Alumni News (2022-23)

Erin Ahrens, A.B., Classical Civilization (2003)

Erin Ahrens '03 and family in Rome
Erin Ahrens '03 and family in Rome

This March, I finally got a chance to take my children to Rome where I studied abroad in 2001. I hope this trip inspires a love of ancient Rome. Highlights of the trip were exploring the Etruscan necropolis of Sovana and a visit to nearby Pitigliano. My boys loved climbing into the necropolis and my daughter was in awe of the Vie Cava.

Claudia Baldassano, A.B., Classical Languages (1987)

I continue to run the Bipolar Program at The University of Pennsylvania teaching residents, medical students and treating patients. I spent innumerable hours helping all three of my kids with their Latin homework while in high school. My oldest, Cassandra, graduated Duke 2022 as a Medieval Renaissance Studies major who also enjoyed many Classical studies courses. My youngest, Camille, begins Duke in September. My son, the outlier, is a rising senior at Middlebury and a Chinese major. I love our visits to Italy and Greece!

Donald Byrne, AB Classical Studies '91
Donald Byrne, AB Classical Studies '91

Donald Byrne, A.B., Classical Civilization (1991)

I'm teaching Latin at Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, SC. The school recently jettisoned the International Baccalaureate Curriculum and is moving (back) to the AP. Greetings and gratitude, all these years on.

Christina Defranco, A.B., Classical Languages (1986)

Christina DeFranco '86 with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Christina DeFranco '86 with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

I'm wearing two professional hats these days: managing our CT-based business Connecticut Dry Basements (If it leaks we can fix it)and producing an independent documentary on Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, the iconic octogenarian who is the state's longest serving congressperson. She's the one with the purple hair. She's also only the second woman to chair the prestigious Appropriations Committee in Congress when Dems were in control of the House. As a local news reporter, I've long admired her passion and commitment to the people she serves. I've interviewed some exciting people for the doc (former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Senator Chris Dodd). I'll keep you posted when it airs. Meanwhile, my older son Nick is starting 3rd year in medical school and my younger son Danny just graduated from Pace University as Criminal Justice major and is seeking a position in law enforcement. I hope to visit beautiful Duke next Spring and will stop in to the Department to say hello!!!

Ed DeHoratius, A.B., Classical Languages (1995)

The last two summers have brought my youngest son and me to Myrtle Beach for a baseball tournament, so, as one who prefers to drive places, I've taken that opportunity to swing through Durham with him on our way home. We toured campus and, more important, were able to visit with Francis Newton, last year over lunch with Tolly Boatwright and this year a between‐breakfast‐and‐lunch visit.

Albert DiMeo, A.B., Classical Civilization (1994)

I am working as the Vice-Chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at St. Francis Hospital, in Roslyn New York, where I have a busy adult surgical practice. More importantly, my wife and I have four wonderful children, the eldest of which, Isabella, is a Junior at Duke, a declared Classical Civilization major, and a current resident of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies (Centro) in Rome. This recapitulation of my own history is unbelievably gratifying -- and gives me the perfect excuse for a Roman holiday later this fall...

Sophia Dort, A.B., Classical Languages (2022)

My last day as a scribe in the emergency department
My last day as a scribe in the emergency department

After graduating from Duke in 2022 with a dual degree in Chemistry and Classical Languages, I worked for a year as a medical scribe in the emergency department at a local hospital. I had the opportunity to give back to Duke by serving as an alumni interviewer for prospective students. This fall, I am starting my Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree at the University of Virginia. I am immensely grateful for the education, mentorship, and support that I received from the Duke Department of Classical Studies, especially from José González and Professor Johnson, both of whom wrote Letters of Recommendation on my behalf for medical school. I could not have done it without you!

Megan Drinkwater, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2003)

On July 5 I started a new position as Dean of Academic Affairs at St, Paul’s School in Concord, NH with the remit to help identify priorities and goals in the academic program and ensure thoughtful and meaningful alignment across the school. I am excited for this new opportunity… and for the whole family to be united up here shortly (as I write in early August).

Carl Ginsberg, A.B., Classical Civilization (1992)

Nero sine naso
Nero sine naso

I still play the role of Iudex Emeritus, coupled with that of Arbiter. In addition, someone has to pursue a  (second) LLM (Magister Legum) from the University of London (this time in Maritime Law), so it might as well be me! Between studying and judging others, I still have time to travel, such as I when I recently visited the Römisch‐Germanisches Museum in Cologne. I seemed to have made a habit of pilfering noses from Imperial Roman Busts across Europe (Nero, specifically in the picture). Salvete for now!

Michael Joyce, A.B., Classical Languages and Classical Civilization (1981)

The Joyce clan atop Cathedral Rock, Easter Sunday 2022
The Joyce clan atop Cathedral Rock, Easter Sunday 2022

I live in Ashburn, VA (the data center capital of the world) with my wife and five beautiful children, age range from 12 to 2. My work is a hybrid of property management and investment management, and I am thankful every single day for the lessons I learned on the second floor of the Allen Building. I've found the modes of thought taught by Latin in particular to be very applicable to finance in general. Picture here is from Easter Sunday 2022 and was taken at sunset atop Cathedral Rock in Sedona, AZ.

