A Classicist in Training: My CHS Internship Experience
|June 26, 2017||Posted by Rose Milnes under Student Chronicle, Sunoikisis News|
When I was a child, I had a passion for knowledge. I would read every book I could get my hands on, and immerse myself in its pages. I reveled in learning and grew particularly fond of reading books about Greek mythology and history. My joy for learning gradually waned as I trudged through the regimented course load of high school; but, when I attended college, the flexibility and freedom I was given in choosing my classes led me to a Greek Mythology course. One day, my professor, Max Goldman, encouraged students to apply for a Maymester course that would be taking place in Rome and Naples. And so Rose: the classicist, was born from the fiery ashes of one hasty decision. It was the best collegiate decision I’ve ever made.
This decision allowed me to experience Rome, Naples, Athens, and even an archeological excavation in Kenchreai, Greece. Moreover, I have taken ancient history courses spanning from neolithic Greece to the birth of Islam in late antiquity. Of course, my decision has also led me to this internship at the Center for Hellenic Studies. For two weeks in June, I had the privilege of participating in the 2017 Sunoikisis seminar on Ancient Medicine. As a Sunoikisis intern, I worked with the visiting faculty and assisted them in developing a curriculum for a course concerning ancient medicine, spanning from the Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations to that of Galen. While the professors exchanged ideas and presented articles during each session, I took extensive and detailed notes documenting the proceedings. We covered so much material that by the end of the last day, I – along with assistance from the other Sunoikisis intern, Mike Saridakis – had completed around 165 pages of notes.
I have previously taken a course entitled Death, Disease, and Health in the Ancient World, and based on my own experiences as a student, I was able to provide feedback regarding which resources may be good (or not) for such an undergraduate-level course. I even had the opportunity to present articles to the group as if I were a colleague rather than just an intern. Of course, there were many ancient Greek and Roman texts that I have never laid eyes on, so by partaking in the seminar I became exposed to an incredible amount of information and perspectives regarding the ancient world.
When I was not contributing to the group, I observed the seminar participants confer and develop a syllabus for what will be an amazing class. Watching the professors engage in academic discussions was an incredible experience. I hope to one day become a colleague among them and devote my life to academia. It was a fantastic learning experience that taught me how to read both primary and secondary sources, as well as how to present different topics and readings professionally to other classicists. Even outside the designated hours of the seminar, I was able to converse with these classicists and learn more about the field, while also making connections that will hopefully last a lifetime. It was such a privilege to work with these professors in this context, and I know that these new experiences will help me as I dedicate my life to becoming a classicist.
I would like to thank Joseph Lee Rife and Mireille Lee, both classicists at Vanderbilt University who recommended this internship. During my academic experience in Nashville, they have mentored and guided me towards my dream of becoming a professor in classics. I would not be the person I am without their kindness and dedication to both my well-being and my success. I would also like to thank Emily Kohut, Allie Marbry, Lia Hanhardt, Daniel Cline, Norman Sandridge, and Greg Nagy, who have been so encouraging and helpful throughout my Sunoikisis internship. Lastly, I would like to thank Mike Saridakis, my fellow intern who has been my partner in crime during this experience. I cannot thank these people enough, or express how grateful I am for this amazing opportunity that will shape my academic and professional career. Thank you all.