The purpose of AWA is to help members prepare for a career in agriculture and agricultural related fields; to aid women in agriculture in achieving their goals, to improve communication among women in agriculture and for the general betterment of agriculture.

The mission of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corp (AWABC) is to advance the education of women in agriculture.


In the spring of 1973, 10 women majoring in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin – Madison formed an organization called the Ag Women’s Cooperative. These forward-thinking women  sought to form a unified group that would improve communication among women in agriculture and aid them in achieving their goals.  In the fall of 1974, the name was changed to the Association of Women in Agriculture (AWA).

An early goal of the organization was to obtain a living unit for student members. A 1974 letter-writing campaign to College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) women graduates raised $300 and attracted interest in AWA. The money was used to purchase an upright freezer.

AWA’s first spring banquet, which included an annual meeting, installation of officers, and  awards ceremony, was held in the spring of 1976. Today, this is annual event is known as AWA Day.

The alumni organization officially formed in 1979, and in 1981, AWA incorporated. The Board of Directors acts as the corporation’s governing body.

AWA’s first newsletter was published in 1979. Today, AWA uses its website and regular electronic communications to stay in contact with members and friends.

Fundraising has always been an integral part of AWA. Since 1983, one of our biggest sources of fundraising income has been football parking. Over the years, other fundaisers have included the sale of Tupperware, Pampered Chef, kringles, note cards, calendars, etc.

Past AWA Presidents




Jody Spanul
Beth Wilhelm
Sue Fritz Alderman
Maureen DeBruin
Barb Spanbauer Flynn
Lynnette Becker Pozorski
Daphne Johnson Holterman
Jeanne Larson Alling
Dorothy Farrell
Eloise Lohr
Laurie Wegner Konech
Cathy Lins
Valerie Johnson
Julie Staffrude Schleicher
Leslie Debels
Dianne Deaton Vielhuber
Jodi Klusmeyer Saevre
Lisa Mullen Konkel
Janet Steiner Brown
Kari Slark
Sonja Jensen
Mary Ellen Lerum Karls
Kim Badtke
Katy Duwe Katzman
Tammy Voegeli
Deanna Drissel Kovar
Sara Brantmeier Harbaugh
Tonya Bockhop Birkrem
Kristin Barlass Paul
Mary Knigge
Jessie Ivey Potterton
Kristina Duwe Hopkins
Devon Frei Mc Williams
Eliza Ulness Ruzic
Christina Wendorf 
Danyel Hosto 
Stephanie Paull
Abbie Holig-Erickson
Ashley Nimtz Zwald

Sami Benz
Megan Nelson
Kayla Krueger
Emily Selner
Jessica Pralle


1973 Ag Women’s Co-op formed
1974 Name changed to the Association of Women in Agriculture (AWA)
First fundraiser was a letter writing campaign, raising $300
First house at 308 North Prospect
1976 First Spring Banquet began
Farmers Olympics began
1977 Slave Sale Began
1978 Rented 1935 University Avenue and 412 Paunack Place
First Homecoming Warm down held
1979 AWA began affiliation with Farm House Fraternity
First Spring Fling (Formal) held
Newsletter begins
Alumni organization formed
1980 Summer Picnic started
1981 AWA incorporated to AWA Inc.
Slave Sale renamed to Foot Follies; died due to controversy
1983 Affiliation with Farm House ended
1985 Ag Women’s conference began
1989 First representative on Homecoming court
Fundraising started for new house
1990 Participated in Homecoming with Babcock house for the first time
AWA Day and Ag Women’s conference combined
1993 Final plans for new house completed
1994 Blue house torn down, building began in spring
Building completed in August, first residents moved in for the fall semester
Hundreds of donors, faculty, actives and alumni attend dedication
New house dedication was held on November 19, 1994
1995 New house featured in Wisconsin State Journal, receives Community Award
1996 First Kickoff Dairy Breakfast
1997 Record attendance at Dairy Breakfast – over 1,000 people served!
1998 AWA celebrated 25th Anniversary with AWA Day at the new Monona Terrace Convention Center

Received Cancer Walk recognition for our outstanding performance and fundraising for the cause
AWA had a member on the Homecoming court

2000 Record attendance at Dairy Breeakfast: over 1,500 people were served!
2003 AWA celebrates their 30th anniversary with a special AWA Day program
2004 AWA House celebrates its 10th anniversary
2006 AWA had a member on the Homecoming court
2007 Breakfast on the Farm is successful back at the Stock Pavilion
2008 AWA had a member on the Homecoming court
2010 AWA had a member on the Homecoming court
2013 AWA Benefit Corporation becomes non-profit
2014 Student membership reaches all-time high with 122 members; house mortgage paid off 

AWA Housing History

AWA’s  first house, located at 308 North Prospect in Madison, was organized by Kathy Waite Braun in 1975. Twelve members lived there the first two years and it was rented through 1978.

In April of 1978, Daphne (Johnson) Holterman and Eloise (Wettach) Saeman rented properties at 1935 University Avenue and 412 Paunack Place for 11 AWA members. Rent was divided and one meal a day was eaten together.

AWA members lived around the area for the next five years at the following addresses: 2005, 2009, 2014 and 1837 University Avenue.

During the summer of 1979, AWA members contacted area realtors to discuss permanent housing. In 1983, the houses located at 1909 and 1915 University Avenue were purchased. The blue and white houses - as they were referred to - providing housing for  19 student members.

The white and blue houses were home to AWA members for 10 years, until the completion of the new house in 1994. In the fall of 1994, the new house at 1909 University Avenue welcomed its first 26 residents.

AWA has gone through many channels to gain support for our housing. In 1980, Delma Woodburn became a major AWA sponsor, along with the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA).

Many members and friends volunteered their time to help make permanent housing for AWA a reality. The new house building and building design were completed through the Renchler Company and Design Coalition. Rural Insurance financed the house mortgages. Attorney Phil Harris and Dr. Larry Satter, along with many others, helped to achieve AWA’s goal of owning a housing unit for women attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison.