Sk10 Speaker: Randall Jenson

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome Randall Jensen as the next speaker to the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Randall Jenson​ is a queer, multiracial artist of color and the Creator and Director of SocialScope Productions, a consulting and coaching company focused on LGBTQ multimedia projects, cultural awareness and innovative youth program design models. For the past 16 years, he has worked closely with street-based youth,, youth of color and LGBTQ youth and in the fields of youth programming and anti-violence advocacy. Randall currently works as the LGBTQ Program Development Consultant and Trainer for Cornerstones of Care, the Program Director for Transformations, a Kansas City transgender and gender non-conforming youth social and support group, and is part of the consulting team for The DB Approach, which provides cultural competency consulting, training and policy development to select non-profits on an annual Kansas City TA cultural competency grant.

Randall’s intersectional documentary projects have been awarded multiple awards, including “outstanding anthropological work” by the Association for Queer Anthropology (2010) and the Third Wave Mobilize Power Fund (2016) and Kansas City Rocket Grant (2016). These recent grants helped fund the startup of both the KC transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth group and KC TGNC Summit: building a leadership fountain for TGNC youth and TGNC people of color. Randall is a published writer, having been featured in “BOYS: An Anthology,” and a blogger for The Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Bitch Media, The Advocate. In 2015, Randall was appointed as the lead advocate to help loved ones and their communities cope and heal from 3 LGBTQ homicides in Kansas City. He previously worked as the Manager of Youth Services for the Kansas City Anti­-Violence Project, providing multi-­state advocacy directly to LGBTQ youth affected by trauma and violence, as well as the LGBTQ Youth Advocate at Safe Connections in St. Louis, helping build the first regional LGBTQ youth anti­-violence program.

Randall has received national awards for his leadership and work with young people and homeless and vulnerable youth, racial justice advocacy, addressing the juvenile legal system and media’s impact on queer lives. Through his work as an anti-violence advocate, has keynoted Yale University’s “Pride Month” series in 2016, “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” for University of Iowa in 2015, as well as “Take Back the Night” at Southern Oregon University in 2015. Randall’s work as an artist and documentary filmmaker has allowed been featured at The Nelson Museum of Art, Missouri History Museum, MIX: New York’s Queer Experimental Film Festival, and have headlined Seattle Pride in 2017 and the 2010 and 2012 Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender and Ally Collegiate Conferences (MBLGTACC). He was awarded the 2003 Jim Hoefer Community Service award for creating the “Youth Advisory Board” – the first ever LGBTQ youth teen social justice group – by St. Louis Pride, a featured speaker at the 2003 National ACLU Membership Conference in Washington D.C., featured in 2006 on The Oprah Show and awarded the “Youth Impact Award” by the National Youth Advocacy Coalition.

We’re so excited to have them join us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

SK10 Speaker: Samantha Montano

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome Samantha Montano as the next speaker to the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Dr. Samantha Montano has a B.S. in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans and a Ph.D. in emergency management from North Dakota State University. She first became involved in disaster work during recovery in New Orleans post-Katrina and during the BP Oil Disaster along the Gulf Coast. Her research primarily focuses on disaster recovery, and disaster nonprofits and volunteerism.

We’re so excited to have them join us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

SK10 Speaker: Kayley Whalen!

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome back Kayley Whalen as our next speaker on the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Kayley  is a queer activist and writer whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Lambda-Award winning anthology Gender Outlaws the Next GenerationThe Humanist magazine and numerous blogs. She is a vocal atheist, drug policy reformer, and proud geek! As if she weren’t busy enough with all that, Kayley is the Digital Strategies and Social Media Manager at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and she volunteers with Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center, and is on the Board of Directors of Ingersoll Gender Center.

