Who We Are

 CNY Branch

Member Bios

        Click on Member Name for Professional Website


Joan Applebaum is a visual artist and instructor who has taught in a variety of programs in New York, the Thousand Islands, and Delaware. She is a member of the Holly, DE Branch and the CNY Branch. She is also the NLAPW Art Chair.

Linda Bigness-Lanigan holds a BFA from Syracuse University and a MA in art history from SUNY Empire. Her work has been collected and exhibited throughout the United States.  

Nancy Benson is a writer and poet.

Sheila M. Byrnes is the NLAPW President. She is  both a Letters and Arts member. She is a widely respected genealogist, freelance writer, and artist. She has long written a national genealogy newsletter. 

Nancy A. Dafoe is the NLAPW Second Vice President and Branch Communications Coordinator. Author and educator, Dafoe has twelve published books and numerous published poems and stories. 

Janine M. DeBaise has published essays in numer-ous magazines, including Orion Magazine, Southwest Review, and The Hopper. Her poetry includes the book Body Language and the chapbook Of a Feather. She teaches writing and literature at SUNY ESF.

Jeanne Dupre has enjoyed watercolor and acrylic painting for thirty years, capturing the moods of her subjects. Her wish is that someone will stop for a few minutes and enjoy the beauty of her work. 

Janet Fagal is a retired teacher, lecturer, and poet. Her poems appear in The Pen Woman and online as well as in anthologies edited by Lee Bennett. She serves as CNY Branch Treasurer.

Marilyn Forth is a visual artist who has enjoyed a distinguished career, teaching Textile Art at Syracuse University and a lifetime tenure with the American Craft Council. She has shown her paintings in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Columbus, NYC (including the Puck Building), and the Edgewood other galleries.

Mary L. Gardner's poems have won international and regional awards and have appeared in several anthologies. In an earlier career, she published articles, pamphlets, and reports in the health field and historic preservation. Her chapbooks are When All Danger of Frost is Past, Place Settings, and Downsizing (FootHills).  

Wendy Harris is a nationally known and collected multi-media painter. She is the only commissioned artist to paint a 4 x 4 panel painting for Upstate Medical's Center Treatment Center. Her goal is to awaken everyone to the beauty that surrounds us. 

Karen Foresti Hempson is a retired professor of Social Studies. Her creative non-fiction book, Bean Pickers, was published in 2019. Her work has earned finalist status in a number of competitions and second place in the NLAPW Biennial competition. 

Vanessa Johnson is a griot (story teller), visual artist, and instructor 

Judith McGinn is the CNY Branch current President. She is a writer of fiction, memoirs, and poetry with a concentration on short fiction. 

Susan Murphy is an artist and Signature Member of the Central New York Watercolor Society. Her work has been shown in the Adirondack Exhibition of American Watercolors, Cooperstown National, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, SU Point of Contact Gallery, among many others. 

Bobbie Dumas Panek is a writer who has two published books. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. 

Karen Pastorello, Ph.D. is an historian, lecturer, and writer with three published historical texts. 

Georgia Popoff, is the YMCA of CNY’s Downtown Writers Center Workshops Coordinator and faculty member, editor/book coach, former Comstock Review senior editor, co-editor of an essay anthology on Gwendolyn Brooks, and co-author of a book on poetry in K-12 classrooms. Her fourth poetry collection is Psychometry (Tiger Bark Press, 2019).


Mary Raineri is a textual artist whose abstract work straddles two and three-dimensional forms. She integrates a variety of mixed media, including wood, fiber, metal, stone, encaustics, inks, and oils which are combined in collages and assemblages. 

Patricia Mabie Rich is an artist who loves to capture the outdoor experience in oils and pastels.  

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner was awarded one of the first U.S. doctorates for work in women’s studies, Dr. Wagner is a founder of the first college-level women’s studies programs to offer a minor (CSU Sacramento) where she currently teaches, along with courses in Syracuse University’s Honors Program. Dr. Wagner has taught women’s studies courses for 52 years and is the Founder/Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. Dr. Wagner’s anthology The Women&#39's Suffrage Movement, with a Forward by Gloria Steinem (Penguin Classics, 2019), unfolds a new intersectional look at the 19th century woman’s rights movement and the Indigenous influence on suffragists.

Susan Wolstenholme 

About the NLAPW

The National League of American Pen Women, Inc. (NLAPW) was founded in 1897 when women journalists were not permitted to join male-only professional organizations. The League became a supportive professional organization for women writers, artists, and composers, where they could be recognized for their talents.

We are proud of the NLAPW headquarters, The Pen Arts Building and Art Museum, and its place among other historic buildings in Dupont Circle, a popular tourist destination in Washington, D.C.

Branches from all over the United States exist. Pen Women may also be Members at Large and not directly affiliated with a particular branch but be a part of the NLAPW, Inc.