Hannah Ryan recently joined the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) executive council as the student and early career representative.
Graduate Student in Colorado
When did you first discover American Scientific Affiliation (ASA)?
I first heard about ASA as an undergraduate student at Westmont College.
How has your personal and spiritual life been changed because of your involvement with ASA?
The annual ASA conference at McMaster University was quite a formative experience for me. It was such a unique time to dialogue and fellowship with Christian scientists who are passionate about God’s Kingdom and the beauty revealed in science. I found the plenary sessions and short talks incredibly stimulating, and the issues presented made me think deeply about theology, apologetics, biblical hermeneutics, and science. I think that wrestling through a belief can lead to stronger conviction on the other side. And that certainly happened to me. My involvement with ASA has grown me into a more thoughtful and effective believer in Jesus Christ.
What is the tangible evidence of the growth you've experienced?
I think the best evidence I have seen in my own life of ASA’s influence is the increased confidence I have in conversations about science and faith, whether that be with a high school student at youth group, a peer student in graduate school, a professor, or a non-believing skeptic. I am more informed about current topics in science and faith. And in this way, ASA has developed my apologetic skills, increasing my tool kit of rationalities and justifications of faith and teaching me how to engage with either the science-worshiping or science-fearing mind.
How long have you been a member/donor and what has ASA meant to you?
I joined the organization as a member in February 2014. While searching for an article on genetic evolution, I stumbled upon the ASA website and noticed the upcoming conference in Hamilton, Ontario, and right away I knew I wanted to become a member and submit an abstract!
What do our friends and financial partners need to know about how ASA is making a difference?
ASA has an invaluable ministry to students. I don’t know of any other organization that really covers the bases that ASA does for science-minded young people. For me personally, there have been times where the overbearing worldview of secular academia was oppressive and disorienting. It was a gift to find a community of brilliant and passionate scholars who are deeply committed to Christ and could specifically encourage me in my faith journey.
ASA can reach young Christian scientists and equip them with tools to become strong leaders in their field and faithful proclaimers of truth. Additionally I think that ASA has wonderful potential to reach students who may be teetering on the edge of religious belief. I have found that often non-believing students have a misconception of Christianity, do not honestly assess their own doubts, and may be straying in false philosophical assumptions. The ASA community is qualified to minister to these types of students and explain the relevance of the Gospel in this context.