Hello! It’s been a while since a new Skepchick was added to the den. I’ve poked around this blog often (but commented rarely) for a few years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to knock back drinks with Skepchicks at different events—always a lot of fun. Sometimes too much fun…they sure can drink, damn. Being invited to write for Skepchick is an honor.
So what can I tell you by way of introduction? I work at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY. I wear two different hats there: I’m the coordinator of CFI’s campus outreach program, and more recently I became the director of African Americans for Humanism. My first experience with organized skepticism and freethought was eleven years ago, when I attended a student leadership conference at CFI on a whim. I was blown away that there were actual buildings, and paid employees, and organized groups dedicated to naturalism and critical thinking. I recently reread entries I wrote in my journal from that time and saw I’d written stuff like, “Wow! There’s a full-time paranormal investigator there! Wow! There are groups in Philadelphia! I had no idea! I’m going to join them all!” And I did—I joined every skeptic, humanist, atheist, and freethought group within 100 miles of my home and attended meetings regularly for years. I also volunteered for CFI doing campus outreach to groups around the world. Yep, I’d found my niche.
Now I’m fortunately able to do secular and skepticism-related grassroots organizing as my job. Which is sweet.
It can also be frustrating, though. We see skeptics and scientists spending good time to investigate all sorts of claims, but sometimes when they think that something not backed by evidence has been taken care of definitively, it can come back again in a slightly different form—not to mention all the newfangled kinds of supernatural and BS things that pop up. Joe Nickell has described the enterprise as skeptical whack-a-mole. But it’s good that skeptics put resources out there for those who are dealing with these claims, and we try to teach and promote critical thinking to help people sort through the gut feelings and glut of information available to figure stuff out.
Promoting skepticism helps Make The World A Better Place™, and Skepchick has a huge impact. I have great respect for everyone on here. I’m excited to join the team and look forward to contributing what I can!