June 23, 2003

Women's Center summer programs address variety of interests

Stephanie Sonnenfeld

It’s 4 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, and a group of women are waiting outside the Jones Room in Woodruff Library, most clutching notebooks in their hands and thinking of IRAs, credit scores and money market accounts.

The women, about 40 of them, had gathered to take part in the Women’s Center’s “Everything a Woman Should Know About Her Financial Future,” a concise two-hour—but vastly comprehensive—introduction and immersion into financial basics for women.

Linda Kuryloski, an investment representative from Edward Jones, and Cynthia Lynn, a local certified public accountant, came armed with handouts, overhead slides and answers to the myriad questions that came from the group. And, for the few (emphasis on the few) inquiries they couldn’t answer, someone in the group gladly stepped up to the plate.

About five minutes into the presentation, the advice and questions started to roll among the group, whose members were seated at a U-shaped table or in chairs along the windowed walls of the Jones Room. Pencils and pens scribbled quickly to get everything down on paper.

“Check your credit scores every six months.”

“How can I get a free credit report?”

“Build a budget!”

“Do I assume my husband’s debts?”

“Invest for the long term!”

“Diversify your investments!”

“What about student loans?”

“We’ve offered this program four or five times, and each time we’ve had a full house,” said Ali Crown, director of the Women’s Center. “Each time there’s a new slant.”

Like the varied subjects of the group’s questions, participants said they attended the session for a number of reasons.

Soon-to-be graduated Cath Simonsen, a graduate student in the anesthesiology physician’s assistant program, will begin working at Children’s Healthcare later this summer. She wants to make the most of her salary—as she deals with the looming presence of her student loans.

Pat Miller, managing director of Theater Emory, is a member of the Women’s Center advisory board who often can’t attend the center’s programs during the school year. Summer events give her the chance to take advantage of the offerings, she said.
But it was more than timing that drew Miller to the “Financial Future” lecture—it was good, old-fashioned money.

“This is a critical subject that everyone is concerned about,” she said, adding that it’s important to her to have more than one financial professional’s opinion of her nest egg.

“It’s just like getting a second opinion in the medical field,” she added.

The “Financial Future” lecture is just one of a few offerings from the Women’s Center this summer, which also includes a Healthy Women 2000 lecture series presentation: “Planning a Baby: How to Optimize Your Outcome,” at noon on Wednesday, June 25. Jane Mashburn, an associate professor of nursing in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing whose teaching interests include nurse midwifery, will present the program.

Just added to the summer calendar is another installment of the “Conversations” series, to be held at Miller-Ward Alumni House at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Following past formats, this program urges participants to listen and share experiences and concerns about mid-life and aging with emeritae professors, senior women faculty and staff. The program was started with the Emeritus College in April 2002 and has continued every two months since then.

Also in the works is an education program on the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade for mid-July, said Jenny Williams, special program assistant at the Women’s Center.

“Summer programs are more focused on staff, since many faculty and most students are not around,” Williams said. “Our program offerings lighten significantly, but this summer is shaping up to be extremely busy. Diversity is important in terms of format, audience and topic, and of course we try to serve the needs we see in the Emory community.”

“We specifically invite all emeritae women, therefore bringing women faculty who no longer work at Emory ‘back into the fold’ so to speak—helping to support, empower and connect them,” she added.

For more information on this summer’s Women’s Center programs, contact Williams at 404-727-2001 or jlwill4@emory.edu, or visit www.emory.edu/WOMENS_CENTER.