The Token Skeptic
|Occupation||Educator, Lecturer, Podcaster|
|Years active||2003 – present|
|Known for||Notable sceptic and host of the Token Skeptic Podcast, covering topics such as psychology, philosophy, science, scepticism, ethics, literacy, education, atheism, and critical thinking.|
|Title||Member of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Education Advisory Panel.|
Kylie Sturgess is an award-winning blogger, author and independent podcast host of The Token Skeptic Podcast. A Philosophy and Religious Education teacher with over ten years experience in education, Sturgess has lectured on teaching critical thinking, feminism, new media and anomalistic beliefs worldwide. She is a Member of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Education Advisory Panel and regularly writes editorial for numerous publications, and has spoken at The Amazing Meeting Las Vegas, Dragon*Con (US), QED Con (UK). She was a presenter and Master of Ceremonies for the 2010 Global Atheist Convention and returns to the role in 2012. Her most recent book The Scope of Skepticism was released in 2012.
From a young age Sturgess was influenced by art, literature and film. A background of non-fiction, documentary, comedy and human interest literature fostered her willingness to challenge authoritative statements concerning viewpoints said to be avoided. Her interest in investigative journalism exposed her to the negative results of scams and pseudoscience. Sturgess also credits the feminist writer Julie Burchill and popular science writer Mary Roach as being positive influences. Female skeptics Karen Stollznow, "Swoopy" Robynn McCarthy and Lynne Kelly are also important figures in Sturgess's skepticism background.
Since 2003, Sturgess has gained Levels 1 and 2 accreditation in the Federation of Australasian Philosophy in Schools Association's ‘Philosophy / Teacher Educator’. She went on to begin a Graduate Diploma in Psychology at Monash University by distance education in 2006.
At the beginning of 2007 Sturgess had completed her first Masters of Education in Special Learning needs, with a particular focus on Gifted and Talented education and gender issues. For the final unit for her second Masters of Education, she chose to focus on the criticisms raised by Watt and Wiseman, Aarnio and Lindeman regarding the Tobacyk Revised Belief in the Paranormal Scales, particularly in reference to beliefs in teenagers.
Her professional background includes working for a number of private schools in Western Australia. In 2010 Sturgess taught Religious Education, Philosophy and Ethics. Currently, she is a volunteer at Perth's Scitech as she completes her Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Sturgess has created teaching resources and helped deliver professional development for the Curriculum Council and was a research assistant at Curtin University (on engagement in secondary schools in rural and remote areas).
Skepticism and speaking engagements
Sturgess' influence in skepticism began during The Amazing Meeting 3 where she helped as a volunteer. At the beginning of 2006, after an influential lecture on 'Teaching Critical Thinking in the Physical Sciences' by Liam McDaid of Sacramento City College, the West Australian Skeptic Association ran an Award for challenging pseudo-scientific and paranormal claims. Sturgess used this opportunity as a 'theme' for her Term 2 upper-ability English class (along with studies of Macbeth, GATTACA and The Chrysalids) who subsequently submitted six group reports. The class was commended with two awards and one honourable mention; later repeated in 2007 with two Awards and three honourable mentions.
Sturgess was recognised for this work by a runner-up award by the Australian Skeptics in 2006. At that conference, she presented a speech written by the West Australian Skeptics regarding their project and their request for support. As a result, she was invited to present an essay for Radio National in December 2006, which also became an article in the Australian Skeptics. When she won the Australian Skeptics Critical Thinking Prize in 2007, she used the proceeds to begin her Graduate Diploma in Psychology.
Sturgess was a presenter of a paper at the James Randi Educational Foundation's The Amazing Meeting 5, with the title "The West Australian Skeptics Awards for Young Critical Writers: Investigations and Questions about Future Directions when Studying High School Students’ Beliefs in the Pseudoscientific and the Paranormal.". In 2008 she presented at the Australian Skeptics National Conference in Adelaide, South Australia with "On Sex, Smarts and Where The SkepGrrls At: An Investigation into Gender Differences and Belief In Weird Things".
