Hi Richard. I live outside Alderson in Monroe county. Heard of your town but where is it exactly? IMO I'm the only non-theist in this area. I'm very glad for this group. A (reasonable) voice in the wilderness. Take care.
Welcome to Atheist Nexus with its 8300+ good friends.
We wish you all the best in your forthcoming Ph.D. viva voce.
As a keen atheist, perhaps try joining groups like the busy discussion group “Origins: Universe, Life, Humans, Evolution, Religion.....”.
I have been running a discussion there (72 posts) about being "Proud to be Atheist" because we should all be inwardly proud (and those who can, outwardly loudly proud),
seeing that atheists and humanists hold the intellectual high ground over the pathetic beliefs of the superstitious god grovellers enslaved by the fictions of narrow-minded clergy who control their brains and lives.
Terry Meaden (Oxford; 60+; see My Profile)