Meet our Incoming Class

The GDRS will welcome a diverse group of talented young scholars in the Fall of 2015.  Get acquainted with some of the newest members of the Division below.

John Balch

balch 1John Balch is a first-year doctoral student in the Religion in Science track. He earned a B.A. in Religion, Globalization, and Culture at Hendrix College, and an M.A. in Religion and Nature of the University of Florida. In the past, John has focused his studies on naturalistic forms of spirituality and the interrelation between environmental and religious systems. At BU, John is focusing on bio-cultural approaches to the study of religion, particularly the paradigms of niche construction and distributed cognition.


Garrett Fugate

fugateGarrett Fugate is a first-year doctoral student in the texts and traditions track under the guidance of professor Kecia Ali. His primary interests are in queerness, gender, and sexuality as they relate to Islamic traditions, texts, sacred spaces, and Muslim communities in the West. He received a BA in Architectural Studies and an MA in Architecture from the University of Kansas. During his time as a graduate student at KU he pursued qualitative research on buildings converted into mosques in the Midwest. How do American-Muslims negotiate their faith and religious identity with a pre-existing building and create a sacred space for themselves? His MA thesis sought to further explore how worshipers create and define sacred space through research into three Orthodox Christian communities and their respective church buildings. Besides his primary interests at BU, Garrett’s other interests are in ritual, religion and the body, theology, mysticism, and minority religious communities and place-making, especially as it relates to Muslims and Orthodox Christians in the United States.

Kaitlyn Martin Fox

IMG_9841Kaitlyn Martin Fox is a first-year doctoral student in the religious thought track investigating the role of religious experience at the intersection of narrative, memory, and trauma under the direction of Dr. Shelly Rambo. She received a BA from Hardin-Simmons University in Religion and English and a MTS from Boston University School of Theology. Kaitlyn studies how the potentials and liabilities of stories change in the wake of traumatic historical events like the Holocaust. By examining the forms of post-Holocaust memory in literature, memorials, and classrooms she wants to explore how historical narratives inform our identities, ritual engagement with the past, and visions for the future. She would like to use these sites of collective remembering to ask how the existential and literary complexities of trauma disrupt these narratives and require us to see them anew.

Leah Mickens

MickensLeah Mickens is a first-year doctoral student in the Graduate Division of Religious Studies’ Religion and Society track. Her research interests include the Roman Catholic Church’s evolving views on liberalism, liberal democracy and modernity, Catholic social teachings, and the rise of atheism as a popular movement. She is particularly interested in the varieties of Catholic traditionalism, especially the Priestly Society of St. Pius X. Leah is also fascinated by the sociology of morality, i.e., the ways in which religious discourse influences public conceptions of right and wrong. She plans to examine how different religious groups construe morality, and how their differences in belief are manifested at the individual and institutional levels. Leah earned a BA in international relations from Oglethorpe University with a double minor in Japanese and history (2005). She received a master of library and information science from the University of South Carolina (2006), and she also has a master of science in digital media (2009) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.