Alumni

Elizabeth Hupert ’12

Elizabeth Hupert ’12
December 21, 2015 06:34pm

I do not directly use Latin in any way, but I think a balanced liberal arts curriculum has made it easier to pick up new skills in my industry and prepared me for graduate school.

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I am currently working at an advertising agency in Chicago, AbelsonTaylor, as an account planner (strategist). As an account planner/strategist, I work with client teams to discover consumer insights and determine the voice of the consumer. Our agency specializes in health wellness so I do a lot of market research with patients and map out patient journeys to discover their healthcare needs. I am also attending graduate school in the fall at University of Chicago for a Master's of Social Sciences with a focus in psychology. I'll be taking a mix of classes in psychology, social sciences, research methodology, behavioral science, and strategy (the lab I'm planning to work in is actually at Booth Business School).

I do not directly use Latin in any way, but I think a balanced liberal arts curriculum has made it easier to pick up new skills in my industry and prepared me for graduate school (it's funny because in the ad agency they call ad layouts without the copy Greek even though they use lorum ipsum. My first week here after I graduated, about 2.5 years ago, I brought someone a layout with lorum ipsum and they asked me why it was in Greek-I did not yet know the industry term-and I said it's not, it's Latin. Needless to say, that art director found it hilarious and I quickly learned the lingo).

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Mary Kelly ’10

Mary Kelly ’10
December 08, 2015 03:38pm

I love the community of the Bowdoin Classics department and the environment it provides its students to grow as independent, confident, articulate thinkers and writers.

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I wasn't positive that I wanted to study Classics when I came to Bowdoin; I had taken Latin for four years in high school but my first year I took classes in a variety of disciplines. I kept finding myself coming back to Classics I loved Latin poetry in particular and eventually couldn't see myself choosing anything but Classics as a major. The Classics department as a whole stood out to me because of its small size and its thoughtful, engaging and nurturing professors. Throughout my time at Bowdoin they were always a source of support for me, academically and personally. For example, I remember starting intermediate Greek (Plato) with Prof. Nerdahl and feeling so intimidated by the text, but he made time to meet with me each week just to read through part of the homework together and help me develop more effective strategies for decoding each sentence. I felt so accomplished when I finished that class all my professors had a way of demanding my best while providing the encouragement that I needed. They put so much effort into their teaching and it drove me to put my best effort into my work in their classes. My senior year, when I undertook an honors project, I initially chose to do it because I wanted to push myself to try a new academic challenge. Under Prof. Boyd's guidance, I came to have confidence in my own ideas and feel as though I was truly understanding the text (Horace's Epistles and Ovid's exile poetry) on my own terms. She made me write her a paper each week and hand it in, no matter how good or bad it was, and slowly the framework of my project started coming together. I had never conceived of ideas about a text on such a large scale and it was a rewarding experience both as an intellectual exercise and for the enduring relationship I forged with the poetry I was reading.

In the spring of my senior year, I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach 9-12 grade Latin and Greek at St. Andrew's School in Delaware. Several of my professors had written me letters of recommendation and helped talk me through my upcoming interviews and sample lesson that I had to teach. I couldn't have asked for a better job right out of college, and I taught there for four years. Throughout my time there I stayed in touch with my professors, occasionally visiting them when I stopped by Bowdoin, asking them their advice on how to teach certain texts and which resources to consult. Prof. Boyd even visited my school during my second year to sit in on classes and discuss our Classics curriculum with my colleagues and me. My coursework prepared me well to teach, but more importantly, the confidence and ability to articulate my ideas and ask worthwhile questions about Classical texts that I had gained during my time at Bowdoin enabled me to continue learning.

When I decided to apply for an M.A. program in Classics, I was again grateful for the support and guidance of my Classics professors. They wrote me recommendations, advised me on questions to ask about each program, and gave me feedback on my writing sample and personal statement. I'm now in my second year of a two-year program at the University of Georgia and am excited to apply to secondary school positions this winter. I've corresponded with every professor I had in the department over the past year to ask advice on everything from papers I'm writing to how to better manage my workload and maintain a balanced life. Any time I am feeling overwhelmed by work, my professors at Bowdoin remain a source of motivation and encouragement. They held me to a high standard and in doing so, taught me to do the same for myself.

A lot of people go back to their college reunions to hang out with old friends and I did too. But I was equally excited to catch up with my professors when I returned for my five-year reunion. I think I spent about three hours in Bohemian Coffee House catching up with Prof. Boyd and asking her advice on a curricular project I will be completing this year for my M.A. Later that day I spent time with Prof. Kosak and another alum of the Classics department on the quad who teaches at Fordham University. I love the community of the Bowdoin Classics department and the environment it provides its students to grow as independent, confident, articulate thinkers and writers. I can't imagine my college career as anything but a Classics major.

