Speakers – 2015

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance writer and journalist who writes for Slate’s XX Factor, USA Today, the Rolling Stone, and many others. She writes about right wing misinformation, women’s issues, and pop culture. She can be found at Twitter @amandamarcotte.
Handmaid’s Tale Fri 7:00pm, Bodily Autonomy and Reproductive Rights in a Dystopian Future Sat 10:00pm
Amy Davis Roth
Amy-headshot_small
Amy Davis Roth (A.K.A. Surly Amy) is a 4th-generation visual artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She is a professional artist and creator of Surly-Ramics. Her designer jewelry line is inspired by and encourages science, humanism and critical thinking. Amy is a longtime contributor to the widely popular blog Skepchick.org. She is managing editor for Skepchick’s sister site that deals with the intersection between art, science and skepticism called Mad Art Lab and cohost of the podcast Mad Art Cast, about art and science. She loves to add her creative skills to the fight against pseudoscience and ignorance.
Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, Getting Over Artist’s Block Sat 11:00am, Manhattan Sat 2:00pm,  Cult of Talent Sat 8:30pm
Ben Blanchard
Ben Blanchard
Ben is a former microbiology/medicine student, globetrotting humanist, traveling speaker, secular activist, current something? Bisexual-cis-man. Follow him at @BenSweaterVest.
Enthusiastic Consent! How to Get Some at Conventions Thu 2:00pm, How I Would Destroy the World with Science Fri 12:30pm,  Engineering Foods of the Future, Fri 5:00pm, Food and Fear, Fri 7:00pm
Benny Vimes
Benny Vimes
Benny Vimes is an undergraduate studying environmental science and particularly environmental economics. He blogs at Queereka.com, Skeptability.com, and Skepchick.org. Benny is a queer polyamorous transman, curious skeptic, and enthusiastic seeker of knowledge.
Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, Planning for the Apocalypse: It’s Not Just for Doomsday Preppers Sun 12:30pm, Dystopian Planet Sun 2:00pm
Beth Voigt
Beth Voigt
A designer in Chicago, a superhero in her own mind and absolutely nothing on TV, Beth is interested in all the things. Often at once. Her fine arts degree came with a side order of computer science, and she’s interested in UX, processes and fighting evil dark patterns. She wrangles fonts professionally, pummels code amateurishly, and has been known to shove fire in her face for fun. A co-organizer for Chicago Skeptics and a contributor to Mad Art Lab, Beth’s opinion is that you should try everything twice; if you don’t like it, you were probably doing it wrong the first time around.
Nobody Will Pay You If You Don’t Ask Fri 11:00am, Art after the Apocalypse Fri 2:00pm, Science Art Paper Hour Sat 11:00am, What’s The Worst That Could Happen? Sat 3:30pm, Cult of Talent Sat 8:30pm
Brianne Bilyeu
Brianne Bilyeu
Brianne Bilyeu has been involved in medical science in patient-facing healthcare and research since the turn of the century. She has a passion for the scientific method and critical thinking. In her role as a radio show host for the weekly production, Atheists Talk, she has had the opportunity to chat with many inspiring people about topics of importance to nonbelievers. Her blog, Biodork, is part of the Freethought Blogs network, and there she writes about science, skepticism, atheism, social justice, her work as an abortion clinic volunteer and her kick-butt adventures in Minneapolis and around the world.
Monster Madness, Thu 10:00pm, Handmaid’s Tale Fri 7:00pm, Black Mirror: Our Reflections in Social Media Sat 12:30pm, Bodily Autonomy and Reproductive Rights in a Dystopian Future Sat 10:00pm
Cassandra Phoenix
Cassandra Phoenix
Cassandra Phoenix is a freelance writer who has a Master’s degree from UW-Madison’s MLS program, which is rather beside the point at this stage of her life: she writes more than she tends collections. She’s been writing fanfic since 1999 and you can find it under the_rogue_bitch at www.archiveofourown.org. She is also a contributor to Grounded Parents. Cassandra lives in Madison, WI with her trans kid and a cat, both of whom are not to be trifled with. She’s a third-generation American, a second-wave feminist, and a first-time visitor to SkepchickCon, who’s pleased as punch to be a panelist. Cassandra’s interest veers from here to there and you have to work hard to keep up with her, but it’s worth it.
