! I can’t wait to read more!

  2. annefisler says:

    Hi Mandy, Looks like you’re off to a great start! Best wishes from Vermont, and I’ll be checking back here each week. Tina (Gina’s Mom)

  3. Mandy says:


    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I do miss the white-sand beaches and also pao de queijo, but I am feeling very fulfilled here at AAUW. Good luck with the application process. Applications will be available online at after August 1st.

  4. Aline Souza says:

    I´m from Brazil! I feel happy that you had a nice experience here in my country! Don´t you miss our “white-sand beaches”?? I will apply for an international fellowship next year. Hope this blog helps me. 🙂

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