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Caroline Bartlett ’14

Caroline Bartlett ’14
November 20, 2015 03:30pm

Above all, the love of literature and etymology I got to explore deeply as a Classics major is a large part of what makes my job so enjoyable and engaging.

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I just completed my first year of the Match Teacher Residency in Boston at Match High School, a charter school near BU. In addition to working with freshmen as a humanities tutor this past year, I completed the first year of coursework for my Masters in Effective Teaching. In the fall, I am staying on at Match as the AP Language and Composition teacher for juniors and seniors. Though I am teaching English (my other major at Bowdoin), the work I did as a Classics major has already proven enormously helpful as I begin my teaching career. The course I will be teaching in the fall hinges on writers' craft and rhetorical argument, two aspects of writing I spent a significant amount of time thinking about in my Classics courses while at Bowdoin. I also get to tie in mythology more than I was expecting, which students find thoroughly entertaining. Above all, the love of literature and etymology I got to explore deeply as a Classics major is a large part of what makes my job so enjoyable and engaging. Plus, it’s always fun to write Greek on the board and have students try to guess what it says.

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Mia Sorcinelli, ’01

Mia Sorcinelli, ’01
October 29, 2015 06:35pm

Every day at work I am faced with patients in distress, whether physical or mental, and I think my Classics education has helped me to understand the human condition.

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I was a Classics and Biochemistry Major at Bowdoin, and after graduation worked for two years doing research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  From there, I went on to University of Massachusetts Medical School.  I found that my background in Classics was surprisingly helpful in the medical world many of the names for body parts and diseases are directly based on Latin and Greek.  Studying for anatomy tests seemed easier because I was able to connect the words I had learned in Classics to the words and structures I needed to memorize.  After graduating from medical school, I completed my residency training in Family Medicine at the Lawrence Family Medicine Residency in Lawrence, MA.  The community in Lawrence is majority Latino immigrants, and the clinic population is about 80% Spanish-speakers.  I did not speak Spanish prior to my arrival, but again found that my background in Latin was extremely helpful. After the first year my Spanish was passable, and now I consider myself quite good at Spanish (especially in a medical setting).  Last year I studied for and passed the American Board of Addiction Medicine certification exam, and so am now double-board certified in Family and Addiction Medicine.  I work at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center as a busy primary-care doctor who also provides office-based addiction treamtment, and also work at a methadone clinic one day a week fighting the opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts.

Every day at work I am faced with patients in distress whether physical or mental, and I think my Classics education has helped me understand the human condition. It also helped me learn TWO entirely new languages Spanish, and Medical English!

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Alex Moore ’03

Alex Moore ’03
October 22, 2015 03:36pm

I had a wonderful experience during my four years beneath the pines and look forward to my next visit to Brunswick!

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After graduating from Bowdoin in 2003 with a major in Classics and a minor in Biology, I taught high school Latin for four years. My first teaching job was at the Salisbury School, a boys' boarding school in the northwest corner of CT. After two years at Salisbury, I took a job at my high school alma mater, Buckingham Browne Nichols School in Cambridge, MA.

My Bowdoin Classics major (which included a semester abroad in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies during my Junior spring) prepared me well for the demands of teaching high school Latin. At Salisbury School, I taught all levels of Latin, from I to V. At BB N, 11 out of 12 students in my Virgil AP class received a 5 on the AP – a school record. (Of course, I had some excellent students!) I loved both of my teaching jobs, but at the same time, I wished to pursue a career in medicine (an interest that started at Bowdoin, encouraged by cross-country teammates, three of whom are also doctors now).

In the fall of 2007, I matriculated at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. As a lifelong New Englander, it was interesting to live in a different part of the country, especially a place as vibrant as the Big Easy. In 2011, I graduated from Tulane with my M.D. and started my intern year at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, in Newton, MA. After completing my intern year, I began a three-year residency in Anesthesiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. While at MGH, I also had the very good fortune of meeting my wife, Genevieve, who was a co-resident in anesthesia at the time. Genevieve was a biology major at Yale, but took Latin courses at Yale for fun, so she thought it was interesting that I had taught Latin.

I am currently in the midst of a one-year fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at Boston Children's Hospital. Following the fellowship, I hope to work in an academic teaching hospital in the Boston area, taking care of children and adults and teaching residents and fellows.

