Classics Department Receives Student Research Grants

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One of the most rewarding aspects of attending a small liberal arts institution is the breadth of academic opportunities available to students outside of the classroom. Three students in the Classics department at Trinity College were recently awarded research grants by the Dean of Faculty for students who are interested in doing their own independent research or working as an assistant with a professor. The students taking advantage of this opportunity are  Matthew Reichelt ’17, who will be working as an assistant to Professor Gary Reger, Dylan Ingram ’18 to Professor Risser, and Maura Griffith ’17 will be conducting her own independent research.

Reichelt considers “Classical studies [to be] the cornerstone of the liberal arts education. In classics, students are exposed to philosophy, history, linguistics, poetry, and science. Having an education in classical studies trains students to think freely and inquire into the world around them.”

Hobart Professor of Classical Languages Gary Reger says that “Securing three student research fellowships demonstrates the concentration of outstanding work in our small department, the dedication of our faculty, and the overall high quality of education our majors enjoy. Promoting student research is one of the most important functions of a liberal arts college, for doing research provides students with the actual experience – the delights and the frustrations – of serious intellectual work.” Reichelt agrees, noting that “this is exciting for the department because our major has been growing at an exponential rate. It is nice to see that Classics majors now will have the opportunities to study topics not usually discussed in the classroom and help their professors with their own projects.”

The range of student research is outstanding, each participating in a unique area of study. Griffith will travel to Romania to participate on two archaeological digs with ArchaeoTek. “For three weeks, I’ll be excavating graves at a 15th century Christian church. The following four weeks, I’ll be working in a juvenile osteology research laboratory. This lab conducts the analysis on the specimens excavated during the previous weeks. Each participant in the osteology lab will be presenting at the Fourth International Osteology and Bioarchaeology Student Colloquium in Odorheiu Secuiesc,” Griffith said.

Griffith also plans to write a year long senior thesis starting in the fall, most likely consisting of a Latin translation, or a project related to her summer research. Reichelt’s research will explore the use judicial torture in the Roman empire during the reign of Septimius Severus.

As for future goals within the department, Reichelt says he would love to see a library dedicated to Classical Studies majors where students can come together to discuss the Greek and Latin homework, or simply converse about the major. Professor Reger expressed his excitement for the recent addition of two new faculty members in the Classics department, saying that “The addition of these dynamic young faculty will allow the department to expand its offerings and continue to serve both its majors – now numbering 25! –  and those students who choose to explore our field through our classical civilization courses.”

Beyond the research grants, Reger also described additional opportunities for students interested in expanding their knowledge of Classical Studies. The department participates in an international excavation at Akko, Israel, which is run by Professor Risser and “offers students a unique opportunity to do and learn archaeological field work under the direction of experts from a wide variety of colleges and universities; many students who’ve participated cite this experience as the highlight of their Trinity education.” He concludes, saying “Classics represents the heart of what a liberal education is about.”

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