The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Student Societies.

The Team

Executive

President

Chris Malburn

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Chris co-founded University of Liverpool Humanists, after attending the 2012 AHS AGM on a whim. He spent the next two years as President, during which time the society organised numerous events, won two AHS awards, and kept cordial relationships with the Guild of Students and faith societies on campus.He’s been involved in the AHS for two years, taking on an RDO position for the North West in late 2012, volunteered at the 2014 Convention and was a host organiser for the 2014 AGM in Liverpool.

He attended a CE school, and would have described himself as a Christian until several years after he left, when finding the Skeptics movement encouraged him to take a second look at the teachings of the Bible and he discovered that he was thoroughly unconvinced. After a while as a conflicted Agnostic, he’s now very happy to call himself an Atheist and a Humanist. In his spare time, he’s been known to play bass (badly), volunteer at a local Fab Lab, and neglect a growing pile of books in favour of wasting time on the internet.

Secretary

Martin Smith

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Martin wanted to be involved in the AHS for two main reasons: First, that, perhaps for the first time ever, we are in a golden age for the living with improved healthcare, better food, greater knowledge and longer life expectancy, and strong civil rights movements. Second, that those who are irreligious, in whatever form, now have the knowledge that they, we, are just stardust which, for him, is far more beautiful than the idea of any burning bush. This perspective gives itself naturally to a secular humanism based on empathy, reason and a common solidarity and he is a proud member of the British Humanist Association too.

Martin is a history student at the University of Nottingham where he also operates as the Publicity Officer for the University of Nottingham Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society and he feels that through a proper understanding of history, the only conclusion about the origins of the human race that leaves him with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. Martin believes firmly in the values of free speech and free expression and is an avid believer that people should be allowed to be themselves as after all, everyone is taken.

Treasurer

Daniel Newman

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Daniel has been on the committee of the University of Liverpool Humanist society since its reboot two years ago and is now currently the President, he also help organise the 2014 AHS AGM in Liverpool. Having graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Physiology , Daniel is currently enrolled on a PhD programme in Molecular and Cellular Physiology at the University of Liverpool. It is unsurprising therefore that Daniel highlights scientific Scepticism as the foundation of his Humanist world view.

Officers

Campaigns Officer

Dòmhnall Iain MacDonald

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Dòmhnall Iain (or DI) MacDonald and is a Catholic by birth, scientist by choice and sinner by merit. At the moment he is a second year studying Biomedical Sciences at Oxford University, where he is also Chair of Oxford ASH. He grew up in the Western Isles of Scotland and became an atheist aged ten after Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials made him brave enough to question the religion he’d been indoctrinated in. As Campaigns Officer, he wants to help AHS members get fully involved in the Fair Admissions Campaign, which seeks to end the socially, economically and racially discriminatory police of selective entry to state-funded faith schools on the basis of children’s purported religion.

Communications

Tim Rouse

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A non-theist Quaker, a socialist, and a determined northerner, Tim is the AHS's Communications Officer, responsible for keeping in touch with members and producing the weekly newspaper. A recent graduate of history (specialising in radical religion during the English Revolution), Tim was on Reading University's AHS society committee last year. Ask him about pineapples! (Or don't. Please don't.)

Head of Membership

This position is currently vacant.

Education

David Shorthouse

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David has been involved in AHS activity for roughly 5 years. Initially speaking at, then taking up a committee position for the Southampton Atheist Society. At Oxford, David rapidly (within 3 days of being in the city!) became treasurer for the then Oxford Atheist Society, and later moved on to take the role of society President and Chair. David has been actively involved in ThinkWeek for 3 years, the countries largest AHS annual festival, acting as Co-President for 2012, and Chair for 2013. David has a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Southampton, and is currently in the final year of a PhD in Molecular Biology at Oxford University. David also actively enjoys running, swimming, and climbing.