 Science vs. Religion in Dystopia, Fri 5:00pm
Celia Yost
Celia Yost
Celia Yost is an illustrator and graphic artist. She loves drawing monsters, landscape painting, and talking about history. She is a contributor to Mad Art Lab and can be found on twitter @mocknot.
Propaganda for Fun and Profit Thu 12:30pm, Art after the Apocalypse Fri 2:00pm, Cult of Talent Sat 8:30pm
Dan Berliner
Dan Berliner
Dan Berliner is a physics and chemistry teacher at a public high school in Minneapolis. Before he knew he wanted to be a teacher, Dan also got a degree in a little-known field called “Medical Physics.” Dan has a particular interest in the intersection of physics and medicine, particularly where magnetism and radiation are concerned. He is focused on promoting education as a pathway to a better life and a better society.
Technology Won’t Destroy Us Thu 5:00pm, Using Science in Your Everyday Life Fri 11:00am, Mythbusters–Bringing Science to Pop Culture Fri 11:30pm, Getting Students Into Science, Sat 9:30am
Dani Price
Dani Price
A technologist from Chicago, and a trans woman geek with little formal education and a great interest in all things creative, philosophical, and tech. She manages a team that fixes network video systems used on everything from broadcast TV, drone systems, and underwater subs and still gets complaints that the news channel isn’t on. When there’s time, she builds game design projects such as Half-Life mods and Minecraft dungeons, or studies in hopes of joining the bayesian conspiracy.
Robot Liability Issues Thu 12:30pm, Dystopian Societies in Heinlein’s Worlds Thu 5:00pm, Give Me That Old Timey Sci-Fi Fri 8:30pm, Black Mirror: Our Reflections in Social Media Sat 12:30pm, Indie Games as Art Sat 2:00pm, PC or Console: Best of Both Worlds? Sat 5:00pm, Dystopian Video Games Sun 9:30am
Daniella Martin
Daniella Martin
Daniella Martin is passionate about teaching people that insects are fabulous food – in addition to being the one of the most environmentally-efficient animal protein sources on the planet. She dreams of increasing public awareness and acceptance of edible insects in the West, with the ultimate goals of helping to solve world hunger, support indigenous people, and reduce resource use. To this end, she wrote a book, Edible: An Adventure Into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, has a blog, GirlMeetsBug.com, and a cooking show on YouTube. She has been on several TV and radio shows and inspired an episode of The Simpsons. She has eaten over 35 different species of bug.
Engineering Foods of the Future, Fri 5:00pm, Bug Blind Taste Test Sat 3:30pm, Signing – Daniella Martin Sat 5:00pm
Emily Finke
Emily Finke
By training a forensic anthropologist, but by passion a science communicator. Emily Finke is happiest when she is in a creek, teaching 10 year olds how to catch crayfish and look for tardigrades. Or at a convention, dressed up as Batgirl while talking about animal reproduction, entomophagy or superhero science. When she is not talking about science professionally, She is… well, still talking about science or social justice. Her main blog can be found at This View of Life. Online, she can be found on Twitter as @Seelix. Offline, she can be found at the pub talking to strangers about how penguins don’t live at the North Pole.
How Good Science Can Make a Movie Better Thu 8:30pm, Monster Madness, Thu 10:00pm, Marvel Movie Round-Up, Fri 12:30pm, Art after the Apocalypse Fri 2:00pm, Science vs. Religion in Dystopia, Fri 5:00pm, Agents of SHIELD Season Two Sat 5:00pm, Cult of Talent Sat 8:30pm, Diversity in Dystopian Creators Sun 9:30am, Dystopian Planet Sun 2:00pm
Erich Bacher
Erich Bacher
Erich Bacher is an IT professional, a contributor to Grounded Parents, and the father of two boys. He is completely lacking in appropriate credentials, so anything he says should be judged only by its own merit. He owns copies of Transformers: The Movie (1986) on DVD and VHS, frequently misspells certain words, and has an extensive collection of skills and ideas.
Post-Apocalyptic Parenting Thu 10:00pm, Raising Geeks Fri 12:30pm, Post-Apocalyptic Sounds Fri 3:30pm, Do We Need “Princes” Anymore? Sat 9:30am
Gwen Pearson
Gwen Pearson
Gwen specializes in science communication and outreach. She’s currently Outreach Coordinator for the Purdue Department of Entomology. She also serves as Network Coordinator for the Organization of Biological Field Stations, and is a science writer for WIRED.com.
