Educator and organizer, vice president & director of CFI Outreach
Lauren Becker, vice president and director of outreach for the Center for Inquiry, 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, the radio show and podcast of CFI, she is an experienced environmental activist and advocate for science literacy and education. She is also an associate editor of Free Inquiry magazine.
Author, editor, and commentator, Butterflies & Wheels
Ophelia Benson is the joint-author (with Jeremy Stangroom) of Why Truth Matters and The Dictionary of Fashionable Nonsense, and deputy editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine. In addition to maintaining the popular website Butterflies & Wheels, she writes a monthly column for The Philosophers’ Magazine Online and is a contributor to Free Inquiry magazine. Her newest book, Does God Hate Women?, was published in June of 2009.
Author, editor, and journalist
Jamila Bey brings a love of words and a greater love of reason to each of her endeavors, as well as more than fifteen years’ experience reporting, editing, and producing for radio stations in Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, and around the nation. After serving a decade at National Public Radio as a producer and editor, Bey is working on a book about atheism in African-American culture. A lifelong contrarian, Bey spent much of her parochial schooling in the principal's office explaining why she was thrown out of religion class. She leans on that extensive experience in her roles as judge, coach, and occasional competitor at public speaking and debate events around the country.
Writer and blogger, Greta Christina’s Blog
Greta Christina is one of the most widely-read and well-respected bloggers in the atheist blogosphere. She is on the speakers' bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and the Center for Inquiry, and was recently ranked by an independent analyst as one of the top ten most popular atheist bloggers. She is a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet, an online political magazine with over 1.2 million hits a week, and has been writing about atheism and skepticism for her own cleverly-named Greta Christina's Blog since 2005. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, including Ms., Skeptical Inquirer, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the anthology Everything You Know About God Is Wrong. She has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind.
R. Elisabeth Cornwell
Evolutionary psychologist, executive director of Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science US
R. Elisabeth Cornwell is the executive director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science US. She has been responsible for bringing Richard Dawkins to a number of universities across the United States and Canada as part of a general outreach program to students. She initiated the OUT Campaign and, more recently, Non-Believers Giving Aid, which raised over $500,000 for Doctors Without Borders and the International Red Cross for Haiti relief. In addition to her work with the Foundation, she is an evolutionary psychologist whose research includes examining the underlying mechanisms of human mate selection. More recently she has been exploring the relationship of various psychological traits to religious belief across the spectrum from strong theism to strong nontheism.
Activist and author, founder and president of The Freethought Society
Margaret Downey has had a prolific career in secular activism. She is perhaps best known as the former president of the Atheist Alliance International Inc., an international atheist umbrella organization. Downey is the founder of the Freethought Society, the Anti-Discrimination Support Network, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, The Humanist Institute, and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. She is a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Scouting For All, the Godless Americans Political Action Committee, Advisory Board Member of the Robert Green Ingersoll Museum, and the Atheist Alliance International. With these connections Downey can keep her finger on the pulse of the atheist community. She has become a proud atheist spokesperson and media representative. She has been published in two books, Parenting Beyond Belief and Voices of Disbelief.
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Author, radio host, and co-founder of Freedom From Religion Foundation
Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and, with her husband Dan Barker, is the current co-president. She is also editor of the organization's newspaper, Freethought Today. She is the author of several books, including Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So, Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children, and Women Without Superstition: "No Gods—No Masters." Downey and her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, with the late John Sontarck, founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation in a meeting around the Gaylors' dining room table in 1978. She cohosts a one hour weekly radio show, Freethought Radio, with Dan Barker.
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.
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Teacher, poet, and author of Doubt: A History
Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of three history books and two volumes of poetry. Her bestseller Doubt: A History demonstrates a long, strong history of religious doubt. Hecht’s The End of the Soul: Scientific Modernity, Atheism, and Anthropology won the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2004 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award “for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity.” Her most recent book, The Happiness Myth, brings a skeptical eye to modern wisdom about the good life. Hecht’s poetry books are The Next Ancient World, which won three national poetry awards, and Funny, which Publisher’s Weekly called “one of the most original and entertaining books of the year.” Her prose and poetry appear in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. Hecht earned her PhD in the History of Science from Columbia University in 1995 and now teaches in the MFA program of Columbia University and The Graduate Writing Program of The New School University.
