September 30 marks the end of the first quarter of this ARCS fiscal year and we are off and running – maintaining momentum in our support of young scientists, re-inventing ways to stay connected with one another and with our scholars, learning how to tell our story to a broader audience to increase awareness of ARCS.
As your President, I am so proud of
  • being part of this national organization of amazing women who advocate for science;
  • funding more than 2,800 Scholar Awards totaling over $22.6M at six outstanding universities in Northern California;
  • our Chapter becoming a “significant grant-maker” with the total allocation of more than $1 million to scholars for the second consecutive year;
  • strengthening our engagement of members, our connection with scholars, and our partnerships with universities;
  • learning new science and having FUN.
This is where you smile, hear applause, and take a bow.
And this year, thanks to Chris Brent and Jane Gardner, we will have a 5-year strategic plan. (See the notes on their presentation at the September General Membership meeting.) I give a special shout out to Deborah Mann and Judy Webster for reimagining Science Activities as a series of "Salons for Science." If you have not yet registered for the first Salon on October 15, please do so. It is a great opportunity to learn about the research at the Keck Observatory on Hawaii from its Director.

I am impressed by the work being done in each Council and am so grateful to the women leading them. There is still room for more participation on the Communications Council (Donna Casey) and the Symposium team (Nancy Bush). Email or give them a call to find out how you can help!
On a personal note, the first nine months of 2020 have been called “unprecedented”, “uncertain“, “challenging” – now migrating to “the new normal”. So many different events made me so sad – the pandemic, the wildfires and hurricanes, the peaceful protests turning into riots, the palpable political divide. After some introspection and a few yoga breaths, I am focusing on what I can do:
1) support science – something that I do through ARCS. I love the statement from Kendra Kramlich: “We need to support science as if our lives depended on it – because today, they do.”

2) support bringing affordable healthcare to people in Borneo, Madagascar, and the Amazon – something I do through Health In Harmony, a non-profit that partners the health of people with the health of the rainforests.

3) support political candidates of my choice – something I do through writing checks and making calls.
And one more thing: work on becoming a better listener, especially to voices that are different from mine. Learning more about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is part of this work.

I am confident that our strategic plan will assess where we are and where we want to go. The goals we set and the changes we embrace will make us even more effective as an organization and in our role as “Science Advocates” and “Angel Investors” in young scientists.

-Jo Whitehouse
The strength of any organization lies in the quality of its membership. This is surely true of ARCS. ARCS is up and running ... virtually.  Now is the time to think about friends who would be good new members of our Chapter and invite them to our upcoming virtual events. (See Calendar of Events at bottom of this newsletter.)

If you have any questions about the membership process, please reach out to Katy Hope, Membership VP, at  
Our Northern California Chapter turns 50 years young on October 22, 2020.
  • We plan to celebrate with  – you guessed it – a ZOOM call at 5pm.
  • Look for the invitation in your email soon and register – and please be sure to indicate whether you will be “at home” (the address we have for you in our Roster) between noon and 5pm on October 22 to receive a very SPECIAL DELIVERY (surprise)!
  • We will have brief but spectacular announcements and end with a toast to ARCS NCC for many great accomplishments and the many more that lie ahead.
IMPORTANT: We need 20 volunteers (4 for Wednesday, October 21 at the ARCS office in the Presidio of San Francisco, and 16 in teams of two on Thursday, October 22 between 11am and 4pm) to play Special Delivery. Please email Jo Whitehouse ( if you can help!
On September 16th, more than 50 ARCS members (including Paulette Kessler from Chevy Chase, Maryland) “zoomed in” to participate in our first general membership meeting of the year.