As a multiracial white and Latina transgender woman, Kayley Whalen is excited about building an intersectional atheist and queer social justice movement. A childhood fascination with Isaac Asimov, rocketry and Air & Space magazine led her to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. There, she built and entered robots in Botball competitions, which she funded by baking pies. While she initially studied engineering at Rice University, she graduated Swarthmore College with a degree in English Literature and Women’s Studies in 2007. Kayley skated with the DC Rollergirls All-Stars under the name “Lenore Gore.”  Although she no longer builds robots or plays roller derby, she still loves science, baking, and can totally kick your ass at yoga.

We’re so excited to have them back with us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

SK10 Speaker: Leighann Lord!

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome Leighann Lord as our next speaker to the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Leighann Lord was the New York City face of the African Americans for Humanism outreach campaign sponsored by the Center for Inquiry and it’s Millions Living Happily Without Religion Campaign. Author Chris Johnson featured her in The Atheist Book: A Better Life. Leighann has been a co-host on the Emmy-nominated StarTalk with Neil de Grasse Tyson. Leighann is also a CFI certified Secular Celebrant; officiating at milestone life events commemorated with a nonreligious worldview. Most recently Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. named her one of the Northeast Region’s Significant Seven for her contribution in the field of entertainment. As a veteran stand-up comedian, Leighann has been seen on: Lifetime, VH-1, Comedy Central, HBO, and The View. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post and the author of Leighann Lord’s Dict Jokes: Alternate Definitions for Words You’ve Probably Never Heard of But Will Definitely Never Forget and Real Women Do It Standing Up: Stories From the Career of a Very Funny Lady. Follow her at VeryFunnyLady.com.

We’re so excited to have them join us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

SK10 Speaker: Ross Blocher

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome Ross Blocher as our next speaker to the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Ross Blocher emerged from a childhood filled with Bible memorization, literal Creationism, and many books about ghosts and aliens as an adult with a keen interest in belief and the paranormal. Along with his co-host Carrie Poppy, Ross investigates fringe science, spirituality and all manner of extraordinary claims first-hand (so you don’t have to) for the podcast “Oh No, Ross and Carrie!” He is also a decade-long member of the Independent Investigation Group, helping design and administer challenges to test extraordinary claims for a $100,000 prize. By day, Ross works in animation, one of his other primary loves.

We’re so excited to have them join us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

SK10 Speaker: Laura Thomas!

Hello Skepticon Lovers!

Please welcome Laura Thomas (that’s right – SHE’S BACK!) as our very first speaker to the Skepticon 10 lineup!

Laura Thomas is the deputy state director of the Drug Policy Institute, California, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She oversees the Institute’s municipal drug strategy work in San Francisco and leads DPA’s California harm reduction and public health legislation. She has over 25 years of experience in HIV and public health policy, along with a strong commitment to community advocacy, thoughtful policy analysis and coalition building. She first became involved in AIDS activism with ACT UP in San Francisco. Before joining DPA, she was a consultant specializing in HIV policy and planning, with clients ranging from the California State Office of AIDS to the National Association of People with AIDS. She has also worked for Tenderloin Health, a nonprofit health and social service provider serving a predominantly homeless population in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Thomas has been a syringe access volunteer for more than 18 years, and helped organize a successful 2007 symposium on safe injection facilities. She is proud to have received the AIDS Hero Award from the 2000 AIDS Candlelight Memorial. She serves on the HIV Prevention Planning Council and the San Francisco Cannabis State Legalization Task Force and is on the Steering Committee for the national HIV Prevention Justice Alliance.

We’re so excited to have them join us for our tenth year and we hope you are, too!

Love,

Skepticon

P.S. — Please consider donating to Skepticon today and help us make this year amazing!

Make it Rain on Skepticon: Give us $40?

Hey Skepticon lovers,

Each year, about 700 or so attendees enjoy Skepticon in the lush jungles of Springfield, MO at the Ramada Oasis Hotel & Convention Center. The Skepticon team did the math and we found something pretty cool: did you know that, if everyone who attended gave us about $40, we’d be able to completely fund ourselves? IT’S TRUE! 

If you can, consider donating to Skepticon today and helping us create this awesome, skeptical, and dino-fueled community.

Thank you for all of your support for the past 10 years!

Love,

Skepticon