Winner of First NJHN Secular Student Scholarship Announced

Scholarship Press Release

CONTACT: Lisa Ridge, NJHN President. Phone: 732-425-5233

Winner of First NJHN Secular Student Scholarship Announced

(December 22, 2023) – A Rutgers University graduate student committed to challenging stereotypes and promoting acceptance and compassion has been awarded the first New Jersey Humanist Network (NJHN) secular student scholarship.

Tinashe Muzambi, 33, came to the U.S. from his native Zimbabwe in August to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a focus on LGBTQ issues. He wants to tackle problems such as substance abuse, unhealthy body ideals,  and emotional and physical abuse, and believes in a holistic approach that emphasizes inclusivity, diversity, anti-racism, and equity.

The $1,000 scholarship was awarded by NJHN in cooperation with the Secular Student Alliance, which honors students focused on building welcoming and inclusive communities and promoting strong secular values.

Muzambi grew up in a deeply religious community in Zimbabwe, but began to question religious beliefs as he contemplated the suffering in his native Africa, the futility of prayer, and religion’s rejection of his own nature. His family shunned him when he came out as gay in his early 20s, and he has had little contact with them since.

Muzambi asked himself, “Why can’t morality be based on just being a good person?” He said he developed a “general core belief that the world is a beautiful place and we might just be at the center of it.”

In his quest to further the humanist values of reason, social justice, inclusion, and community, Muzambi hopes to establish a Rutgers Secular Student Alliance to create a safe place for secular students to discuss their experiences and ideas.

“I am grateful for the support of an organization that values the importance of reason, empathy, and the shared journey towards a more enlightened and compassionate world,” Muzambi said of the scholarship. “This recognition not only validates my dedication to humanist principles but also inspires me to continue my pursuit of knowledge and compassion.”

Lisa Ridge, NJHN president, said the organization “is pleased to support a student leader who is working to promote social justice, fight for marginalized communities, and build a better world through activism.”


Founded in 1994, NJHN is a secular humanist community that embraces a nontheistic philosophy emphasizing human reason, ethics, and social justice. We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of problems through our common experience, civic engagement, and compassion. Learn more at

Published on 12/22/23