Ask a Scientist Fri 3:30pm, Maggot Art Fri 5:00pm, Science Art Paper Hour Sat 11:00am, Science of the Marvel Universe Sat 12:30pm, What’s The Worst That Could Happen? Sat 3:30pm
Heina DadabhoyHeina Dadabhoy
Heina (pronounced hee-na) holds two shameful Humanities degrees from a fine University of California institution. Their induction into the noble life of the nerd occurred at age ten, when they discovered the Internet through excessive amounts of time spent among adults in Star Wars forums. As a fierce femme who never wears t-shirts, they often express their geekiness in far less sartorial fashion, although they do enjoy the occasional (or not-so-occasional) sewing-free cosplay. You can find their writings at Heinous Dealings on Freethought Blogs.
Technology Won’t Destroy Us Thu 5:00pm, Communication in Society, Fri 11:00am, Science vs. Religion in Dystopia, Fri 5:00pm, Handmaid’s Tale Fri 7:00pm, Black Mirror: Our Reflections in Social Media Sat 12:30pm, So You Want to Rule Dystopia Sat 8:30pm
Jamie BernsteinJamie Bernstein - photo by Amy Davis Roth
Jamie Bernstein is a data scientist who sometimes pretends she is a photographer. She is a contributor at Skepchick and blogs about photography at Catching Photons. She likes to use science to predict and [insert nice sounding synonym for “manipulate”] your behavior without you even realizing it. She is on Twitter, probably complaining about policy issues, at @UAJamie.
Propaganda for Fun and Profit, Thu 12:30pm, Post-Apocalyptic Sounds Fri 3:30pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, Black Mirror: Our Reflections in Social Media Sat 12:30pm, Hard and Soft Science, Sat 7:00pm,  So You Want to Rule Dystopia Sat 8:30pm, Dystopian Planet Sun 2:00pm
Jason Thibeault
Jason Thibeault
Jason Thibeault is a gigantic computer nerd and technology addict. He spends his precious free time ranting on the intertubes about whatever happens to irritate him, whenever something happens to irritate him and he’s in arms’ reach of a computing device. Since he’s such a computer nerd, that’s almost always. He identifies as a skeptic, a feminist and an atheist, and in his experience exactly no valid arguments have ever been presented to him that these three are at all in conflict. He blogs at Lousy Canuck, fueled by caffeine and rage and caffeine.
Technology Won’t Destroy Us Thu 5:00pm, Sci-Fail Returns Thu 7:00pm, So You Want to Rule Dystopia Sat 8:30pm, Dystopian Video Games Sun 9:30am
Julia BurkeJulia Burke - photo by Amy Davis Roth
Julia Burke is a freelance writer and journalist with an interest in social justice and a passion for wine, beer, and food. When she’s not rewiewing a concert or crushing grapes, she’s a volunteer with Secular Woman. She’s based in the Midwest, where she runs to support her hedonistic passions and drinks to support her writing habit. Follow her on Twitter or on Google+ or check out her website at Stellenbauchery.
“Modern” Mental Illnesses Fri 7:00pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, User’s Guide to Therapy Sun 3:30pm
Kavin Senapathy
Kavin Senapathy
Kavin Senapathy is an inquisitive agnostic raised atheist. She is a science advocate and communicator, and contributes to Skepchick, Grounded Parents, and Genetic Literacy Project. Her interests include the world of human and ag biotech and genomics. She loves GMOs, and currently boycotts the organic industry. Kavin loves to spend time with the Genetically Modified Husband, and Genetically Vigorous Kids. Ask her why her followers are known as “Senapaths.” Find Kavin on her science advocacy Facebook page, and Twitter @ksenapathy
Engineering Foods of the Future, Fri 5:00pm, Food and Fear, Fri 7:00pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm
Kristin Ellis
Kristin Ellis
Kristin Ellis is a lover of all things science. When she’s not doing her “real job” in clinical cancer research, she’s launching a biotech startup and organizing science-oriented community events to make science fun and accessible to people from all backgrounds.  Her favorite things in life are her dog Clark, the great outdoors, some good dystopian fiction and a great conversation. She loves getting into arguments on Twitter and learning about how to be a better feminist / scientist/ human being.
