Junior Fellows


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Naiomi Gonzalez

Naiomi Gonzalez is a second-year PhD student in history at Texas Christian University. Her research centers on American foreign policy and CIA activities in Latin America and the Middle East during the Cold War era. She is interested in exploring the interconnection between religion, American foreign policy, and intelligence/military activities. Naiomi has a BA in Religious Studies from Moravian College, an MDiv from Brite Divinity School, and an MA in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from George Mason University.

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Kirin Gupta

Kirin entered the History program in Fall of 2017 and is completing a JD/PhD. She studies female(*) terrorists in the former British empire, working transnationally across fields of rebellion/security studies, gender studies, African studies, in the interest of deimperializing frameworks. She is pursuing case studies in Northern Ireland, South Africa, and Sri Lanka for her dissertation and is concerned with reframing categories of gender, insurgency, and military history. She is pursuing the secondary field in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at GSAS. Prior to entering the program, Kirin was a Rockefeller fellow studying with matriarchal Hindu communities in Costa Rica from 2016-2017, and a medical fellow working in government clinics serving Kichwa communities from 2011-2012. She graduated from Harvard College in 2016 with a degree in Social Studies + Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, minoring in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights.

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Leah Rumsey

Leah Rumsey is doctoral student in the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. She is currently working in the areas of theology and religious history, with a focus on religious leadership and institutions in modern Egypt. She received her BA from Kalamazoo College in English, Religion, and International Studies and her MDiv from Harvard Divinity School.

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Caleb Shelburne

Caleb Shelburne is a first-year PhD student in History of Science at Harvard University, where he is planning to research constructions of the human in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire, specifically around gender, sexuality, and race. His previous work has primarily focused on connections between French and Ottoman subjects, including in literature, transportation, and social theory. He is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge in gender studies.

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Joseph Leonardo Vignone

Joseph Leonardo Vignone is a PhD candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His dissertation focuses on the medical practices promoted by Arabic ethical literature between 900 and 1400 as they relate to the enhancement of Muslim scholars’ intellectual capacities and theories of pedagogical psychology. His wider research interests include the concept of certainty in prophetic history, sexual practices in medieval Islamic societies and notions of gender transition in the period.

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Alex Ahmed

Alex Aslam Ahmed is a 6th-year PhD candidate in Personal Health Informatics at Northeastern University. Her dissertation project is to collaboratively create and test a freely-available and open-source voice training app for transgender people. She is also interested in using queer theory to understand and critique existing voice training apps. In her non-academic life, she enjoys singing, playing guitar and piano, explaining the rules of board games, cooking with friends, and being obsessed with Star Trek.

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Mitchell Bacci

Mitch Bacci studies the history of narcotics and public health in the nineteenth and twentieth century Eastern Mediterranean at Harvard’s joint PhD program in History and Middle Eastern Studies.

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Carlos Cabrera-Lomelí

Carlos is a fourth-year student at Williams College, majoring in Political Economy, with a concentration in Latina/o Studies. He was born in Mexico City and has moved throughout both México and the United States for the past 20 years, currently living in San Francisco. He will embark this Spring semester on an undergraduate thesis project focusing on Latinx futurisms in the San Francisco Bay Area. Other academic and personal interests include gentrification, income inequality, post-colonial studies, post-liberal developmental models in the Global South, Latinx art history, and performance art.

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Julie Chung

Julie Chung is a senior at Harvard College studying Social Anthropology. She is interested in the ways scientific researchers navigate power dynamics when working with historically marginalized communities. Her senior thesis explores the shaping of “inclusive” health research practices in Hawaiʻi’s context of multicultural inclusion and settler colonialism. She writes long-form columns as the Ledecky Undergraduate Fellow of Harvard Magazine, and during her time at the Harvard College Women’s Center, she has run Gender 101 Workshops and the Women of Color Collective.

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Eli Cytrynbaum

My name is Eli Cytrynbaum and I live in Eugene, Oregon. I am particularly interested in the ways in which the illusion of inevitability is constructed through a forgetting and silencing certain voices and histories.

