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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Meet the Staff

boisi center for religion and american public life

Photo of Erik Owens

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."


Photo of Susan Richard

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. 


photo of R. Zachary Karanovic

R. Zachary Karanovich
Graduate Research Assistant

Zac Karanovich serves as the Graduate Research Assistant for the Boisi Center. He is currently a doctoral student in systematic theology. Originally from rural, west central Indiana, he studied and worked in Indianapolis for 13 years. He received his B.A. in theology and philosophy from Marian College (now University) before working in parish ministry and religious education in Indianapolis. In 2014, he received his J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis and practiced in public and non-profit finance before moving to Boston for continued theological studies at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry, where he received his M.T.S. in 2018. His research engages liberation and political theologies with a particular interest in the way such theologies can speak to his own context, particularly with regard to imagination, narrative, and the larger social impact of both. When not buried in books, he loves spending time with his wife and daughter, running, and exploring Boston.

photo of Julia Bloechl

Julia Bloechl
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Julia Bloechl is a senior majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Ethics and Social Justice. She is minoring in Managing for a Social Impact. Julia is currently working on a senior thesis concerning questions of forgiveness and reconciliation in Rwanda in the wake of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. She is also working as the student coordinator for the Global Engagement Portal at BC. Eventually, Julia hopes to go to law school to study International Human Rights Law. In her spare time, she enjoys surfing, skiing, traveling, and playing tennis and basketball. 


Monica Orona

Monica Orona
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Monica Orona is an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Boisi Center and a sophomore pursuing a B.A. in political science at Boston College. Across campus she is involved in the University Chorale of Boston College, the Compass Mentoring Program, and the Boston College Model UN. Some of her interests include Latin American and American politics, watching foreign films and T.V. shows, reading, and working towards becoming trilingual.


Portrait of Zoe Greenwood

Zoe Greenwood
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Zoe Greenwood is an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Boisi Center since September 2019, and a senior studying Economics and Sociology. Zoe is currently in the throes of a senior thesis looking at labor market outcomes of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.  After graduating, she hopes to spend a few years working in International Development before attending graduate school for a Master’s in Public Policy. Zoe loves to read, cook, volunteer, snowboard, kickbox, and spend time with friends and family. 




Click here for a list of Boisi Center Alumni

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