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Letters from Alumni
Ryan Milov 2010
Since graduating as a Classics major I taught high school literature (summer session) and, by a stroke of good luck, found myself back at Amherst working a part-time-full-time job in the Dean of Students Office. My days outside of work are filled, mostly, with reading and walking and thinking, and music and cooking and conversing. I have tried to grow some plants. Most have died, but the experts (some of whom are hiding behind mantles as "Classics Professors"!) assure me that learning to make things grow takes time. I am doing what I can to keep Greek and Latin alive in me, and I have begun my study of Hebrew. I have no idea where I am going next, but, most of the time, I am not too concerned.
Carolyn Kendall 2009E
Now that I have graduated from Amherst, I am starting the next chapter in my life: Law School! I will be joining the University of Virginia School of Law as a member of the Class of 2012. During my time at UVA, I plan to further pursue my interests in the Classics by studying the legal history of Athens and Rome.
I am confident that I will meet all of the challenges that Law School has to offer because of my training in the Classics at Amherst. All of those hours of translation have helped me to sharpen my analysis and learn how to dedicate myself to study (often for long periods of time) — not to mention the fact that I will be able to parse all of the Law's Latin phrases! I will miss everyone in the Department very much.
Joanna Rifkin 2009
Joanna Rifkin graduated with a major in Biology and Classics. She writes in the Amherst Magazine, Summer 2011 issue, that she has left her job as a research assistant at Harvard and is starting a Ph.D. program in fall 2011 at Duke University in genetics and genomics.
Kirsten Forsberg 2007
Since graduation, I have been busy applying to medical schools and have chosen Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, starting in fall 2008.
Patrick McGrath 2007
Since graduating in 2007, I have worked in the writing center as a graduate fellow. The experience has been rewarding, and I am often called to put my hard earned grammatical knowledge—learned through Greek and Latin courses—to use. Next year, however, I will be leaving Amherst for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I received an Illinois Distinguished Fellowship for the doctoral study of English.
While at Illinois, I plan to continue the kind of scholarship I attempted in my senior thesis (co-directed by Becky Sinos): understanding English authors through their Classical precedents. I am particularly interested in how John Milton exemplifies this, and the University, with its exceptional collection of Milton’s first editions, provides an incredible opportunity to pursue this interest. In fact, in the University’s collection is Milton’s annotated edition of the obscure Greek writer Lycophron; he is justifiably obscure, but I cannot wait to work through the obscurity and very difficult Greek because the annotations have hardly been written about.
And so, despite having graduated, the Classics still hold great relevance to my work and my life: after reading paper after paper of freshmen political science essays, one can begin to feel like Prometheus getting his liver clawed out.
Katherine Goodrich 2006
Katherine is working in New York City as a paralegal in the finance department and has been very busy. However, she is thinking about applying to graduate school, very likely law school, although is not yet certain.
Gabriel Ravel 2005
After spending a year volunteering in a low-income health clinic in Washington state, I went to law school. In June I will receive my J. D. from Harvard Law School. This summer I will take the bar exam in California. Beginning in August, I am going to be a law clerk for a federal judge in Washington state, not far from where I was living before. That is a one-year position. I may clerk for an appellate judge afterward, but ultimately I plan on practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ideally I will work for a municipal law office that does social change litigation.
Also I continue to read Greek and Roman literature in the original and in translation at every opportunity. Recently I have experimented with reading aloud, which is quite enjoyable with some authors.
Katie Deutsch 2004
I am in my second year (in 2007-08) of a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard and am working on Classics (mostly Greek), German, and English. After Amherst, I took a year off, during which I traveled in Europe and attempted to learn German, and then tutored and taught in New York. The year after that I did an MPhil at Cambridge University; the program was called "Criticism and Culture," in the English faculty.
Lisa (Blumsack) Geoghegan 2004
After graduating from Amherst, I went straight to law school at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. I graduated in 2007 and was admitted as an attorney in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island as well. I have joined Barron & Stadfeld, P.C's Family Law and Probate Department as an associate in Boston, where I live with my husband Denis, who was a classics major at the University of Massachusetts and took classes in the Amherst Classics Department.
Tom Harada 2004
I am currently a software developer at a trading firm in Chicago. I’ve been with Breakwater Trading for the past three years or so, mostly writing some of the messaging and gateway software that is used in the ‘backend’ by the trading applications. I tried to move back to the Bay Area earlier this winter, but they held out a promotion, title (my title is now, ‘manager, middleware technologies’), and business cards. So with business cards and everything I decided to stay.
