What a long strange trip it has been.
What started out as just another happy TAM fundraiser for us has turned into what feels like a literal marathon on my end. I’m exhausted. But I am proud to say that I have stuck it out and raised more money that ever before. A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who helped support this project. Together we have raised enough money to allow me to pay the admission for 22 women to attend TAM this year. TWENTY-F-ING-TWO! That is a whole lot of awesome.
Seriously, if that isn’t something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.
For those of you who are going to TAM this year, you can visit me anytime during convention hours at my Surly table and if you want to meet the genius-ladies that have won the grants this year follow me on twitter for updates about our meet-up. A grant winner from last year and current Mad Art Lab contributor, the super-fabulous, Emily is helping organize it. Rumor has it, it will be at one of the bars at the South Point and there will be cupcakes involved. The good kind of cupcakes with frosting not the bad kind with attitude problems.
Speaking of good things, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to the fabulous final four from the Surly Women Grant Program for 2012. WOOT!
Ellen Lundgren is an undergraduate studying for her BFA at Grand Valley State University in western Michigan, also known as the clasp of the Bible bra. She is the President of her CFI and SSA affiliate group (currently going through a name change) and she is also an online entrepreneur and avid crafter. Ellen is currently the summer 2012 Design Intern for the Secular Student Alliance in Columbus, Ohio and hopes are to remain in a creative position within the secular movement after college and to continue being awesome.
Jill Milette is a scientist with a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Physiology from Northwestern University. Her senior project at Hobart and William Smith Colleges was on Women and the Moon: Biology and Anthropology. At Northwestern University she studied circadian rhythms. Her dissertation was on how animals are able to tell the season of the year (for reproductive purposes) by measuring the length of the day. She has recently become obsessed with knitting and is designing and selling her sweaters!
Ashley Hull is a skeptic chameleon living in Boise, ID. She is currently attending Boise State University with a major in Law and spend her free time with her family and doing just about every hobby under the sun. Her interests span from technology, science, the arts, history, sewing, crafting, travel, modeling and just about anything else you can imagine. Says Ashley, “Learning is my hobby and I do it every day. I’m incredibly excited to attend this year, hope to see some of you there.”
Kassandraa Tamanini A.K.A. CraftLass is an independent folk singer-songwriter from Hoboken, NJ who writes a lot about space, science, politics, women’s issues, and critical thinking both as music and on her blog. A love of spiritual and folk music of the past and interest in how theology and religion have affected the world throughout human history have led to a passion for writing songs that stir people much like religious music but with secular lyrics advocating for reason and belief in the power of humanity. As an advocate of space science and exploration best known for her song “Bake Sale for NASA” she has appeared on a number of podcasts and blogs in interviews and as a guest panelist, most notably the popular podcast “Talking Space”. Her passions include learning as much as she can about almost everything, chasing rocket launches, video games, ballroom and Latin dancing, and taking every possible chance to look at a sky darker than the one she sees from her home right next to Manhattan. Having wanted to go to TAM since first hearing about it she is absolutely thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to delve deeper into the community of skeptics and learn even more.
Congrats to the winners and I will see you all in a few short weeks!