ARCS Light Awardees


The ARCS Light Award is a distinctive honor awarded to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to ARCS Foundation. One ARCS Light may be chosen by her Chapter each year, though there is no requirement that the award be given every year.

The ARCS Light is honored at the Phoenix Chapter’s December Board and General Member Meeting as well as at the ARCS Foundation National Annual Meeting.

To select the ARCS Light, each year a committee is formed by the Vice President of Membership in collaboration with the President. Four members are selected representing various membership lengths of service. A candidate for the ARCS Light Award must have been an active member for at least three years, have served on a variety of committees as well as on the Chapter Board, have given continuous service that has had a positive impact on the ARCS Foundation, have demonstrated a willingness to serve, have respect for ARCS Foundation leadership and membership, and be an exemplary representative of ARCS Foundation to her fellow members and to the community. 


















2024 ARCS Light Recipient - Sydney Fox

The Phoenix Chapter is proud to announce Sydney Fox as our 2024 ARCS Light recipient. The ARCS Light is a distinctive honor that is awarded annually to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to the chapter. Sydney has been a member of ARCS Phoenix Chapter since 2015. She has served as the Treasurer, Nominating Chairman, University Relations Committee Member, Endowment Chairman and is the President-Elect for the upcoming year. In addition to her commitment to ARCS, Sydney was the past President of the Board of Visitors, which raises funds for the healthcare needs of women, children, and the elderly. She is also a member of The Women's Board of Barrow Neurological Foundation and she served on the board of Special Olympics of Arizona.  Sydney worked  in the private wealth management field for many years with her husband, Dan.  She enjoys family get togethers, hiking, golf, and volunteering in the community.  Sydney and her husband have three grown children.

 Congratulations Sydney!


Congratulations to Jill Bray - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2023 ARCS Light Award Winner

Jill has been an ARCS Phoenix Chapter member since 2016. She is the Immediate Past President of the Phoenix Chapter and served as Vice President of University Relations prior to that. Jill was recently elected to the Nominating Committee and currently serves on the National Board in several capacities including Chapter Engagement, the ARCS Forward Subcommittee, University Relations Committee, Alumni Hall of Fame Selection Committee, and the Nominating Committee.

During her time as President, Jill emceed the Scholar Awards Dinner, initiated a reorganization of the University Relations Committee, created a Scholar Alumni Membership category, and steered the Phoenix Chapter through virtual meetings and site visits during COVID-19.

Outside of ARCS, Jill was the President of Komen Arizona for 6 years, Parliamentarian for the Junior League of Phoenix, Co-Chair of the Willo Historic Home Tour and has chaired the Childsplay Theatre gala twice. Jill worked as a practicing radiation therapist for 22 years. Jill is an art lover and avid museum visitor. She also snow skis and enjoys boating on Chautauqua Lake in the summer.  She is married to David and is the mother of Cameron, 25. Congratulations Jill!

Congratulations to Dawn Carson Senger - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2022 ARCS Light Award Winner

Congratulations to Dawn Carson Senger as our 2022 ARCS Light recipient. We are most grateful for her loyal service, energy, and ardent commitment to ARCS!

 “My mother was an ARCS member in Phoenix and LA. She loved this organization so much and I joined to honor her. I also truly believe in the mission.”

Dawn joined ARCS in 2011. Since joining, she has served in many roles in our chapter including President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer and supported as a Scholar Award Donor. On the ARCS National Board, Dawn has served on the Council of Presidents and as Treasurer.

A native Phoenician, Dawn loves to travel, ski, and spend time with friends and family, especially her three grandsons.

Dawn was presented with the ARCS Anthurium at this year’s Membership Tea. This anthurium flower was created and named for ARCS by a Honolulu alumni scholar to recognize the important partnership between ARCS foundation and our universities. The ARCS Light is a distinctive honor that is awarded annually to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to the chapter.

Congratulations Dawn!


