Making math and atheism friendly

Name: Hemant Mehta.

Where I live: Naperville, Ill.

Where and when I was born: Just outside of Chicago, 1983.

Education: University of Illinois-Chicago, 2004, double major in math/biology;  DePaul University, 2010, master’s in math education; national board-certified teacher, 2012.

Occupation: High school math teacher.

How I got where I am today: After leaving medical school in order to become a teacher, I had some free time and began working closely with the Secular Student Alliance and also started my website, Both of those experiences have helped me develop into an activist, and I hope to keep improving on that in a variety of ways!

Where I’m headed: Thankfully, not downward.

Person in history I admire: It’s always inspiring to hear about those who challenge the status quo to make things better for various minority groups. I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of atheists who have done sort of consciousness-raising in our own movement.

A quotation I like: “If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.”

These are a few of my favorite things: My students, great books, crossword puzzles, “The Daily Show,” Twitter.

These are not: People whose sole purpose in life is to put other people down.

My doubts about religion started: When I started high school. It turned out my parents’ religion (Jainism) couldn’t withstand tougher scrutiny.

Instead of “thank God” or “God bless you,” I say: Gesundheit.

Why I’m a freethinker: It’s empowering when you know the truth about something the majority of the country is completely wrong about.

Ways I promote freethought: I blog at to spread news and stories about atheism. I am a board member for the Foundation Beyond Belief and work to encourage other atheists to give money to secular charities.

I serve on the Advisory Board of the Secular Student Alliance because they focus on helping young atheists. To promote my ideas, I’ve written a few books, the most recent of which is called The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide.

Freedom From Religion Foundation