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The College of Arts Sciences

Current Graduate Students

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Dennis Alley

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology

Dennis earned his B.A., summa cum laude, dual majoring in Classical Languages and Classical Civilization from Syracuse University (2011), where he garnered the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Classics Award. The following year marked the beginning of his graduate studies at Cornell, where he has focused on Classical Greek literature with an emphasis on historiography and lyric poetry.  Dennis’ dissertation, titled “Pindar’s Poetics of Autonomy: Authorial Agency in the Fourth Pythian Ode”, explores Pindar’s Fourth Pythian ode as the composition of a poet free from the constraints of commission. In this project, he argues that as a culturally powerful poet, Pindar enjoyed a greater degree of independence from his patrons than scholars have traditionally assumed. As such, he contends that this model has important consequences for our understanding of the Fourth Pythian, which has historically struggled to fit into our models of epinician poetry. In addition to his dissertation, Dennis has published numerous articles for the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History, has a forthcoming article on the dynamics of repatriation in the Fourth Pythian Ode, and hopes to publish articles on Herodotus’ representation of the Spartans and a fifth century Halicarnassian inscription in the coming year. His other research interests include Herodotus, Homer, Old Comedy, and Elegiac and Iambic Poetry.

Colin Behrens

Concentration: Ancient History

Colin earned his BA from Florida State University in Classics summa cum laude, concentrating in the Latin and Greek languages (2016).  His honors thesis, “Uncovering Pagan Identity in the Late Roman Empire,” dealt with the creation of “pagan” identity in both the Roman West and East through the lens of labeling theory.  As he begins his Ph.D. work in Ancient History, he hopes to investigate the social implications of philosophy and theology on the lower classes in the Late Roman world, by a close reading of Christian sermons in comparison to the relevant philosophical texts.  He is also interested in the reception of the Classical World throughout the Western Tradition. 

Natasha Binek

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology

Natasha received her Hon. B.A. with a double major in Classical Civilization and Latin from the University of Toronto in 2004. After teaching Latin and history courses at the secondary level for six years, she returned to the University of Toronto and obtained her M.A. in Classics in 2011. That year also marks the beginning of her studies at Cornell in the area of Classical Literature and Philology. She is currently working on her dissertation, which examines Vergil's portrayal of Venus and Juno in the Aeneid as a response to the figuring of Aphrodite and Eros in the antecedent literary Greek tradition.

Liana Brent

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Liana is a PhD candidate in the classical archaeology track. She is the recipient of a two-year Andrew W. Mellon Foundation / Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome (2017-2019). During this time, she will complete her dissertation, Corporeal Connections: Tomb Disturbance, Reuse, and Violation in Roman Italy, which examines post-depositional skeletal manipulation in reopened and reused inhumation graves throughout Roman Italy. She conducts archaeological fieldwork in southeast Italy as the assistant director of the Vagnari Cemetery excavations, where she has excavated since 2011.

Micaela Carignano

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Micaela received a B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in 2011, with a double major in Archaeology and Classics. She is now in her sixth year of graduate studies at Cornell University, concentrating in classical archaeology. Her main research interests include Bronze Age Crete, ceramics, feasting, and archaeology of everyday life and the domestic sphere.  She is currently working on her dissertation, which uses ceramics and other evidence to explore food consumption in Minoan houses and its relationship to elite feasting practices.  She has participated in excavations in Crete, Cyprus, mainland Greece, and Mississippi.

Jennifer Carrington

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Jennifer Carrington graduated with a BA (Hons) in Classics from the University of Queensland, Australia in 2009 with an Honours thesis on the sanctuaries and Greek material engagement at Naukratis in Egypt. She began the PhD program in Classical Archaeology at Cornell in 2011 and is researching the introduction and imitation of new ceramic tableware and cookware in Egypt, Cyprus, Syria, and the Levant in the Hellenistic period. Her research interests also encompass ancient trade, social network theory, materiality, and museology.

Mary Danisi

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology

Mary Danisi is a first-year Ph.D. student in Classics concentrating in the Classical Philology and Literature track. She received her B.A. in Classics (Greek & Latin) summa cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2017. During her time at Barnard, she was awarded a grant from The Tow Foundation in preparation for her senior thesis entitled, “Poetry Without Poets: The Autonomy of Tragedy and the Anonymity of the Tragic Poet,” in which she examined the peculiarities of the figure of the creative genius as he is encountered in Aristotle’s Poetics. Her research interests embrace discourses of aesthetic theory and literary criticism that have emerged within early Greek poetry and thought. In keeping with her investigations across the verbal and visual arts, Mary has interned at various museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has also conducted archaeological fieldwork in Greece for The Onchestos Excavation Project. She is a current member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Samantha Davis

Concentration: Classical Philology and Literature

Samantha received her B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 2013 majoring in Classical Studies. She received her M.A. in Comparative Literature with a Classics concentration in 2016 also from the University of New Mexico. Her Master’s thesis, passed with distinction, explored significant changes to the paradigmatic structure of certain comedic stock characters in Terence’s Eunuchus.  She is a first year at Cornell in the Classics Ph.D. program on the Philology track and remains interested in the “stock” characters and features of Greek and Roman New Comedy as well as Terentian variation from the dramatic conventions of the genre. 

