People

Photo of Ahmed Ragab.

Ahmed Ragab

Director of the Center

he/him/ahmed_ragab@bbqplus.org

Ahmed Ragab is the Richard T. Watson Associate Professor of Science and Religion, and affiliate associate professor of the history of science at Harvard University. He received his MD from Cairo University in 2005 and PhD from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris in 2011. He is the author of The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion and Charity (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Piety and Patienthood in Medieval Islam (Routledge Press, 2018), and Medicine and Religion in the Life of an Ottoman Sheikh (Routledge Press, 2019). 

He is working on two new book projects. The first, co-authored with Prof. Katharine Park, is entitled Communities of Knowledge: Science in Medieval Europe and Islamdom (Under contract with Princeton University Press), and traces a connected history of science across traditional geographic and temporal boundaries using objects to investigate scientific thought and practice. The second, entitled Around the Clock: Time in Medieval Islamic Clinical Culture (Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press), analyzes time as an epistemic and cultural category in medical thought and practice.

Photo of Eli Nelson.

Eli Nelson

Director of Fellowships

he/him/eli_nelson@bbqplus.org

Eli Nelson (Mohawk) is an Assistant Professor in American Studies at Williams College and Director of Fellowships at the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. He got his PhD in History of Science at Harvard University in 2018. He works on the history of Native science, critical Indigenous theory, Indigenous science fiction and futurism, and gender and sexuality.

Photo of Juanis Becerra.

Juanis Becerra

Executive Director & Director of Finance

they/them/juani_becerra@bbqplus.org

Juanis Becerra is a doctoral student in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and Executive Director at the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. They are interested in the history of sports science and medicine, postcolonial theory, and gender and sexuality. Their dissertation explores how scientific theories about the body gained legitimacy within international sports organizations and how these theories affect the mapping of fair-play to gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.

Photo of Xitlalli Alvarez Almendariz.

Xitlalli Alvarez Almendariz

Logistics Manager

they/them/xitlalli_alvarez@bbqplus.org

Xitlalli is an anthropology PhD student whose research focuses on the Texas Gulf Coast. Their work explores the relationship between cyclical flood and the policing of migrant communities in the region, touching on themes of refusal, illegality, and the making of disaster. Additionally, Xitlalli labors as an organizer with the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign, and alongside queer immigrant communities in Houston, Texas. 

Photo of Shireen Hamza.

Shireen Hamza

Ventricles Podcast Writer & Producer

she/her/shireen_hamza@bbqplus.org

Shireen Hamza is a doctoral student in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University, with a secondary field in Critical Media Practice. She is interested in the history of gender, sexuality and medicine in the Islamicate and broader Indian Ocean Worlds. She is also a managing editor for the Ottoman History Podcast and has served as the managing editor of the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies.

Photo of Chrystel Olouki.

Chrystel Oloukoï 

Board Member

she/her/chrystel_oloukoi@bbqplus.org

Chrystel Oloukoï is a PhD student in African and African American Studies, with a primary field in Anthropology and secondary fields in Critical Media Practice (CMP) and Women, Gender and Sexuality (WGS). She holds a MA in Geography from the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. Her research revolves around the political economy of nightlife in (post)colonial Lagos and Johannesburg, looking at conceptions of leisure, masculinity and space.

Photo of Myrna Perez Sheldon.

Myrna Perez Sheldon

Director of Publications

she/her/myrna_sheldon@bbqplus.org

Myrna Perez Sheldon is an Assistant Professor in Classics and World Religions and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Ohio University. She is a historian of evolutionary theory, a feminist and critical-race theorist and a scholar of religion. She earned her PhD from the History of Science Department at Harvard University, previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University and was a Research Fellow at the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University and at the Harvard Divinity School.  

Photo of Kat Grace Poje.

Kat Grace Poje

Director of Development

she/her/kat_poje@bbqplus.org

Kat is a doctoral student in the History of Science at Harvard. She studies the way that scientific practices of collecting, recording, and taxonomizing shape ideas about (non)human subjectivity. She focuses particularly on the impact of scientific studies of animals on the development of racialized, gendered categories of the human.

Photo of Gili Vidan.

Gili Vidan

Board Member

she/her/gili_vidan@bbqplus.org

Gili Vidan is a PhD candidate at the Department of the History of Science at Harvard and a research fellow at the Science, Technology, and Society Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is interested in the stabilization of digital technologies and media, changing notions of public trust and democratic governance, and narratives of crisis and future-making in the US. 

Photo of Jennifer Conforti

Jennifer Conforti

Financial Officer

she/her/jennifer_conforti@bbqplus.org

Photo of Diana Rivera.

Dianara Rivera

Coordinator, Social Media & Communications Officer

she/her/dianara_rivera@bbqplus.org

Dianara Rivera received her BA in English (focus in Creative Nonfiction writing) and Ethnic Studies (focus in Asian American Studies) from Brown University. She currently works in communications in the academic sector, as well as organizes with the group Boston Pilipinx Education Advocacy and Resources (PEAR), and writes and performs poetry and creative nonfiction. 

Photo of Stephanie Vecellio

Stephanie Vecellio

Technology Officer

she/her/stephanie_vecellio@bbqplus.org

Stephanie received her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. She works in freelance illustration and design, and in addition to BBQ+, she also manages the website for the Harvard Art Museums and is a founding member of Boston’s first inclusive competitive pinball team.

Board of Directors

Ahmed Ragab
Eli Nelson
Juanis Becerra
Chrystel Oloukoï 
Gili Vidan
Kat Grace Poje
Myrna Perez Sheldon
Shireen Hamza
Xitlalli Alvarez Almendariz

Executive Committee

Ahmed Ragab
Eli Nelson
Juanis Becerra
Myrna Perez Sheldon
Kat Grace Poje
Xitlalli Alvarez Almendariz
Diana Rivera
Jennifer Conforti
Stephanie Vecellio