She has been a speaker on a number of panels on the SkepTrack at Dragon*Con from 2009 to 2011 and in 2010 spoke at Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne 12–14 March 2010 on "Sex and Skepticism: a Study of Belief in Australian Women". and presented on a panel at the QED Convention 2011 in Manchester, UK, called 'Reaching Out Reasonably’ with Eugenie Scott, Sile Lane, David Kirby, and moderated by Janis Bennion.
In 2011, Sturgess was the Australian co-ordinator of the 10:23 campaign and was recognised with First Place for 2011 for her activism efforts by the Secular Student Alliance Best Individual College Activist Awards. She has acted as a consultant to the media on the topic of women and paranormal beliefs for the Australian National Times column "Skeptic Science".
- Sturgess, Kylie (2012). The Scope of Skepticism: Interviews, Essays and Observations From the Token Skeptic Podcast. Podblack Books. ISBN 978-1-291-00501-1.
Sturgess regularly writes editorials for numerous publications, including:
- The Australian Skeptics,
- UK Skeptic,
- Skeptical Briefs,
- Skeptical Inquirer, and the
- Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s (CSI) 'Curiouser and Curiouser' online column.
- Independent Investigation Group's The Odds Must be Crazy website
Sturgess' work has featured in Educational Journals and Publications:
- The Open Laboratory Best Of Science Blogs 2008
- Journal of the Science Teachers Association of Western Australia,
- Lab Talk – Science Teachers Association of Victoria,
Other notable publications:
- The Young Australian Skeptics Skeptical Blog Anthology 2011 – Editor
- Sturgess was a co-author of the paper ‘The structure of superstitious action – A further analysis of fresh evidence‘, in the journal Personality and Individual Differences (Science Direct), a peer-reviewed publication. It involves a re-analysis of Wiseman and Watt's short scales of positive and negative superstitions.
- Essay featured in "The Australian Book of Atheism", distributed in Australia by Embiggen Books.
- Cavanagh, R., Kennish, P., & Sturgess, K. (2008). Development of a theoretical framework to inform measurement of secondary school student engagement with learning. AARE 2008 International Education Research Conference. Changing Climates: Education for Sustainable Futures, 30 November 2008. Brisbane: AARE Inc.
- What Do I Do Next?: Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism. Ed. Daniel Loxton, www.skeptic.com.
- Sturgess, K. ‘Skepticism in the Classroom‘ in Knight, S. & Collins, C. (Eds.). (2005). Critical and Creative Thinking: The Australasian Journal of Philosophy in Education, 13(1).
- Ockham Award - Best Video 2014 for TEDxPerth Talk "Superstition Ain't The Way" Awarded at OED 2014 by The Skeptic Magazine UK
- Ockham Award - Best Podcast 2013 for The Token Skeptic. Awarded at OED 2013 by The Skeptic Magazine UK
- The Secular Student Alliance Best Individual College Activist Awards – First Place 2011
- Australian Skeptics Critical Thinking Prize 2007
- Australian Skeptics Runner-up For Critical Thinking Prize 2006
Sturgess has featured in the following media:
- Fremantle Radio
- Curtin University Radio
- Skepticality Podcast
- Meet the Skeptics
- Skeptically Speaking
- Skeptic Zone
- The Skeptical Experience (UK)
- Birmingham Skeptics (UK)
- Strange Quarks
- The Pseudo Scientists
- Dave Fregon. "Kylie Sturgess". atheistconvention.org.au.
- "Meet Kylie Sturgess". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- "Teaching Critical Thinking". Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Birch, Joel. "Merit Awards". http://www.skeptics.com.au/. Australian Skeptics Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Jeff Wagg. "James Randi Educational Foundation". randi.org.
