Some of our B. A. alumni describe their careers since graduation:
Jessica K. Anderson
I taught Latin for two years at Williamsburg Charter High School in Brooklyn, NY (2009 - 2011).
I left Williamsburg Charter to help found a Latin program at Maspeth High School, a brand new classical high school in Queens, NY. I am now in my second year of teaching Latin in Maspeth. Nearly five hundred students take Latin at MHS every day, and when we reach capacity in 2015, there will be nearly one thousand students enrolled in Latin. In May 2012 I received my M.A. Summa Cum Laude from Hunter College in Adolescent Education: Latin, grades 7-12.
In addition to teaching, I have organized two clubs at Maspeth High School. I am the advisor for our Key Club, a community service based club, and a co-advisor for our Classics Club, which will be competing in its second certamen next month.
After receiving dual B.A.s in Classical Languages and Literature and English Literature in 2009, I went on to pursue my PhD in Classics at Rutgers New Brunswick. I am currently at work on my dissertation, which explores demagogic politicians and political leadership in Imperial Athens.
One of my major projects involves using a modern spreadsheet program to statistically analyze Athenian financial inscriptions. I presented the initial results of this analysis at a panel on Athenian hegemonic finances at the Celtic Conference in Classics at the University of Edinburgh in 2010, and a considerably more advanced version is forthcoming as a chapter in a collection of the papers of the panel, to be published by the Classical Press of Wales. I was granted an MPhil by Rutgers in 2013 in recognition of my continuing work on the subject. I am currently exploring funding opportunities that would enable me to work directly with the inscriptions at the Epigraphical Museum in Athens, where they are housed.
In 2013-14 I have been selected for the position of Scholar Teacher in Classics by the Federated Department of History at Rutgers-Newark and NJIT. In this capacity I am teaching the two-semester Elementary Latin course as well as courses on Greek Economy and Society and on Greek Law, all while continuing my research.
"After graduating with a B.A. in Classics in 2010, I worked at Boston Children's Hospital for 2 years before entering medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.
My education in the Classics has been absolutely valuable both in my job and in my current medical training. Although properly using Greek accents doesn't come up everyday, the understanding of the human psyche and emotions that Classics has provided has been indispensable. The ability to have a more holistic understanding of a person, as well as to empathize with patients, has allowed me to form deeper connections with the patients that I have worked with and to provide them with more well-rounded care. And knowing Latin and Greek has made certain parts of medical school much more straightforward!"
"I graduated with a B.A. in Classical Languages and Literature in 1998. In 2003, I returned to school to earn a Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington. I was fortunate enough to receive an assistantship and worked in the library’s reference department while learning to become an information professional.
An added bonus for attending UK was being able to interact with students in their living Latin program. Although my Latin was pretty rusty I was made welcome at many a Cena Latina where we had beer and pizza while only speaking in Latin. Some of us even branched off and held Greek breakfasts!
After graduation I began my first job at an Air Force library in Dayton, Ohio. There, because of my strength in languages, I was tasked with managing many aspects of the library's translation program. My language training was even more advantageous at my next job as the acquisitions librarian at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California. While DLI, of course, teaches only living languages, the faculty and students at DLI recognized the commitment required to learn such complex languages as Greek and Latin.
After DLI I moved into a more academic environment as a reference librarian at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. My language-learning background made me the natural choice to chair a committee to evaluate online language-learning programs . I have found that just as people can be math phobic, many people are also language phobic. Because of my obvious interest in languages I was made the point of contact for foreign-language related questions and tasked with creating a guide for web resources for learning modern languages (http://usnwc.libguides.com/content.php?pid=85882, but somewhat out of date).
Currently I work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville, Tennessee. Having a grasp of Greek and Latin is useful when researching technical questions because the language of science is rooted in Greek and Latin.
So far during my career while I have rarely used my Greek and Latin training to read Greek or Latin my Classical background has benefited my career in many ways. Studying those languages closely has positively impacted my speaking and writing abilities -- two skills that are critical to advancing in many careers. As well as giving me skills to advance at work, the discipline required to study Classics at UMD has also made my continuing education seem easy by comparison. After all, the readings for my homework in graduate school were all in English!"
Armed with my Classical Studies BA from the University of Maryland (2006), I went on to earn an MPhil in Classical Studies from the University of Cambridge (2007). From there, I spent a couple years substitute teaching until I found myself enrolled in the University of Michigan's School of Information, where I earned my MSI in Archives & Records Management and Preservation of Information (2011). I spent the next couple years working various jobs in the University of Michigan's Library system, most recently
working with the Early English Books Online-Text Creation Partnership, where I proofread and edited transcriptions and text markup, occasionally getting to put my Latin to use.
In the fall of 2013, I will start my new position at the University of Michigan Libraries as the Papyrology Collection Manager, working under the Papyrology Archivist. The University of Michigan's Papyrus Collection is the largest in the Western Hemisphere with close to 20,000 individual fragments. In this position, I will be maintaining and facilitating the use of the Collection--both Papyrus and Reference. I will also maintain public relations information for the Collection and assist in Papyrological projects and research. My personal motto is: Once a Classicist, always a Classicist--but now
with Archivist Power too!
I was privileged, while a student at the University of Maryland, to be able to obtain a degree in Classical Languages and Literatures, a part of a rich, enjoyable undergraduate career that saw me obtain two other degrees and countless memories, friends, and experiences. I would not give up my time at Maryland for anything; it has made me who I am, shaped my future life, and provided me with the tools to overcome many challenges.
For me, the Classics degree was an important part of my education, which was heavily centered in the liberal arts and social sciences. As a Classics major, I took many literature classes, and read many of the works of the ancient authors. I had the privilege of traveling twice to Europe, and, perhaps most importantly for me in my present-day life, I wrote countless papers on many varied topics, from the wars of Alexander to the life of a traveling young man in the Victorian period (yes, that’s Classics!). To a college student, that might seem tedious. However, it provides one of the most important skills one can cultivate, the ability to write well and convey meaning in an era when the written word is more ubiquitous than it has ever been.
Today, anyone with a computer and a social media account can share their opinions on any topic they choose. For many of us, those tools have opened up many doors, able as they are to bridge thousands of miles in seconds and reunite us with friends we haven’t seen in years. The ability to write, and write well, can provide what the Romans called gravitas, a measure of pull and social importance. In today’s society, gravitas can be earned, in large part, with how you convey yourself in the written realm. That superior cover letter might catch the eye of the hiring manager, or your well-written report could earn you distinction among your co-workers. Understanding how to synthesize information and write well, the things Classics teaches in abundance, could help you greatly in your professional career.
When I entered the working world after graduation in 2007, it was these skills that helped me the most. Today, I work for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, helping low-income households find affordable medical care. This has become very important with the advent of the new health care law and the continuing sluggish economy. As part of my job, I am expected to write reports multiple times per day as cases come through our system. I also must sift through large amounts of data, determine which portions of that data are relevant, then apply that data in a different way for each case. What I learned as a student is directly helping me as a professional.
Last, though, and perhaps most important, is that my Classics degree allowed me to immerse myself in the great ancient civilizations. I got the chance to read incredible literature, travel to foreign countries, and associate with great people. I still have all my books, from all my classes, and still read them today. My time as a Classics major has given me a lifelong love of the subject and a wealth of knowledge, and I believe that is the most important thing of all. I urge all students, especially undecided ones, to take a Classics course, even for just a core credit. It may turn out to be one of the best decisions you ever made.