Blair Academy was thrilled to welcome Carrie Giddins Pergram ’92 for a virtual Society of Skeptics lecture on October 6 at 7 p.m. Her presentation, "A 2020 Election Preview," concentrated on the upcoming election and preparations for Election Day 2020. To view her full presentation, please click below:
Ms. Pergram’s lecture allowed attendees an inside look at the current political climate in the United States from an expert in the field. She noted that audience members better understood some of the "inside baseball" that goes into politics.
“We all seem so focused on the polls or the scandal of the moment, and there is a lot more to it,” she said. “I wanted the audience to understand that there are other places to look for information that may not be as obvious as their social media feed or scrolling words on the bottom of the TV.”
When asked why she selected this topic, Ms. Pergram highlighted her longtime passion for politics. “Many years ago, I was bit by the political bug, and even though I am now a professor, I still consider myself a political operative and stay with just a toe in the fray,” she said.
Ms. Pergram is a professor of political communication and a former political consultant. For the past eight years, she has been appointed a term professor at American University, teaching in their School of Communication and their School of Public Affairs. In 2008, she held the position of communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, running the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, the most successful and most widely attended caucuses in history.
Ms. Pergram has maintained her own consulting firm, Giddy Up! Communications, which has a variety of national and international political clients, and she has also worked for nonprofits and private companies. In addition, she has done stints on the Hill, at political consulting firms, at direct mail firms, at a national nonprofit and at a national party committee. A native of New York City, she has worked in politics for over 25 years. Ms. Pergram graduated from Skidmore College in upstate New York and earned master’s degrees from the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University and Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
She is also a proud Blair alumnua and was excited to speak with the community about her journey. She specifically noted two Blair faculty members, retired history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, and Dean of Campus Life and director of leadership programs Carolyn Conforti-Browse ’79, and the impact they had on her career.
“I learned more sitting in the corner of Dr. Miller's Clinton Hall history classroom than I have anywhere else,” she said. “Mrs. Conforti-Browse was my English teacher, my softball coach and my dorm parent my junior year at Blair. I was challenging, to say the least, but she was, and to this day is, a mentor, a friend, and one of the best influences I was lucky to meet at such a young age.”
The History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by The Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.