Luna BuGhanem and Jess Nickelman join AEA as Research Analysts

July 2, 2024
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AEA is pleased to announce the appointment of Luna BuGhanem and Jess Nickelman as Research Analysts, beginning July 2024. Both Luna and Jess bring a wealth of international experience across disciplines. We're excited to have them join the team!


Read more about Luna and Jess below:


Luna BuGhanem 

Luna leverages an interdisciplinary background in architecture, art, and research in her work. Her knowledge of the built environment, artistic practices, and primary and secondary research skills inform her perspective on cultural analysis and strategy.


Luna has already contributed to several of our recent projects in the Middle East and Greece, so has some AEA experience already.


Beyond AEA, Luna has worked in art and design studios and academic research centers. She was most recently selected for a fellowship at the Nieuwe Instituut, where she developed original research and interviewed artists from the Arab diaspora. As a member of the RISD Research and Strategic Design Pedagogy team, she developed and instructed courses and workshops on understanding, analyzing, and visualizing complex urban systems. She also served as a teaching fellow in the RISD Department of Architecture and MIT’s Teaching and Learning Lab, where she helped assess teaching inclusivity and equitability across the institute.


Luna holds a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (a “SMArchS”!) from MIT (summa cum laude) where she was awarded the Schlossman Research Prize, and a Bachelor of Architecture and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is fluent in Arabic, English, and French.


Jess Nickelman 

Jess brings experience in research, project management, business planning, and venue operations, connecting a rigorous strategy consulting background with learnings from managing performing arts spaces.


As a performer and venue manager (most recently at the Podlasie Club in Chicago), she has been exploring the sustainability of arts and culture spaces, the cultivation of meaningful communal experiences, and the role of the dance floor as a microcosm of societal structures. Jess was also previously an Associate Consultant at L.E.K. Consulting, a global strategy consulting firm, where she led research campaigns, conducted data analysis, and communicated insights to corporate and private equity clients, primarily in the US and EU, across a variety of industries including consumer goods, industrials, and medical technology.


Jess holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Chicago. She is fluent in English and Italian, speaks conversational Spanish, and has studied and immersed in Catalan. In her free time, she plans events and performs in Chicago’s queer nightlife spaces.


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