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Zainab Kahloon

Zainab Kahloon is a senior at Harvard College studying Social Studies with a secondary in Comparative Literature and citation in Arabic. Her research focuses on the reconciliation of Islamic values and the American political system. Her wider research interests include the intersection of religion and politics, poststructuralist theory, and literary theory. In addition to being a BBQ+ Junior Fellow, Zainab is the co-founder and Undergraduate Coordinator for the Muslim-American Studies Working Group, an organizer for the Ethnic Studies Coalition, and a Research Assistant for the Program in Islamic Law.

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Jia Hui Lee

Jia Hui’s research focuses on practices of work, communication, and cognition among humans and other animals in the context of science and technology in the global South. Drawing on methods from anthropology and science and technology studies (STS), he examines human-rodent encounters in Tanzania, looking at how rodents are trapped in various projects aimed at producing scientific knowledge about pest management as well as how rodents are trained in a social enterprise that relies on rats’ sense of smell to craft biosensing technologies for landmine detection and tuberculosis diagnosis. He considers how these technoscientific projects bring together ideas and experiences of decolonization, industrialization, and development in East Africa.

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Michael Ortiz

Michael Ortiz is a Ph.D student in the American Studies program and pursuing an AM in the Department of History of Science. His research focuses on the history of science, capitalism, and imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries and critical social theory. His current project focuses on histories and legacies of medical experimentation in the Global South throughout the 20th century.

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Laura Pérez Muñoz

Laura Pérez Muñoz is a 3rd year doctoral student at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (Spanish section). Currently, their research focuses on the queer dictions of Puerto Rican literature and the languages of the untranslatable body. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Laura Pérez Muñoz earned their BA in Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico and later pursued their MFA in Writing and Activism at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

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Yena Sharma Purmasir

Yena Sharma Purmasir is a second year Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School. Born and raised in New York City, she graduated from Swarthmore College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a double minor in Religion and English Literature. At HDS, she focuses on South Asian religious traditions and is especially interested in studying religious responses to colonial and postcolonial influences on the subcontinent. She is also curious about the dependent cyclic relationship between religious practice and Bollywood. 

In addition to her interests in academia, Yena is also a poet and essayist. Her publication list includes two volumes of poetry and features in Mask Magazine and The Rising Phoenix Review. As a BBQ+ Junior Fellow, Yena is currently working towards the completion of a poetry manuscript, tentatively titled BROWN UMBRELLA. She will explore the thematic overtones that exist in both traditional Hindu mythology and the Western canon and subsequently examine how the merging of these seemingly unrelated landscapes inform the consciousness of the diasporic person. These poems ask: what does the diaspora remember and imagine?

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Indrani Saha

Indrani Saha is a 3rd year PhD student in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program at MIT. She specializes in modern and contemporary art of the United States. Her current research explores curative objects and reception at the medico-aesthetic fringe in early 20th century American art. Indrani holds a BA in Cognitive Aestheti​cs (Program II) from Duke University where she was a Mellon-Mays Fellow. Her distinction thesis examined how perceptual disruption and disorientation alter social interaction in Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation.

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Helman Alejandro Sosa Templos

Helman Alejandro Sosa Templos (he/they) is studying in the Williams College graduate program in the History of Art with a focus in Latinx and Latin American Art and Culture. Born in Distrito Federal, Mexico before its name changed to CDMX, they, too, are trying to establish a name within the very small but important art historical canon of underrepresented communities. They are interested in elevating memes and reducing monuments, in unlearning the past’s traumas and rediscovering the past’s treatments, in sharing knowledge with everyone and leaving nothing hidden, and in dethroning the hierarchy of academia and trying to write some accessible stuff. Materially, they love to run in the sweltering heat, watch people play video games through the interwebz, and attempt doing what the people they study do (paint, draw, dance, perform, build, branch out, convene, direct, record, archive, etc.)

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suiyi tang

suiyi tang is a writer and student of critical race and science and technology studies. she is a senior at williams college and the author of AMERICAN SYMPHONY: OTHER WHITE LIES, shortlisted for the university of alabama press’ 2018 Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. her work has appeared in the poetry project newsletter, fanzine, entropy magazine, cosmonauts ave, and others. an archive of her current projects may be found at legitimizedinprint.com.

