GRS Alumni Impact the World.
Alumni of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences are leading innovation and research and making an impact in their fields. These are just a few of the thousands of success stories from our accomplished graduates.
MA & MS Alumni
Katie Berlin (GRS '20)
Katie Berlin received her MA in Archeology from Boston University in 2020. During her time at BU, she made use of GRS travel grants and a grant from the University of Sheffield to spend a summer researching in Mycenae, a famous archaeological site south of Corinth. While she was there, she worked on previously excavated pottery from multiple historical periods at a site called Petsas House. She also worked on excavating artifacts from a heavily-looted Mycenaean cemetery called Aidonia. She also served as a graduate research assistant in the Zooarchaeology Laboratory at BU, focusing on zooarchaeology, archaeomalacology, the Mediterranean, Bronze Age, feasting practices, and Mycenaean pottery. She is now a Tribal Coordinator at EBI Consulting, an environmental risk and compliance management firm.
Bryan Patenaude (GRS '14, Pardee '14)
Bryan Patenaude received his MA in Global Development Economics from Boston University in 2014. He went on to earn a PhD from Harvard University, and is now a health economist and an assistant professor of Health Economics at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research specializes in sustainable economic interventions for the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2020, he made the Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for his work in disease intervention research.
Molly Scheu Boarati (GRS '08)
Molly Scheu Boarati earned a Master of Arts in History of Art and Architecture from Boston University in 2008. After graduating, she moved to Venice, Italy, where she lived for two years and worked in a commercial art gallery. She then returned to the U.S. and joined the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, NC as the Academic Programs Coordinator. She worked closely with students and faculty to assist them in using the Nasher’s collection and exhibitions in their learning and teaching, across a broad range of subject matter and periods. After three and a half years in this position, she was hired as Assistant Curator at the Nasher. In this role, she curates exhibitions, coordinates curatorial projects with faculty guest-curators, writes, researches, and teaches. The first major contemporary exhibition she curated at Nasher, titled All Matterings of Mind: Transcendent Imagery from the Contemporary Collection, opened in 2017
Maj. Benjamin Ring (GRS '06)
Major Benjamin Ring received his Master’s degree in Computer Science at Boston University in 2006, after returning from his deployment in Iraq in 2005 with a Bronze Star and an offer to serve as the instructor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. BU’s 18-month degree program was important to Major Ring because it allowed him to earn his degree in the time between his return from deployment and the start of his new job. He credits BU with his discovery of computer graphics, and today he is an assistant professor and a senior research scientist at the Information Technology Operations Center at USMA.
Christina Yu Yu (GRS '04)
Christina Yu Yu received her MA in History of Art and Architecture from Boston University in 2004. Following her graduation from BU, she earned a PhD at the University of Chicago, where she wrote her dissertation on paintings from China’s Yuan dynasty. She later became assistant curator of Chinese and Korean art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she organized exhibitions and collection installations and helped launch new community outreach programs. In 2014, she became director of the University of Southern California (USC) Pacific Asia Museum. Today, she serves as the Matsutaro Shoriki Chair of Asian Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), where she oversees a collection of nearly 200,000 works — spanning some 6,000 years — from Japan, Korea, China, South and Southeast Asia, India, and the Islamic world.
Jing Zhong (GRS '04)
Jing Zhong received her MS in Computer Science from Boston University in 2004. Zhong decided to pursue an MS in Computer Science from BU after already earning a Master’s degree in computer vision from the National University of Singapore. After graduating from BU, Zhong worked at Amicas, a company that provides radiology and medical image and information management solutions to community hospitals and imaging centers. She worked on developing their server, called Web-based Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), which helps health care systems transfer over to a filmless environment and gives medical professionals immediate access to a patient’s current and prior studies.
Gina Ortiz Jones (CAS '03, GRS '03)
Gina Ortiz Jones graduated from BU in 2003 with a BA and an MA in Economics as well as a BA in East Asian Studies. She served in Iraq as an Air Force intelligence officer for three years and eventually earned a second master’s degree at the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military
Studies. After serving in the Defense Intelligence Agency and under the U.S. Trade Representative in the Executive Office of the President, she left government in summer 2017 and announced her candidacy for Congress in Texas’ District 23 against incumbent Republican Will Hurd. After winning a five-way Democratic primary with more than twice the votes of the second-place candidate, she lost the general election to Hurd by 926 votes out of over 210,000 cast. In 2021, she is President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as Under Secretary of the Air Force.
