Carl Tracy – President
Carl likes making things on computers and building things in his free time which is useful because he lives on a horse farm and there’s always something to build or fix on a farm. He studied physics but his day job is in finance, which he doesn’t talk about much because people seem to find physics more interesting than finance. He was raised in an evangelical church, but became a Humanist in his 20s – even though he didn’t know the word for it until much later. He has run the Skeptics at the Pub meetup since 2010 and plans to do so for the foreseeable future. Carl joined the board because he wanted to be more involved with the Humanist community and give back to the people in central Ohio who have made him feel so welcome here.
Randall Saunders – Vice President
Randall grew up in small-town Iowa, and has lived in central Ohio since the 1990s. Raised in a Lutheran home, Randall became a born-again Christian late in high school, but through the influence of education, friends, and life experiences, gradually moved from biblical literalism to agnosticism and eventually to atheism. Randall joined the HCCO Board in early 2018, and is excited to be a part of and to support a community of secularists and humanists. He has a PhD in Ancient/Roman History from the University of Cincinnati, and enjoys gardening, the sciences, tennis, dabbling in guitar, and meeting new people and learning new ideas from being involved with HCCO!
Ben Iten – Treasurer
Ben is now an endorsed Humanist Chaplain, but he was raised in the evangelical church. Over time his academic studies in Judaism (at The Ohio State University) and Bible Interpretation (at the University of Oxford) challenged him to rethink how he understood religion and spirituality. Eventually this rethinking led him to Humanism and its progressive outlook on life. Humanist values continue to inspire Ben’s work as a Chaplain for OhioHealth where he helps people find their inherent worth and dignity. When he’s not out visiting patients, he’s teaching new chaplains and advocating for Humanism at the national level. He is the first openly Humanist Chaplain to seek certification from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education as a Certified Educator. Ben is excited to bring his skills and training to HCCO where he can continue the work of building a supportive and engaging community.
Karla Norquist – Secretary
Karla grew up in a household that encouraged Christian teachings but from an early age she decided that a secular outlook on life suited her much better. As an adult she’s discovered the value of building and fostering a healthy secular community on the local level and as a result has become more closely involved with HCCO over the past few years.
Nathan B. Weller – Board Member
Nathan grew up in a non-denominational evangelical home. After graduating high school he went into full-time youth ministry as a writer and producer for one of the largest independent youth ministries in the United States.
Before too long however, the deeply problematic practices of Christian ministry and a critical analysis of the Bible began to erode his faith. Over the course of five years, starting in 2007, Nathan painstakingly de-converted from Christianity and began to build a new secular framework for his life.
In discovering Humanism and HCCO in particular, Nathan found a like-minded community interested in living and promoting the values of reason, compassion, and basic human dignity above any notion of the “sacred”.
He hopes to help strengthen and expand the good work that HCCO does by volunteering his time, money, and talents.
Jaice Cooperrider – Board Member
Jaice Cooperrider was born and mostly raised in Lancaster, Ohio, where they graduated from Lancaster High School in 2003. They have had a strong interest in and talent for the sciences (especially chemistry, physics, and astronomy) since childhood and planned to become a scientist since the age of nine years.
Their maternal grandparents had them baptized in the Lutheran Church at age six years and continued forcing attendance until age 12 years, when Jaice’s mother said that Jaice no longer must attend religious activities. Jaice continued believing in Christianity for a few years afterward, but eventually discarded it for generic monotheism, then deism, by the time that they graduated from high school.
They began attending The Ohio State University in 2003, majoring in physics and astronomy, and abandoned theism entirely during their second semester of college, after intensive thought about the subject over several years. They graduated in 2008, with one BS in neuroscience and another in psychology, then began doctoral studies in neuroscience at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
During their first year of graduate school, they cofounded a student group called Secular Humanism, Inquiry, and Freethought (SHIFT), first serving as its vice-president, then as it’s president, then as its treasurer.
Also during their time in Salt Lake City, Jaice cofounded a community group called the Utah Freethought Society and served as one of its board members and eventually secretary for a community group called the Humanists of Utah (an AHA chapter), and participated in events organized by the Atheists of Utah (particularly its Good without God community service activities) and the Salt Lake Valley Atheists.
Jaice graduated from the University of Utah’s School of Medicine in 2013, having presented their research at multiple international conferences and taught at two Salt Lake City institutions of higher learning (the University of Utah and Westminster College). With the unexpected death of their mother (who raised them by herself, neither having any siblings) in February 2013, they returned home to Ohio after graduation, taking their mother’s place living with their ailing grandmother and eventually teaching Human Biology at the OSU-Newark campus, before developing a spinal stenosis on their 31st birthday that resulted in severe numbness below the waste, causing significant balance and coordination problems.
Having been born intersex (biologically neither female nor male), Jaice began publicly identifying as nonbinary (neither female nor male) and agender (genderless) at the start of 2018, preferring to be referred to by the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their.
In addition to being intersex, Jaice also has autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder II diagnoses.
They enjoy reading (science and science fiction), watching movies and shows (science, science fiction, supernatural horror, and fantasy), playing video games (especially turn-based strategy computer games), traveling, and eating delicious food (especially Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern/Persian, and Thai).
After the death of their grandmother in September 2018, Jaice decided to become more involved in the community and, as such, volunteered to become an HCCO board member the following month.
Great community starts here
HCCO is the largest and longest active secular community in Ohio.