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Burin Yildiztekin

Burin Yildiztekin is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, where she is also in the collaborative PhD program with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. Her research interests lie at the intersections of social theory, cultural sociology, and the sociology of religion. She earned her BSc summa cum laude in sociology—with concentration credits in psychology—at Hacettepe University, finishing first and as valedictorian in the Faculty of Letters. She received her MSc with distinction in sociology from the Middle East Technical University. 

Ever since an early age, Burin’s intellectual endeavours have been enriched by travelling, living, and studying in different parts of the world. These long-term experiences in diverse social environments have deepened her curiosity about various modes of human life, enhanced her cross-cultural fluency, and informed her holistic approach to her intellectual pursuits. International travel and an active involvement in the arts continue to inspire Burin both in her personal life and in her scholarly work. 

Previously, she served as the social coordinator of the Centre for Jewish Studies Graduate Student Association at the University of Toronto.

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Anwar Omeish

Anwar Omeish is a scholar and community advocate. She is a recent graduate (2019) of Harvard College, where her undergraduate thesis, “Toward the Modern Revolution: Frantz Fanon, Secularity, and the Horizons of Political Possibility in Revolutionary Algeria,” received six awards, including the Captain Jonathan Fay Prize for the most outstanding imaginative thesis by a Harvard undergraduate in any field. At Harvard, Anwar was also president of the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run nonprofit that fought for social justice alongside Boston and Cambridge communities. Prior to pursuing a PhD in political theory, Anwar is spending this year as a BBQ+ fellow focused on her parents’ hometown of Tripoli, Libya, conducting research and launching an initiative to support Libya’s fledgling civil society.

Samm Melton-Hill

Samm Melton-Hill (she/her/hers) is currently serving as a Vicar at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Arlington, MA. She recently graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity and is in the ordination process with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Samm grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, but eventually made her way to Eastern Kentucky University, where she met her wife, Brittany. Here, she studied Psychology and Social Justice and was a four year member of the women’s soccer team. While at Harvard, Samm completed Field Education at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Quincy, MA and was a Chaplain Intern at MCI-Framingham, as well as a Junior Research Fellow with the Science, Religion, ad Culture Program (SRC). Academically, her studies focus at the intersection of science, technology, and religion, technology and ministry, and public church history. She recently returned from a research trip throughout Northern Europe, supported by the Harvard SEED Grant, where she spent time studying the role of technology in prison museums. She will be continuing this research throughout the year as a BBQ+ Junior Fellow, focusing on the role that technology has in communicating power and authority to the public. While continuing this prison and prison museum research, she continues to serve as a Chaplain Intern at MCI-Framingham, in addition to her role as a Vicar. In her free time, Samm can often be found watching the Boston Bruins with her wife, spending time outside, learning how to play hockey, or traveling. 

Barbara Pohl

Barbara Pohl (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the history of science and medicine at Yale University. She specializes in the history of gender, sexuality, and the American human sciences. Her dissertation project examines a network of feminist intellectuals who straddle the modern fields of anthropology, psychology, philosophy, psychiatry, and literature during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Barbara is interested in the critical methods of feminist philosophy, science and technology studies, queer theory, and subaltern studies. She is grateful to share in the interdisciplinary conversations taking place within the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. 

Beans Velocci

Beans Velocci (they/them) is a PhD candidate in History at Yale University. They work on the history of sexuality and science in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States, using methods from STS and queer and trans history. Their dissertation “Binary Logic: Race, Expertise, and the Persistence of Uncertainty in American Sex Research,” examines the disjuncture between abstract theories of sex that overwhelmingly focused on sexual malleability, and scientists’ actual research practices, which produced a model of sex as fixed and binary as researchers sought to build expertise and solidify racial hierarchies.  Beans graduated cum laude and with honors in History from Smith College in 2011, and earned an MA in History from the University of Utah in 2015. They have also received a graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Beans is also a John Money Fellow for Scholarship in Sexology at the Kinsey Institute.

Marian Stacey

Salma Abdelrahman

Rodsy Modhurima

Garrett Kiriakos-Fugate

Abtsam Saleh