Executive director of CFI–Washington, DC
Melody Hensley is the executive director of CFI–Washington, DC. She has a background in volunteering and community organizing, and for ten years has been involved with church-state separation, reproductive rights, progressive issues, and secular activism in the DC area. Prior to her current role, she served as the CFI–DC event and volunteer coordinator.
Author, teacher, and editor of blackfemlens.org
Sikivu Hutchinson is a writer and senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. She received a PhD in performance studies from New York University and has taught women’s studies, cultural studies, urban studies, and education at UCLA, the California Institute of the Arts, and Western Washington University. She is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles; Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars; and the forthcoming novel Dealey. She is also the editor of Blackfemlens.org, founder of the Black Skeptics, and a senior fellow for the Institute for Humanist Studies.
Journalist and author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism
Susan Jacoby is an author, most recently of the New York Times best seller The Age of American Unreason, about American anti-intellectualism. She lives in New York City and is program director of the New York City branch of the Center for Inquiry. Jacoby, who began her career as a reporter for the Washington Post, has been a contributor to a wide variety of national publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the American Prospect, Mother Jones, the Nation, Glamour, and the AARP Bulletin and AARP Magazine. She is currently a panelist for "On Faith," a Washington Post-Newsweek blog on religion. Her book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism was named a notable book of 2004 by the Washington Post and the New York Times. The Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian also named it an ‘Outstanding International Book of the Year.’ Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Blogger at BlagHag
Jen McCreight blogs about atheism, feminism, science, and sex at her blog Blag Hag. Her writing isn't limited to her blog; she has written articles for the Daily Beast, the Guardian, and a piece for the American edition of The Atheist's Guide to Christmas. She was the cofounder and three-year president of Society of Non-Theists at Purdue University, and is currently a board member of the Secular Student Alliance. McCreight also created the viral "Boobquake" skeptical event, and thanks to that was listed as one of More Magazine’s top "New Feminists.” Her day job is geeking out about human genetics and evolution as a PhD candidate in genome sciences at the University of Washington.
Executive director of the Secular Coalition for America
Edwina Rogers joined the Secular Coalition for America as the Executive Director in May 2012. She boasts two decades of experience on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and attorney, including roles as General Counsel for several high profile politicians. Rogers has extensive experience as a public policy expert and has worked for two Presidents and four Senators. In her most recent role as Executive Director of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative, she organized a coalition that included major employers, consumer groups, labor unions and health care providers, and successfully implemented the Patient Centered Medical Home model around the country.
Author and nationally known expert on women’s issues
Bernice Sandler is a Senior Scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., where she consults with educational institutions and others. She is an expert in women’s and girls’ equity at all levels of education, especially in sexual harassment. She previously directed the Project on the Status and Education of Women at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, where she published more than one hundred reports. In the 1970’s she filed the first charges of sex discrimination against more than 250 institutions at a time when there were no laws prohibiting sex discrimination in education. She was the first person appointed to a Congressional committee staff to work specifically on women’s issues and was the first chair of the now defunct National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs, having been appointed by Presidents Ford and Carter. She has also co-authored three books, one on the chilly climate for women in classrooms, one on campus sexual harassment and one of sexual harassment in K-12.
Author and human rights activist
Wafa Sultan is a noted Syrian human rights activist who has lived in United States for the past twenty years. In 2006, she was named on TIME magazine’s list of 100 influential people in the world “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.” Sultan first came to prominence after appearing in an interview on al-Jazeera’s weekly program “The Opposite Direction.” She spoke from Los Angeles, arguing with host Faisal al-Qassem and Ibrahim al-Khouli about Samuel P. Huntingdon’s “Clash of Civilizations” theory. She claimed, “The clash we are witnessing around the world is… a clash between a mentality that belongs to the middle-ages, and another that belongs to the 21st century… It is a clash between freedom and oppression.” The video of her appearance has been viewed at least twenty million times as it spread via blogs and email. Australian journalist Jana Wendt interviewed Sultan for her book, A Matter of Principle. She has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and Voice of America. She has been interviewed for the New York Times, Jerusalem Times, Ha’Aretz, and Readers Digest. She has received awards from the US Congress, Secular Moslem Conference, Heroes of Conscience, and American Jewish Congress. Her book A God that Hates was published in 2009.
Rebecca Watson is a writer and podcaster who leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She co-hosts the popular podcast The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, which garners more than 65,000 listeners per week. Watson travels worldwide to deliver presentations on science, skepticism, and feminism. In 2008, an astronomer named asteroid 15329 in her honor.