Congratulations to Christy Burton - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2021 ARCS Light Award Winner

Christy Burton 2021 ARCS Light for Phoenix Chapter | PhoenixCongratulations to Christy Burton as the 2021 Phoenix Chapter ARCS Light. The ARCS Light is a distinctive honor that is awarded annually to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to the chapter.

Christy Burton has been a member since 2007. She has served in many roles in our chapter as Director of Public Relations & Newsletter, Chair of University Relations, VP of Fall Benefit, and VP Awards Dinner. And on the National Board as Director of Newsletter, VP Membership and a member of the Audit Committee. Believing wholeheartedly in our mission, she and her husband have supported scholars since 2012.

She was presented with the ARCS Anthurium. This anthurium flower was created and named for ARCS by a Honolulu alumni scholar to recognize the important partnership between ARCS foundation and our universities. She will be honored in Atlanta at the Annual Members Conference in 2022. 

Congratulations Christy!


Congratulations to Christine Hawes - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2020 ARCS Light Award Winner

Congratulations to Christine Hawes, who has been selected as the 2020 ARCS Light for the Phoenix Chapter. The ARCS Light is a distinctive honor that is awarded annually to a member who has given the highest quality of long-term service to the chapter.

Christine has been a devoted ARCS member, serving on the board each year since she joined in 2002. Her positions have included: Assistant Treasurer, Treasurer, Vice President of University Relations, Webmaster,  Newsletter Editor, Awards Dinner Chair, and President. Currently, she serves as our chapter’s co-chair of University Relations, Parliamentarian, and Past President. She is the Treasurer at the National level. And she selflessly offers help to any board member who asks. Christine will be honored at the All Members Conference in Atlanta, where she will receive a memento from National recognizing her as the Phoenix Chapter ARCS LIGHT.  

Christine grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri, and attended college in Atchison, Kansas. After braving midwestern winters for several years as a classroom teacher, she decided she needed to spend the rest of her life being warm, so she moved to Phoenix and began working for the Scottsdale School District as a middle school teacher. She earned her master’s degree in library science and transitioned into the teacher-librarian position at her school, becoming a National Board Certified Teacher and a trainer of other teachers in her district and working as an adjunct faculty member at Glendale Community College. After teaching for 40 years, she is blissfully retired.

In addition to her professional life, Christine served as a cantor at St. Francis Xavier Church for over 30 years and spent many years volunteering and serving on the board of the Junior League of Phoenix.


Congratulations to Dr. Kathern Plenge - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2019 ARCS Light Award Winner

"ARCS Foundation has been a wonderful part of my life after retirement" states Kathey Plenge, the Phoenix ARCS Light of 2019.  A native of Tennessee, Kathey graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in 1964 and did her Neurology Residency at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona where she practiced until retirement in 2001.  She achieved a Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and Fellow, American Academy of Neurology.  She was Medical Director of the Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit of the BNI and served on the Arizona Governor's Advisory Council of Spinal and Head Injuries.  Kathey was the first woman President of the Maricopa County Medical Society in 1994 and served in many capacities in the MCMS and the Arizona Medical Association.  In 2003, the YWCA: Tribute to Women gave her the Scientist-Researcher Award.  

Nancy Spetzler invited Kathey to join Phoenix ARCS in 2002, which she accepted enthusiastically.  Since that time she has served as Chair of Fund Development, Vice President of University Relations, Hospitality Chair, Chair of Public Relations, Vice President for Field Trips and Chair of the Fall Benefit Speaker Series. 

In addition to  ARCS Foundation, Kathey is a Master Docent at the Phoenix Art Museum.  Other passions include Duplicate Bridge and piano lessons.  Kathey and her husband, Robert, have lived in Paradise Valley, AZ for 50 of their 52 years of marriage.  They have two children, both of whom are physicians, and six grandchildren.  Both families live a block apart in Wellesley, MA, which makes it convenient for Kathey to perform another valued job as the "Traveling Grandma".