Web Officer

Sam Whitehall

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Since starting university in Southampton, Sam has started saying he comes from "near Manchester", as only fans of Joy Division or football have heard of Macclesfield – and he only hangs out with the former. His earliest memory of questioning religion was challenging a reverend's literal interpretation of The Feeding of the 5000 in primary school, by calculating the per capita volume of bread. He is currently President of the University of Southampton Atheist Society. He studies Computer Science, and when not working, can be found reading (too much), drinking tea (too often) and running (not enough). As well as speaking "computer", Sam can also speak German, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Social Media and Marketing Officer

Esperanza Suarez

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Esperanza is an Anglo-Spaniard who spends her time between Brussels, Cambridge and Norwich, where she studies International Relations with French and Japanese at the University of East Anglia. Esperanza was raised in a Catholic family and attended Catholic school for 11 years, where she realised as a kid that there were no reasons for her (or anybody for that matter) to believe in god or any of the “teachings” from the Bible. Once she reached that realisation it wasn’t easy being “the Atheist kid” in school, but after years reading and learning about forms of non-belief, today she’s a proud Humanist supporter of Secularism and Science. A former musician she has also worked in journalism and publishing, where she earned experience in Media and Marketing. Her biggest weakness is her unconditional love for England.

Press Officer

Hari Srinivasan

Regional Development Officers

Scotland

Ian Scott

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Ian got the whole nine yards of Catholic teaching at a state-funded faith school, but quickly rejected Christianity after moving to a non-denominational secondary school. Through embracing science, Ian discovered skepticism, and in November 2009 took it upon himself to found Glasgow Skeptics which is still thriving years later, having hosted speakers such as PZ Myers, Richard Wiseman, and A.C. Grayling. Ian is currently a fourth-year Psychology student at the University of Edinburgh, and is Secretary of the University of Edinburgh Humanist Society, having served as Treasurer in 2012-13, and President in 2011-12.

North East England

Terry Waites

Terry Waites

Mr Terence Waites (Terry) is a retired British Army Officer and Communications Engineer who recently studied at the University of Durham.  He received his BSc(Hons) in Mathematics and Computing from the Open University and an MSc in the Design of Information Systems from Cranfield University.  He has had experience all over the World producing secure Communications and Information Systems under extreme and dangerous conditions and within tight deadlines.  He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and is an Incorporated Engineer and mentor for young engineers in the IET.   When eventually retiring from the Army he decided to teach Physics and Mathematics and undertook a Post-Grad Certificate in Education at the University of Durham where he first made contact with the AHS. Volunteer work in support of Humanists and sceptical societies forced a choice to be made between teaching and volunteer work. Teaching took a back seat.  Mr Waites now assists with the North East Humanists organisation in Stockton-on-Tees and fills the role of North-East Development Officer for the ASH.  In addition he is the Veterans representative at the UK Armed Forces Humanists Association. Mr Waites is enthusiastic about sport, keen on cycling and skiing, and enjoys following top class rugby and cricket. He currently resides in Thornaby-on-Tees with wife, Catherine and daughter Bethany.  He can be contacted at tpwaites@iee.org.

West Midlands

Matthew Maddock

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Matthew is a recent Master's Graduate who set up his ASH society at Keele in his final year. Having never come from a theistic background, Matthew has always been interested in the arguments for and against gods, and has become increasingly active due to the importance religious belief has on peoples' decision making skills. As a Psychology and English undergrad, Matthew specialised in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, going on to do an MRes in the posthumanist aspects of the world Sir Terry creates. Sometimes marked a militant atheist, Matthew is glad to be able to volunteer for the AHS and be useful for other societies around the West Midlands.

Wales

Tom Stitfall

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Tom is currently studying International Politics at Aberystwyth University. It was during his first year at Aberystwyth Tom met some brilliant like-minded individuals and helped start Aberystwyth Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (AASH) and has been on the committee ever since. Tom had a very Catholic upbringing, but his use of reason, empathy and compassion highlighted the abhorrent values of the Church of which he is no longer a follower. Tom is a committed secular humanist and republican who wants to get more involved with the AHS and  to demonstrate Wales really is the most secular nation in the UK.

South East England

Sean Oakley

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Sean was the founder and 3-year president of Reading's AHS society, as well as being President of the Buddhist Society for 3 years. In terms of the AHS, he is a former press officer and contributor. He's interested in left-wing political, social, and ethical commentary, so is striving to be a part of in-depth journalism.

North West England

This position is currently vacant.

South West England

This position is currently vacant.

East Midlands

This position is currently vacant.

East of England

This position is currently vacant.

Yorkshire and the Humber

This position is currently vacant.

