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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 Jack Nuelle

Jack Nuelle
Interim Assistant to the Director 

Jack Nuelle is the Interim Assistant to the Director at the Boisi Center, where he previously served as Graduate Research Assistant. He has a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago and an M.T.S. from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, where he also served as Co-senior Editor of the Lumen et Vita Graduate Journal of Theology. His research interests include 20th century Christian theology, theological approaches to philosophies of language and literary theory, American Catholicism, and the intersection of religion and culture, especially literature, pop culture, and film.  


Mary Elliot

Mary Elliot
Graduate Research Assistant

Mary Elliot is the Graduate Research Assistant at the Boisi Center, studying towards a M.A. in Philosophy at Boston College. Mary holds a B.A. in Sociology, Philosophy, and Economics from the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, where she was a Research Assistant at the Agora Institute for four years. Mary is an Intercollegiate Studies Institute Richard M. Weaver Graduate Fellow and a Graduate Fellow at the Lonergan Institute at Boston College. In addition to her work in philosophy and sociology of religion, Mary’s qualitative research focuses on the ways private institutions operate within economic structures to critique them. Her co-authored work on homeschooling is forthcoming in the Peabody Journal of Education and in a book chapter through Routledge.


julia bloechl

Julia Bloechl
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Julia Bloechl is an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Boisi Center and a sophomore majoring in International Political Economy and Development as well as Theology at Boston College. 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. She enjoys learning languages, traveling, surfing, and playing tennis and basketball. Julia is abroad this year studying at the University of Oxford.


Jorge Mejía

Jorge Mejía
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Jorge Mejía is an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Boisi Center and a senior pursuing a B.A. in Political Science at Boston College. Outside of Boisi, Jorge is an International Programs Analyst at the Global Leadership Institute and a member of the Organization of Latin American Affairs. He has organized panels on the Venezuelan oil crisis and Community Reinvestment Act. His scholarly interests include community development, philanthropy, and inter-American geopolitics. Jorge has conducted research in Kuwait, Israel/Palestine, and Ireland. In the future, he hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Department of State.


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.


Brian Ward

Brian Ward
Undergraduate Research Fellow

Brian Ward is an Undergraduate Research Fellow at the Boisi Center and a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and Theatre at Boston College. Aside from working at Boisi, he keeps busy by working as a technician in Robsham Theatre, designing and working on BC Theatre and student group productions, and maintaining several long-term coding projects. His interests, in addition to computers and preforming arts, include issues of American politics and public discourse, which he attributes to growing up just outside Washington, D.C.



Click here for a list of Boisi Center Alumni

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