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American Atheists Award Students $4,000 in Scholarships

Cranford, NJ—American Atheists announced on Friday the winners of its 2014 academic scholarships totaling $4,000. The scholarships are awarded annually to students who demonstrate positive atheist activism. Scholarship winners are further invited to attend and speak at the annual American Atheists National Convention, to be held in Salt Lake City next month.

 The 2014 $2,000 O’Hair Award has been awarded to Michelle Huey, an ex-Buddhist atheist student at the University of California, Davis. Huey is recognized for her activism with the Pathfinders Project, a year-long service program working to establish a permanent Humanist Service Corps. Under this program she has taught English, computer classes, and reproductive health classes; built latrines; and established clean-water programs in four countries. She is also recognized for her activism with the Atheist Student Association at her university, her fundraising and graphic design contributions, and more.

American Atheists has presented its 2014 $1,000 President’s Award to Eve Brannon, a student at Arizona State University. Brannon founded the local group Upstate Atheists in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and after a soup kitchen refused to allow her group to volunteer, she created a campaign that raised more than $2,000 to sponsor 14 foster children for the holidays. Brannon also coordinated “Ask an Atheist” and other events and has appeared in many national news media.

The 2014 $1,000 Chinn Award is presented to Jerra Strong, a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, for his activism as president of Spectrum, the school’s LGBTQ student organization. Under Strong’s leadership, the organization worked together with the UNLV Secular Student Alliance to host Greta Christina. Strong also works as a production assistant and technical director for Penn Jillette on his Sunday School podcast and video show.

More than 30 atheist students from around the United States applied for the scholarships. All of the applicants receive free one-year memberships to American Atheists. The award announcements come just four weeks before the American Atheists 40th National Convention takes place Easter weekend in Salt Lake City. The convention will feature such speakers such as former NFL punter Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors bass player Mark White, Academy Award-nominated director of The Simpsons Movie and Monsters, Inc David A. Silverman, NASA and SETI-renowned astrobiologist Dr. David Morrison, Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims, popular bloggers PZ Myers and Greta Christina, and American Atheists President David Silverman. The convention will also feature a costume dinner, live music, stand-up comedy, an art show and silent auction, national and local exhibitors, and childcare options for attending families. The convention takes place the weekend of April 17-20, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

AMERICAN ATHEISTS is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that defends civil rights for atheists, freethinkers, and other nonbelievers; works for the total separation of religion and government; and addresses issues of First Amendment public policy. American Atheists was founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

American Atheists, Inc.
P.O. Box 158
Cranford, NJ 07016

Tel: (908) 276-7300

Fax: (908) 276-7402