Falmouth Historical Society 21st Annual Heritage Award:
Women of Achievement
The Falmouth Historical Society established this award in 2000 to mark its 100th anniversary and to recognize individuals or organizations who have provided outstanding leadership and made significant contributions to the Falmouth community. In 2020, we selected “Five Women of Achievement” to receive this annual award: Penelope Duby, Margaret Gifford, Barbara Kanellopoulos, Sharon Nunes, and Pamela Rothstein. However, due to the pandemic, we had to postpone our plans for a celebratory gathering until 2021. We hope you will take a few moments to read the brief bios of each recipient below to inform or remind you of their contributions to our community. Prepare to be amazed.
Penelope Duby has degrees in nutrition education, gerontology, and community health. She has worked as an inner city elementary open classroom teacher, alternative assessment coordinator, AIDS education coordinator for Philadelphia, and mathematics assessment specialist. Since her retirement she has been focused on universal women’s issues, including an equal rights amendment, universal childcare, and paid sick or parental leave. She has worked with volunteer communities of women to raise awareness, encourage agency, and to promote advocacy and activism to improve women’s lives, work, health, safety, and representation. She is the co-founder and co-chair of SWIFT: Supporting Women in Financial Transition, Cape Cod Women for Change, and Upper Cape Women’s Coalition. She is the former chair of the Cape and Islands Commission on the Status of Women and a member of the League of Women Voters of Falmouth and the Falmouth Democratic Town Committee.
Margaret Gifford moved to Woods Hole in 1972 when her husband joined the staff of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. She became an integral part of the business community as the co-owner of H.V. Lawrence, a flower shop and landscape business on Depot Avenue (now the Lawrence Gardens condominium complex). In 1993, she took on an entirely new career in real estate. Over the years, Margaret has served on Boards of Directors for several organizations, including the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, the Falmouth Hospital Foundation Board (prior to the merger with Cape Cod Healthcare), the Woods Hole Historical Society, and the Museums on the Green. She recently joined the board of Neighborhood Falmouth, an organization helping seniors live independently, safely, and comfortably in their own homes.
Barbara Kanellopoulos came to Falmouth in the early 1960s and enjoyed a long and varied career teaching elementary, junior high, high school, and community college students. Inspired by students at Cape Cod Community College who had returned to the classroom late in life, she wrote “An Introduction to College Studies,” a study skills manual. She currently volunteers with Around the Table which provides regular, free meals to residents in need at the Parish House at St. Barnabas Church. She is also a member of the League of Women Voters, No Place for Hate Falmouth, Racial Justice Falmouth, the Upper Cape Women’s Coalition, and the Democratic Town Committee. As a member of Falmouth Community Television, she produces “Conversations with Barbara,” showcasing the interests and concerns of Cape Cod residents.
Dr. Sharon Nunes and her husband bought a home in Falmouth in 2006 and commuted to the Cape from New York about 40 weekends per year until moving here full time in 2010. Her career at IBM spanned 28 years; among other achievements, she helped launch two global businesses: Life Sciences (2001) and Big Green Innovations (2006). In 2019, Sharon was one of 106 engineers worldwide to be elected into the National Academy of Engineering. She is also one of the initial 50 Community Philanthropists supporting The Falmouth Fund, a permanent endowment fund which awards grants to nonprofit organizations serving the community. Today, she serves as the Fund’s Chair and the Chair of The Cape Cod Foundation. She is the former chair of The Cape Cod Foundation’s Board of Directors and a long-time volunteer with the Falmouth Service Center, Hand in hand Thrift Shop, and the Cotuit Center for the Arts.
Dr. Pamela Rothstein has lived in Falmouth for 26 years and has served as Director of Lifelong Learning at the Falmouth Jewish Congregation for over two decades. By training and profession, Pamela is an historian and educator with a longstanding passion for social justice and community involvement. Currently, she serves on the Steering Committee of No Place for Hate Falmouth, where she is helping to shape the Upper Cape Interfaith Alliance and working on the new “Faces of Falmouth” project intended to highlight the diversity of the community. She also serves on the Town of Falmouth’s Bikeways Committee and the Neighborhood Falmouth Advisory Committee. Over the years, Pamela has also collaborated with the Falmouth Public Schools to enrich its Holocaust and diversity education.