Whether they are hopelessly enamored with Doctor Who, or just good at math, nerds are everywhere. And every Tuesday at the Women’s Center, LGBTQA Coordinator Julia Keleher provides a safe haven for them.
Keleher began Nerd Tuesdays in Spring 2013 as a way for students to connect with others who share the same interests and to promote the “nerd values” to others.
“I thought of it as a program that I would’ve loved when I was in school,” Keleher said. “And I thought it was a program that was missing in the grand scheme of the University of Idaho.”
Attendees of the weekly event connect by sharing nerdy stories, playing fun board games and watching television programs or movies that are classic staples of nerd culture.
“There’s a few regulars that come in, but there are also a few people who only come for one or two weeks at a time,” she said. “It provides a great network for people to connect and get to know each other.”
Keleher said that she hopes students who attend the program will find new friends with similar interests and socially connect with fellow nerds.
“I know I see myself as a shy person, so I like this idea- it’s a small group of folks, but it also provides a great environment for people to get to know other students,” Keleher said.
Of all the nerdy television programs, Keleher said that even though she considers herself to be jack of all trades, her favorites are “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Simpsons”.
“I’ve been watching “The Simpsons” ever since the first episode,” she said. “I’ve even used clips from the show to illustrate gender and sexuality issues in my lectures.”
At the LGBTQA office, Keleher also provides a safe outlet for LGBTQA students at the university.
“I think with homophobia, there are different issues of oppression going on,” Keleher said. “With people opposed to nerds, that’s a form of bullying, and on this campus we really strive to put that out and say that it’s not okay.”
“It all comes down to bullying, and when that happens, we’re putting people down. With both homophobia and opposing to people’s preferences, these are all forms of oppression that need to stop,” Keleher said.
Bradley Burgess can be reached at email@example.com