As an aside, my youngest sister, Louisa Moore, Bowdoin Class of 2018, is also a Classics major! She too has Professor Higginbotham as an advisor.

I had a wonderful experience during my four years beneath the pines and look forward to my next visit to Brunswick!

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Chantal Crawley ’10

Chantal Crawley ’10
October 22, 2015 03:08pm

The skills I learned in the courses I took through the Classics department, particularly the skills I learned participating in the Socratic method, gave me a head start in law school.

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I graduated from Bowdoin in 2010, majoring in Classical Studies and minoring in Latin. I then went to law school at Michigan State University, graduating in 2014 with a J.D. and a certificate in Indigenous Law and Policy. In spring 2016 I will finish my LL.M. in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School. I passed the New Hampshire bar exam in July 2014 and was admitted to practice in that state. I am currently working at a non-profit in Alexandria, Virginia as the in-house immigration attorney. In my current position, I defend my clients in immigration court, opposing the Department of Homeland Security.

My experiences as a Classical Studies major greatly helped me through the law school process, and the bar exam. The skills I learned in the courses I took through the Classics department, particularly the skills I learned participating in the Socratic method, gave me a head start in law school. Focusing on the nuances of language in my Latin and Ancient Greek courses allowed me to quickly adapt to the demands of legal writing and put those skills to use for the English language. The work required presentations in the senior seminars, and oral learning expectations of the professors outside of the classroom prepared me for my current daily appearances in court. Looking back, these were especially invaluable to what I do today and took away the fear that I am sure I would feel if I had not been pushed by the professors to do my best, especially thinking on my feet, while at Bowdoin.

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Zarine Alam ’10

Zarine Alam ’10
October 21, 2015 12:37pm

A lot of the work I did as a law student required parsing language and figuring out what arguments were being made -- there were many parallels with reading Latin!

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I'm a new lawyer and I definitely think being a Classics major made law school easier. A lot of the work I did as a law student required parsing language and figuring out what arguments were being made there were many parallels with reading Latin! There are also several Latin phrases/terms used in law, and it's fun to have an understanding of what they mean and how to pronounce them correctly. Sometimes legal jargon can feel like a foreign language, and so having had so much practice in translating Latin helped make it less overwhelming.

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Cristian Nitsch ’00

Cristian Nitsch ’00
October 19, 2015 05:28pm

Classics at Bowdoin has given me access to a vast archive of history, language and art. That has made me a richer person.

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After leaving Bowdoin, I managed to keep my major in Classics and Archaeology a little fresh by working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roman and Greek Antiquities Department as an intern. Although my role was at best at the lowest end of the pay scale, I participated in cataloguing new additions to the collection and assisted the curators in the preparation of new exhibits, including giving tours (except on Mondays when the museum of was closed to the public and you had the art to yourself). It was something else. However, by the time I left the Met, I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer (another one!) perhaps because I had been intrigued by issues of cultural property law (who owns what and so on) but a lawyer just the same. In fact, the nexus between the Classics and the law is a known one, not only because older lawyers used to study the classics more deeply (including the Greek principles that would underpin our understanding of law, democracy and order) but also because Latin expressions still occasionally find themselves incorporated into judgments (a practice that is being phased out in some countries particularly as the public, and even some judges, sadly fail to understand what the expressions mean!).

However, when I last walked out of the main entrance of the Met, I did not have any concrete pre-law school experience (not even a single Government Legal Studies course under my belt), which is something I thought that I might need to get into law school (though I came to realize later that it was unnecessary). So I decided to rummage around and find myself an internship in something a little more law-related. I joined a Spanish law firm in Barcelona as a translator and, after meeting a United Nations staff member, joined the UN’s office in Madrid as a press officer to help organize conferences. That gave me more of an “in” and I subsequently moved to Geneva to work as a consultant for the United Nations Initiative on [Natural] Disaster Reduction (UN-ISDR), helping them set up an information clearing house for disaster reduction projects. However, while I did enjoy being part of the UN, I found the experience working for them to be mildly frustrating – I felt that the UN’s effectiveness had been watered down and its purpose answerable to too many participants. No international public law for me I thought.

