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Doctoral Students

theology department

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Jonathan Bailes


MDiv, Beeson Divinity School (2011)
BA, Bryan College (2007), summa cum laude

About Jonathan

Jonathan is a doctoral student in historical theology at Boston College, specializing in patristics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and Communication Arts at Bryan College, followed by a master of divinity at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University. His current research interests focus on the intersection between Christology and the doctrine of God in late ancient Christianity, the influence that biblical exegesis and ascetical spirituality exerted on these doctrinal developments, and the thought of influential theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa and Augustine of Hippo.


Rob Brodrick

Rob Brodrick


MA, Theological Studies (2010)
University of Dayton

BS, Physics and Mathematics (2007)
University of Dayton

About Rob

Rob Brodrick is a Presidential Fellow and doctoral candidate in the systematics area of Boston College's Theology Department. His area of research integrates critical theory with ecclesiology and liberation theology in order to better understand the network of power structures in the Catholic Church. Prior to doctoral studies, he was an adjunct professor at Sinclair Community College and helped found the Mission of Mary Cooperative, a nonprofit urban farming project dedicated to community development and food access in Dayton's poorest neighborhoods. Rob is a lay Marianist and continues to participate in the life of the Marianist Family both in his home territory of southwest Ohio as well as through national and international ministries.  


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B. Kevin Brown


MA, Theology, Loyola Marymount University (2011)

BA, Political Science and Theological Studies (2008)
Loyola Marymount University

About Kevin

B. Kevin Brown earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Theological Studies in 2008 and a Master’s Degree in Theology in 2011, from Loyola Marymount University. He is began his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at Boston College’s Theology Department in 2012. Kevin’s research includes projects in ecclesiology, ecumenism, methods of dialogue, and emerging theologies of ministry and order. His work has been published in Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church (Orbis 2013). He is currently a Lilly Graduate Fellow in Humanities and the Arts. Prior to arriving at Boston College, Kevin worked full-time in university development and stewardship for several years. Additionally, in recent years, he has served as a liturgy coordinator for the annual Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and as an RCIA facilitator.


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Jessica Coblentz


MTS, Harvard Divinity School (2011)
BA, Santa Clara University (2008)

About Jessica

Jessica Coblentz is a PhD student in the Systematics area. Her popular writing has appeared online at Patheos, God’s Politics, and Religion & Politics, and in print in Catechetical Leader Magazine and From the Pews in the Back: Young Women in Catholicism (Liturgical Press, 2009). She was the 2012 recipient of the Graduate Student Award for Excellence at the NEM-MAR regional gathering of the American Academy of Religion. In recent years Jessica has worked in young adult ministry at the Office of Religious Education in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Paulist Center in Boston. She has also served as a resource author and consultant for the Paulists’s national young adult ministry, BustedHalo.



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Michael VanZandt Collins


AM, History and Culture of the Islamic World, Harvard University
MA, Social Ethics, Boston College
BA, History & Theology, Boston College

About Michael

Michael is a doctoral student in comparative theology, minoring in theological ethics. Having graduated from Boston College with a B.A. and a M.A., he had served as a teacher of religion at Boston's Cristo Rey school and later worked as a community organizing in urban communities around issues of environmental justice. In 2011, returning to academia, Michael began a Master's program in Islamic Studies at Harvard in the Department of Near Eastern Studies, where he focused his research in medieval Islamic thought and practice. In 2012, he studied classical Arabic at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan, while working in interreligious dialogue. During his return to Boston College, Michael’s research interests in medieval Sufi philosophy and spiritual practices, and Qur'anic hermeneutics are in conversation with Jesuit spirituality and medieval Catholic theology. The long-term scope of his project is to develop a creative hermeneutic and constructive moral theology through which to engage issues at the intersection of religion and ecology.


Justin Shaun Coyle

Justin Shaun Coyle


M.T.S., Duke Divinity School (2014), summa cum laude
B.A., Point Loma Nazarene University (2012)

About Justin

Justin is a first year doctoral student in historical theology at Boston College, earning his M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School and his B.A. in Philosophy and Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University. He has developed a special interest in the vast and varied patterns of medieval thought, particularly those of the 12th and 13th centuries. His current research integrates questions proper to philosophical theology (especially philosophies of mind and language), theological anthropology, and Christology. Justin currently serves as 6th grade catechist at St Pius V Catholic Church in Providence, RI.


