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Southeastern Regional Speakers Bureau


The Southeastern Regional Campus Organizer maintains a Speakers Bureau specifically for all affiliate groups in the southeastern region. It is made up of speakers found on the national SSA Speakers Bureau as well as local speakers who have agreed to speak to schools within the region.

If you would like to request a Southeast Regional speaker, click here. If you would like to apply to join the Southeast Regional Bureau, click here.

Southeast Regional Speakers
Daniel Batcheldor
  • Located in Melbourne, FL
  • Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Hertfordshire
  • Assistant Professor of Physics and Space Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology
  • Director of the Olin Observatory
  • Founder of the Secular Student Alliance at Florida Tech
  • Conducts research on supermassive black holes and advanced astronomical imaging techniques

Topics include:

  • Evolution of the Universe
  • Are We Alone?
  • Dealing with Anti-intellectualism
  • Scientific Conservatism, Prediction, and Falsifiability
Ryan Cragun
  • Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Tampa
  • Research interests are Mormonism, the nonreligious, and secularization
  • Author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and other reports
  • Author of several articles in Free Inquiry
  • Author of two books: "Could I Vote for a Mormon for President?" and "What You Don't Know About Religion (but should)"

Topics include:

  • Growth of the Nonreligious
  • Mormonism
  • Science and Religion
  • Scientific Conservatism, Prediction, and Falsifiability
  • What is Religion?
  • Why Are People Religious?
  • Discrimination Against The Nonreligious
  • The Future of Religion
  • Religion and Families
  • Demonic Possession
  • Characteristics of the Nonreligious
  • (Non)religion and Health, Happiness, and Morality
Matthew Facciani
  • Located in Columbia, SC
  • PhD Student in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of South Carolina
  • Co-Chair of Secular Coalition for South Carolina
  • SSA Volunteer Network Coordinator for South Carolina
  • Contributor for The Feminist Observer
  • Volunteer for the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands

Topics include:

  • Your Brain on Religion: How Psychology and Neuroscience Research Explain Religious Belief
  • Secular Coalition for America
  • The Neuroscience of Mind Reading
  • Feminism and gender violence prevention
Kelley Freeman
  • located in Columbia, SC
  • founder of the Forward Progressive Alliance at the University of South Carolina
  • a former Secular Student Alliance intern
  • a former Foundation Beyond Belief intern
  • a Camp Quest South Carolina board member
  • contributor for Friendly Atheist blog
  • former president of the Secular Student Alliance at USC

Topics Include:

  • Forming a progressive network or coalition at your university
  • What's Out There? Getting Atheists Off the Internet and Into Real Life (getting involved with the national secular movement)
  • Being an Indentured Servant to the Movement: The Joys of Interning

Alternatively, she can do workshops on:

  • Leadership transitions
  • Building diversity and community in your group
  • What not to do on the internet (Social Media!)
Christopher F. Silver
  • Located in Chattanooga, TN
  • Ed. D Candidate in Education and Leadership at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Is currently conducting research exploring the complexities of self-identity adjectives in how atheist and agnostic participants self-describe
  • Mr. Silver also serves as an instructor at UT Chattanooga teaching courses in psychology as well as the faculty advisor to the UTC Student Secular Alliance.
  • Mr. Silver has collaborated in the fields of religious studies, psychology and sociology of religion. His current collaboration is as a research manager for the US team of the Bielefeld (Germany) International Study of Spirituality.

    Topics Include:

  • Secularization
  • The Psychology of Religion
  • Non-belief in America
  • Research Methodologies (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)
Click Here to Request a Southeast Regional Speaker