Jamil Siddiqui (ENG ’93, Wheelock ’94, GRS ’98)
Jamil Siddiqui received his MA in Mathematics from Boston University in 1998, after receiving an M.A.T. in Mathematics Education and a BS in Biomedical Engineering from BU. Since graduating with his MA, he has worked as a high school math teacher in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where he has been teaching AP calculus for 24 years at East Bridgewater Junior/Senior High School. He has also worked for the College Board training math teachers. In 2019, he was named the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.
Lisa Emsbo-Mattingly (GRS '96)
Lisa Emsbo-Mattingly earned a Master of Arts in Economics from Boston University in 1996, after taking courses in econometrics, industrial organization, and labor. Catching the early wave of opportunity in finance, she began her career at DRI/McGraw-Hill (now IHS Global Insight) and worked at the Eastern Research Group before joining Fidelity Investment as an economic analyst in the international forecasting division. At Fidelity, she was promoted to become Director of Economics Research and then advanced again to become Director of Research, Global Asset Allocation. In this role she leads the development of asset allocation and macro investment recommendations for Fidelity’s portfolio managers and investment groups. She is also a regular speaker on issues related to women, having spoken recently at the Boston Women in Finance group, and is a former President of both the National Association for Business Economics and the Boston Economic Club.
Justin Maxson (GRS '96)
Justin Maxson received his MA in Anthropology from Boston University in 1996. He spent 13 years as President of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (now Mountain Association), a multi-strategy sustainable economic development organization and CDFI working in eastern Kentucky and Central Appalachia. Following this, Maxson served six years as Chief Executive Officer at the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which works to support moving people and places out of poverty across the South. Maxson was on the founding board of the Center for Rural Strategies, and a yearlong fellow at the Sustainability Institute and the Rockwood Leadership Institute. He served at the Kentucky Governor’s request on the Kentucky Climate Action Planning Committee and the planning committee for Shaping Our Appalachian region. Recently, he served on Truist Bank’s Community Development Advisory board. He was recently named Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Biden Administration.
John Brawley (GRS '92)
John Brawley earned his MA in Energy and Environment from Boston University in 1992 and went on to earn his doctorate in marine science from the University of Maryland, College Park. He has worked as a marine ecologist for the Woods Hole Group on Cape Cod, and as a shellfish consultant in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill in 2010. He also ran an oyster farm in the Duxbury Bay in Massachusetts for 9 years. Today, he lives in Vermont and owns and operates a shrimp farm called Sweet Sound Aquaculture . He has also worked to re-establish the Vermont Aquaculture Association, which works to market aquaculture including Brawley’s shrimp farm, and to educate the public on the environmental and health benefits of aquaculture and local seafood.
Alexis Scheer (GRS '19)
Alexis Scheer earned her MFA in Playwriting from Boston University in 2019. She was named Rising Theatre Star by the Improper Bostonian in its final “Boston’s Best” Issue in 2018. Her plays include Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theater/Second Stage, NYT Critic’s Pick, Kilroy’s List, LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work finalist, Relentless Award semifinalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist), Laughs in Spanish (Harold & Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award), Christina (Roe Green Award), and The Sensational (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Her work has been developed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre Center, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, San Diego REP, and more. She also serves as the Producing Artistic Director of award-winning fringe company, Off the Grid Theatre.
Natasha Hakima Zapata (GRS '12)
Natasha Hakima Zapata earned her MFA in Playwriting from Boston University in 2012. She was awarded the 2012 Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship and was a semifinalist for the Dzanc Books/ Guernica International Literary Award. She was awarded L.A. Press Club Awards in 2016 for her book review of the poetry collection I Am the Beggar of the World and in 2017 for her piece “Free to Be a Fool’: Behind the Scenes at the British Parliament’s Debate on Banning Trump.” She has been published in Los Angeles magazine, where she interned, and continues to blog for it about Los Angeles events. She has worked for the renowned literary journal AGNI, and now works at Truthdig as an assistant and poetry editor and launched Truthdig’s Poetry section. In 2016, Literal Publishing released bilingual editions of her translations of Alicia Borinsky’s My Husband’s Woman and Liliana Lukin’s Theater of Operations.
Anand Mahadevan (GRS '10)
Anand Mahadevan earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2010. Both before and after earning his degree, he worked as a science teacher in Toronto, Ontario. He later earned a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Western University, and has served as a Creative Writing instructor at the University of Toronto and Head of Academics at the University of Toronto Schools. Since 2019, he has served as the Senior School Principal at the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School.