The winters in Amherst may have not completely prepared me for the winters in Chicago, but I think studying Classics has really helped with programming. Quite a lot of the programming that I do is spent analyzing the grammar and syntax of a computer language. Gaining the confidence (and enjoyment) from persisting with such analyses in Greek has been a good foundation, I think.
Back in the year 2005, before I had much experience with programming, I thought I’d jump in and try to adapt an example Microsoft program called ‘Shapes’. It sort of worked (the program was called Okus and may still be available to download on Windows). It was mostly written because I enjoyed using Perseus, but found their web server sometimes a little too slow.
Most of my time is spent with work these days. However, I still have my copy of the Ars Amatoria. And I do try to dip into it now and then.
Hector Lugo 2004
Since 2006 I've been at The Authors Guild, building websites for authors in the Web Services department. It may seem like a stretch from Classics, but I definitely find the time for some Plato.
Adebayo Owolewa 2004
After Amherst, I worked for a non-profit for a year and taught for two years at a private school. I now teach at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School in Hyde Park, MA. The school began in 2003 with one class of sixth graders. That class has been promoted throughout the years and will graduate in 2011. I have written and implemented the 9th, 10th and 11th grade curricula. In my final summer, I will write the Latin AP curriculum. In the fall I will enroll into the University of Virginia School of Law, Class of 2013. I am looking forward to this next challenge.
David Wright 2004
I am in my 2nd year of school at Princeton Theological Seminary, studying divinity. My goal is to serve as a Presbyterian minister. I use my Greek in study of the New Testament. Latin occasionally comes up in patristic readings, and now I have Hebrew in my language store as well. My favorite class in the department was during the spring of 2005 when Rebecca Sinos and I had a special topics study of the Gospel of John, the Johannine Epistles and Revelation.
Seth Bernard 2003
I am working toward a Ph.D. in Ancient History in the Department of Classics at UPenn and have been awarded a Rome Prize for 2010/2011. The prize is given to scholars, artists, writers, and composers and gives me a room and a study at the academy, which is the only McKim, Mead, and White building in Europe--an important fact as William Rutherford Mead is an old Amherst alum himself, and the firm of course designed Fayerweather.
My project, which is my dissertation and is titled “Men at Work: Public Construction, Labor and Society in Middle Republican Rome, 390-168 BCE,” explores the social context of the building industry in Middle Republican Rome (c. 390-168 BCE). During this period, Rome was transformed from a modest Italian settlement into the capital city of a Mediterranean empire. The newly built circuit wall, aqueducts, roads, temples, and porticoes required unprecedented outlays of expense and manpower. Drawing from a variety of material such as archaeology, literary and documentary sources, and numismatics, I look at how the urban fabric was configured, and how the increasingly complex construction industry reshaped Roman society. Comparative history shows us that in any pre-industrial city, monumental construction was a difficult and labor-intensive process. Rome was no exception. Technology, financial history, and labor history all converge to show the importance of the building process to Rome's residents in the Middle Republic.
So far, my Classics B.A. has taken me to Greece and Turkey for a year, Italy for several summers, Alexandria, Egypt, and now Rome for a year.
Stefan Cressotti 2003
After teaching English and Latin, coaching, athletic directing, et al. for four years at St. Mary's of Westfield, MA, I am now teaching and coaching at St. Sebastian's School in Needham. Here I teach three Latin classes--I, II, and III--(the school has five years of the language) and two English classes. I have students from 8th grade to 11th. St. Sebastian's is an all-boys Catholic School. Politeness is wonderfully rampant. There are some boys who even thank me at the end of every class. I plan on staying here at least long enough to get my master's degree, which I hope to get part time from one of the Boston area schools. St. Sebastian's will pay for this, which, of course, is great. After getting my master's I eventually would like to end up teaching in the Western Mass area again, which, despite Boston's many amenities, still has a sentimental deadlock on my provincial, polipolitan soul.
Speaking of sentiment, in more personal news, over the summer I eloped with Laura Bennett, a fellow member of the class of '03. We first got to know each other, in fact, in taking Latin I and II together during our junior year at Amherst. And furthermore, we are expecting our first child June 6th--a day with no small historical associations already. No overtly classical names--nothing ending in -us or -es or -ander, Laura says--but I did try.
My own Latin has convalesced marvelously over the past year of teaching Latin at a more advanced level than before, though my Greek has atrophied. And, yes, the verbs in the last sentence were cleverly chosen, were they not?
Jim Decker 2003
After Amherst I moved to NYC and worked in a law firm, following which I attended George Washington Law School. I am currently Legislative Counsel to Congressman Tom Davis (incidentally, also an Amherst Alum, class of '71), working on the Hill in Washington, D.C.
