Get to know the contributors: Michaelyn

As I said last week, I plan to do a post in which I interview each of the people who contribute to this blog (you can read about them by clicking that fancy “contributors” button at the top of the page).  Today is my lovely girlfriend, Michaelyn.

How did you get into physics?  Neuroscience?

I liked math in high school, but didn’t want to study only math when I got to college. When I took physics and calculus my senior year, that was when I fell in love with physics because of the way you could apply math to it. Yeah, the way physics describes how the universe works is cool, but I really enjoyed the math behind it.
Then this summer, after having a research job in the physics department, I decided that’s not what I really want to do for the rest of my life. I think Camp Quest and Give Kids the World made me realize how much I want to work with students, so I switched to the only program in the psych department that lets me graduate on time: behavioral neuroscience, and from there I plan on pursuing a masters in counseling.

For what are you most known?

I don’t know. On KU campus I’m pretty well known from being an Orientation Assistant and running SOMA. In the atheist movement I’m known for SOMA and for dating you. I can’t avoid being asked “Aren’t you JT’s girlfriend?” at conferences now.

What are you afraid of?

Needles and paper cuts. I can’t donate blood because I pass out before I even see the needle.

Do you have any weird talents?

Uh. I can touch my nose with my tongue. I sing sometimes. I used to play the ukulele, but it’s been a while.

What are you most proud of?

Mostly I’m proud of being where I am with my life right now. I’m happy with my present and excited for my future, and that’s all I really care about.

Dating me has kind of put you into the atheist spotlight a little bit more.  How has that adjustment been?  Any good stories?

It’s weird. I don’t know half my facebook friends anymore, and I get recognized at conferences by people I’ve never met. It has its moments though, and everyone I’ve met has been super friendly.  While tabling for SOMA at KU, I had a new student say, “Oh yeah, aren’t you JT’s fiance …or girlfriend? Your last names throw me off.” That was kind of amusing. Also, Matt Dillahunty knew who I was before we ever met because of JT. So that was cool.

Who is your arch nemesis?

The Oakland Raiders.

Describe a time when you were wrong about something.

I’m wrong all the time. Once I confused gamma radiation with beta radiation when ranting about The Avengers and JT quoted me on it on his blog. People were pretty quick to call me out on it. You nerds.

Did you ever believe in god?

Yeah! I found him in high school for a couple years. I went to a Methodist church with my boyfriend at the time. When he left for college, I quit attending church. I think stepping away from it really made me rethink how I had been viewing the world.

What blogs do you read?  Which blog will you never miss an entry on ever?

I like to keep up with Greta Christina and The Friendly Atheist (but that one has 10 posts a day, so it’s a little difficult). I’m also trying to keep up with Adam Lee at Daylight Atheism. I met him this summer, and love what he writes.
I don’t really have one that I never miss an entry. Not even WWJTD (sorry, JT).

How are you and I most alike?  How are you most different?

We’re both geeks, and we’re both really passionate about the activism that we do. Obviously we’re both atheists. We both have awesome parents and enjoy eating cold pizza for breakfast.

JT is way more blunt than I ever could be. He’s also quicker to think on his feet. I can’t argue to save my life, and JT can’t cook to save his (but he’s getting better!).

What do you do for fun?

I read and play my guitar. I like to run as well.

How did you come to be president of SOMA?  What are your plans for this year?

I went from vice president to co-president last year, and it just seemed to be the thing to do. We do meetings every other week and meet at a coffee shop to hang out once a week. Hopefully we’ll have a team for Light the Night in October and will be going on a laser tag field trip this semester. ReasonFest 3 will be next April. I also hear a rumor that JT will be speaking at one of our meetings in November.

What is your present occupation?

I’m a math tutor and I also work the front desk for the algebra program at KU.

What other jobs have you had?

I was a research assistant in the physics department under a professor who worked at CERN. So I kind of worked for CERN (the CMS project, if you’re curious). I’ve been a waitress once and I was an Orientation Assistant where I led student groups, introduced them to KU and helped them enroll.

If you could choose anywhere to live, where would it be?

Somewhere in the mountains. Switzerland would be cool.

What really annoys you?

Mouth noises. Ugh. If I can hear a person chewing their food, I can’t take it. Also wrinkles in my socks.

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