I nevertheless decided to stay in Europe where my family was and applied to law programs in England, which I surmised might be more compatible with my American education (i.e., they might understand my Bowdoin grades). I managed to get into Cambridge as an undergraduate (law is generally an undergraduate course in the UK) and studied to be an English lawyer for the next few years. Thereafter, my transition to become a commercial lawyer was fairly swift, joining the London offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer an old stalwart in the City and one whose many lawyers had studied the Classics. I felt at home – there was a gravitas to the place (though it had its issues too). I thereafter became a litigator specializing in international arbitration, working for the next nine years in firm’s London, Beijing and Madrid offices (meeting my lovely Spanish wife, Rocio, along the way). By the time I left the firm earlier this year, I had dedicated myself to the energy sector representing oil and gas majors in disputes with each other and against States. Some international public law after all.  I have now recently taken up a position in Madrid as Senior Legal Counsel and Head of International Disputes for the gas business of Gas Natural Fenosa, a Spanish energy company.

Although I may not have generally opened up a Latin text since I left college, one could say that the rigor that I was taught to apply by Barbara Boyd when translating a Latin or Greek text or by James Higginbotham when pulling together a paper on Roman art is the same as the rigor that I have had to apply to interpret and draft legal documents. But apart from having a practical impact, what’s been most valuable to me about having studied Classics at Bowdoin is that it has given me access to a vast archive of history, language and art. That has made me a richer person, which is something that I care more deeply about. You could say that I'm a Bowdoin Classics man forever.

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Darian Reid-Sturgis ’09

Darian Reid-Sturgis ’09
October 05, 2015 05:53pm

Since Bowdoin I have been teaching Classics full time. I spent my first year teaching Latin at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH.

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Since Bowdoin I have been teaching Classics full time. I spent my first year teaching Latin at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, NH. Since then I have returned to my alma mater, Roxbury Latin, and have finished my 5th year as a member of the Classics department, teaching all levels of Latin, including AP, as well as Greek I. This past year I was named to the John P. Brennan Chair in Classics at a ceremony at which Professor Boyd was the keynote speaker

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Outside of the classroom I have been able to maintain my passion in athletics coaching football at various levels, JV basketball, and Varsity Track. I have also been able to travel to Greece and look forward to travelling to Rome during the upcoming spring.

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During the summers I am pursuing a Master’s in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College. It is a lively program which engages in the Great Books pedagogy. Although in translation, the curriculum is a classicist’s dream!  The reading list includes various works from Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Homer, Euclid, Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus, Plutarch, Aristotle, Plato etc. Previously I had spent a summer at Columbia’s Klingenstein program for teachers where I was able to re-link with Mary Kelly ’10.

One of my great pleasures has been heading the 8th grade class and spearheading several community service initiatives, such as our semi-monthly Food Pantry visits and our Thanksgiving Pie Drive. Each year we participate in Boston’s Walk for Hunger, the largest single day annual fundraiser for hunger in the state. Over the past 2 years we have raised over $20,000 for this great cause.

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Recently I was featured on New England Cable News’ (NECN) segment “Making the Grade” representing the Steppingstone Foundation, another program dear to my heart. http://www.necn.com/news/business/Making-the-Grade-Steppingstone-Foundation-277690091.html

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Steve Shennan ’12

Steve Shennan ’12
October 05, 2015 04:41pm

...I’ll be starting my Classics PhD at Harvard in the fall; my Classics major at Bowdoin prepared me for every step along the way.

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After graduating in 2012 with a major in Classics and a minor in History my first job was as a research paralegal, a role in which I worked primarily on patent litigation and tax law. At first blush the two fields seem unrelated, but as I settled into my work I found that the same skillset I had honed as a Classics major transferred very neatly into legal reading; the careful attention to language and word choice, the importance of thorough research to inform conclusions, and even the parsing of fine grammatical distinctions all proved useful to me in the legal world. After some thought I chose not to pursue law school, and decided to try my hand in a more interpersonal role in business.

Over the past year I’ve worked as an associate at a Portland-based consulting firm serving primarily nonprofit clients, and in that capacity I’ve had the good fortune of working with a number of fantastic organizations across a variety of Maine communities. It’s been challenging – and fun – in a different way, with a stronger emphasis on general organization, attention to detail, and strong writing skills; again, Classics had prepared me well. A few evenings a week, I would also make a trip up the coast from Portland to work in a special capacity as a Latin tutor for a local private school.

In addition to keeping me engaged with the Classics, my job as a tutor helped me to brush up on my language skills. This proved crucial, as I ultimately made the decision to pursue graduate study in the Classics. The department was tremendously helpful throughout the process, from the first exploratory discussions through to the end. I relied on Bowdoin’s faculty to guide me during the application cycle and, when good news came, in evaluating my admission offers. I came out of the process with a dream-come-true scenario, and I’ll be starting my Classics PhD at Harvard in the fall; my Classics major at Bowdoin prepared me for every step along the way.

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