Core Fellows

The Core Fellows Program at Boston College enables early career scholars from across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to develop their research and teaching potential. Core Fellows contribute to the Core Curriculum, the foundational, fifteen-course program in the liberal arts that all Boston College students complete as part of their undergraduate education at a Jesuit, Catholic institution. Fellows are attached to home departments as Visiting Assistant Professors. Salary and research support are competitive. Initial appointments are for one year and are potentially renewable depending on curricular needs.

During one semester, Core Fellows teach lab sections for interdisciplinary Complex Problems courses, team-taught by Boston College faculty. They work alongside experienced teaching mentors on topics such as climate change, race and gender, terrorism, and design and innovation. Labs for Complex Problems courses are devoted to problem- and project-based learning. During the other semester, each Core Fellow teaches an elective in his/her field as well as an Enduring Questions course, linked pairs of classes that two Core Fellows design together.

Before beginning the program, Core Fellows participate in a workshop on interdisciplinary teaching and active learning at Boston College’s Center for Teaching Excellence.

Information about 2019–2020 fellowships will be available on this website in early November 2018. The application deadline is January 15, 2019.

Required specializations vary from year to year. Candidates should exhibit exceptional interdisciplinary research and teaching skills, display a capacity for originality and innovation, and be open to teaching undergraduate students holistically.

Current Core Fellows


John Brooks

John Brooks

John Brooks is a Core Fellow/ Visiting Assistant Professor in English. Before coming to Boston College, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University, having received his Ph.D. in English and American Studies from Indiana University. He also holds a M.A. in American Literature from the University of South Carolina and a B.S. in English, History, and Philosophy from Central Michigan University. John’s research examines the role of experimental aesthetics in denaturalizing racial discourse. In his book manuscript, The Racial Unfamiliar: Encountering Illegibility in Contemporary African American Literature and Culture, he argues that a cohort of twenty-first-century African American visual artists and writers have turned to abstractionism to query historically entrenched ideas about black identity and black experience, and that doing so can complicate and confuse audiences’ assumptions about race.


Jonathan Krones

Jonathan Krones

Jonathan Krones is a 2018-2019 Core Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies. He received his Ph.D. from an interdisciplinary program in Engineering Systems at MIT and was a postdoctoral scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies before starting at Boston College. Jonathan's research is in the field of industrial ecology, focusing on municipal and industrial solid waste systems. Current projects include the development of new methods for quantifying waste streams as well as a critical examination of the role of quantification in sustainable materials and waste management. Before his Ph.D., Jonathan worked in energy, sustainability, and climate policy at local, state, and federal levels. He holds an S.B. in materials science and engineering from MIT and a M.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University.


Nora Gross

Nora Gross

Nora Gross is a 2020-2021 Core Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor in Sociology. She received her PhD in 2020 from the University of Pennsylvania in Sociology and Education, where she was a Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Fellow. Nora’s research examines educational inequality with a focus on race, gender, and emotion in secondary school contexts. She is currently working on a book manuscript from her dissertation research: an ethnographic study of the role of grief in the school lives of Black adolescent boys who lose friends to neighborhood gun violence, and the school practices and policies that shape their emotional and educational recovery. A secondary project explores the way white students in elite private high schools experience their schools’ diversity and inclusion efforts. Nora is also a documentary filmmaker and recently completed her first feature-length film – about Black gay men in the South and role of performance in sharing others’ stories – as well as a short film related to her research on gun violence and grief. Before her PhD, Nora was a high school teacher in Chicago and earned a Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies from the New School, an M.A. in Sociology of Education from NYU, and a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Princeton University.


Daniel Millan

Daniel Millan

Daniel Millan has a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine with an emphasis in Chicano/Latino Studies. His education also includes a M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine and a B.A. in Chicano Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research includes the Undocumented Student Equity Project, where he conducted focus groups and interviews with over 180 undocumented students at all nine University of California undergraduate campuses and surveyed over 500 undocumented students. Additionally, Daniel’s research also involves an exploration of how immigration laws and policies produce legal status as consequential across contexts.

Office: Stokes Hall 251S
Email: millanov@bc.edu


Carlos Zúñiga Nieto

Carlos Zúñiga Nieto

Carlos Zúñiga Nieto has a Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. from the Columbia University Department of History. He also earned his B.A. in History from Sonoma State University. He is currently working on a manuscript entitled “Violent Passions: Childhood and Emotions in the Making of Modern Mexico, 1870-1910” which tells the story of the crucial role played by emotions in the meaning and process of attaining childhood and adolescence in modern Mexico, in the cities of Mexico City and Merida, located on the greater Caribbean region. His research areas include colonial and modern Latin America with a focus on the greater Caribbean region, childhood and adolescence, and the history of emotions. For the past two years, Carlos has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany.

Office Stokes Hall 272S
Email: zunigoni@bc.edu


Russell Powell

Russell Powell

Russell Powell is the 2020-21 Core Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Theology and Ethics. Before earning his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2019, Russell earned his B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his M.Div from the Yale Divinity School. Russell's research is in contemporary environmental issues and their religious, ethical, and political resonances, and particularly the religious dimension of American environmental thought. He is currently at work on a manuscript focused on John Muir, the famed nineteenth-century American conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club, and Muir's influence on conceptions of the sacred in modern American religious consciousness. Russell's research also examines the intersection of race, religion, and environment. He is currently editing a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture that reappraises cornerstone American environmental thinkers in light of contemporary justice concerns over race, gender, and class. For the last two years Russell has worked as Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and as Visiting Lecturer in the Religion Department of Amherst College.


Jenna Tonn

Jenna Tonn

Jenna Tonn is the 2017-2018 Core Visiting Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies. Dr. Tonn received her Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University and taught in the Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Harvard before arriving at Boston College. Her research centers on the social and cultural history of scientific knowledge, with a specific focus on women and gender in STEM. She is currently working on a book about the gendered social world of nineteenth-century experimental biologists. Her next project is a history of radical feminist biology in the postwar United States. Dr. Tonn also holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University.

Office: Stokes Hall 276S
Phone: 617-552-0512


Yasmin Zaerpoor

Yasmin Zaerpoor

Yasmin Zaerpoor earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Policy and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in June 2019. In addition, she has a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia and a B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include Transboundary Water Governance, Environmental Policy and Planning, Sustainable Urban Development (Global Context), Negotiation and Mediation. Yasmin has teaching experience as a graduate teaching assistant for Introduction to Environmental Policy and Planning and for Environmental Justice, an “inside-out” class taught at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Norfolk. She led an annual two-week urban planning practicum on sustainable development in Malaysia for three years; and was the Instructor of Record for a graduate-level Water Diplomacy course. She has also helped teach Negotiation and Mediation classes.

Office: Stokes Hall 255S
Email: yasmin.zaerpoor@bc.edu

Previous Core Fellows have moved onto

Davidson College

Miami University, Ohio

Duke University