Graduate Scholars Program

2023-2024 Boniuk Institute Graduate Scholars

The Boniuk Institute is pleased to announce our inaugural class of Graduate Scholars, whose tenure will begin in the fall of 2023. Scholars will partake in a range of scholarly research and outreach endeavors, helping to create and launch the Institute's study of religion in Houston and receiving training in and contributing to qualitative/ interpretive interview data analysis and academic publications. 

Scholars will attend the weekly Scholars' Meeting of the Boniuk Institute's Religion and Public Life Program, where they will present their ongoing research to a scholarly group of peers, and they will participate in the Boniuk Institute Reading Religion Salon, where they will review current literature on topics of religion, religious pluralism, and tolerance with an eye toward publishing the reviews. They will contribute to the Institute's monthly newsletter and assist with the planning, preparation, and running of a scholarly conference to be held in the spring of 2024.

We were honored by the volume and strength of the applicant pool, which made our choice difficult. This interdisciplinary group was chosen from a diverse and impressing pool of candidates with help from the Boniuk Institute Faculty Advisory Board.
Azizou Atte-oudeyi Eduard van der Merwe Jauhara Ferguson
Azizou Atte-oudeyi

Department of Religion

(In Memorium)

Eduard van der Merwe

Department of Economics
Jauhara Ferguson

Department of Sociology
Azizou served the U.S. government as refugee coordinator in the Côte d'Ivoire and in Ethiopia, assisting the victims of religious conflicts, and he contributed to the Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports. Azizou's research focused on conversion experiences, contemporary African Christianity and Islam, and the impact of both religions on social and economic development in West Africa.
Eduard completed both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Econometrics at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. His research interest is in development economics, specifically on issues of poverty, ethnicity, religion, refugees and conflict. One of his ongoing research projects analyzes how a government's preference for religion can provoke within-country conflict through religious discrimination and victimization.
Jauhara is a Graduate Fellow with the Racism and Racial Experiences (RARE) workgroup in the Department of Sociology, and her research interests focus on the intersections among religion, race, and immigration. Her work specifically examines inter-racial/ ethnic divides within U.S. Muslim communities. Jauhara is an alumnae of Spelman College, where she completed her Bachelor's degree in international studies with a minor in religious studies.

Akpan Ubong-Abasi, a first-year PhD student in the Department of Religion, received an honorable mention from the committee.