The Course of Reason

Intern Intro: Stef McGraw

May 22, 2012

It’s my second week as a CFI On Campus intern, so I thought I’d tell you all a bit about myself. My name is Stef McGraw, and I’m a senior philosophy and Spanish double major at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. I’m currently the Vice President of my campus group, the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers (UNIFI).

Unlike many in this movement, I don’t have a big coming out story. I was raised Unitarian Universalist, which for those of you who aren’t familiar, is a spiritual philosophy that includes even secular humanists and atheists. While I never really believed in a higher power, I think at some point in high school I started using the word “atheist” to describe my religious beliefs. 

If you were to ask me three years ago about my plans to be involved in the secular movement, I probably would have answered, “what movement?” It wasn’t until I found the UNIFI table at freshman orientation that I was aware of its existence. After being recruited to attend UNIFI’s Sunday Brunches, I was hooked. I loved that there was a community of people who were like-minded, but not so like-minded that we couldn’t have heated debates about various issues.

When one of UNIFI’s officers left that November, I was selected to be the new Director of Membership. I had never before experienced taking a leadership role in a group that was part of such an important movement, and even though it was challenging, I absolutely loved it.

UNIFI has done a lot in the three years I’ve been involved, earning us several CFI and SSA awards and causing us to become one of the most well-known and well-organized groups on UNI’s campus. Some of the events I’m most proud of are Progressive Picnic, where we collaborated with other forward-thinking campus groups in recruiting new members, Out Week, where we raised over $700 for a local food bank, and our annual Darwin Week, where we have hosted several campus professors and big-name speakers such as Greta Christina, Jamila Bey, and Lawrence Krauss.

The summer after my freshman year, I decided to attend CFI’s Summer Leadership Conference to gain better organizing skills and become more connected with the student movement as a whole. Though I’ve attended several other student conferences since, that first one will always be memorable because it allowed me to look beyond my campus group and inspire me to want to become involved in the freethinking movement as a whole.

This brings to me to where I am now: a Center for Inquiry On Campus intern. Though it hasn’t been that long, we’ve already hit the ground running in planning the Summer Leadership Conference and looking to improve the already great resources that CFI On Campus offers.

I’ll be blogging more throughout the summer, but if you’d ever like to contact me, feel free to do so at 


About the Author: Stef McGraw

Stef McGraw's photo
Stef McGraw is a Campus and Community Organizer at the Center for Inquiry. She has degrees in philosophy and Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa, where she first got involved in the freethought movement through the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers


#1 Dave Muscato (Guest) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 at 7:17am

This is great, Stef! Or should I call you Quick Draw? :)

#2 Dren Asselmeier on Tuesday May 22, 2012 at 7:18am

I get it! And I agree that this is awesome.




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