SSA National Speakers Bureau Members Based in the Southeast
Cecil Bothwell
  • Located in Asheville, NC
  • One of a small handful of openly non-theist politicians in the U.S., dubbed the most Courageous Elected Official of 2010 by the American Atheists.
  • Author of Whale Falls: An exploration of belief and its consequences, and The Prince of War: Billy Graham's Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire.
  • Winner of national and regional awards for investigative reporting, criticism, humorous commentary and slam poetry.
  • Author of Geoffrey Wasn't Rash (chapbook and tape) and Can We Have Archaic and Idiot? A collection of fictitious tropes.
Ed Buckner
  • Located in Atlanta, GA Former president (2008-2010) and current board member, American Atheists
  • Former executive director, Council for Secular Humanism
  • Former president, Atlanta Freethought Society (AFS)
  • Life member, American Atheists, Council for Secular Humanism, FFRF, AFS Author of many chapters, essays, LTEs; editor and publisher
  • Co-editor/compiler, with his son Michael, Quotations That Support Separation of State and Church, 2nd Edition (Freethought Press)
Jerry DeWitt
  • Located in Rural Louisiana
  • Jerry is a Public Speaker, Author and Celebrant with the Humanist Society
  • Is a board member for The Clergy Project
  • Is a board member for Foundation Beyond Belief
  • He is the author of Hope After Faith
  • His website can be found at jerrydewitt.net or HopeAfterFaith.com
  • Twitter: @jerry_dewitt
Bridget Gaudette
  • Located in Orlando, Florida
  • Foundation Beyond Belief: Director of Development; The Celestial Teapot Magazine: Marketing & Strategies Manager; Orlando Freethought Exchange: Committee Member; former Florida State Director for American Atheists; Co-founder of Secular Woman (resigned)
  • Masters of public administration focusing on nonprofit management
  • Author of "Grieving for the Living: Effects of Disownment in Adulthood" (winter 2013) and contributor to "Blacknones" by Darrel Smith
  • Owner of Freethoughtify.com, and contributor on the FriendlyAtheist.com with series titled "Shades of Black Atheism".
  • Twitter handle: BridgetGaudette
Candace Gorham
  • Located in Durham, NC
  • Author of The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women are Walking Out on Religion and Others Should, Too
  • Former minister in a charismatic-style church
  • Member of The Clergy Project & The Therapist Project
  • Received Master's degree in counseling from Wake Forest University
  • Twitter: @EbonyExodus
  • Find out more on The Ebony Exodus Project on Facebook and at this website.
Jennifer (Jen) Hancock
  • Located in Tampa Bay, FL
  • Former executive director for the Humanists of Florida Association.
  • Author: The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom Writer and producer of An Introduction to Humanism on DVD
  • Tampa Humanist and Freethought Examiner for Examiner.com
  • Writes a freelance column about Humanism for the Bradenton Herald newspaper.
  • Writes the Happiness through Humanism blog and podcast.
Gordon Maples
  • Located in Huntsville, AL
  • Manager of the Secular Student Alliance's Regional Program
  • SSA's Regional Campus Organizer for the Southeastern US
  • Founder of the Southeastern Collegiate Atheist Alliance
  • President/Officer of Alabama Atheists and Agnostics (2010 - 2012)
  • Author of blogs Atheists in Hats and Legends of the Heathen Table
  • Has inadvertently appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, The Blaze, and Creation Today.
  • Has spoken at multiple conferences and freethought venues throughout the Southeast and the rest of the country
  • Twitter @SouthernHeathen

Dale McGowan
  • Located in Atlanta, GA
  • Editor/co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers
  • Author of freethought satirical novels Calling Bernadette's Bluff and Good Thunder Editor of Voices of Unbelief: Documents of Atheists and Agnostics (2012)
  • Founding Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief
  • 2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year
  • Author of Atheism for Dummies
Ashley Miller
  • Located in Columbia, SC
  • Worked in reality television as an editor -- shows included Toddlers & Tiaras, Flipping Out, and Ace of Cakes
  • Currently getting PhD in Mass Communications, focusing on Women's Studies and Reality TV
  • Plays the Ukulele
  • MFA from FSU's Film Conservatory
Herb Silverman
  • Located in Charleston, SC
  • Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston
  • Founded and was faculty advisor to the Atheist-Humanist Alliance
  • President of the Secular Coalition for America
  • Former candidate for Governor of South Carolina
  • Founded Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in South Carolina
Mandisa Thomas
  • Located in Atlanta, GA
  • Born and raised in New York City
  • Never formally raised religious
  • Married with 3 children
  • A founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc.
  • Current board member of Foundation Beyond Belief
  • Twitter: @mandy0904
Click Here to Request a SSA National Speakers Bureau Member
Click Here to see our entire national Speakers Bureau

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