I have for you six more grant recipients for TAM 2012. That brings the tally to 12 grants awarded so far. Which should bring the attendance of women at the event up to at least 19% now, right? See how easy it is to raise numbers? You just have to be inclusive, understanding and actively working towards positive change. Something we have been doing here at Skepchick for years.
For those of you who are ‘confused’ as to why we would send women to an event that is ‘unsafe’ as I have seen written in some unenlightened posts on the internet, please stop for a moment and let me assist you in understanding the actual issue.
We have NEVER once said that TAM is more unsafe than any other event. It has simply been stated that unless sexism and harrassment is dealt with on all levels and at all events then NO space is truly safe for women. We need to work together to fix these problems. The changes required need to come from the top down and the bottom up. Rebecca is working from the top with the leaders of this movement and I am the grassroots backup. Together we, and that also means YOU can make a difference.
For the record; TAM has been a wonderful, educational and life changing event for me in years past. I have met some of my very best friends there and have learned a great deal about science and skepticism. I have had the opportunity to be on stage there numerous times and for that I am grateful. I have been inspired and had great fun at TAM. Some of my fondest memories are from TAMs. I am extremely sad that many of my fellow Skepchicks won’t be there this year. That being said, I completely support and understand Rebecca’s decision not to go and hope that her actions now will be the catalyst for improvements in the future at all events.
Thanks to everyone out there who has been donating and continues to do so in these difficult times. Your help is making this grant program happen. There is simply no way I could do this alone. And I appreciate the feeling of community and positive activism this fundraiser has cultivated. People speak of divisiveness. I don’t think that’s true. I see many more kind and intelligent people coming together and stepping up to do the right thing and the angry misogynists, anti-feminists and negative people fading farther into the background of skepticism on their way to becoming irrelevant. The haters may be loud but they are minuscule in many ways. One other thing I have noticed in all of this is that many women want to go to TAM but simply can not afford the ticket price. I have not yet had a single woman reject a grant based on internet ‘drama’ or discussions regarding sexism. Women want to go AND to be respected in a safe environment. Not too much to ask for I don’t think, and not out of our reach to ensure.
Now, let’s meet these amazing women who will also help to make a difference in the world of organized skepticism, feminism and science outreach. The future awaits…
Lindsay Waldrop received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are in the interaction of organisms with their fluid environments, such as sniffing, swimming, and suspension feeding. She studied how crabs sniff for her dissertation research! In her personal time, she enjoys training her dog, SCUBA diving, science communication and outreach, and being a skeptic. This will be her first trip to TAM, and she is excited to meet all her favorite skeptics!
Jami Williams is a Physical Therapist who lives in Hazard, KY. She graduated from University of Kentucky in 2005 with a Masters degree in Physical Therapy. She is recently engaged and planning an October wedding. She currently works in a local nursing home and her interests are geriatrics and neurological aspects of physical therapy. Nothing makes her happier than to improve the daily functioning of a patient through evidence-based practice. She loves learning and researching science-based medicine and is very much looking forward to this aspect of TAM. Overall, she considers herself a big nerd who loves horror and science fiction literature and cinema. She plays Magic the Gathering, and could play board games all night long. She is completely in love with her 2 pups and consider them her kids.
Lauren Magee prefers to dwell in possibility. She received a BA in Botany from Miami University in 2000. Ten years later, after paying off those student loans, she began working on an MA in English at Northern Kentucky University. Her primary focus is on creative writing classes, with a veer towards new media. Her thesis project is a podcast starring a fictionalized version of Emily Dickinson, who was quite a skeptic herself. Lauren is an avid fan of tabletop gaming, reading, and crafting nerdy/geeky things. She is incredibly excited to be able to attend her first TAM thanks to this grant.
Renee Davis-Pelt is a lifelong science buff whose interests include astronomy, theoretical physics, medical sciences, political activism, human rights issues, and the occasional all-night gaming session with her online friends playing MMORPGs like Rift and EverQuest. She’s currently an analyst for a managed care company in the Midwest, and comes from a background in dental hygiene, nursing, and information systems. She also likes cats.
Christine Shellska is a PhD Candidate (ABD) in the Department of Communication and Culture, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Calgary (Canada). Her research involves studying the rhetorical strategies the Intelligent Design movement uses to advance religious claims as scientific. Christine is active in several local, national, and international secular organizations. Christine sees skepticism as a site of political engagement. She believes that many of the threats to environmental sustainability, global peace, and social justice stem from irrationalism and superstition, and that reason and compassion are the requisite tools to counter ignorance, fear and hatred, and to promote a reality-based understanding of our natural and social realms.
Hayley Dunning is a Brit living in Canada via Iceland and Finland. She is studying for a Masters of Journalism at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver), but previously has two Masters in Earth Science (why the two is another story…). Finding out that some people have doubts about climate change originally attracted her to the world of logic, reason and skepticism, and realizing just how many people denied evolution helped her stay there! She’s focusing her journalism thesis on Canadian media representations of climate change (thesis blog can be found at: www.bwandgreenallover.wordpress.com). She finally got cats in October, therefore making her life complete.
I am SO looking forward to meeting all these women and our other grant winners at the event!
I will announce even more grant winners very soon! You can go here to donate to the program or to apply for a grant but hurry, time is running out!
See you soon.