Paula Sanders is Professor of History. A historian of the medieval Islamic world, she focuses in particular on the history of the Fatimid dynasty and its legacy, the history of Jewish communities in the lands of Islam in the middle ages, and the history of Cairo. She has previously served as director of Rice's Program for the Study of Women and Gender; as interim director of the Program in Jewish Studies, as Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. She joined the Institute in July 2015.
Dr. Zahra Nasiruddin Jamal is Associate Director at Rice University's Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance, where she oversees strategy, operations, and outreach. She has served on the faculty at Harvard, MIT, University of Chicago, Michigan State University (MSU), and Palmer Trinity. Dr. Jamal founded and directed the Civil Islam Initiative at University of Chicago and the Central Asia and International Development Initiative at MSU. She was previously Associate Director of the Center for the Study of American Muslims at The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU), where she is currently a Fellow.
Dr. Jamal has consulted for the UN, State Department, Aga Khan Development Network, Swiss Development Cooperation, and Aspen Institute on issues of philanthropy and civic engagement, education, positive youth development, migrant labor, gender-equity, food security, and refugee settlement in North America, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia. She has published in academic and popular venues, including I Speak for Myself, a volume of autobiographical accounts of 40 American Muslim women leaders, which has been positively reviewed by Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Deepak Chopra, and others.
Dr. Jamal received a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, and double B.A. in Slavic Studies and in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from Rice. She joined the Institute in 2015.
Gayle Lasater Pagnoni holds a doctoral degree in religion, a Master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean studies (emphasizing sociology), and undergraduate degrees in anthropology and international relations. She specializes in religion in the Americas, and race/ethnicity, immigration, globalization, and the environment. Her focus is on the Abrahamic traditions, Christian diversity and new religious movements, including a uniquely American variety—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Throughout her career in higher and secondary education, Gayle’s work has featured the religions of the marginalized and oppressed in the social history of the Americas, and their various causes for social justice, liberation, pluralism, and peace. In 2016, Gayle joined the Institute as Program Director for K-12 religious literacy education, research, and engagement. Bridging tertiary and secondary spheres of education, her current work provides religious literacy curricular resources and professional development for educators.
Kate Eubanks is the coordinator for the Boniuk Institute. She has spent the last ten years working in the performing arts and university settings in a variety of capacities from development to production to admnistration. She has a master's degree in Public History and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. She joined the Institute in June 2016.