SPEAKER: We began with a presentation by an award-winning scientist at UCSF, Peter Walter, PhD, who discussed his research on proteostasis and cell stress -- which has increased our understanding of programmed cell death and, more recently,  has led to exciting potential therapeutic interventions in a wide spectrum of unmet clinical needs including cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, inflammation, aging and cognition. Dr. Walter emphasized that graduate students “by learning - push the science forward”, that “discovery is not linear”, and that “serendipity”, “good teamwork”, and “being prepared for the unexpected” are all critical. What wonderful messages that reinforce the importance of our mission to support young scientists – the “Minds of the Future”. Many thanks to Dr. Walter for the presentation and to Merrill Randol for recruiting him as our speaker.
BUSINESS: Second, we conducted our business: announcements were made, minutes of the Annual Meeting on May 20, 2020 were approved, and year-end financials were summarized. Many thanks to Debjani Sen and Elizabeth Callander for keeping it  “short and sweet”!
STRATEGIC PLAN: Chris Simpson Brent and Jane Gardner presented results of the member survey to provide input to the strategic plan. Highlights: what makes members most proud are the scholars; what means the most to them is being part of a national organization founded and led by women; what they value most are the collegiality, professionalism, and collaborative culture – as well as learning new science. Asked about challenges, they identified growing donations from corporations and planned giving, increasing membership and engaging every member, staying connected to scholars and alums, succession and sustainability, and increasing awareness of ARCS throughout the community - especially with the pandemic. And asked about level of involvement, almost 80% of respondents planned to increase their involvement or maintain it at current level over the next 2-5 years.
SCHOLAR AWARDS CELEBRATION (SAC) 2020: Deborah Mann provided an update on the SAC “Non-Event”. She emphasized that sponsorships and ticket sales support approximately 75% of Chapter operations, enabling 100% of donations to the Scholar Awards Fund (SAF) to go to the scholars. With her stellar Steering Committee and early responses from members, she announced that we are half-way to the goal of raising $210,000! And remember: any amount in excess of operational costs will be moved to the SAF at year end. 

SCHOLAR RELATIONS: Natalie Engmann summarized results of the Scholar Survey. Scholars gave high marks to the 2019 Scholar Awards Celebration and requested more time for networking with ARCS members and other Scholars. They hope that the 2021 Symposium will be possible and that more speaking opportunities will be offered. About half indicated that they plan to enter careers in biotechnology/life sciences and the other half will pursue post-doctorates. And more than 50% of those not graduating would be interested in internships with industry. Natalie also announced that this year there will be added focus on reconnecting with alums from our Chapter.

SCIENCE ACTIVITIES: Judy Webster and Deborah Mann announced an exciting series of Salons on Science to be held on the second Thursday of each month by Zoom. The first salon is October 15th with Doug Simons, ARCS scholar alum and Executive Director of Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, introducing us to the Keck Observatory on the island of Hawaii.  Please register (click 
here) and invite friends -- and note the recipe for the Mai Tai…
MEMBERSHIP: Katy Hope encouraged everyone to invite friends to these salons – especially women who are potential new members for our Chapter. She noted that the deadline for the Intent-to-Propose (ITP) form for a member candidate is January 14, 2021.
Jo ended the meeting with a double toast:

“First, a toast to our scholars: may they complete their degrees, remain curious about science, and solve the complex problems that will make this world better for ALL;
Second, a toast to NCC: as we turn 50, may we remain proud to be part of an amazing group of women who are science advocates, and may we stay committed to supporting young scientists – truly the “Minds of the Future.”
We are back on social media – thanks to support from the management team, ASG, that ARCS National has worked with for the past two years. Items are posted weekly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and at least monthly on LinkedIn. If you'd like to learn more about using social media, please listen to this recent webinar from ASG:
And sign up to follow ARCS NCC:
LinkedIn NCC Group (78 members):
LinkedIn National ARCS (985 members):