Science of Nightmares, Fri 9:30am, Food and Fear, Fri 7:00pm, Human Augmentation Sun 9:30am, Genetic Engineering: From Fiction to Fact Sun 3:30pm
Maggie Koerth-BakerMaggie Koerth-Baker Maggie Koerth-Baker is an award-winning science journalist who just finished a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Before her fellowship year, she spent five years as the science editor at BoingBoing.net and was the author of a monthly column, called “Eureka”, in The New York Times Magazine. “Eureka” focused on the intersection between science and culture, making connections between the questions we ask about how the world works and the way we live in modern society.
Engineering Foods of the Future, Fri 5:00pm, Food and Fear, Fri 7:00pm, Dystopian Planet Sun 2:00pm
Mary MyersMary Myers Mary Myers has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oregon, and works as the Director of Institutional Research at a rural college in Minnesota. She is especially interested in science education and social justice issues.
Bones, Thu 2:00pm, DNA Necklace Fri 12:30pm
Matt Lowry
Matt Lowry
Matt Lowry is a high school and college physics professor with a strong interest in promoting science education and critical thinking among his students and the population in general. He is a self-described skeptic, someone who believes in Carl Sagan’s adage that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary  evidence.” He expounds upon topics related to science, skepticism, and education at his blog – The Skeptical Teacher.
Getting Students Into Science, Sat 9:30am, Colonizing Space Sat 2:00pm, What’s The Worst That Could Happen? Sat 3:30pm,  Hard and Soft Science, Sat 7:00pm, Planning for the Apocalypse: It’s Not Just for Doomsday Preppers Sun 12:30pm
Megan Press
Megan Press
Megan Press is a psychiatrist who is passionate about stomping out stigma, integrating mental health care into primary medical care, and eliminating mind/body dualism from medicine. She spends her days treating patients, teaching newbie doctors at the University of Minnesota, and managing a bunch of mental health clinics.  Deep down inside she is a big geek who loves knitting, sci-fi, video games, and sleeping in (that last part never actually happens).
 Skepchick Space Lab all day
Melanie Mallon
Melanie Mallon
Melanie Mallon is the coordinator of SkepchickCon and a programming co-head for CONvergence. As a Skepchick, she is known primarily for Bad Chart Thursday and the (Un)Censorship Project. She also co-runs Grounded Parents, the Skepchick parenting site, and manages Skepchick Events. When not doing all things Skepchick, she works as a freelance editor and writer. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Google+.
Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm,  Manhattan Sat 2:00pm
Miri Mogilevsky
Miri Mogilevsky
Miri Mogilevsky is a graduate student in social work at Columbia University. Her blog, Brute Reason, covers topics such as social justice, psychology, mental health, and whatever else keeps her up thinking till 3 AM. When not writing, Miri devours books and talks to anyone who’s willing to listen about how amazing New York City is.
Writing While Female, Sat 11:00am, User’s Guide to Therapy Sun 3:30pm
Olivia James
Olivia James
Olivia James is a writer and activist at Skepchick, Teen Skepchick, and We Got So Far To Go. Her writing focuses on feminism, mental health, and skepticism, with a healthy dose of philosophy thrown in. She’s also somehow convinced people to pay her for writing at a variety of websites and spends her days cackling at her own luck while pounding on her keyboard.
“Modern” Mental Illnesses Fri 7:00pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm
PZ MyersPZ-Dino.jpeg
PZ Myers is an astounding miracle of nature. He is made up of about 100 trillion cells that are all independently regulated by complex networks of approximately 20,000 genes and 3 billion nucleotides. His genome contains a unique combinatorial code of almost 40,000 alleles — genes which have been epigenetically honed by 57 years of experience. He is so popular that he is the personal host of a quadrillion organisms that rely on him for sustenance and support. Furthermore, he is the pinnacle of almost 4 billion years of chemical and biological evolution, and before that, stars burned for billions of years to generate the raw material of his corporeal body by nucleosynthesis. You should be awed by his presence. You want to be in the same room with him simply to bask in the cosmic significance of his existence.
