Hello! I’m Melody Wauke, a Holy Cross Classics major from Athens, Georgia, currently studying in Athens, Greece, for the first semester of my junior year. I arrived here on August 31, just over a month ago. In the short time I have been here, I have already had countless opportunities to learn, explore, and interact closely with my surroundings and the people within them.
A typical day in Athens for me entails the familiar routine of going to class and doing homework, but also the new and exciting prospects of walking around my neighborhood, finding good cafes, riding the metro, and constantly having revelations about the derivation of Modern Greek words.
My adventures thus far have even spanned outside of the city of Athens. Our program recently went on a several-day-long trip to Crete, during which I was able to see several archaeological sites and learn more about the island (which a professor interestingly described as the “Texas” of Greece).
I am constantly amazed and comforted by how welcoming the people I have encountered here are. While most of the people in Athens do speak English (and very well, at that!), they are always very encouraging when I practice my Modern Greek and so excited when I express interest in learning more. As I begin my second month here, I look forward to exploring more both within and outside of the city and learning as much as I can about the people and culture that surround me.
On Friday, September 11, Melissa Browne ’12 and Christine Roughan ’14, returned to Fenwick 4 to talk with current majors about the connections between their time at Holy Cross and their current work in Classics.
In the fall of 2014 Melissa became the first female instructor of Greek and Latin in the 164-year history of the Hill School in Pottstown, PA. While teaching there and working towards a Masters in Classics at Villanova University, Melissa continues to work on the previously unpublished manuscript of the Iliad that she wrote about for her senior thesis.
“I took full advantage of the pretty incredible offerings of the Classics major at Holy Cross,” Melissa said. “In class there was always the opportunity to dig more deeply into a text, to bring in outside scholarship, or to quite literally contribute to scholarship – in my case, through the Homer Multitext Project and my thesis.
“When I went on to teach, I maintained that attitude. I’m never just conveying information about the first declension mindlessly, but ever aware of the community of scholars into which I’m continuously catapulting students.
“At the same time, I continue to actively maintain my own intellectual pursuits — and share them with my students!” Melissa continued. “This includes everything from attending seminars on the digital humanities, to presenting my thesis work at conferences, and now in my graduate work at Villanova. I always felt prepared to exist in both worlds, and actually enjoy having a foot on the threshold both of the land of budding Classicists — fingers crossed! — and also of the scholarly community into which I was invited while at Holy Cross.”
Christine returned this past summer from a year as a Fulbright Scholar at Leipzig University in Germany. There she investigated the possibilities for digitally representing every manuscript and print edition of the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid’s highly influential treatise Elements. Christine is now beginning a Ph.D. program at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU.
“The Classics Department at Holy Cross always encouraged exploration,” Christine said. “In my studies I pursued not just Classics but also Physics – a strange combination, but one that led me to discover my interest in ancient science, an area in which I continue to work today.
“My participation in the Homer Multitext Project and the Manuscripts, Inscriptions, and Documents Club shaped many of my research interests and methods. I was quite excited to find myself — an undergraduate — able to contribute something new to a field with such a lengthy history already. This led me to pursue research beyond Holy Cross and also opened my eyes to the contributions other motivated individuals could make – even as undergraduate students.”