Get to know member Azure Hansen


Azure HansenMember Spotlight: Azure Hansen

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I was raised in an agnostic and humanist home in a small rural town. As a kid we watched Carl Sagan’s Cosmos during sick days. Many of our religious classmates, teachers, and neighbors frustrated and mystified us, but we of course also had close religious friends and family. We first met other humanist families at Camp Quest in 1997 and 1998.

I am presently a PhD student in physics, where I work in a lab studying atoms at temperatures near absolute zero using lasers. Science outreach and education is very important to me, and I am involved with various programs to give under-represented minorities the confidence, interest, and exposure needed to be scientifically literate and pursue science degrees.

How did you first hear about the Foundation?
I had been considering becoming a volunteer staff member at Camp Quest for some time. My cabin counselor from Camp Quest in 1997 found me on Facebook and convinced me to be a staffer at the new CQ branch she was starting in Virginia. I overcame my fear of working with young kids, and spent an incredible week volunteering at Camp Quest Chesapeake as a cabin counselor and program leader. I cannot emphasize enough the impact that CQ has on children and their families.

Anyway, this new Camp Quest branch was founded in part by a donation from FBB! The idea of FBB resonated with me very strongly, and I immediately knew it was something I had to support. It provides nontheists an opportunity to unify and combat the negative stereotype that we are not charitable.

Why are you a member?
I gave a gift membership to my mom for Humanlight. My family has been exchanging more and more charity gifts–the adoption of manatees in Florida, chickens for families in Africa, classroom supplies for kindergarteners in New Jersey, microfinance loans to a family in Peru.

I thought this would be a good gift for my mom because it would support so many different causes that she finds important. It’s a nice surprise every quarter when FBB announces their latest beneficiaries.

Do you have some favorite cause categories?
The Natural World and the Education causes are my favorites, and I think the Challenge the Gap category is a powerful idea. FBB is a great way to learn about charities, too, and I’m sure we’ll support some of the chosen beneficiaries individually in the future.

Any beneficiaries so far that particularly moved or interested you?
It is too hard to choose! Some of the beneficiaries address issues I had never thought about, such as the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, but know to be important. Most of the causes I was already well aware of, but not necessarily the specific charity. Two recent ones I was aware of before FBB supported them were the Federation of American Scientists and the It Gets Better Project. All of FBB’s beneficiaries inspire me in diverse ways, and I am glad to be supporting them.