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Daniel R. DiLeo


MTS, Moral Theology (2013)
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

BA, Cornell University (2009), magna cum laude
Sociology, minor in Inequality Studies

About Dan

Dan’s interests lie at the intersection of Catholic social thought, virtue ethics, political theology, environmental ethics and economic justice.  He is especially focused on the issue of climate change and discernment of how Catholic theological ethics can contribute to deliberations about national climate policy. He has worked as Project Manager for the Catholic Climate Covenant since 2009, and was also a Mission Intern at the Catholic Health Association from 2009-2011. His wife, Katie Corey DiLeo, is a Resident Director at Boston College.



Stephanie C. Edwards

Stephanie C. Edwards


MTS Boston University School of Theology (2011), summa cum laude, concentration in Philosophy, Theology & Ethics

MSW Boston University School of Social Work (2011), summa cum laude, concentration in Macro Practice

BA Religious Studies, Santa Clara University (2007)

     BS Applied Anthropology, Santa Clara University (2007)

About Stephanie

Stephanie C. Edwards is a PhD student in Theological Ethics. Formerly a non-profit management and social services professional, her primary research interests include theological interpretations of trauma, communal traumatic experience, and corresponding theological/social ethics. 

During her dual masters, she was a graduate fellow at the Boston University Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, completing work that brought theological nuance and ethical construction into conversation with communities traumatized by natural disasters (inspired by her year living in post-Katrina New Orleans with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps). 


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Craig A. Ford, Jr.


MAR, Yale Divinity School (2013)
Concentration in Theological Ethics

BA, Theology and Philosophy, University of Notre Dame (2010)

About Craig

Craig A. Ford, Jr., is currently a doctoral student and a Margaret O’Brien Flatley Fellow in Theological Ethics. He researches topics at the intersection of moral theology, epistemology, and theological anthropology, and he is principally interested in the formation of the conscience in the Christian tradition. Craig’s scholarship attempts to integrate insights from critical theory in addition to insights from studies of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class into a moral theology that constructively engages canonical figures in the Christian theological past.


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Brian J. Himes


MTS, Systematic Theology (2012)
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

BA, Theology and Psychology (2010)
Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI

About Brian

Brian's concentration is in systematic theology, with a minor in theological ethics. His interests revolve around the theology of grace and include the topics of metaphysics, affectivity, prayer, and the figures of Thomas Aquinas, Bernard Lonergan, and Karl Rahner. Brian recently published an article in The Heythrop Journal entitled, “Lonergan's Position on the Natural Desire to See God and Aquinas' Metaphysical Theology of Creation and Participation” (54:5, pp. 767-783). His recent presentations at the Lonergan on the Edge Graduate Student Conference include a talk in 2011 on the subject matter of the aforementioned article and “The Lonerganian Supernatural Existential?: The Offer of Being-in-Love Unrestrictedly as Grace” (2012).



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Daniel P. Horan, OFM


MDiv, Washington Theological Union (2012)
MA, Systematic Theology, Washington Theological Union (2010)
BA, Theology, St. Bonaventure University (2005)

About Daniel

Daniel Horan is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province (New York) and a Ph.D. student in the systematics area. He is the author of more than forty articles, which have appeared in journals such as: Heythrop Journal, Worship, Cistercian Studies Quarterly, New Blackfriars, America, Downside Review, The Merton Annual, Spiritual Life, and others. The author of several books including, Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2012) and Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith (Tau Publishing, 2012), Dan’s forthcoming books include Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Assessment of Radical Orthodoxy’s Use of John Duns Scotus (Fortress Press, 2014) and The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Inspiration of His Life, Thought, and Writing (Ave Maria Press, 2014). Dan has taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Siena College (2010-2011) and in the Theology Department at St. Bonaventure University (2012, 2013). He is a columnist at America magazine and a contributor to Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press) and The Huffington Post.



