Meet the AHA Summer Interns

Learn more about the AHA’s interns for Summer 2012, Nina Goodwine and Cameron Stewart! If you or someone you know is interested in interning for the American Humanist Association at our headquarters in Washington DC for the Fall 2012 or Spring 2013 semesters, contact us at

Nina Goodwine, Editorial Intern

HNN: What school do you attend, and what is your major?

Nina: I’m a senior English major at Howard University, a historically Black college in D.C. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing, so English was a natural fit for me.

HNN: How did you first learn about humanism? 

Nina: I didn’t know anything about humanism until my freshman year at Howard. That’s when I realized that renowned thinkers and writers such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Zora Neale Hurston subscribed to an ideology other than Christianity, arguably the default faith of Blacks in this country. Although I was curious about their beliefs, I was hesitant to do any research because I was afraid to question my faith. I thought “secular” was a bad word. But when I admitted to myself last summer that I had stopped believing in anything supernatural, I saw humanism in a new light. I embraced it. 

HNN:  Did you grow up in a religious tradition?

Nina: My mother is a non-denominational Christian, but I attended a Southern Baptist church with my dad and stepmom growing up. I was more religious than anyone in my family: I read the Bible all day, attended every church function, and kept a diary full of scriptures and prayers. My friends accused me of being “holier than thou.” While I considered myself a Bible scholar, I conveniently skipped over the parts that didn’t sound right.

HNN:  What interested you most about interning for the AHA? 

Nina: I wanted to be part of an organization that values human needs above those of a questionable supernatural entity and recognizes the potential for good in human beings. Religion compels us to look beyond here and now, but this planet and these people are all we can be certain exist. I’m also obsessed with magazines, so the chance to intern for The Humanist was exciting for me in terms of form and content.

HNN: Have you read any good books lately? What’s your favorite book?

Nina: I just finished The Nice Girl Syndrome by psychotherapist Beverly Engel. It’s about the emotional and physical abuse women suffer from being taught to be obedient and meek in a patriarchal world. Religion, of course, plays a major role in women’s subjugation. I didn’t realize that even though I was no longer a Christian, I maintained a lot of old beliefs about “proper” womanhood—submitting to your husband’s authority, for example–because they’d been stuffed into my head for so long. I discovered I still had a lot of residue left to clear from my mind.

HNN: If you could have dinner with any three people (living or dead), who would they be?

Nina: I’d love to have enchiladas with Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Langston Hughes. Mexican food and poetry are always a good mix to me. 


Cameron Stewart, Communications and Advocacy Intern

HNN: What school do you attend, and what’s your major?

Cameron: I will be a sophomore at American University this upcoming fall. I am a double major in Political Science and Film & Media Arts. From a very young age, my mom took me to local school board meetings, which were a bore to my younger self until I realized that what was being discussed would actually be affecting my life. I eventually became very passionate about social issues, specifically the ones associated with humanism, such as gay rights and separation of church and state. I hope to make some sort of progress on these issues with my political science major. I have also been interested and moved by various art forms, with film being my favorite since it combined elements of writing, journalism, photography, theater, and sound into one medium.

HNN: How did you first learn about humanism? 

Cameron: I first learned about humanism somewhere around the age of 12. I was beginning to question the religion I was raised in, and research to me at the time simply meant skimming some Wikipedia articles. I was in the midst of reading about religious views that I was not familiar with at the time and I managed to stumble across humanism, which turned out to be a perfect fit.

HNN: Did you grow up in a religious tradition? If so, what? 

Cameron: I was moderately surrounded by religion for the majority of my childhood. My mother would make me and my younger brother attend services at the local Presbyterian church that she belonged to. My father would never attend and I would later learn that he was not a fan of organized religion, but did believe in a god that liked to “tinker” with its creations (thus explaining evolution in his mind), but otherwise not intervening with everyday life. Like typical impatient elementary students, my brother and I would both protest attending services and volunteering at a young age, but after a few years, he would became accepting of church activities. I wasn’t allowed out of them until I had declared myself an atheist for quite some time and after being taken to visit the pastor, to whom I had to lay out all of my doubts. Ironically, his response of “This is just a phase that everyone goes through” would solidify my non-belief.  

HNN: What interested you most about interning for the AHA?

Cameron: I read a fair number of atheist blogs and websites during my coming out phase, and one of the earliest and most major events I recalled reading about on nearly every single one of them was the DC bus campaigns by the AHA. I knew that they were an organization that represented what I believed in and I saw an opportunity to help make a change on the issues that meant the most to me with an organization that I already knew that I stood behind.

HNN: Have you read any good books lately? What’s your favorite book?

Cameron: Currently, I’m working my way through Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions and Ambrose Bierce’s collection of short stories, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, both of which I would recommend. I don’t have one favorite book, but a few of my most cherished are William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Voltaire’s Candide and George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

HNN: If you could have dinner with any three people (living or dead), who would they be?

Cameron: If I could have dinner with any three people, they would be Ralph Nader, Stanley Kubrick, and George Carlin. However, I’m going to cheat a little bit and admit that Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Sagan, Emma Watson, David Lynch, and Steve Albini were all strongly considered.