Graduate Student News (2017-18)

Laura Camp

Laura Camp at the Parthenon, June 1, 2018

"Last fall I wrote and successfully defended the prospectus for a dissertation on Greek mathematics, of which I am now writing the first chapter. I presented a small part of that research at the CAMWS meetings in Albuquerque this April, with a paper entitled “Greeks Doing Algebra.” This year’s graduate colloquium focused on ugliness, indecency, and scandal in the ancient world. We had a very successful event, and it was a pleasure to serve as chair and to collaborate with the excellent UNC committee. I have particularly enjoyed teaching Latin 101/102 under Dr. Crews, and spending time with Dr. Newton on a project of his about the textual history of Apuleius. This summer I am very happy to find myself back in Greece, as a teaching assistant to Dr. Ferejohn for the Duke in Greece program. I look forward to a year of productive dissertation work and teaching."

Makaila Christensen

Makaila Christensen at Morrow Mountain State Park

"Over the past year, I've been happy to meet lots of wonderful people and get to know the Classics department and Duke. I'm pleased to report that my time here so far has been both challenging and rewarding. I've had the pleasure to take a variety of courses both within and outside my immediate interests, among which were a class on lyric, where I got to learn and think about genre in a way that I never had before, and a class on Greek tragedy where I got to write a final paper exploring connections between the Eumenides and the physical environment. I'm also very happy to report that after months of reading copious amounts of Latin, I passed the Latin reading list exam. I am now looking forward to repeating that process in the coming year and passing my German and Greek exams.

"Beyond the Classics department and Duke, I've been excited to discover all that Durham and North Carolina has to offer, from state parks, to beaches, to brunch places! I'm looking forward to a summer of being a research assistant, reading Greek, and exploring the outdoors with my husband and two dogs."

Alex Karsten

Alex Karsten at the Intramural Basketball Championship in Cameron Indoor

"Going into my second year, I never thought that it would be able to top my first. As in many cases, I have had to reassess my expectations—what a great year it has been! I dove into Greek, and ultimately passed the reading list exam. The process of studying for the exam only confirmed what I already knew: it is one of the true joys of my life to be able to spend time with that language and its literature. I was also able to pass both of my modern language exams, so I am now turned toward my preliminary exams and specials: opportunities to push myself to learn even more about the subjects I love as well as those I know relatively little about.

"On a personal level, I have been busy planning for my coming wedding. Life is moving fast! My fiancée just graduated from Duke’s Sanford School with a Master’s in Public Policy, and will be starting a job with the state government in Raleigh this June. In my spare time, I was inspired by the Olympics to start curling and joined a league at the wonderful Triangle Curling Club with Antonio LoPiano. I also had the privilege of playing with the Sanford School’s intramural basketball team in the championship in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Many of my cohort members showed up to support me. It was a pleasant surprise, but I should have expected nothing less--they have been supporting me so well for the past two years."

Thomas Cole

"This year has been productive. In the spring, I defended the first two chapters of my dissertation. The project as a whole is exploring Tacitus’ political thought in his minor works—the Dialogus, Agricola, and Germania. Moving beyond coursework and exams onto the dissertation, immersing oneself into the currents of ancient and modern debates, is an immensely rewarding experience. I hope to make significant progress on my dissertation this summer, though allowing for occasional trips to the beach. This past fall, I taught a section of third-semester Latin. My fellow graduate student Courtney Monahan taught the other section; planning lessons and discussing topics with her surely made me a better teacher and the classes more engaging. The spring saw me teaching Catullus for fourth-semester Latin. For several it was their first taste of Latin poetry, and they seemed eager to read more. I hope to see some of them around the department next year."

Clinton Kinkade

Clinton Kinkade

"My third year here at Duke has been largely a transitional one, as I moved from being a graduate student to being a graduate candidate (though it hardly feels like much has changed at all). In the fall I took my last courses as a graduate student (Roman Comedy over at UNC and Greek Tragedy here) and completed my special topic exam on the scholia to Aristophanes’ Frogs. The spring was devoted to studying for and taking my preliminary exams along with my special author exam on Sophocles. I have now started, with Professor Catenaccio’s assistance, narrowing in on my dissertation topic, which currently aims at fleshing out our understanding of the reception of Sophocles in the ancient world. In addition to coursework and research I also served as the Greek “apprentice” for Professor Johnson this year, TAing his Greek 101 and 102 courses in preparation for teaching those classes myself next year. Having left my job teaching Latin to attend the PhD program, I look forward to having my own class again in the fall. This summer I received a grant from the Graduate School to begin work on my prospectus, and I will be spending the majority of my time (outside of a brief vacation to Florida) chipping away at that task with the hopes of defending it early in the fall."

