About us

Who are we?

We are the Birmingham chapter of the March for Science movement. Our goal is to bring the scientific community together and make it more accessible to the people of Alabama.

Science Advocacy

Our hope is to raise public interest in science and the many groups that are in and around the Birmingham area to help raise awareness.

Encourage Learning

Promote the learning of science to people of all ages and from many different scientific fields.

Unite Science

One of the roles we hope to fulfill is to bring together the different science groups and help the community learn and become more engaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer
Marvin Bowlin, Secretary of the Executive Committee
Contact: marvin@marchforsciencebhm.org

Marvin Bowlin is a graduate researcher pursuing his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in an immunology lab at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He obtained his bachelor's degree in biological research sciences from Mississippi College. As a graduate research scientist and student himself, Marvin feels passionately about the importance of science education and scientific research to the community. Marvin joined The Birmingham March for Science Executive Committee as the Secretary of the Executive Committee to help organize an event specifically designed to emphasize the importance of science-based education and energize public support for scientific research.

 

Emily Capilouto, Alabama Network Coordinator
Contact: emily@marchforsciencebhm.org

Emily Capilouto holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is currently a Masters candidate at the University of Kentucky in Medical Anthropology. Her thesis explores physician attitudes of cervical cancer screening and prevention in the context of Bangalore, India. Both her academic and community-based work have focused on improving access to reproductive health care and advocating for evidence-based, scientifically grounded healthcare policy implementation. As a native of Birmingham, Emily joined the Birmingham March for Science Executive Committee as Alabama Network Coordinator in an effort to bring together the diverse communities and individuals that benefit from scientific work, innovation, and education across the state of Alabama and in the city of Birmingham.

 

Matt Godwin, Director of Planning and Logistics
Coontact: matt@marchforsciencebhm.org

Matt Godwin is a graduate research scientist at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in a fungal immunology lab studying asthma. Prior to coming to UAB he obtained his M.S. in Biology from Mississippi College. His thesis examined the virion assembly process used by the Ranavirus genus of viruses that affect both fish and amphibian species across the globe. As a member of the scientific community he understands the important role quality science education and science literacy plays in our society. Matt is passionate about promoting science literacy and that passion was the catalyst for joining the Birmingham March for Science. Through his efforts, he hopes to bring increased awareness of the benefits science has to offer the Magic City and the state of Alabama.

 

Jeff Hirschy, Director of Communications
Contact: jeff@marchforsciencebhm.org

Jeff Hirschy is currently pursuing a PhD in Communications and Information Science at the University of Alabama. Before that, he received a MA in Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama, a MA in History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a BA in History from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. Jeff is fascinated with the ways communications, in all its forms, help foster increased awareness, whether it's social justice or science, on a particular subject in today’s world. He joined the March for Science to help promote science, science literacy, and education in Birmingham and Alabama.

 

Leigh Sarver, Design Director
Contact: leigh@marchforsciencebhm.org

Leigh Sarver is an artist and a resident of Birmingham. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2008. Leigh joined The Birmingham March for Science to help to help promote science and science literacy.

 

Doug Watkins, Lead Network Administrator and Web Developer
Contact: doug@marchforsciencebhm.org

Doug Watkins is a mobile game and application developer. He has a passion for programming that comes from a desire to break down complex tasks into simpler solutions that can be solved and automated through the use of programming languages and math. When not programming, he also manages a number of Virtual Private Servers (VPS) that are running on the Debian operating system. His hobbies include programming hilarious game bugs, automating voice-controlled features with a Raspberry Pi through the Wolfram Alpha API, and attaching LEDs to everything. Doug joined the Birmingham March for Science Executive Committee in the hopes of allowing future generations to learn and experiment with technology with the same freedom that he enjoyed.

 

Nicole Watkins, Director of Community Outreach
Contact: nicole@marchforsciencebhm.org

Nicole Watkins holds an M.A. in History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and currently teaches at Lawson State Community College. Her thesis explored the relationship between political movements, print media, and riots in 18th-century Britain. She has a commitment to research in addition to a strong passion for teaching and education. Her work focuses on encouraging her students to be engaged and involved with the world around them, using her position as a history instructor to introduce new concepts and to teach her students to think analytically and critically. While she is not a student of the hard sciences, Nicole joined the Birmingham March for Science Executive Committee as Director of Community Outreach in an effort to inject discourse and dialogue regarding science and scientific education in the city of Birmingham and throughout Alabama.