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Kate Jackson


MAR, Yale Divinity School (2011) cum laude, Ethics
BA, University of Southern California (2006) cum laude
Biology and Religion, double major

About Kate

Kate Jackson is a doctoral student and Flatley Fellow in theological ethics. Kate’s post-college year as a Jesuit Volunteer solidified her commitments to social justice and education. Before starting at Boston College, Kate was a high school teacher for three years, teaching in both the science and religion departments. While at Yale, Kate earned her MAR with a concentration in ethics as well as her teaching credential in secondary biology and chemistry. Weaving together her scientific background with her teaching experience, theological interests, and ethical concerns, Kate focuses primarily on bioethics, the body, and feminist theory. She is also the co-coordinator of the BC Theology Partakers Group, which provides academic support to the imprisoned, and she is a Graduate Assistant for the recently launched Medical Humanities Interdisciplinary Minor at Boston College.


Jaisy Joseph

Jaisy Joseph


MDiv, Harvard Divinity School (2012)
BA, Austin College (2009) summa cum laude
Psychology and Religious Studies
Minors: Leadership Studies and Pre-Medical Concentration

About Jaisy

Jaisy Joseph is a Ph.D. student in the Systematics area with a minor in History of Christian Life and Thought. Her areas of academic interest include the history and theology of pre-colonial Christianities, particularly those that developed outside of direct Roman influence (Syriac, Coptic, and Greek). She is interested in how the migration of Eastern Christians to the United States enriches and challenges the development of Catholic ecclesiology in a post-Vatican II context. Jaisy worked as a research associate for the Case Study Initiative at Harvard’s Pluralism Project and co-founded Syro-Study, an annual gathering for the study of the history, spirituality, liturgy, and theology of Syriac Christianity. She is involved in the SyroMalabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago as a national coordinator of the Diocesan Youth Apostolate and serves on the national team of Jesus Youth, an international Catholic lay movement with roots in Kerala, India. Jaisy is the author of The Struggle for Identity Among Syro-Malabar Catholics (Eastern Christian Publications, 2009) and the forthcoming work, Moving Beyond the Margins: Christianity for Second Generation Immigrants (Judson Press, Spring 2014).



Joseph Loic Mben, S.J.

Joseph Loic Mben, S.J.


STL, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
BA, Theology, Hekima College, Nairobi (Kenya)
BA, Philosophy, St. Peter Canisius Faculty of Philosophy-Kimwenza (D.R. Congo)

About Joseph

Born in Neuilly-sur Seine (France), the second child in a family of four. I have done my primary and secondary school studies in Douala (Cameroon) from 1981 to 1995. I joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1997. I was ordained a priest in June 2009 and served for three years as a pastor in a Catholic parish in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire). I also taught sexual ethics at the Jesuit Institute of Theology in Abidjan for three years, between 2010 and 2013. My experience as a Jesuit has allowed me to travel to twelve countries in three continents, and it has allowed me to meet with people from various backgrounds and experiences.


Kate Mroz

Kate Mroz


MTS, Harvard Divinity School (2013)
BA, Fordham University (2011) summa cum laude

About Kate

Kate is a Presidential Fellow and doctoral student in Systematic Theology, with a minor in Comparative Theology. Her areas of interest include theological anthropology, feminist theology, political theology, Muslim-Christian dialogue, and the figures Karl Rahner and Edward Schillebeeckx. She received her BA in Theology and Political Science from Fordham University, where she was the recipient of the Jouin Award from the Theology Department. In 2013, she received her MTS from Harvard Divinity School, where she was the leader of Women’s Circle, and an organizer of many events on campus regarding women and religion. Kate recently had a paper accepted to the Edward Schillebeeckx Conference at Radboud University in the Netherlands. As well as authoring her own blog, she has written for Seminarians for Reproductive Choice and The Good Men Project. A lifelong Catholic, she is committed to lifting up the voices of those who have felt marginalized in the Church and in society.

Websites: |


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Nathaniel Peters


MTS, University of Notre Dame (2011)
BA, Swarthmore College (2007)

About Nathaniel

Nathaniel Peters is a doctoral student in historical theology at Boston College. He studied linguistics, Latin, and French at Swarthmore College and later received his M.T.S. in historical theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is working on a dissertation on the Trinitarian dimensions of medieval Eucharistic theology under Boyd Taylor Coolman. He has published numerous book reviews and articles in journals including America, Commonweal, First Things, and Books & Culture. Nathaniel also sings in the Choir of St. Paul’s, Harvard Square.


