The Skeptic’s Toolbox - Faculty
Jessica Ahlquist is CFI’s volunteer high school coordinator. In a nationally publicized lawsuit, she successfully fought for the removal of a prayer banner hanging in her high school auditorium in Cranston, RI, drawing violent backlash from the overwhelmingly Catholic community. She has received widespread acclaim for her courage and activism.
Dren Asselmeier does student outreach as a campus organizer at the Center for Inquiry. She got her start as a secular organizer while interning at Center for Inquiry–Michigan in 2008. She stayed until 2010 as a volunteer campus coordinator, and was CFI–Michigan Freethinker of the Year in 2009, as well as president of Center for Inquiry–Grand Valley State University. Dren is the president of Buffalo Area Non-Profit Professionals, an event volunteer at Buffalo Subversive Theatre, and a contributor to the Buffalo Storyteller Hour.
Lauren Becker, VP and Director of Outreach, is a science and nature interpreter who has taught at museums, parks, and planetariums around the country. Known for her commentaries on Point of Inquiry, CFI’s radio show & podcast, she is an experienced environmental activist and advocate for science literacy and education. Lauren holds a B.A. in Geography and a Masters in Education focused on science and the public.
Ed Brayton spent several years touring the country as a stand up comedian. Tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates, he turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He is now the owner of the Freethought Blogs network and his own popular blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN. He recently revisited his comedic roots by developing the one-man show Stand Up Skeptic.
Elisabeth Cornwell is executive director of the United States branch of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. An evolutionary psychologist, she has recently been conducting research at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, exploring the relationship of various psychological traits to religious belief.
James Croft is a candidate for an Ed.D in Human Development and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a vice-chair of the Humanist Graduate Community at Harvard. In his academic work, James primarily studies how the arts help us learn and grow, and he’s particularly interested in how the arts promote ethical and existential development. James is an Assistant Editor at The New Humanism, a Contributing Scholar for State of Formation (an interfaith community blog), and the creator of Temple of the Future, a project to infuse Humanism with beauty, passion and dynamism. He holds an M.Ed in Arts in Education from HGSE, and an MA in Education with Drama and English from the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with a double first-class degree and won a number of academic awards.
Michael De Dora is director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy and the organization’s representative to the United Nations. Michael received a master’s degree in political theory from Brooklyn College, and a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communication from SUNY–Albany. He maintains the blog The Moral Perspective, and contributes essays to Massimo Pigliucci’s blog Rationally Speaking.
Paul Fidalgo is communications director of the Center for Inquiry, and previously led communications for the Secular Coalition for America and FairVote: the Center for Voting and Democracy. He holds a master’s degree in political management from George Washington University, where his master’s thesis was on atheists in American politics. Paul is also an actor and musician whose work includes five years performing with the American Shakespeare Center. He lives in Maine with his wife Jessica and son Toby. His personal blog is Near Earth Object.
Debbie Goddard is the campus outreach coordinator at the Center for Inquiry and the director of African Americans for Humanism, a program of the Council for Secular Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a volunteer. She has also been involved with LGBTQ issues and progressive activism.
Amanda Knief is a cofounder of Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community-based organization. She is currently the Administrative Director for American Atheists and previously worked as the Government Relations Manager at Secular Coalition for America. She is a graduate of Drake University Law School and Iowa State University, and a member of the Iowa Bar. She edits copy for eMpirical, the Secular Student Alliance’s monthly e-newsletter. She volunteers for the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross disaster action response teams. She has been an open atheist advocate for the past five years.
Stef McGraw is a current Center for Inquiry On Campus intern. She studies philosophy and Spanish at the University of Northern Iowa, where she has been involved in her campus group, the UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers (UNIFI), for three years. Stef currently serves as the organization's Vice President, and contributes to the group's continual initiative to improve leadership organization and succession planning.
Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, blogger, and experienced trainer of scientists in the art of communication. He is the author of five books, including The Republican Brain and the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science—dubbed “a landmark in contemporary political reporting” by Salon.com and a “well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing’s assault on science and scientists” by Scientific American. Chris co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with by Sheril Kirshenbaum, and is also a host of CFI’s podcast, Point of Inquiry.
Desiree Schell is the host of Skeptically Speaking, a live radio show and podcast that explores the connections between popular culture, history, and science, and promotes critical thinking beyond the ranks of current skeptics. In her work as a labor organizer, she creates and implements diverse campaigns and develops curricula and teaches courses on effective activism.
And featuring a special performance on Saturday night:
Jamie Kilstein is a comedian and proud atheist who has been seen on The Conan O’Brian Show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Showtime’s The Green Room, CNN’s The Joy Behar Show, The BBC, The Comedy Channel in Australia, HBO Canada, and Showtime Comedy in the Middle East.
He co-hosts Citizen Radio with Allison Kilkenny (The Nation and Huffington Post), which is dedicated to covering the stories that the mainstream, corporate media ignores. He has had the privilege of interviewing such distinct intellectuals as Rachel Maddow, Bad Religion, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Matt Taibbi, Jeremy Scahill, Rise Against, Robin Williams, Janeane Garofalo, Moby, Sarah Silverman, Naomi Klein, Amy Goodman, and more.
©2012 Center for Inquiry