Sinja Kuppers

First Duke/UNC Symposium for First-Generation Graduate Students, April 2018

"In my first year at Duke I had the pleasure to get to know the faculty and engage with a wonderful group of graduate students in Classical Studies. This year I enjoyed exploring the broad Classics program with courses ranging from Pre-Roman Archaeology to Medieval Latin. I fulfilled the modern language requirement and passed the Latin Qualifying Exam. In addition, I was a graduate student representative and am serving on the Versatile Humanists at Duke Advisory Board in 2018. Over the summer I am investigating the application of ‘geoliteracy’ to Classical Studies at the National Humanities Center and working as a research assistant on Greek Tragedy. I also look forward to being a teaching assistant in Claire Catenaccio’s class on ancient myth in the fall.

"Finally, I am very happy to have found in my fellow student John someone who is as passionate as me to support students whose parents did not go to college or university. With the help of the Duke Professional Development Grant and following the example of Caroline F1RSTS, we were able to organize the first event at Duke addressing first-generation graduate students in April 2018. I am particular thankful for the collaboration with the Co-Director Diversity & Student Success at UNC, our engaging guest speaker from the University of Alabama, Dr. Karri Holley, and the support of Prof. Joshua Sosin and Prof. William Johnson."

Tori Lee

Tori at the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens

"My second year at Duke has really flown by! I spent the end of Summer 2017 learning to speak Ancient Greek in the tiny beach town of Selianitika. I returned, with quite the tan, to Durham for a busy year of coursework, taking classes in Athenian social history, Medieval Latin, ancient and modern lyric poetry, and Greek educational philosophy, just to name a few. I also TA'ed my first class at Duke, Ancient Athletics with Prof. Jazwa. I passed my German exam in the fall, and am now working towards the Greek exam, with an eye towards prelims next spring. This summer, I am working with Prof. Catenaccio on developing her Ancient Myth class and doing research on Greek drama. I'm also continuing to work as Assistant Editor for the online Classics journal Eidolon. We've all been enjoying our lovely new graduate office and study space in Page, which is all thanks to Jill Wuenschel's hard work. I'm looking forward to preparing for my prelims and special exams this coming year and taking my last(!) semester of coursework in the fall!"

Adrian Linden-High

Alex Fowler, Laura Camp, Rex Crews and Adrian Linden-High attending a Latin teaching workshop at UNC-Chapel Hill, August 2017

"By far the most exciting event in my life since I last chronicled here was that Lara and I got married on a beautiful day in October 2017. She now gets to hear on a daily basis about slavery in the Roman army, my dissertation topic as approved at the prospectus defense last fall. Teaching Latin 101 and 102 this year set a good rhythm throughout and I’m looking forward to seeing many new and a couple of familiar faces in Latin 203 this fall. On the side, I am still working on improving my online visualization of the Polygonal Wall in Delphi, which maps all the inscriptions on it, and links them to PHI (Searchable Greek Inscriptions). The next step will be to migrate the project to a newer standard called IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework). Once again, I will be heading to Victoria, Canada, in June to learn how to do this and to connect with fellow digital humanists."

Antonio LoPiano

"My first year on the archaeology track has been a whirlwind of exciting new opportunities. I spent the fall mostly engaged in coursework, deepening my knowledge of the classical world through courses in Greek history and Latin literature in addition to expanding my technological expertise through a course in historical GIS. In the spring I was offered a wonderful opportunity as a part-time RA in Duke’s Wired! lab assisting professors with a number of digital humanities projects, mostly incorporating GIS. The spring semester also offered me the opportunity to take several archaeology courses, including one in Roman architecture at UNC thanks to the excellent relationship between our departments.

"This summer holds even more exciting opportunities when I will take part in two archaeological projects being run by Duke professors. Through June and July I will be at the Vulci 3000 project excavating an Etruscan city with Prof. Forte. Following that, I will be in Cyprus assisting Prof. Jazwa on a project investigating the site of possible Mycenean colonization on Cyprus. I am looking forward to another year of new experiences and intriguing research!"