Skepticon Travel Grants!

Skepticon is pleased to announce that Travel Grants are here!

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We have three different grants available this year:

  •  The Surly Amy Travel Grant for Awesome Women Who are Awesome
    • Number of Grants – 1
    • Requirements – Identify as Female.
  • The Secular Woman Travel Grant
    • Number of Grants – 1
    • Requirements – Identify as Female.
  • The Skepticon Dino Grants!
    • Number of Grants – Many!
    • Requirements – None!

Applications will be accepted until September 27th at midnight CST. At that time, candidates be selected for each grant and their information will be shared on our blogasaurs. We plan on having a donations link that will go exclusively toward these grants so that we can help as many people as possible enjoy the Skepticon experience. Dinos for everyone!

Click Here if you want to apply for one of the many Travel Grants available this year.

Win a Skepticon Surly-ramic!

Win a Skepticon Surly-ramic!

That’s right – Skepticon now has its own line of Surly-ramics! And for the rest of September, every single person who donates to Skepticon will have the opportunity to win one.

Some of these surlies show off our logo, and others feature our website’s little dinosaur (yet to be named – what do you all think? I’ve been referring to him as ‘Steggy the Skeptical Stegosaurus’). The five folks who donate the most will get their pick of the very first batch of Skepticon surlies, and the next five top donors will be sent one of the remaining bunch at random. That leaves one more (pictured), which will be raffled off amongst the remaining donors!

TLDR; If you’re one of the top 10 donors this month, you’ll be getting a surly! And if you donate anything at all, you’ll be entered in a raffle for the one posted above!

ALL donations to Skepticon will count toward the Surly prize – including donations made during registration and donations toward travel grants. There are some really worthy folks seeking travel grants, so please read their stories and consider helping them out:

Jason: “Telling people I was atheist was somehow harder even than coming out as gay. Having been kicked out of my home after high school, I now work to support myself and am trying to put myself through school for a Mathematics degree one course at a time.”

Sheri: “I have come out of the closet to my family and, as a result, have experienced a great deal of Christian sermonizing.”

Anne: “A travel grant would allow me to stay involved while I develop my skills and further my education to help further our goals.”

Travel Grant: Jason

Jason’s Story

I have been a skeptic since a young age, but was reared in a devoutly religious community in the aptly-named Bible Belt. Telling people I was atheist was somehow harder even than coming out as gay. Having been kicked out of my home after high school, I now work to support myself and am trying to put myself through school for a Mathematics degree one course at a time.

Because of my work schedule, I haven’t been able to really spend much time with atheist communities–it feels like they’re worlds away. But I keep trying. And I want to connect to others who, even though they have differing opinions, still apply due scrutiny to beliefs that are unquestioningly considered “truth” by others. Sometimes it feels like I live in some funhouse world where people say and believe nonsensical, contradictory superstitions and force me to pretend to follow their odd sense of logic. So I spend a lot of time on the computer, talking things out with other helpful people around the world, but they still somehow seem so few and far between. Other than that, I have some episodes of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit that I watch regularly, helps keep me sane when everyone around me still thinks I’m some kind of backwards heathen.

It’s difficult to develop relationships with a lot of people when I’m never really free to express my views, opinions, or thoughts with them. It’s like being alone in a crowded room, sometimes. I’d love–LOVE–to have a chance to meet other skeptics and atheists in person and perhaps build some real connections with people. I wanted to go to the Reason Rally for the same reason, but was unable to because what little money I have left over after bills goes straight toward tuition and textbooks.

I’d have to take a hit, monetarily speaking, just to take the few days off to go–those days are all unpaid–much less paying for the expense of the trip. But I’m trying to not let that stop me. I’m trying to scrape together any money I can. I’m holding a garage sale next week, but I don’t have much stuff left to sell. I’m trying to to get there any way I can. :-)

 

Jason is driving more than 800 miles to make it to Skepticon, and he needs $160 for gas. Please help him get here!

Travel Grant: Anne

[infobox type=”success” clickable=”yes” boldtext=”Thanks, Secular Woman!”]Anne has received a partial grant from Secular Woman for $100![/infobox]

Anne’s Story

I was raised as an atheist and freethinker, and I have been actively involved in the atheist and skeptical communities for about three years. My initial involvement was with the online community and blogs like Pharyngula, Skepchick, and Blag Hag. I attended my first large event, the Oakland Rapture RAM, in May of 2011. I enjoyed the speakers greatly and made friends with Rebecca Watson and Amy Davis Roth of Skepchick and Greta Christina.

In June of 2011 I became involved with the 3rd Annual Atheist Film Festival in San Francisco, the first and oldest film festival of its kind. I originally signed on to help with advertising and promoting the festival but ended up doing a lot more than that. I stuck around for the 4th Annual Atheist Film Festival, which just occurred this past weekend. This year, I managed operations and communications starting in October 2011, helping to curate the film selection, coordinating with visiting directors, soliciting screening rights, courting and following up with sponsors and press, managing ticket sales, and running day-of operations. In short, I did most of the heavy lifting this year, and we pulled off the biggest and best Atheist Film Festival yet.

I attended Skepticon IV last year and was blown away by the programming. I was happy to see friends I had made at previous events and make new ones, but I also learned a lot. Far from being an echo chamber where everyone just patted themselves on the back for being smart, it was an intensely educational experience. Every single speaker taught me something new. David Silverman convinced me to make the trip to DC for the Reason Rally, which I attended with my husband and parents.

Following Skepticon IV, I became a writer for Mad Art Lab, a blog on the Skepchick network that explores the intersection of art, science, skepticism, and geek culture. I mainly write about the science of food and drink. I took my skills off the page and into the public this July at SkepchickCON, a mini con within Minneapolis’ sci-fi and fantasy con CONvergence. I sat on multiple science panels and also performed science-focused cocktail demos at the nightly Skepchick parties.

In the past, I have been thrilled to be able to support these events and other secular and skeptical organizations with my own money, paying full admission and making donations whenever possible. Now, my situation is changing. I am days away from starting a MBA program at Presidio Graduate School here in SF. I work only part-time right now, and I’m spending a lot on books and taking on debt. I hope to use my MBA to work for a national or local skeptical/secular organization, managing operations behind the scenes so that my organization can promote our values and make a difference in the world.

A travel grant would allow me to stay involved while I develop my skills and further my education to help further our goals.

Anne needs $330 to get to Skepticon. Help her out?

Travel Grant: Sheri

Sheri’s Story

I have come out of the closet to my family and, as a result, have experienced a great deal of Christian sermonizing. Whenever possible, I challenge Christians concerning their faith. I’ve attended Skepticon in the past and know first-hand what a wonderful event it is. Now that I’ve moved back to Mt. Vernon, it is no longer practical for me to attend Skeptics events. My atheist friends are all in Springfield. I feel like the Lone Ranger here; standing up for atheistic non-belief in the existence of God, spirituality, and the soul.

I am disabled and live on a very meager Social Security Disability. I have no money left even for something as important to me as Skepticon. It is truly motivation and inspiration I need. In the past, Skepticon has assisted me in my arguments attempting to persuading Christians to at least question their faith. Most of them are Christians simply because they grew up in a Christian home. Some have had a spiritual experience; speakers at Skepticon are helpful to me in do a better job debunking their experiences.

I also need the reprieve. Any more sermons against atheism and I may become sick to my stomach!

Sheri needs just $40.00 to get to Skepticon. Donate today!