Congratulations, Class of 2021!

By: Hana Aghababian & Sarah Epplin,  Classics
June 1, 2021

Eleven undergraduate students graduated this past weekend from the Classics Department. They share their research, reflections on their time at Cornell, and plans for the future. Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Joshua Johnson was a double major in Africana Studies and Classics, who was also a member of the Men’s Track and Field team. His research is dedicated to curating an exhibition that took on an Afrocentric approach to the ancient Mediterranean world. He says, “I wanted the exhibition to respond to the lack of diversity in the field. The underlying goal of the project was to attain curatorial skills while addressing an issue that is very important to me.” In the Fall, he will be attending the American University, working towards a Masters in History with a concentration in Public History. He was also selected to be a fellow at the White House Historical Association, where he will be working on their initiative on Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood. He thanks all of the faculty members at Cornell, especially to Professors Caitie Barrett, who taught Joshua’s favorite class--Great Discoveries in Greek and Roman Archaeology (offered again in Fall 2021!)--at Cornell, Mike Fontaine, and Verity Platt.
student Joshua Johnson kneeling and smiling at archaeology dig site

Terence Burke also double majored in Classical Civilization and Economics, with a minor in Business. After graduation, he will be working in New York City as an analyst in Financial Services Business Consulting with Ernst & Young. His favorite Cornell memory was spending the summer before senior year in Ithaca with his friends, and his favorite course was Unconventional and Hybrid Warfare, taught by Dr. Barry Strauss. He says, “I'm grateful I was able to immerse myself in a previously unexplored interest and take some of my favorite courses within the Classics department. The professors, TAs, and staff in the department were extremely supportive and made my Cornell experience much more enjoyable.”
student Terence Burke smiling in suit and red bowtie

Markella Tsalikis is graduating from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with a major in Environment and Sustainability and a minor in Classical Civilizations. She studied environmental science to focus on modern day problems and solutions, and she was able to pursue her interests in the ancient world with her minor in Classics. She says, “I have taken a Classics class every semester of my four years here and it has been an essential part of my Cornell experience: the professors and staff in this department are some of the most interesting and passionate people I have met.” She sends special thanks to PhD student Colin Behrens and Professors Astrid Van Oyen and Nicole Giannella who all fostered Markella’s interests in Classics. Her favorite courses in the department were Prof. Fred Ahl’s Tragic Theatre and Nicole Giannella’s Slavery in the Ancient World. After working in New York City for a year, Markella plans on applying to law school, and she looks forward to working Classics into her future academic career. She says, “I would encourage more students with unrelated majors to minor in Classics: it has been an indispensable part of my time here and has affected the way I think about the world and its history.”
student Markella Tsalikis smiling on Cornell's campus

Haley Mathews is graduating with an Information Science major and a Classical Civilizations minor. She says, “in my major in Information Science, I learned how to solve problems, while in my Classics courses I learned how to ask questions. The minor perfectly rounded out my liberal arts education!” After graduation, she will be working in management consulting at Oliver Wyman, where she looks to continue utilizing the critical thinking and reading skills that she learned from Classics. She says, “thank you to all my Classics professors for being so passionate about their fields. It is infectious to your students!”
student Haley Mathews smiling outdoors

Malcolm Hagerty majored in Comparative Literature with minors in Classics and English. He chose to minor in Classics to gain access to Roman, medieval, and renaissance texts and to better understand the structures and histories of English and the Romance languages. He hopes to pursue a PhD program in literature soon, and he looks forward to studying the renaissance or the histories of rhetoric and aesthetics while incorporating Classics and Classical Reception. He says, "I’d like to extend a big thank you to all the faculty, grad students, and staff who made taking the classics courses I did possible! I’m particularly grateful for having encountered Professor Fontaine’s enthusiasm for spoken Latin, Professor Charles Brittain’s laser-focused close reading skills, and Professor Courtney Roby’s encyclopedic knowledge of apparently everything.”
John Dahlberg is graduating with an Economics major and a minor in Classical Civilization. He chose to minor in Classics because he enjoys learning about the ancient world and he enjoyed the intellectual challenge of interpreting ancient sources. He shares his only regret is that he did not major in Classics. He took three courses with Prof. Strauss, and he lists Unconventional and Hybrid Warfare among his favorite courses at Cornell. In the summer, he will start working as an investment banking analyst in New York City, and he partially attributes his success to his coursework in classics: “it made me a candidate with a relatively unique academic background in an ocean of business majors”.
The department also congratulates majors Rebecca Marratta and Ramyashree Yandava, as well as minors Kirsten Scheller (Electrical and Computer Engineering major), Faith Chen (Chemistry major), and Isabella Dobson (History of Art major). Congratulations to all!
fireworks over Cornell's campus