Steven Barkhimer (GRS '09)
Steven Barkhimer earned his MFA in Playwriting from Boston University in 2009. His play Windowmen was produced at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in 2013 (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding New Script; IRNE Award, Best New Play; David Mark Cohen Award, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Best Play). KCACTF also honored A Hard Rain with a Cauble Award, Best Short Play of 2009, and chose The Latest Development as a finalist for best 10-minute play of 2008. His adaptation of Sheridan’s The School for Scandal was produced by the Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and his libretto of Tristram Shandy is soon to be an operetta with music by Martin Pearlman, Music Director of Boston Baroque. Works for solo performance include Luther at 500 and Yule Laugh, Yule Cry. He is also a musician and director, and has taught at Boston University, Brandeis University, MIT, Worcester State College, Cambridge College, the Huntington Theatre, and elsewhere, and assists young playwrights as they prepare work for the perennial Massachusetts Young Playwrights’ Project at Boston Playwrights’.
Cliff Odle (GRS '09)
Cliff Odle earned his MFA in Playwriting from Boston University in 2009. His plays have been performed in Boston, New York, San Diego and other areas. His play Lost Tempo was produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and helped to inaugurate the theatre’s redesigned space. Lost Tempo was also a part of the 2016 Boston Theater Marathon Warm-Up Laps. Our Girl in Trenton has been produced by the BU New Play Initiative Workshop. Running the Bulls was featured in the SlamBoston festival and has been produced by his company, New Urban Theatre Lab; The Ahern Fox was a finalist in the 2007 Kennedy Center Theater Festival; The Delicate Art of Customer Service has been produced by New Urban Theatre Lab and was produced for the Jersey Voices Annual Theatre Festival; he has been a resident playwright for the educational theatre group Theatre Espresso where he co-wrote their play about the 1957 Little Rock desegregation case called The Nine: Crisis in Little Rock. Cliff has also written plays about cyber-bullying, The Lesson and Think Twice, which are currently in rep with Deana’s Educational Theatre. He is the playwriting lecturer at Bates College and also teaches courses in Theatre and Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has also taught at Wheelock College, Emerson, and at the Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre Studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Mukoma Ngugi (GRS '01)
Mukoma Ngugi earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2001. After graduating, he went on to earn his PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is a former co-editor of Pambazuka News and political columnist for the BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, Mukoma’s columns have also appeared in The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Ebony.com, Chimurenga, Los Angeles Times, South African Labour Bulletin, Africa is a Country, Daily Nation, and Business Daily Africa. Today, he is an Associate Professor of English at Cornell University and the author of The Rise of the African Novel: Politics of Language, Identity and Ownership, the novels Mrs. Shaw, Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and two books of poetry, Logotherapy and Hurling Words at Consciousness. In 2013, New African magazine named him one of the 100 most Influential Africans.
Caroline M. Riley (GRS '16)
Caroline M. Riley earned her PhD in History of Art & Architecture from Boston University in 2016. Since graduating, she has served as a Research Associate in the Art History Department at the University of California, Davis. She has also received three fellowships to support her research: the Terra Postdoctoral Fellowship in American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (2019-20); the Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (2020-21) and the Kluge Center Fellowship at the Library of Congress (2021-22). Additionally, she has taught contemporary art, modern architecture, decorative arts, the cultural history of museums, and design history at San Jose State University and UC Davis. She has served as Co-Chair of the Photography Network and on the Association of Historians of American Art Board, the CAA’s Services to Historians of Visual Arts Committee, and as a Board Member for the journal Panorama. Her BU dissertation led to her first book, MoMA Goes to Paris in 1938: Building and Politicizing American Art, which is expected to be published in 2022.
Lynsey Farrell (GRS '15)
Lynsey Farrell earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University in 2015. After graduating, she joined Ashoka: Innovators for Public, where she led a $6.6 million Mastercard Foundation grant that sourced and supported social entrepreneurs across Africa who were seeking to solve the complex issue of youth unemployment on the continent. Now, she is a Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Africa Director at the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, where her work focuses on the intersections of youth, international development, urbanization, and informality in sub-Saharan Africa. She has previously completed extended field research among youth-self-help groups in the Kibera settlement of Nairobi while directing American University’s Kenya program on Sustainable International Development.