Bones, Thu 2:00pm, Technology Won’t Destroy Us Thu 5:00pm, DNA Necklace Fri 12:30pm, Ask a Scientist Fri 3:30pm, Science vs. Religion in Dystopia, Fri 5:00pm, Getting Students Into Science, Sat 9:30am, Human Augmentation Sun 9:30am, Genetic Engineering: From Fiction to Fact Sun 3:30pm
Raychelle Burks
Raychelle Burks
When a career as a deadly ninja assassin proved too tame, Raychelle turned to chemistry. She’s currently a postdoctoral researcher at a super-secret-but-not-that-secret institution. To relax from a day of mad scientist duties, Raychelle enjoys sci-fi/horror movies, knitting, and consuming books of all genres. In her spare time, she writes about science and culture for a number of blogs and tweets up a storm.
Robot Liability Issues Thu 12:30pm, Sci-Fail Returns Thu 7:00pm, How Good Science Can Make a Movie Better Thu 8:30pm, Monster Madness Thu 10:00pm, Using Science in Your Everyday Life Fri 11:00am, How I Would Destroy the World with Science Fri 12:30pm, Ask a Scientist Fri 3:30pm, Engineering Foods of the Future, Fri 5:00pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, Berry Easy DNA Lab Sat 12:30pm
Rebecca Watson
Rebecca Watson
Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.
Sci-Fail Returns Thu 7:00pm, Monster Madness, Thu 10:00pm, Handmaid’s Tale Fri 7:00pm, Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Fri 8:30pm, Obsessed: Game of Thrones Sat 5:00pm, Bodily Autonomy and Reproductive Rights in a Dystopian Future Sat 10:00pm
Ryan Consell
Ryan Consell
Ryan is a costumer, armorer, and sculptor with a MASc in bicycle destruction and a background in science education. He is a blogger for Mad Art Lab and has been featured on TheMarySue, BoingBoing, io9 and Kotaku. He is best known for blogging about armor, his Slave Leo and Darth Shakespeare costumes, and his YouTube channel which details his forays into trampoline archery and other poor life choices.
Sci-Fail Returns Thu 7:00pm, Cosplay How-To: Materials and Tools Fri 9:30am, Art after the Apocalypse Fri 2:00pm, Science Art Paper Hour Sat 11:00am Science of the Marvel Universe Sat 12:30pm, Cult of Talent Sat 8:30pm, Introduction to Chasing and Repousse Sun 12:30pm, Creating Dystopian Worlds for Game Masters Sun 3:30pm
Steph Montgomery
Steph Montgomery
Steph is a contributing blogger to Grounded Parents, the Skepchick parenting blog. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degree in Political Science. Steph served as Peace Corps volunteer in Togo, West Africa. She has spent her career working with a variety of nonprofit agencies focused on public health and poverty alleviation and has been actively involved with the reproductive rights movement for nearly 20 years. Steph is also a single mom to the two best kids on the planet. When she’s not busy running the advocacy program for a domestic violence/sexual assault organization and raising her family, Steph enjoys snuggling, making pies, gardening and fitness. In parenting, she trusts science, evidence and common sense to lead the way.
Post-Apocalyptic Parenting, Thu 10:00pm, Handmaid’s Tale Fri 7:00pm, So You Want to Rule Dystopia Sat 8:30pm, Bodily Autonomy and Reproductive Rights in a Dystopian Future Sat 10:00pm, Planning for the Apocalypse: It’s Not Just for Doomsday Preppers Sun 12:30pm, Disappearing Social Justice in Dystopia Sun 2:00pm
Stephanie Zvan
Stephanie Zvan
Stephanie Zvan is an atheist and skeptical activist who used to have time to write science fiction on the side. These days, she blogs at Almost Diamonds on the FreethoughtBlogs network, hosts the Atheists Talk radio show on Sunday mornings, and spends a lot of time talking about known unknowns because she thinks it’s fun. Stephanie’s favorite snack is internet trolls.
When the Bullied Becomes the Bully Thu 12:30pm, Science Tropes that Just Won’t Die Thu 2:00pm, Writing While Female, Sat 11:00am, Hard and Soft Science, Sat 7:00pm, Dystopian Planet Sun 2:00pm, A Guide to Geeks and Death Sun 3:30pm
Topher Hunter
Topher Hunter
Topher is a nerd, scientist, bioengineer, photographer, costumer, dog trainer, beer brewer, and a lot of other nouns. He has too many degrees and too many hobbies because it’s all fun and interesting, and … squirrel! He writes about distance parenting, healthcare, and whatever else amuses him and his co-bloggers at the moment.
Sci-Fail Returns Thu 7:00pm, Science of the Marvel Universe Sat 12:30pm, Human Augmentation Sun 9:30am