Project on Religion and Economic Change


Staff | Missions Team | Catholic Data and Translation Team

  Chris Pieper, Team Leader  
  Chris Pieper is a second-year doctoral student in Sociology. He received a BA in with Honors in Communications from Southwestern University in 1996, and an MA in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998. Chris' thesis examined the role of media coverage, public opinion, and political discourse on the welfare reform debate of the late 1990s. For six years, Chris was the Communications Director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Texas' leading research and advocacy group on low-income issues. His current research projects focus on religious beliefs, culture, theory, and political sociology. A native West Texan, Chris enjoys Southern cooking, playing drums, loud music, pro football, and long talks with his wife.  
  Juan Carlos Esparza  
  Juan Carlos is from Mexico. He has recently begun the Sociology doctoral program at UT. He has studied Social Sciences, Theology, and Philosophy. He is interested in researching religious phenomena, especially aspects related to popular religion in Latin America and its relationship with the Western missionary influence. For Juan Carlos, the subject of missionaries has been a topic that has interested for a long time, but has grown in importance in the time he has been collaborating with PREC. After getting his Ph.D, he would like to continue researching and teaching in the university environment. The movie that best represents Juan Carlos' personality is The Name of the Rose-though he prefers the book. He admits that sometimes he is a workaholic, so he often quotes to himself a Latin expression he learned years ago: totus opus nostrum in operatione consistit (our job consists in doing something-useful). When he is not researching missionaries or doing another academic task, Juan Carlos likes to watch movies. Loaded in his Ipod would be a lot of Latin American music (with social meaning).  
  Elizabeth Kaigh  
  Liz's main task was translating Catholic sources that were written in Latin during the 1800s. A third year government major, she considers herself a progressive person. Liz is involved in University Democrats and Alliance for a Feminist Option, and spends much of her time during the school year trying to educate people on feminist values. Some of her favorite movies are Purple Rain (mainly because of an intense love for Prince), Pulp Fiction and the Manchurian Candidate (the Frank Sinatra version). She listen to all different genres of music, but her absolute favorite artists are Prince, Elvis Costello, Against Me!, and Marvin Gaye. Liz is spending the fall 2005 semester in Rome, where she will be studying political science, history, religion, art history, and Italian. She is also serving as the official PREC emissary to Rome.  
  Kate Freeman  
  Kate Freeman is a Houston native studying sociology and Spanish at UT. Her PREC tasks include doing anything with the French documents that Chris asks her to, and serving as PREC librarian Kate enjoys salsa dancing, painting, traveling, Shakespeare, drums, Baz Luhrmann movies, musicals,art museums, foreign languages, Cuban food, reading, but most of all researching missionaries. Her dislikes include meat, microfilm, and writing personal bio statements.  
  Richard Boncales  
  I am a senior majoring in sociology and government. I am a member of Alpha Kappa Delta Honors Society and Filipino Student Association. I love to watch football and basketball. I love to visit the Philippines, my native country.  
  Aaron Chapman  
  Aaron hails from Anchorage, Alaska, but grew up in Eton, England and the Woodlands, Texas. He is currently majoring in philosophy and government. Aaron is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy and becoming a philosophy professor. For PREC, he translated German and entered data. When not researching missionaries he's probably on the computer or playing Halo 2.  
  Eunice Vargas  
  Eunice is a recent arrival from Baja California, Mexico, and is still learning how to survive in US. She enjoys demographic research, cooking and hanging out with friends.  
  Daniel Noll  
  Daniel Noll is a UT junior majoring in Government and Multimedia Journalism with a minor in French. Daniel is currently interning in Washington D.C. at the Center for International Policy as part of the Bill Archer Fellowship program. A self-proclaimed political junkie, Daniel hopes to continue a career in Washington D.C. after graduation.  
  Melanie Yamaguchi  
  Melanie Yamaguchi is a UT senior majoring in Sociology and German with a minor in Biology. She is thinking about grad school in the field of Sociology or Social Work with the emphasis on pedagogy. Her most influential courses at UT have been Genetics, Sociology of Sexuality, Social Theory and the German Outreach Program. Melanie attended a German Gymnasium in Duesseldorf for four years and also studied French there as well. She is currently learning Japanese with her ten year old daughter, Amira. Melanie plans to graduate from UT in the Fall of 2006.  
  Brandon DiNummo  
  Francesco Meneghetto  
  Olga Levario  
  Alessandro Sposito  
  Viva la Roma  
Population Research Center
The University of Texas at Austin
Project on Religion and Economic Change © 2005
Funded by the Templeton Foundation and the Metanexus Institute