Over the past few months, we have lost three long-time ARCS members. We celebrate their
contributions, mourn their passing and offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends.
Our Chapter announces, with great sadness, the passing of Mary Ann Mason on July 27, 2020.  Mary Ann was a valued and respected friend to many ARCS members, and esteemed because of her academic contributions to UC Berkeley as Dean of Graduate Studies, as well as her leadership on national issues. Combining her knowledge of the law, social welfare, and history, Mary Ann led the UC system to a better and fairer recognition of women in academia and their rights. She was a tireless national advocate for diversity, the rights of women, family and the unborn. To learn more about her life and contributions, visit Read remembrances from friends and colleagues at
Donna Miller Casey wrote: "Patricia Pope passed away on August 4, 2020 after a fall. She was one of my mother's best friends since childhood. She was always elegant, with a smile that communicated sincere warmth. She was a long-time member of ARCS NCC (as is her daughter, Adrianna Pope Sullivan). Some of my best memories of her include attending annual gala events honoring the NCC ARCS Scholars -- young scientists working towards graduate degrees in STEM and medical research. We shared a love of science, the arts, and learning, and supported many of the same good causes." For more info:

Ann Getty, a long-time benefactor of both the arts and the sciences in San Francisco, passed away on September 14th due to a heart attack. She was a member of the second ARCS NCC  "class", having joined in 1975. Some of us knew her well, and will remember her for her generous support of ARCS events, for being a great story teller and a gracious host, and for her strong and contagious laugh. We will keep those memories in our hearts. For more detail:

Anna Nisi, a PhD candidate in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz, studies the puma population in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with a focus on how habitat fragmentation impacts puma movement ecology and population dynamics. Her work also considers how urban planning and land use policy impact habitat quality and connectivity in neighboring exurban and wildland areas. Through this research, Anna hopes to inform and improve large carnivore conservation in human-dominated landscapes and shed light on how large carnivores and people can coexist in these places.

              Sept 9 and 12 ..........................................Board Meeting/Planning Session by Zoom
              Wed, Sept 16, 5:30-7 pm.........................General Membership Meeting by Zoom
          Wed, Oct 14, 11:30 am-1 pm...................Board Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Oct 15, 5-6:30 pm.........................Science Salon #1:  Keck Observatory
          Wed, Nov 11, 11 am-1 pm.......................Board Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Nov 12, 5 pm.................................Science Salon #2: UC Natural Reserve System
          Wed, Dec 9, 11:30 am-1  pm...................General Membership Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Dec 10, 6 pm.................................Science Salon #3: Dr. Daniel Knott
          Wed, Jan 13, 1:30 am-1 pm.....................Board Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Jan 14, 5:30-7 pm.........................Frontiers of Science, "The Science of Wine"
          Wed, Feb 10, 11:30 am-1 pm...................Board Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Feb 11, 5 pm..................................Science Salon #5, Hoover collections
             Wed, Feb 24, 11:30 am-1 pm...................General Membership Meeting by Zoom
          Feb - dates tbd.........................................University Site Visits
         Wed, Mar 10, 11:30 am-1 pm...................Board Meeting by Zoom
             Thurs, Mar 11, 5 pm..................................Science Salon #6, Robert Kirschner, astronomer
             Thurs, Apr 8, 5 pm....................................Science Salon #7, Daniel Swain, climate scientist 
         Wed, Apr 14, 11:30 am-1 pm....................Board Meeting by Zoom
          Mon, Apr 26, 5-7 pm.................................Virtual Symposium
          Wed, May 12, 11:30 am-1 pm..................Board Meeting by Zoom
          Thurs, May 13, 5-7 pm..............................New Member Orientation
          Thurs, May 20, 11:30 am-1 pm.................Annual Meeting by Zoom
         Wed, June 9, 11:30 am - 1 pm..................New/Old Board Meeting by Zoom
Be sure to check out the ARCS NCC website on a regular basis -- 

It's being continually improved and updated and is an excellent  source of information, inspiration and access for members and the community at large. 
Bookmark it now!

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ARCS Foundation Northern California Chapter · PO Box 29405 · 1008 General Kennedy Ave, Suite 202 · San Francisco, CA 94129-0405 · USA

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