Annie Selak

Annie Selak


MDiv, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (2009)
BA, Religious Studies, Santa Clara University (2005) Magna Cum Laude
BS, Political Science, Santa Clara University (2005) Magna Cum Laude

About Annie

Annie Selak is a doctoral student in Systematic Theology. Annie’s research is in ecclesiology, focusing upon issues of power and authority in the Roman Catholic Church. She integrates feminist theology, practical theology, and theological ethics in her approach, grounding her research questions in lived experience and pressing issues for the Church today.

Prior to doctoral studies, Annie spent five years as a lay ecclesial minister in the Catholic Church, serving as Director of Campus Ministry at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Cañada Flintridge, CA and Rector of Walsh Hall at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN. Annie serves on the Board of Directors for Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society, is a former Jesuit Volunteer (Detroit 2005-2006), and a member of the Advisory Board for the Forum for Theological Exploration. 



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Katherine Wrisley Shelby


MTS, Harvard Divinity School (2012)
BA, Flagler College (2010)

About Katie

Katie is a doctoral student in historical theology at Boston College, where she focuses on medieval theology. She is particularly interested in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Franciscan theology, spirituality, and history. Prior to coming to Boston College, Katie received a B.A. in Religion/Philosophy from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, where she received Departmental Awards in Liberal Studies and English. She then pursued a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, where she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship. Her publications include two articles appearing in the Franciscan spirituality journal, The Cord; a review of The Sunday Sermons of St. Bonaventure (ed. Timothy Johnson, Franciscan Institute: 2008), co-authored with Beverly Mayne Kienzle in Medieval Sermon Studies 55; and a contribution to the online exhibit, A History of Medieval Preaching as seen in the Manuscripts of Houghton Library, entitled “Franciscan Preaching in the High Middle Ages,” edited by Beverly Mayne Kienzle and John Zaleski.


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Aaron Taylor


MSt, Theology, Christian Ethics, University of Oxford (2012)
BA (Hons), Theology, Heythrop College, University of London (2010)

About Aaron

Aaron Taylor studied at the Universities of London and Oxford before being awarded a Flatley Fellowship to join the doctoral program at Boston College. Before beginning graduate study, he worked for a London-based research institute dedicated to raising the quality of thinking about public policy in civil society. His main interests are in the foundations of ethics, public theology, and the relationship between the civil and moral law.


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Sarah A. Thomas


MA, Theology, Villanova University (2010)
Concentrations in systematic theology and theological ethics

BS, Electrical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University (2001)
Minor in Computer Science

About Sarah

Sarah A. Thomas is pursuing her doctorate in Systematic Theology with a minor in Theological Ethics. Sarah worked as a software developer and consultant for several years before entering theology. Her current research interests include theological anthropology, christology, the dialogue between religion and the cognitive sciences, and ecofeminist theologies. In the past, Sarah has served in her parish as a catechist and family retreat coordinator/facilitator. Before moving to Boston, she founded the Philadelphia Genocide Awareness Group, organizing educational events and speaking to local groups, particularly about the crisis in Darfur. Most recently, Sarah served as a volunteer English instructor for the Boson College Community Center’s ESOL program and is currently the webmaster for BC’s Theology Department.


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Kate Ward


MDiv, Catholic Theological Union (2011)
Concentration in Bible

BA, Psychology, Harvard College, (2005), magna cum laude

About Kate

Kate Ward is a graduate student and Flatley Fellow in theological ethics at Boston College. She is the co-editor (with Lacey Louwagie) of Hungering and Thirsting for Justice: Real-Life Stories by Young Adult Catholics (ACTA Publications, 2012.) Before coming to BC, she did strategic research and community outreach on a long-term union organizing campaign in Chicago. Her research applies the Christian ethical tradition to issues of wealth, poverty and inequality.


Jordan Daniel Wood

Jordan Daniel Wood


M.A. Historical Theology, Saint Louis University
B.A. Theology and New Testament, Ozark Christian College

About Jordan

Jordan is married to Alexis Wood, RN, and is the father of Rayna Jubilee Wood. He is a doctoral student in historical theology, with an emphasis in patristics. His interests lie in the peculiar binding together of ethics and metaphysics in the development of patristic Christology and soteriology (theosis), and how this might provide resources for contemporary theological reassessments of violence and peace. He suspects that Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor might be of particular importance in such a project. When he is not otherwise occupied with school work, he finds himself reading Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Berdyaev and loving every second of it. He is also a francophile.