Meet a staffer: Alyssa Schaefer

Name: Alyssa Schaefer

Where and when I was born: I was born in a suburb of Chicago a week before Christmas. However, I spent most of my adolescence in Wausau, Wis.

Education: I earned a B.S. in international affairs with a concentration in security policy from the George Washington University. I also spent a semester abroad in Brussels, Belgium.

How I came to work at FFRF: I had moved back to Wisconsin after going to school/working on the East Coast and was on the hunt for a job in the nonprofit world. I discovered the job posting, did some research on FFRF, realized that I agreed with the foundation’s mission, and applied. The rest, as they say, is history.

What I do here: I’m FFRF’s program assistant. My job tends to vary from day to day, depending on the needs of the foundation. One constant is overseeing FFRF’s shop.
What I like best about it: The people here are quite amazing.

What gets old about it: I really dislike the cranks that call looking for a fight.
I spend a lot of time thinking about: The intersections of philosophy with other academic fields and popular culture, both past and present. Right now I am on an Existentialism kick. Just this past week I watched the season finale of the TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and it was a modern-day homage to Sartre’s “No Exit.”

I spend little, if any, time thinking about: The NFL. I honestly don’t know which teams were in this year’s Super Bowl.

My religious upbringing was: Catholic. There were two Catholic churches in my hometown. One church focused on Jesus and being a good person, while the other was more focused on fire and brimstone. I went to the former, and although I had issues with Catholicism, the community at the church was a real positive one.

My doubts about religion started: At the age of 8 or 9. In Sunday school I had difficulty putting behind me the discrepancies between the stories of Jesus, with his messages of kindness and compassion, and God, who seemed to be quite a terrifying and cruel guy. I became particularly distraught over the story of the ark when I was that age, unable to wrap my head around the idea that God destroyed all but two of each of all land animals just because he was angry with the humans.

Things I like: Cheese, the great outdoors, sloths, book sales, and my crazy cat Lola.
Things I smite: Cockroaches, bar crawls, and “God’s Not Dead 2.”

In my golden years: When I retire, I hope to become a docent at either an art museum or a natural history museum.

Freedom From Religion Foundation