Congratulations to Penny Papadopoulos - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2018 ARCS Light Award Winner

Our past president Penny Papadopoulos just added another feather to her cap by being selected as the 2018 Phoenix Chapter ARCS Light. Two of Penny’s other ‘feathers’ include a BS degree from Texas Woman’s University and a MSN from the University of Michigan. But Penny will likely tell you  her most important achievements are her three handsome sons, products of her 34 year marriage to Phoenix Barrow Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Steve Papadopoulos. Two of Penny’s sons are married and they now have one grandson. 

Penny is originally from Florida but lived 19 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she worked as an adult nurse practitioner in woman’s health spending most of her practice in the cardiovascular arena. She worked in the catheter lab, the cardiovascular ICU and as a research assistant for NIH clinical trials in congestive heart failure for the University of Michigan. Penny and Steve keep a home in Ann Arbor but moved to Phoenix in 2001. In her free time, Penny likes to hike with her dog in the Phoenix mountains and is interested in therapy dog work. She has been a volunteer for Hospice of the Valley and serves on the Regional Board of Teach for America. Penny was introduced to ARCS Foundation by her friend and sponsor, Lynne Sonntag. Since becoming a member in 2002, she has served in several capacities for our ARCS chapter including Recording Secretary, Field Trip VP, and Chapter President. On the ARCS Foundation National Board, Penny has served on the Council of Presidents, as Chair of NB Meeting Arrangements, and is currently a member of the National Board Council of Advisors.  It’s easy to find Penny in a crowd, for she can always be recognized by her bright smile and enthusiastic demeanor.  Congratulations, Penny!


Congratulations to Sandy Kennedy - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2017 ARCS Light Award Winner

"The purpose and people of ARCS are what drew me to the organization,” says Sandy Kennedy, Phoenix Chapter ARCS Light. Sandy has been an ARCS member since 1997, when she accepted Nancy Spetzler’s invitation to a field trip and decided to join in our mission. A mother of two, she graduated from Northwestern University with a major in Art History and moved with her family to Phoenix thirty years ago. She and Dick, her husband of fifteen years, have a combined family of seven grown children and thirteen grandchildren. They love to travel and have hiked and camped the Inca Trail at Machu Picchu and journeyed on the Mont-Blanc Express in France and Switzerland. Glacier National Park is a favorite hiking place for the couple, and they love our country’s spectacular scenery. Other activities that Sandy enjoys are tennis, golf (with a decent handicap), riding bikes, gardening, and reading.

Sandy has long been a loyal, active member of our ARCS chapter and has contributed greatly, serving as Vice President of both University Relations and Membership and as Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Historian, Parliamentarian, and director of Field Trips and Hospitality. We are delighted to honor her as our ARCS Light, and are so grateful to her for all she does for our chapter. 


Congratulations to Jane Lawson - ARCS Foundation Phoenix 2016 ARCS Light Award Winner

The distinctive honor of the 2016 ARCS Light has gone to a most deserving Jane Lawson. Nominated for membership in 2002 by Sandra Matteucci, Jane has enjoyed being an ARCS member. “I love my ARCS ladies” says Jane. “What I like about ARCS is that everyone helps you. You are never alone and if you need help with something, they will be there”.

Serving ARCS on the Board or as an Officer over the years, working on field trips or on the Fall Benefit Speakers Series, Jane’s favorite position was Treasurer, an office she held for 3 years. She says it was nice because she got a chance to get to know more of the ARCS membership while she was Treasurer.

Jane’s been married to her husband Bruce for 30 years and has been an Arizona resident since 1968, moving here from her native Los Angeles. She retired from Apollo High School where 1/3 of her career was spent writing curriculum for the district office, and the remainder teaching American History. Jane enjoys cooking, is an avid reader, works out in the gym on a regular basis and loves to cruise and travel. She likes traveling because she sees all the places she taught about and it makes her teachings become real and alive to her. Jane also enjoyed being a docent at the Heard Museum for several years.

After the award presentation by Pat Elder at the Holiday luncheon at Elements at the Sanctuary Resort, Penny noted Jane’s positive attitude and how much the organization loves her. Jane responded “This organization is a labor of love. I feel like I’m at the Academy Awards and didn’t prepare a speech”.  Congratulations Jane! 

