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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Meet the Staff

boisi center for religion and american public life

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Erik Owens
Interim Director

Erik Owens is interim director of the Boisi Center and associate professor of the practice in theology and international studies at Boston College. His research explores a variety of intersections between religion and public life, with particular attention to the challenge of fostering the common good of a religiously diverse society. He is the co-editor of three books: Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape (2009), Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning (2004) and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics (2003), the last of which was called a "must read" by Foreign Affairs in 2009. At the American Academy of Religion, he chairs the Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion and leads its Public Scholars Project. He received his Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Chicago, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from Duke University. His Twitter handle is @erikowens.

To book an appointment during Prof. Owens' office hours, click here.

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Alan Wolfe
Founding Director

Alan Wolfe is the founding director of the Boisi Center and professor of political science at Boston College. He is on research leave during the 2016-17 academic year. Wolfe is the author and editor of more than twenty books, including, most recently, At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora Is Good for the Jews (2014), Political Evil: What It Is and How To Combat It (2012), The Future of Liberalism (2009), Does American Democracy Still Work? (2006), Return to Greatness (2005), The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Practice our Faith (2003), Moral Freedom (2001), and One Nation After All (1999). Widely considered one of the nation's most prominent public intellectuals, he is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and has delivered lectures across the United States and Europe.

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Suzanne Hevelone

Suzanne Hevelone
Program Coordinator

Suzanne Hevelone returns to the Boisi Center this year as the program coordinator. She previously worked at the Boisi Center from 2007-2009 as the graduate research assistant. Suzanne has a Ph.D. from Boston College (2010), a M.St. from Oxford University (2001), and a B.A. from Gordon College (1997). Before returning to the Boisi Center she was adjunct faculty at Gordon College from 2004-2014. Her scholarly interests in medieval theology inform how she experiences contemporary scholarship on religion and American public life. Her work on moral exemplarity through hagiography during the Middle Ages seems particularly relevant during this political election cycle. In addition to her work and scholarship, Suzanne spends much of her days chasing two small sons.


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Susan Richard
Administrative Assistant

Since the Boisi Center's inception in 1999, Susan Richard has served as the Boisi Center's administrative assistant. With her degree from Johnson and Wales University, she has the educational training to plan and organize the many events the Boisi Center sponsors each semester. In addition to her administrative duties, Susan overseas the management of the Boisi Center web site. Prior to coming to Boston College, Susan worked at Boston University for eight years in administrative capacities in the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School as well as the department administrator in the sociology department. 

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C. Thomas Fraatz
Graduate Reserach Assistant

Tom Fraatz is a PhD candidate in the Boston College theology department, concentrating in biblical studies. His current research focuses on empire and the use of Jewish Scripture (the Old Testament) in the book of Revelation. He also explores how digital techniques of displaying texts can enhance our understanding of how ancient audiences encountered the web of intertextual allusions in the Bible, which can be found at his website Encoding Revelation. Tom has a M.Div. from Boston University and a B.A. in classics and physics from Gettysburg College.


Omeed Alidadi

Omeed Alidadi
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Omeed Alidadi is a junior double-majoring in political science and Islamic civilization and societies. Aside from his work at the Boisi Center, Omeed serves as the president to the Iranian Culture Club, and is the co-founder of the Eagle Writers Program (EWP) for international graduate students on campus. His scholarly interests include international education, as well as the relationship between religion and politics. In the future, he hopes to become a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. Outside of the classroom, Omeed tries to catch every game of his favorite sports team, the New York Rangers.

Ryan Duffy

Ryan Duffy
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ryan is a senior majoring in international studies. On campus, he is involved with the Winston and Clough Centers, UGBC, the Economics Association, The Heights, and the Public Policy Council. He has written in various student journals and the New York Times about climate change, and this year plans to write his senior thesis on the issue. In his spare time he enjoys running, traveling, and following the 2016 presidential campaign. 




headshot of Amelia

Amelia Parker
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Amelia is a senior double-majoring in philosophy and theology. She is interested in theological ethics, moral education, and the relationship between faith, philosophy, and ecology. On campus, Amelia is a resident assistant in the first-year area, a member of the executive board for the Voices of Imani Gospel Choir, and a peer buddy with BC’s Best Buddies chapter. She is grateful for the unique educational opportunities she’s had, from studying for a semester in Havana, Cuba to conducting independent research on female farmers in Oregon.



headshot of Sylvia Waghorne

Sylvia Waghorne
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sylvia Waghorne is a senior double-majoring in political science and English. Previously, she studied abroad for a semester at Queen Mary University in London. In addition to working at the Boisi Center, she is a John Marshall Undergraduate Fellow in the department of political science. Her academic interests include international politics, human rights law, and 20th century literature. In her free time, Sylvia enjoys reading, baking, and hiking. 


Click here for a list of Boisi Center Alumni

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