Answer

Over the past several years, public support for evidence-based science and science education has been in decline. This is most clearly demonstrated by the lack of science-based public policy, community engagement in the scientific process, and the increasing preference for pseudoscience in lieu of empirical scientific evidence. Recent restrictions of the free flow of scientific communication at the federal level underscore the urgent need for science advocacy. To address this need, we are organizing an event that is part protest for the free communication of scientific research and part celebration of the fruits of scientific research that we benefit from daily. It is our ultimate goal to engage our community and emphasize the importance of science in our city, state, and nation.

Answer

Birmingham is a city of science. Our movement aims to showcase how science is interwoven into the daily lives of the citizens of our city. Whether it’s from working at UAB or Southern Research, relaxing at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens or the Birmingham Zoo, or actively engaging in fun and informative scientific activities at the McWane Center, citizens of Birmingham are awash with the benefits of living in a city so fundamentally driven by scientific research. We intend to bring people’s attention to what they already know without realizing it: science plays an integral part of their daily lives.

Answer

To do this, we intend to present various activities, events, and businesses that people often attend in the city and surrounding areas. Most people are familiar with the McWane Center, UAB, the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo. We want to emphasize how science plays a role in each of these institutes. Beyond that, we want to invite local businesses to discuss how science plays a role in their services that citizens benefit from. Why does a cup of coffee smell so good? How is corn and wheat converted into pints of lagers? How do restaurant chefs make their food so unique? All of these questions have a one word answer: science. We hope that, by exhibiting the commonplace nature of science and bringing it out of the lab and into the kitchen, brewery, restaurant, etc. people will become excited and appreciative of the subtle benefits that science has to offer.

Answer

Both. Part of our event will be a march demonstrating public enthusiasm for science and public support for the free, uncensored, and unhindered communication of scientific research from the researchers to the public. This is, perhaps, the more important aspect of the day. We aim to demonstrate the level of support science and scientific research has in the community so that our elected officials will take notice. To this end, we encourage participants to maintain civility and respect, but also to enthusiastically and robustly demonstrate their support for science in general, unhindered and uncensored communication between scientists and the general public, and full public investment in scientific research. The celebration portion comes from all the events before and after the march designed to get people fully enthused about science. This includes the tables and booths we’ve mentioned before, in addition to speakers and demonstrations. This is why we refer to our movement as both a march and celebration.

Answer

We are a nonpartisan movement, and do not subscribe to any singular political party or ideology. However, we believe strongly in science advocacy. We support legislation, law, and funding that promote the advancement of science, scientific education, free and uncensored distribution of scientific data, and the accessibility of science to the broader public. We seek alliances and partnerships with a variety of political parties, organizations, and movements that support this agenda. In turn, we advocate for more transparency in science, and seek to provide a better offering to the public in the hope that when people better understand the scientific method, collection of data, and scientific evidence, they will feel a stronger connection to science.

Board of Directors

Meet the directors. Sometimes it's good to put a name to a face, and that is exactly what we're doing here.

Marvin Bowlin

Secretary of the Executive Committee

When not plotting world domination, fomenting rebellion, or studying occult doctrines, Marvin (Cortez to his friends) enjoys pursing the study of immunology - mostly for the benefits of mankind, but also because it never hurts to know what to target when pursuing world domination. His likes include science education, scientific research, and masochistically pursing his Ph.D.

Emily Capilouto

Alabama Network Coordinator

When not eating, Emily advocates for healthcare access for all and enjoys putting off finishing her thesis.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Matt Godwin

Director of Planning and Logistics

When not working on his Ph.D., Matt enjoys spending time training and pampering his retired racing greyhound Ginny.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jeff Hirschy

Director of Communications

Jeff is a big fan of reading books (pictured above) in nature. He loves his cats and gives them revolution to keep them safe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Leigh Sarver

Design Director

Leigh is roommates with the most qualified member of the team, one Dr. Bert Longbody MD DOG. His expertise is highly appreciated and responds positively to "WHO'S A GOOD BOY?!"
 

Doug Watkins

Lead Network Administrator and Web Developer

Doug accidentally electrocuted 3 members of his group in an engineering class by failing to put a blender back together properly and then letting them plug it in. He was unharmed in the group experiment.

Nicole Watkins

Director of Community Outreach

Nicole is that person at parties that says, "Actually, did you know..." and ruins everyone's fun. When not being pedantic, she teaches history and researches rowdy British rioters and spends time with her rowdy British dogs.