- "Dragon*Con Skeptrack – Skeptics, Rational Thought and Free Thinking". Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- "Rise of Atheism: Global Atheist Convention".
- "The Little QEDCon That Can—Question, Explore, Discover in Manchester". Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Zukor, Leslie A. "The Secular Student Alliance Best Individual College Activist Awards 2011". Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- Newsome, Brad (January 2011). "Do women want to believe?". National Times. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2009). "Scaremongering and the Streisand Effect – Dr Ben Goldacre and Skeptical Bloggers Respond to Jeni Barnett". The Australian Skeptic 29 (1): 52–53.
- Bridgestock, Martin; Kylie Sturgess (2010). "BrainFood – Innovators in Skepticism, Reed Esau and Daniel Loxton.". The Australian Skeptics 30 (2): 18–22.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2010). "Interview with Chris French". The Australian Skeptic 30 (2): 26–30.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2006). "Critical Thinking in the Classroom". The Australian Skeptic 26 (4): 12–13.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2007). "Forums for Skepticism". The Australian Skeptic 27 (3): 18–22.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2009). "An Introduction to Parapsychology – A Skeptic Gets Schooled". The Australian Skeptic 29 (1): 40–41.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2010). "Skeptics and Atheism – Review of the Global Atheist Convention". The Australian Skeptic 30 (2): 8–12.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2009). "An Interview With Dr Caroline Watt". The Australian Skeptic 29 (1): 42–43.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2010). "Interview with Bruce M. Hood". UK Skeptic 22 (3): 27–31.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2010). "Stephen Fry – Last Chance to Think". Skeptical Inquirer 34 (1): 46–48.
- "Articles by Kylie Sturgess". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- "On The Luck of the Irish And Taking Probability Personally". IIG. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Sturgess, Kylie. "The Open Laboratory: The Best Writing on Science Blogs 2008". Smart Bitches, Not Merely Sex (2008). Jennifer Rohn (Ed.). Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2007). "MythBusting with the Skeptics". Journal of the Science Teachers Association of Western Australia 43 (1): 2.
- Sturgess, Kylie (2007). "Kicking ass and doing science: Skepticism in the English classroom". Lab Talk – Science Teachers Association of Victoria (51): 4.
- Sturgess, Kylie. Kylie Sturgess, ed. "The Young Australian Skeptics Blog Anthology 2011 – Editor". Scientific American. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Bridgstock, Martin; Marais, Ida; Sturgess, Kylie. "The structure of superstitious action – A further analysis of fresh evidence". Personality and Individual Differences 50 (6): 795–798. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.033.
- (editor), Warren Bonett (2010). The Australian book of Atheism. Carlton North, Vic.: Scribe Publications. ISBN 978-1-921640-76-6.
- "The Australian Book of Atheism". The Australian Book of Atheism. Embiggen Books.
- "What Do I Do Next?: Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism" (PDF). www.skeptic.com. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Superstition ain't the way: Kylie Sturgess at TEDxPerth. YouTube. 27 January 2014.
- "WAHOOO Thanks QEDCon and UK Skeptic Magazine – Win For Ockham’s Video 2013". Token Skeptic.
- "2013 Ockham Awards".
- Zukor, Leslie A. "The Secular Student Alliance Best Individual College Activist Awards 2011". Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- Skeptics, Australian. "Australian Skeptics Runner-up For Critical Thinking Prize 2006". Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Breakfast – The Story Behind Superstitions". Channel 10 Breakfast. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
- "The Guestroom – Kylie Sturgess". ABC Darwin Radio. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- "#36 Belief and Education". Skeptically Speaking. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
- Swoopy; Colanduno, Derek (27 February 2007). "Ep. No. 47 – More from TAM 5 – Kylie Sturgess, Hal Bidlack, Michael McRae". Skepticality. Skeptic Magazine. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
- "The Pseudo Scientists – Episode 27". The Young Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "The Pseudo Scientists – Episode 28". The Young Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
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