About the Founders
"Why Wait for Someone Else to Do It When You Can?"
Megan Sullivan Kirby, BCBA (co-founder): In April 2017, Barb and I complained (YES! We ALSO engage in this behavior) about the lack of political activism in the behaviorist community while attending the annual VABA conference (Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis). We decided to be brave and open about our discomfort regarding a noticeable increase in rate of behavior display that can be categorized as: sexism, xenophobia, and racism. Barb and I foolishly bought a website domain and started a Facebook group. And we discovered that we were not alone, there were so many other behaviorists also feeling the same sense of fear and anger! Years later, here we are. We have a growing family, I'm now at the University of South Florida working on a Ph.D. So, thanks for being here, and for taking the time to care!
Barbara Kaminski, BCBA-D (co-founder): A few years ago, I met a fellow traveler headed in the same direction. Megan, for those who don’t know her, travels on a bullet-style train. I was kind of on an old-style Amtrak train. But who doesn’t love a traveling buddy? At our first stop, we built the first version of Uncomfortable. A lot has happened with Uncomfortable since then, most of it unexpected, but always moving it forward. The team has grown, which is awesome on so many levels. I hope you are not here looking for answers. We don’t have the answers. Far from it. Let’s have dialogues about uncomfortable topics and support each other; growing personally and professionally. Thanks for joining in.
Emily Wilson, BCBA: I've always been interested in politics as they relate to social justice and human rights. Despite my current very stodgy professional scientist persona, I was once a tree-hugging hippie living in the Shenandoah Valley, studying Sociology and Religion. Our behavior analytic ethics resonate with me in the same way that those countless hours spent exploring the sociological underpinnings of widespread inequity did. It's the same establishing operation that motivates me to donate, volunteer, and vote in every election. And the echoes of that resonance pushed me to join this amazing UncomfortableX team. We hope it will ripple out to our members, too, and inspire committed action for positive social change!
Will Overfelt, BCBA: Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I've been involved in the applied behavior community for nearly twenty years. I've been a teacher, school system administrator, consultant, professor of coursework in special education, changer of a lot of diapers, and I've had my ass handed to me both literally and metaphorically many, many times over the years. I love being a BCBA but have always considered myself the Reluctant BCBA----sometimes not telling others that I'm a BCBA---not because I don't believe in our science but because I don't believe in how we've presented it to our non-behavioral peers. The first time I saw posts in the Uncomfortable BCBA Facebook group my jaw dropped. People were saying things aloud that initially felt like behavioral heresy---and a lot of that had to do with how we present ourselves to the world and how we choose to wrestle with the thorny issues of gender, culture, and sexuality. All of those pesky mentalisms and cognitive constructs just won't go away! I'm excited to be a part of this group that is pushing boundaries, creating an Uncomfortable community, and asking big questions about the ways that we relate to the world outside of our academic confines. How can we proliferate the science if we can't be effective with the real-life uncomfortable factors that are always going to be hard to define, measure, and transcend?
Nikia Dower, CCC-SLP, BCBA, LBA: Nikia joined the Uncomfortablex Team this past year as a Facebook Administrator, verifying the creds of potential members to keep our Facebook page a safe place for uncomfortable conversations.
SHOUT OUTS! This community requires commitment to action, and we run off of donations from our own bank accounts, our family, and our friends. The volunteers who make the Uncomfortable BCBA Facebook group possible deserve accolades and more (ordered by the timeline of their joining us): Arielle Mabry, Nikia Dower, Emily Wilson, and Will Overfelt. A special thank you to Gina Richards is deserving, as she spent 4 nights camping at Megan's home so that this website could turn into something useful for Members! Barb gives a special shout out to her business partners, Carl Dzyak and Chris Richardson, who have supported the time and energy she devotes to Uncomfortable, and to Steven Perkins who was such an awesome addition to our first panel presentations! Megan would also like to thank her spouse, Chris Kirby, for his amazing amount of patience since March 2018 (when it became clear that the Uncomfortable BCBA was valuable to others) and for understanding that UNCOMFORTABLE is just a way of life now!
We are in awe and so very grateful for the love and support that keeps us going. If you like this movement, please join. If you are able to, please donate to keep it going!