Congratulations to Terry Wilhoit - 2015 ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winner

Terry Wilhoit joined ARCS Phoenix Chapter in 1997 after an invitation from Stevie Eller. Terry has been interested in furthering educational opportunities for students at Arizona State University for many years. ARCS membership presented new directions for her to help raise funds for graduate students in the sciences at the three Arizona Universities.

Terry and her husband, Bill, are both natives of Arizona and have been married 61 years. They have two children, Two grandchildren, and two great-granchildren. Both Terry and Bill are graduates of Arizona State University. In 2004, Terry was awarded the ASU Hall of Fame Outstanding Graduate of the year for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She was active as one of the founding group to establish the Piper Center Writing Center at Arizona State University. She has also volunteered with Visiting Nurse Auxilary, Mother Teresa Homeless Shelter and Crisis Nursery.

While a member of ARCS, she has served as Recording Secretary, twice as Chair of the Annual Awards Dinner, on the Nominating Committee, Hospitality Committee as well as serving on the Board of Directors for fourteen years. Currently she is the Phoenix Chapter’s Parliamentarian. 

Congratulations to Carolyn Balster Evani - 2014 ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winner

Carolyn is a native of California and has lived in seven states, Arizona the longest of any.  She and husband V. Evani MD (Bob) and baby daughter Veera moved to Phoenix in 1992 after Bob completed his surgical residency in Detroit, where Carolyn practiced corporate and securities law. Son Sam arrived in 1996, a Scottsdale native.

While the children were small Carolyn practiced law part time, and was active with the Junior League of Phoenix, serving as President 1999-2001. She was a volunteer for and Board member of Recording for the Blind, a participant in Valley Leadership, and on the Board of the Weekday School, where Veera and Sam enjoyed preschool.  

As her children grew older, Carolyn was involved with school and sports team activities, National Charity League and the Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure, serving as Race Chair in 2009. In 2010 she was nominated by ARCS friends and was named a Trendsetter. For the past five years she has served on the Board of the Komen Phoenix Affiliate, serving two terms as President (2012/14.)

Carolyn was invited to join ARCS in 2001 by her friends Anna Maria and Sandra Matteucci. She tremendously enjoys her work with the Phoenix ARCS chapter, and has served as University Relations Director, Awards Dinner and Fall Fundraiser co-chair, and two terms as President. She will serve as Membership Director 2014/15, so will become much better acquainted with the National website.  Carolyn feels ARCS Phoenix is a unique and wonderful group of women, and that she is very fortunate to be a member.

Congratulations to Anna Maria Matteucci - 2013 ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winner

ARCS Phoenix boasts first Mother Daughter ARCS Lights. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Like mother like daughter. These sayings come to mind when thinking about Anna Maria Matteucci, Phoenix Chapter ARCS Light 2013.  Anna Maria follows inthe footsteps of her mother, Sandra Matteucci, who was named an ARCS Light in 2004.  This “Dynamic Duo” made ARCS history as the first mother-daughter ARCS Lights. 

Sandra joinedthe Phoenix Chapter in 1991 and has since then been a leader and a mentor in Phoenix and on the National Board.  She is currently a member of the National Council of Advisors.  In 2011, Sandra was named a Lifetime Achiever.  The Ralph Matteucci Endowment Award was established in 2004 in memory of her late husband.

Anna Maria joined ARCS in 2001 and, like her mother, has been active in the Phoenix Chapter and on the National Board.  Among her many accomplishments she recently completed a two-year stint as President of the Phoenix Chapter, served as National ARCS Foundation VP of Communications and is currently National Treasurer.

The Matteucci home in Paradise Valley is affectionately known as the “ARCS Clubhouse.”  Sandra and Anna Maria host the annual ARCS Retreat in August, addressing events and luncheons, the General Meeting and Member Tea in February and any other event that needs a home.  (If you don’t have a hat to wear to the Tea, there is no worry because Sandra has all of her hats on a table in the foyer to be worn by anyone in need!)