Republic of Ireland

This position is currently vacant.

Northern Ireland

This position is currently vacant.

Greater London

This position is currently vacant.

Board

Chris Malburn

AHSAGM-132

Chris co-founded University of Liverpool Humanists, after attending the 2012 AHS AGM on a whim. He spent the next two years as President, during which time the society organised numerous events, won two AHS awards, and kept cordial relationships with the Guild of Students and faith societies on campus.He’s been involved in the AHS for two years, taking on an RDO position for the North West in late 2012, volunteered at the 2014 Convention and was a host organiser for the 2014 AGM in Liverpool.

He attended a CE school, and would have described himself as a Christian until several years after he left, when finding the Skeptics movement encouraged him to take a second look at the teachings of the Bible and he discovered that he was thoroughly unconvinced. After a while as a conflicted Agnostic, he’s now very happy to call himself an Atheist and a Humanist. In his spare time, he’s been known to play bass (badly), volunteer at a local Fab Lab, and neglect a growing pile of books in favour of wasting time on the internet.

Andrew Copson

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Andrew Copson became Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association in January 2010 after five years coordinating the BHA's education and public affairs work. He is a former director of the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and is currently a Vice President of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), where he leads on strategic alliances and is a member of the growth and development committee. Andrew has supported the activities of the AHS since inception and was a member of the AHS's old Board of Trustees, before the AHS was reconstituted at the 2010 AGM.

Sharon Benton

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Sharon Benton has a degree in Communication Studies and has worked in marketing and PR roles for nearly 30 years. Her career has spanned a range of industries including the private and public sectors and recently as head of marketing and communications for a hospice charity. She has also worked as a marketing and business consultant with clients from the education sector, local government, retail, manufacturing and the professional services. Despite a traditional childhood attending Sunday school and local church services with her family, Sharon did not embrace religion in adult hood and has always struggled with the conflicts around the world and loss of life in the name of religion. Her father-in-law was also an atheist and when he died she and her husband arranged a humanist funeral for him – this was a turning point for Sharon when she realised that she wanted to be more proactive as a humanist, rather than just being a passive ‘non-believer’.

Gary Shearin

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Gary has managed fundraising programs and teams for over 14 years – for some fantastic causes. He started at Comic Relief, corporate fundraising for Red Nose Day 1999 (and yes, they did party like it was). After which he grew into a corporate, trust and statutory fundraiser, moving on to the Refugee Council where he built a database to drive high volume (but very personalised) direct mail for smaller trusts – that don't accept unsolicited appeals. Since then he's worked in various charities in permanent and consultancy roles, heading up Individual Giving and Fundraising departments. He has spent two years ‘agency side’ – as an Account Director at Bluefrog - and has recently started a blog called Fundraising Quirks. He joined the AHS Board in 2012 and hopes to help us particularly with our fundraising campaigns.

Jenny Bartle

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Jenny is renowned for her eccentric tendencies, being tiny, and also being queen of the atheists in Bristol for a while. She first got involved with the AHS in march 2010, and hosted the AGM only months later. She enjoys physics, and her degree has certainly given her the ability to clarify technical points in discussions. She also dabbles in philosophy, computing and general geekery, as well as having a love for classical music and art. But mostly just crazy ^_^

Mike Paynter

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Mike was the Secretary for the AHS, having been the Head of Membership and South-West RDO, and both Academic Secretary and Treasurer of the University of Bristol Atheist, Agnostic and Secular Society (AASS). He has helped Bristol join the AHS, have its first Reason Week and build connections with the local Humanist, Secularist and Skeptics groups. Mike has finished a PhD in Communications Engineering at the University of Bristol. He loves cycling and cooking, but has not been able to combine them ... yet.

Norman Ralph

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Norman Ralph is the founding President of the AHS. Norman is a member of Leeds Atheist Society and served for four years on their committee, having been the Secretary, President and AHS Rep. The AHS was founded during his tenure as Leeds President, and having drafted the AHS's first constitution, Norman was subsequently elected as the AHS's first President. Norman's time in charge saw the AHS hold its press launch, at which he spoke alongside Andrew Copson, Polly Toynbee, A C Grayling and Richard Dawkins. A keen debater, Norman is always prepared to speak his mind on all things.