Advancing the status of women through financial support in the final phase of their doctoral programs.

History of Fellowship

Fellowship recognizes the value of empowering highly motivated women engaged in academic research in fields including science, technology, education, the environment, women’s issues and international relations. 

History of Fellowship

Founder Region Fellowship is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation of the Founder Region, Soroptimist International of the Americas.

Since 1948, Fellowship has provided grants to women in the final phase of their doctoral degrees.  It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of a president, treasurer and five directors, who represent their districts in Founder Region, elected for a 2-year term on even numbered years.

According to the bylaws, Fellowships totaling a minimum of $20,000 are awarded each year to female graduate students at universities within the boundaries of the region. During the first sixty-one years of the program over $800,000 was awarded to more than 250 deserving women. During the past ten years, as the program has grown, over $600,000 has been awarded to 35 deserving women. Through these awards Founder Region Soroptimists acknowledge the value of students’ research work and enable them to complete the academic credential necessary for their careers.

All Soroptimists in Founder Region contribute $7 to Fellowship as part of their dues. In addition, clubs are asked to commit a minimum of $250 each year to this Founder Region Identifying Project.

Many clubs contribute $1,000 or more each year.


Past Fellowship Presidents

Thank you to these Soroptimist members who served as Fellowship President. Your service to Fellowship ensured that women
received the support and encouragement to achieve their advanced degrees, so they too can live their dreams.

Cheryl Poncici

President 2020-2022
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
"Education Inspires Big Dreams"
Treasurer - Teresa Karlson
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Billie Knight
District II - Dana Holve
District III - Fawn Williams
District IV - Crystal Arbuthnot
District V - Denise Ridge

Pam Parker

President 2018-2020
SI/St. Helena Sunrise
"Empowering Change through Education"
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Cheryl Poncini
District II - Jan Schults
District III - Teri Malkin
District IV - Nancy Weber
District V - Crystal Arbuthnot
District VI - Rena Borja 

Bobbi Enderlin

President 2016-2018
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
“Education Creates Shining Stars”
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Cheryl Poncini
District II - Bev Gomer
District III - Fawn Williams
District IV - Linda Bradbrook
District V - Sharon Valenti
District VI - Rena Borja

Carol Steele

President 2014-2016
SI/Fort Bragg
"Share the Joy of  Learning & Education"
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Carolyn Bolton
District II - Terri Enns
District III - Shannon Richards
District IV - Linda Bradbrook
District V - Joann Hunt
District VI - Lorene Hopkins

Linda Sue Hansen

President 2012-2014
SI/Vallejo Gateway
"Shining the Light on Education"
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Carolyn Bolton
District II - Lenore Colrusso
District III - Bonnie Silveria
District IV - Harriette Minear
District V - Grace Sharples
District VI - Judy Lee

Joyce Strand

President 2010-2012
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
"Keys of Knowledge"
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Lynn Levin
District II - Terry Comiskey
District III - Mina Byrne
District IV - Linda Simon
District V - Tess Albin-Smith
District VI - Judy Lee 

Barbara Lanier 

President 2008-2010
SI/El Cerrito
“Reach For The Stars”
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Gloria Bragg
District II - Judi Parent-Smith
District III - Linda Bozorgnia
District IV - Jeanne Griffits
District V - Tess Albin-Smith
District VI - Sandra Simms

Dion Weaver  

President 2006-2008
SI/Antioch
“Investing In The Future, One Woman At A Time”
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Karen Ortega
District II - Gloria Soderbery
District III - Linda Glantz
District IV - Linda Bradbrook
District V - Sarah Olson Turner
District VI - Lorraine Teniya

Mary Ann Redden 

President 2004-2006
SI/Antioch
“Getting It Done Together”
Treasurer - Teresa Karlson
Fellowship Directors:
District I - Barbara Lanier
District II - Gloria Soderbery
District III - Barbie Slavens
District IV - Kris Wiley
District V - Barbara Ideta

Linda Sue Hansen

President 2002-2004
SI/Vallejo Gateway
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -

Linda McDoniels

President 2000-2002
SI/St. Helena Sunrise
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -

Nancy Walker

President 1998-2000
SI/St. Helena Sunrise
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -

Dorothy Avila

President 1996-1998
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
Treasurer - Teresa Karlson
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -

Del Nickerson

President 1992-1996
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -

Norma Rhoads

President 1988-1992
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -

Julia "Bess" Combs  

President 1986-1988
SI/Oakland-The Founder Club
Fellowship Directors:
District I -
District II -
District III -
District IV -
District V -
District VI -