Ninth annual Darwin Week to be held at UNI

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The ninth annual Darwin Week will be held from Monday, Feb. 13 through Thursday, Feb. 16 on the University of Northern Iowa campus. The event is hosted by the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers (UNIFI), a student organization for skeptics, atheists, agnostics and freethinkers. The event is free and open to the public and will feature various speakers throughout the week, centering on the theme of skepticism. In addition to daily lectures from UNI faculty members, featured keynote lectures will be held at 7 p.m. each night during Darwin Week in the University Room, Maucker Union.

This year’s keynote speakers are as follows:

- Kavin Senapathy, writer at Forbes and Slate and science activist for health, medicine and agriculture, will discuss genetically modified foods and deciphering the fear tactics food marketers use on Monday, Feb. 13.

- Hiba Khrist. founder of the blog “Between A Veil and A Dark Place” and an ex-Muslim, will be talking about Islam, gender roles and other sociopolitical realities of Muslim women on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

- Hector Avalos, professor of religious studies at Iowa State University and author of ten books including his recent book “The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics,” will deliver a lecture about whether there is scientific evidence that prayer works on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

- Kathryn Crowe, an aerospace engineer for NASA, will give a talk about current NASA projects on Thursday, Feb. 16.

"Darwin Week is a wonderful opportunity to expand your horizons and learn about a variety of subjects," said Casey McGregor, director of public relations for UNIFI and co-organizer of Darwin Week. "The event is a great way to not only promote intellectual thought but also to give the public accessibility to this intellectually stimulating material. Darwin Week ultimately helps people to understand the world around us, something that our nation could really use right now."

Darwin Week was originally created to commemorate the work of Charles Darwin and his notable contributions to the field of science, and has since expanded to include additional topics such as diversity and sexuality. 

For more information, contact Casey McGregor, director of public relations for UNIFI, at 515-320-5578 or


Casey McGregor, director of public relations, UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers, 515-320-5578,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761,