Michael Esposito

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology

Michael Esposito received his BA from Fordham University in 2008. After a year teaching Latin in a New York City high school, he joined the Cornell Classics Department and is now in his fifth year as a PhD candidate. He is working on completing his dissertation on rhetoric and the uses of information in the Aeneid. Other interests include Greek and Roman epic, oratory, and Latin elegy.

Kathleen Garland

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Kathleen received her BA in Classical Archaeology from Hampshire College in 2012 and completed the post-baccalaureate program in Classics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. She is currently in her third year on the archaeology track and focusing on labor, technology, and networks of exchange in the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean. She has excavated in Greece, Israel, and Italy. Other interests include representations of capital and labor in text and image, and histories of archaeological practice.

Rebecca Gerdes

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Rebecca received her B.A. summa cum laude from Smith College in 2015 with a double-major in Classics and Chemistry, and her M.Sc. in Archaeological Science in the fall of 2016 from the University of Oxford, where she was a member of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA). Her master’s thesis investigated methods of extracting organic residues from ceramics for organic residue analysis that do not require destructive sampling of archaeological material. As a second year Classics Ph.D. student concentrating in archaeology she is interested in applying scientific techniques to topics such as climate and the changing use of natural resources and their relationship to large-scale sociopolitical change during historical periods in Greece and the Aegean.


Theo Harwood

Concentration: Ancient Philosophy

Theo received his BA summa cum laude in 2011 from Hillsdale College, majoring in Latin with honors and minoring in Greek. His focus from late undergraduate years on has been the philosophy of St. Augustine, though he also works on Plato and Neo-Platonism as well as Homer and Vergil. He maintains a strong interest in teaching classical languages and literature, having taught Latin, Greek, and Philosophy also at the secondary level. He is currently in his sixth year and soon to defend his dissertation on Augustine’s principles of Scriptural interpretation.

Charlotte Hunt

Concentration: Classical Philology and Literature

Charlotte is a first year PhD student in Classics. She earned her BA summa cum laude from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 with a major in Classics. In 2018, she earned her MA in Classics, also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Charlotte is interested in ecological literature in Greek and Latin including literary depictions of oceans, water, and voyages. She has presented on human/animal relations and waterways in Hanno’s Periplus, as well as nature religion in Roman philosophy. Currently, Charlotte is working on one project comparing nautical voyages and the ocean in Robert Silverberg’s The Face of the Waters and the Odyssey and another on geography in Senecan tragedy.

Katie Jarriel

Concentration: Classical Archaeology

Katie received her BA in Anthropology from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina in 2010, with minors in Studio Art and Classical Studies.  In 2017, Katie defended her dissertation entitled "Small Worlds After All? Landscape and Community in the Cycladic Bronze Age."  Her research interests include Bronze Age Aegean studies, illustration and 3D digital visualization, landscape studies, and networks.  She has done fieldwork in Spain, Italy, Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.  In addition to TAing at Cornell, Katie served as the Assistant Director of CIAMS from 2015-2017 and is currently teaching "Introduction to Classical Archaeology" at Colby College.

Andrew Merritt

Concentration: Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics

Andrew Merritt received his B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia in 2013 and in 2015 his M.Phil. from Cambridge University, where his research concerned the morphological prehistory of the Greek infinitival system. In 2016 he joined the Cornell Classics Department, entering the Ph.D. program with concentration in Greek and Latin Linguistics. His interests include Comparative Philology, diachronic morphosyntax, and the development of nominal forms of the Greek and Latin verbal system.

Peter Osorio

Concentration: Ancient Philosophy

Peter received his BA in Classical Studies and Economics from Dartmouth College (2012) and is also a graduate of Penn's post-baccalaureate program in Classics (2013). He joined the ancient philosophy joint-program in 2014 and is beginning a dissertation on Cicero's dialogues that will investigate matters of education, authority, and the reception of Plato. His other research areas include Hellenistic philosophy, didactic poetry, ancient science, and reception studies.

Matthieu Real

Concentration: Ancient Philosophy

Matthieu received his BA in classics summa cum laude in 2014 from Padua University (Italy). There, he completed a master's program in Philology and Ancient History in 2016. He is a first year in the Classics Ph.D. program. He is particularly interested in working between philology and philosophy looking especially at the Hellenistic tradition of Aristotelian texts. Currently, he is finishing the first edition of On Aristotle’ Books by Andronicus of Rhodes and he will soon start to work on Adrastus’ Pinax.

Emily Shanahan