Michael D'Alessandro (GRS '14)
Michael D’Alessandro earned his PhD in American & New England Studies from Boston University in 2014. After graduating, he served as Lecturer and Assistant Director of Studies in Harvard’s History and Literature Program. More recently, he accepted a tenure-track position as Assistant Professor of English at Duke University, where he teaches courses on nineteenth- through twenty-first-century American literature, film, and performance history. Currently, he is working on a book project entitled Staged Readings: Sensationalism and Class in Popular American Literature and Theatre, 1835-1875, which examines the overlaps between print and popular theatre and analyzes how working- and middle-class citizens shifted between roles as literary consumers and theatrical spectators in nineteenth-century America.
Surmanto Al Qurtuby (GRS '13)
Surmanto Al Qurtuby earned his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University in 2013. After graduating, he was a research fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. Today, he is a faculty member in the Department of Global & Social Studies, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia. He is also the founder and director of the Nusantara Institute, a research institution focusing on the study of Indonesian culture and religion. He has authored and edited more than 28 books, dozens of scholarly articles published by various journals, and hundreds of popular essays in both English and Indonesian languages on issues around Islam, public religion, Muslim politics and cultures, interfaith cooperation, as well as ethno-religious conflict and peacebuilding. His books include Religious Violence and Conciliation in Indonesia (London: Routledge, 2016) and Saudi Arabia and Indonesian Networks: Migration, Education and Islam (London & New York: I.B. Tauris / Bloomsbury, 2019).
Dalia Habib Linssen (GRS '10)
Dalia Habib Linssen earned her PhD in History of Art & Architecture from Boston University in 2010. After graduating from BU, she taught art history and visual culture at Rhode Island School of Design for seven years. In August 2018, she joined the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as the first Head of Academic Engagement, a new position designed to deepen the MFA’s commitment to area colleges and universities.
Daniel Starczynowski (GRS '06)
Daniel Starczynowski earned his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, & Biochemistry from Boston University in 2006. After graduating from BU, he pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia, where he established his commitment to studying Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), an acquired hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) failure syndrome. He is currently a tenured Associate Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and at the University of Cincinnati. His laboratory researches hematologic malignancies, with a focus on the intersection of inflammation and MDS.
Elena Machkasova (GRS '02)
Elena Machkasova earned her PhD in Computer Science from Boston University in 2002 after completing a five-year program in applied mathematics in her native Russia. During her last year at BU, Machkasova was an instructor of Science Laboratory at Wellesley College and in 2002 developed and taught her own course there, Introduction to E-commerce. After graduating from BU, she joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota, Morris, as an assistant professor in the Division of Science and Math. Today, she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and specializes in theory of programming languages and compilers. During her time there, she has taught a variety of courses, including Data Structures, Web Programming, Software Design and Development, and Cryptographic Protocols.
Gabriela Bunea (GRS '01)
Gabriela Bunea earned her PhD in Physics from Boston University in 2001. After graduation, Bunea joined Lucent Technologies but quickly moved to the West Cost to join SunPower Corporation, which specializes in solar power generation and energy storage, starting out as a research and development engineer and eventually becoming vice president of the department. Since February 2019, she has been the Senior Vice President of Solar Research & Development at GAF Energy, a solar energy startup in Silicon Valley with a mission to make solar roofing more accessible for customers. Bunea has also been active in promoting diversity in STEM, and was a member of the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE) student group and volunteered to mentor younger students while at BU.
Jin-Yong Cai (GRS '90)
Jin-Yong Cai earned his PhD in Economics at Boston University in 1990. After graduating, he started his career as a Young Professional at the World Bank, from 1990-93, where he worked as an Economist in Central Europe and South Asia. He then joined Morgan Stanley, and in 1994 was seconded as Managing Director to the China International Capital Corporation, at it’s inception as China’s first joint- venture investment bank. In 2000 Jin-Yong became a Participating Managing Director in Goldman Sachs Group and Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua in China. Twelve years later, Jin-Yong was appointed as the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on private sector development. After serving four years in this position, he became a partner of the Texas Pacific Group (TPG) Capital, one of the largest private equity investment firms in the world, where he is based in Hong Kong, leading the firm’s infrastructure investment with a particular focus on emerging markets. Jin-Yong is also on the board of Aon, a leading global insurance broker, the Policy Commission of the Asia Society Policy Institute and the International Advisory Board of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center.