Jonathan Tisdell 2002
I am currently employed at St. Vincent Hospital as a resident physician and will be entering into a neurology residency in July at UMass Medical Center in Worcester. I married one of my medical school classmates, Trish, a family medicine resident in Worcester, and live in a beautiful house in Holden, MA. I have a 9 year old step-daughter Sydney and a black lab mix dog Sully. I went to UMass Medical School after taking a year off from education to work and travel. I worked in television as a production assistant for a reality show and traveled to Los Angeles, Thailand, and Honduras in my year off from school. Regretfully, I have not been able to do much in the way of reading/translating Greek or Latin, but do use my background in my work.
Rachel Orkin-Ramey 2001
After a brief stint in on Wall Street (it seemed like a good idea at the time) I joined the Wallace Foundation, an arts-and education-focused foundation, as an editorial assistant. I spent a year and a half there before moving to London to complete an MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. I then got a job at Christie's in London and have been there ever since. It's actually great for my Classics education; aside from the natural foundation it gave me for art history, there are a lot of requests for Latin translations on various works of art.
Justin Lake 1999
My first day as a graduate student in the Department of Classics at Harvard was September 11, 2001. A few minutes after the planes struck the World Trade Center my five fellow G-Is and I began our two-hour diagnostic language exams and, as the catastrophe unfolded, we sat together in a classroom translating Ovid and Demosthenes. I suppose this could have been an unfortunate symbol of the disconnect between the academy and the outside world, but in fact, studying the Classics felt particularly relevant in the aftermath of the attacks. Mostly what I recall about my time as a graduate student is feeling lucky to be here. This fall I will begin as an assistant professor at Texas A&M University. During my time at Harvard I felt I was leading a charmed life. My marriage two years ago and my new job simply confirm this belief.
David J. Bloch 1997
After Amherst I spent three years at Oxford, first doing a M.Phil in Classics, then filling in as a lecturer at Corpus Christi College for Stephen Harrison, who was on sabbatical. I went to law school at Harvard, where I kept my sanity by teaching Latin language courses and a Vergil section for two years. Next was research in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada on comparative legal issues, clerking on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, and practicing law at Davis Polk & Wardwell, a New York firm. In 2006, I took an opportunity to work in private equity, where I have been since. After time in Paris and New York, my wife and I finally settled in Washington DC with our son. I get together at a pub every week or two with a friend to read Latin, to keep the fires burning! I can also say Classics was the best thing I could have studied to prepare me for the work I have ended up doing. Here's to the Department!
Daniel Paul Chiasson 1993
Dan was a double major in Classics and English at Amherst College and received his Ph.D., in English, from Harvard in 2002. He has taught at Amherst and is currently teaching at Wellesley College. A widely published literary critic, he is the author of One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America (2007). His first book of poetry The Afterlife of Objects appeared in 2002. For his second book of poetry, Natural History, (2007) he took inspiration from the Historia Naturalis of Pliny the Elder. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Guggenheim in 2008. Click here for a 2006 interview with Dan Chiasson.
Tana Allen 1990
After graduating from Amherst, I headed off to graduate school at UT Austin where I completed an MA. Then I went to Canada to do a PhD in Classical Archaeology — already a passion earlier established while an undergrad. I have now been teaching at Memorial University in Newfoundland since 2001 and have been head of the Department of Classics here since 2003. It is with great fondness that I think back to my undergraduate days and I so often still try to incorporate the styles of teaching encountered by Professors Marshall, Griffiths and R. Sinos. What enthusiasm and support — I will never forget Professor Griffiths telling me in my third year that it was the toughest year because the light is not quite there at the end of the tunnel. Each year I share the same advice to the students in turmoil who come to see me in my office wondering how they will survive. Thanks for inspiring me to carry on!
John Muccigrosso 1987
John Muccigrosso graduated with a major in Classics and Chemistry. He sent a note to the Amherst Magazine, Summer 2011 issue. He has recently been appointed as Director of Institutional Research at Drew University, where he has been in the Classics Department for 13 years and Associate Dean for nearly 2 years.
Frederick S. Lane 1985
Fred Lane graduated with a B. A. in Classics and American Studies. He was a Harry S. Truman Scholar, a four-year national scholarship awarded in recognition of commitment to a career in public service. After graduating from Boston Law School in 1988, he spent several years working for law firms and is also involved with community and public service projects. He has become a prolific writer and lecturer.
Robert E. Bagg 1957
Major: Classics and English
Please see Prof. Bagg's profile as written on the Amherst Alumni Page RobertEBagg
The Classics Department looks forward to hearing from any and all of our Alumni. We are proud to boast your accomplishments with as much or as little as you wish to communicate. It's a way to keep in touch as well. Please contact Sara Upton at email@example.com