In spite of all the attention focused on the national elections currently underway (Did you vote yet? If not, do you have a plan to vote and make sure your vote is counted?), you may have heard that the American Humanist Association (AHA) recently held its own election for six open positions on our board of directors.
We are proud to welcome two new members to the board, Abby Hafer and Jason Wiles. Both have long experience with the humanist community and the AHA.
Abby Hafer is a biologist, educator, writer, public speaker, and professional debunker. She has a doctorate in zoology from Oxford University and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Curry College. Her written works include the books The Not-So-Intelligent Designer, and Darwin’s Apostles; numerous book chapters, and articles. She debunks both the gender binary and creationism/intelligent design using humor and bullet-proof science. She has spoken at countless humanist meetings, including conferences for the AHA and the Secular Student Alliance, among others. Dr. Hafer is also the co-author of Bill H.471, a bill in the Massachusetts legislature which requires that all science taught in public schools be based on peer-reviewed science. She hopes that someday, reality-based public science education will be protected all over the country.
Hafer wrote to the nominating committee that,
“The AHA has been my best source for explaining humanism and humanist stances to other people. When writing about humanism and sexuality, the Board’s clear and well-written stances were extremely helpful in reinforcing what I said regarding these sometimes contentious issues. I admire the work done by AHA chapters, including public programming, but also including impressive legislative initiatives. This practical application of humanist values in the public sphere is laudable.”
Jason Wiles is a biology professor at Syracuse University. He also has courtesy appointments in the Department of Science Teaching and the Department of Earth Sciences. His research focuses on student understanding of and attitudes towards evolution and climate change, as well as expanding equity for and diversity among students pursuing careers in biology and other STEM disciplines. Wiles holds graduate degrees and certificates in Biology, Earth Sciences, Science Education and Religion. He is endorsed as a Humanist Celebrant and Chaplain by the Humanist Society, and he served as principle author of the Humanist Clergy Letter in support of the teaching of evolution in public schools. An elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Wiles has earned numerous awards for university-level science education and research, including the Evolution Education Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. Wiles currently serves as president of the Association of College and University Biology Educators. He lives in Syracuse, NY with his spouse Sarah Hall, who is an epigenetic scientist, and daughter Chloe who is in kindergarten.
In his board statement, Wiles stated,
“I have been particularly interested in advocating for equal rights, recognition, respect and representation for humanists routinely afforded to members of other traditions, whether in public schools, the halls of government, or on my own university campus.”
More information about returning board members can be found on the AHA website along with information about the six board members who are continuing their terms. We look forward to welcoming Hafer and Wiles for the new term on January 1, 2020!