Adrian Linden-High, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2020)

The Linden‐Highs at Cowans Gap State Park, PA
The Linden‐Highs at Cowans Gap State Park, PA

I'm still living in Durham with my wife Lara and two daughters (1 and 3 years old). There is always something afoot with these little ones roaming the house and yard! With much help from the grandparents we managed earlier this summer to go on a little camping trip in Pennsylvania (see photo). We'll have to wait a bit for the next camping adventure since we're expecting another baby in early September.

Cory Massaro, A.B., Classical Languages (2010)

This year, the biggest news is that I started an MFA in creative writing and am working on two books. One is a booklength poem, best described as Homeric sci‐fi body horror. The other is a series of essays detailing problems of technocapitalism through the lenses of class and colonial critique.

me just outside my current home city of Quito
Me just outside my current home city of Quito

I am also working on some (hopefully much more responsible and less imperialistic) bits of software myself. First, at the Wikimedia Foundation, I am part of the Abstract Wikipedia team, whose goal is to facilitate content creation in resource‐poor languages. As of July, this software is at the stage where we can now start creating text in any language (including, of course, Latina and Greek!).

Deb Mayers, A.B., Classical Civilization (2015)

Mayers and son in Rome
Deb and Ian smiling on an exceptionally bright and sunny day in the Flavian Amphitheater

It’s been a whirlwind of a year. I was relocated to New York City for my job as an Augmented/Virtual Reality Software Engineer and Accessibility Specialist. It’s been an exciting time as I develop technology solutions for a skyscraper. While the sites and things to do in NYC are fantastic, I didn’t like the commute so transferred to Columbus, Ohio. In between those big events my son, Ian, and I tried to travel as much as we could. We even went to Rome to celebrate my 30th birthday!

Jeremy Prager, A.B., Classical Civilization (1998)

Prager Family
Adventures underground and in the Roman Forum!

In June, my family and I had the opportunity to break out our dusty passports and visit Rome with The Centro. The Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (Centro) hosted an alumni week and we enjoyed spelunking the Mithraeum of Santa Prisca, walking through the Sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis and cooling off near the Lago di Nemi. It was a fabulous week spent with Centro alumni on an “off the beaten path” tour of Rome.

Gil Renberg, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2003)

My odyssey through academia has now brought me to Howard University, where I am beginning my second year as a lecturer, in a (for now, at least) renewable position. Whether that will be my Ithaca or my Ogygia is as yet unknown. As for my scholarship, even though I did not produce another award‐winning book this year ‐‐ I know I've set a rather high bar, but you really do need to lower your expectations of me ‐‐ I am quite pleased to announce the appearance of a rather lengthy article I wrote that is the first to look in detail at the largely overlooked phenomenon of paintings given as gifts to the gods: “Dedicatory Paintings in Greek Religion: An Initial Assessment,” in J. Tae Jensen & G. Hinge (eds.), Aspects of Ancient Greek Cult II: Sacred Architecture ‐ Sacred Space ‐ Sacred Objects; An International Colloquium in Honor of Erik Hansen (special issue, Acta Archaeologica 93.1; Monographs of the Danish Institute for Mediterranean Studies 1; Leiden, 2022 [2023]), 237‐278. This study's origins go back to my dissertation, since while cataloging inscriptions recording god‐sent dreams I found that two texts were on dedicatory paintings (rather than the usual, far 2 more durable, objects formed from marble or limestone), and I soon realized that no one had fully surveyed the evidence for these. So, I've been collecting materials for the past two decades, leading to this piece.

Kiley Samz, A.B., Classical Civilization (2011)

Kiley Samz
Kiley Samz

I am an antiquarian book dealer for Rootenberg Rare Books based in Los Angeles. I specialize in Continental early printed books and manuscripts on science, medicine, and the occult in Latin, French, and Italian. I regularly travel internationally to source materials and spend the majority of my time cataloging them for sale. My client base consists of institutional libraries and private collectors, and it is very fulfilling to place a rare book in its ideal collection. My training at Duke in Classical languages, paleography, and material culture prepared me for this exciting career, and I encourage current students to partake of all that the department has to offer.

Marc and Katie Schuhl, M.A./M.S., Classical Studies (1996)

Marc in “serious teacher” mode
Marc in “serious teacher” mode

Salvete, omnes! Marc and I are coming up on our 27th year of marriage thanks to our acceptance into Duke’s advanced degree program 29 years ago. We are still in LA, where I am at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena (18 years and counting!) teaching Latin and World Religions. In June two colleagues and I led a group of 13 students to Rome and the Veneto for a two‐week combined ancient history/home stay experience. Marc changed schools and in June finished his first year at Harvard Westlake, returning to Latin full‐time after spending some years teaching world history and APUSH. He’s planning to take a group of students to Greece next spring. We just completed a weeklong course together at Dickinson College reading the forthcoming Dickinson College Commentary offering, The Voyage of St. Brendan. We enjoyed broadening our Latin to include the medieval world! Next year we’re hoping to attend a conventiculum and continue to hone our speaking and listening skills. We would love to hear from anyone! and

David Stifler, Ph.D., Classical Studies (2019)

I had an excellent year teaching at Elon University in their growing Classical Studies program, and also published in Classical Philology (January 2023). In the meantime I’ve been raising my daughter, Sara, and lending my Classics and Linguistics expertise to training AI language models for a range of applications.


Everett Wheeler, Ph.D., Classical Studies (1977)

Via Zoom I delivered a lecture, “Rome vs. Parthia: Rivalry on the Euphrates 96 BC‐AD 224,” at the invitation of the Centre for Classical and Medieval Studies, Department of History, Peking University on 1 June.