These two Matteucci women, Sandra and Anna Maria, are the epitome of the ARCS Light.  Not only are they exemplary representatives of the standards of this prestigious award but, on a personal level, they are revered for their charm, wit, laughter, generosity and warmth.  We are honored that the “apple” stayed near the “tree” and that the “tree” is located in the Phoenix Chapter of ARCS.

Congratulations to Diane Might - 2012 ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winner

Phoenix Chapter sentiments regarding Diane are best captured in the following note of congratulations from former President Carolyn Evani, “You are so deserving of the ARCS Light award as well as the many other awards you have received in Phoenix for your leadership and service both as educator and community volunteer. You are truly a woman for others. Your dedication to our mission is inspirational. Everything you touch is made better, more sensibly streamlined, and more efficient! What a pleasure and an honor it is to work with you.”

In Diane’s 10 years as a member she has enthusiastically served on the Board as VP University Relations, Scholar Awards Dinner Chair, VP Membership, Alumni Scholar Relations Director, and Webmaster. She and her husband generously sponsor an annual Scholar Award as well as support all other Chapter fundraising endeavors.

Diane’s previous positions were perfect preparation for her most recent undertaking as a member of the ARCS National Website Project Mercury team. She spent countless hours participating in the development of the new website, migrating Phoenix data, attending training webinars, and creating Phoenix content. Since the site went live in September, Diane has been testing the website’s capabilities and developing training guidelines for Phoenix members. More recently, she became a member of an ARCS National task force committee to define training guidelines for all Chapters.

Diane’s passion for science and education stems from her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry; master’s degree in Educational Leadership; and experiences as a teacher and school administrator. She describes her mission in life quite simply, “to bring out the best in others”. It is clear she lives her mission because her leadership has a profound impact on each organization she touches. With unbounding energy and an engaging smile she accents the positive, aligns goals, focuses forward, and takes action. She is a true asset to ARCS Phoenix.

Diane is a devoted wife to CEO husband Tom and their three accomplished sons who are Georgia Tech graduates. Diane is also a full time caretaker for her 85-year-old mother. She and her husband split their time between Park City, Utah and Scottsdale, Arizona so that she can assist in the loving care of her special needs grandson and new granddaughter in Salt Lake City.

Congratulations to Eileen Haga - 2011 ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winner

Eileen Haga has provided exemplary service to the Phoenix Chapter since 1998. her many outstanding contributions she has served as President, Vice President of University Relations, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Newsletter Director, Awards Dinner Director, and Assistant Treasurer. She has also served on the National Board as Director of Administration. Eileen received her B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of Arizona and her J.D. from the same institution. She has spent time employed by both the U.S. Supreme Court as well as the Arizona Supreme Court. Since retiring she has been involved in the activities of her two children, Robert and Janet, who have been gone from the nest for quite awhile, giving her time to play more tennis, bridge and indulge in escapist literature. Tennis has gone by the wayside even though she hoped two new knees would improve her performance. However, she now seems to have that much more time for ARCS. Both Eileen and her husband, David, believe wholeheartedly in the ARCS Mission and are proud to be a part of its accomplishments. Also of great importance are the wonderful friendships.

Prior ARCS Foundation Phoenix ARCS Light Award Winners

The ARCS Foundation Phoenix has a distinguished history of ARCS Light Award winners. The following ARCS Light Award Winners have been honored for extraordinary contributions to the organization:


Carol Craig


Elizabeth Culley


Agnes Johnson


Millie Windrow


Lynne Sonntag


Abbey Grunewald


Irene Douglas


Mimi Prentice


Bettie Crawford


Ethel Marley


Dr. Stevie Eller


Sally Tworger


Sandra Matteucci


Eleanor Libby


Joan Jugloff


Sue LaFollette


Betty Vandenburgh


Jane Buffmire


Nancy Spetzler


Eleanor Libby


Nancy Templin


Sissie Gentleman


Pauline Bayless


Dottie Stephens


Martha Knight


Mr. Paul Nelson


Kathy Hoover


Sue LaFollette


Marion Flynn


Dr. Mae Sue Talley


Betty Hayes