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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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Mark Massa, S.J.

Mark Massa, S.J., is the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, where he is also professor of Theology. Massa received his Ph.D. in American religion from Harvard University, and is the author of seven books. His most recent book, The Structure of Theological Revolutions: Catholic Debates About Natural Law, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press. His monograph published in 1999, Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy Day, and the Notre Dame Football Team, received the Alpha Sigma Nu Award for Best Work in Theology for 1999-2000. His ongoing area of research is American Catholic faith and culture of the past century. 

As first holder of the Karl Rahner Chair in Theology at Fordham University, Massa also directed the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. From 2010 to 2016, he served as dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College. He also served as board chair for the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of nine divinity schools, seminaries, and a rabbinical college in greater Boston. Massa has appeared on a number of programs in the "American Experience" series on PBS, including "Religion in America," and most recently, "An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story."


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Erik Owens
Associate Director

Erik Owens is associate 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.

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

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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 oversees 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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Jack Nuelle
Graduate Research Assistant

Jack Nuelle is the Graduate Research Assistant at the Boisi Center, and a second year MTS candidate at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. His research interests include 20th century Christian theology, American Catholicism, and the intersection of religion and culture, especially literature, pop culture, and film. He also serves as co-Senior Editor of the Lumen et Vita Graduate Journal of Theology. Jack received his BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago.


Omeed Alidadi

Omeed Alidadi
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Omeed Alidadi is a senior 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.


julia bloechl

Julia Bloechl
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia Bloechl is a sophomore majoring in international political economy and development as well as theology. In addition to working at the Boisi Center, Julia is a member of the International Studies Journal “Kaleidoscope”, the philosophy journal “Dianoia”, and the Philosophical Society. Next year, Julia hopes to study abroad in South Africa and Ecuador. She enjoys learning languages, traveling, surfing, and playing tennis and basketball.



Jorge Mejía

Jorge Mejía
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jorge Mejía is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Latin American Studies and History. Outside of Boisi, Jorge serves as Director of Social and Political Action for the Organization of Latin American Affairs, through which he has organized panels on the Colombian peace process, Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, and U.S.-Mexico relations. His scholarly interests include peacebuilding and inter-American geopolitics. Jorge has also conducted research in Kuwait, Israel/Palestine, and Northern Ireland. In the future, he hopes to become Bronx Borough President, as well as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.


susan kourtis

Susan Kourtis
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Susan Kourtis is a senior majoring in Theology with a minor in Education. In addition to her work at the Boisi Center, Susan is an intern at the CrossRoad Summer Institute at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA. CrossRoad is a ten-day summer program for Orthodox Christian high school juniors and seniors that offers an opportunity for the theological exploration of vocation. At BC, Susan is a member of the Jenks Leadership Program and is involved with Endeavor, the Career Center’s career exploration program for sophomores. Susan’s academic interests include the intersection of theology, politics, and culture, specifically as the relationship between these three factors affects the future evolution of the Greek Orthodox diaspora in the United States. Outside of school and work, Susan serves on the CrossRoad Alumni Advisory Board, and enjoys spending time with family and friends and exploring new cities.


Click here for a list of Boisi Center Alumni

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