Sample Career Paths of Graduates
- Gary Stern, ’83, environmental lawyer
- Cathy Favreau,’85 , high-school Latin teacher
- Jessica Berman, ’88, rheumatologist
- Heather Ann Thompson, ’92, college administration
- Celina Gray, ’93, archaeologist
- Kristin Romey, ’95, underwater archaeologist
- Jason Friedman, ’99, graduate school in linguistics
- Margaret Foster, ’99.graduate school in classics
- Nathan Goldstein, ’01, law school
- Blythe Chandler, ’02, advocacy for battered women
- Richard Buxton, ’03, American School of Classical Studies in Athens
If you chose to come to Vassar, you likely believe already that college education, rather than simply providing a set of skills and information specific to a particular career, should cultivate your mind in a way that both prepares you to succeed in any intellectually demanding situation and forever enriches your living. I was drawn to study the Greeks because, more than any other program, it offered a truly comprehensive liberal education: art, drama, literature, history, philosophy, and politics. Couple this expansive course of study with the discipline and attentiveness gained in learning ancient language, as well as the caring guidance and provocation given by your excellent professors, and you will graduate as someone who thinks with unique breadth, depth, and precision. This is rare, and precious!
So, studying the ancient world doesn’t just prepare you to distinguish yourself in whatever career(s) you choose, it opens up a richer and more thoughtful mode of engaging with your world. Whatever major at Vassar suits you best, you shouldn’t miss the chance to take classes in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies.
— Luke Parker, ’09
When I was a freshman at Vassar, I asked Professor Lott what students concentrating in classics could do with their degrees after college. He laughed, and in true Vassar fashion said, “They can do anything.” I must admit that I could have worded my question better, and that I was not completely satisfied with this answer. Now, as a classics graduate student and former middle school Latin teacher, I realize both the spoken and unspoken truth in Professor Lott’s words. I know students who majored in classics, and now have successful careers outside the field of classics. They are also, very importantly, happy with their careers. In a certain sense, the department equips students with the skills to “do anything” that might be required of them for their intellectual development in college, and in their chosen professions. In my case, I remember cooking ancient Roman food, excavating graves in 115 degree heat, translating torturous passages of Thucydides and Pindar, and what I personally think may be the most challenging of these, bowling against surprisingly athletic professors! I loved doing all these. (Well, whether I loved translating Thucydides is still highly questionable!) But I also loved going to our seminar room everyday for classes consisting of only a handful of close classmates, led by one of our wonderful classics professors. For me, it was not one memorable experience, but rather the consistency of positive, and positively challenging, experiences like these that led me to pursue classics after college. Now I feel that I must agree with Professor Lott, and laugh, and say, “Yes, you can do anything with a degree in classics.” But I will add this caveat, that you may decide to stay in the field of classics!
— Janice So, ‘09
I remember that when I first got to Vassar, I lamented the fact that there was no "Archaeology" department. I had decided to attend Vassar despite this fact, because it felt better to me, it called to me. I also remember some preliminary meetings with Bert and some deans about the idea of creating one of those Interdisciplinary majors, the ones you can build yourself. Bert thankfully talked me out of it, explaining I could do a Latin major and still have time for all the art and anthropology courses I would want, all the while nestled in the structure of an established major. I’m glad he convinced me, because the great support of the classics department really gave me a strong foundation to build from after graduation.
I think the experience that sealed my fate as an archaeologist and art historian was the semester at the Centro in Rome. I had never even heard about this program until I saw the poster up in the department. I also almost missed the application deadline, but thanks to Dr. Brown it got submitted and I was accepted! The whole experience there just boggled my mind, in a good way! It made me love classical antiquity even more than I did already, which, before I got there, I didn’t think was possible.
I’m sure my time at the Centro combined with my Vassar background helped me get the 9-month internship I held in the Greek and Roman department at the Metropolitan Museum, and that, in turn, has opened so many doors.
I really believe I would not be where I am right now if I hadn’t been a Latin major at Vassar. That one intro Latin course I took sophomore year turned out to be a catalyst for the course of my life, and I’m grateful for it.
— Rose Trentinella, ’01
Studying Classics at Vassar prepared me to complete myriad challenging crossword puzzles, crush virtually all Scrabble foes, and decorate myself with unique tattoos. As a high school English teacher, I frequently impress my students with Greek and Latin etymologies and historical anecdotes. I "pull the origins of words seemingly out of nowhere," according to one of last year’s young scholars. Of course, it doesn’t hurt a language arts educator to understand early instances of western "literature" and "civilization" either. So now, when I think back on my intimate classics seminars and the close relationships I shared with the department’s stellar professors and peers, I’m caught up in nostalgia - a word of Greek origin which, at the advanced age of 25, I find increasingly useful. To put it plainly, I never knew then that my education would impress so many people, have constant professional and personal relevance, or that I would look back on those years so warmly. Chairete.
— Evan Hansen, ’01