Current Graduate Students

Hana Aghababian

 

Photo of Hana Aghababian.

Concentration: Greek and Latin Language and Linguistics
aha92@cornell.edu

Hana joined the PhD program on the Linguistics track in Fall 2019. After receiving her BA in Classics at Gettysburg College, she spent a year teaching English and Japanese in Yerevan, Armenia. She then completed her MA in Classical Languages at the University of Georgia, where she wrote her thesis “Translating the Gospel of Matthew, with a Case Study of Latin and Armenian Deixis.” Her current research interests include Indo-European linguistics and philology, ancient color, and translation. Hana is also on the leadership team of Diversitas and is happy to chat with interested students about the group, her experiences as a graduate student, and/or her research.

Colin Behrens

Colin Behrens

Concentration: Ancient History
cpb89@cornell.edu

Colin is a seventh year PhD student on the Ancient History Track.  His dissertation is centered on Orosius of Braga, a Spanish presbyter and historian who was involved in various religious controversies in the early fifth century.  Colin employs modern political science to find new significance in Orosius' actions, leading to a re-evaluation of his importance in ecclesiastical politics.  He graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University in 2016 with a degree in Greek and Latin Languages.  Aside from Orosius of Braga, Colin's research interests include the Priscillianist Controversy, the Donatist Controversy, the relics of martyrs, Greco-Roman historiography, and political history more broadly.

Eric Blum

Eric Blum

Concentration: Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics

erb252@cornell.edu

Eric entered the Classics PhD program on the Greek and Latin Linguistics track in the fall of 2022. He earned his BA summa cum laude from Brandeis University that same year, receiving the David S. Wiesen Prize in Classical Studies. His undergraduate thesis was an examination of the linguistics and poetics of the particle γε in Homer. His primary research interests include the pragmatics of Greek poetry, discourse particles, Homeric philology, Sanskrit literature, and Indo-European linguistics. He also works on classical reception in modernist literature, particularly that of Joyce and Pound.

Claire Challancin

Claire Challancin

Concentration: Classical Archaeology and Art
cc2667@cornell.edu

Claire Challancin received her BA summa cum laude with a double major in Classical Languages and Anthropology (Archaeology concentration) from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2019. She is a PhD candidate specializing in Mediterranean archaeology. Claire is interested in the sociocultural dynamics on the island of Sicily in the Hellenistic-Republican period. Her dissertation focuses on epitymbia, monumental funerary structures commonly found in Hellenistic necropoles throughout the island, and what they reveal about connectivity, and cultural change and continuity. Claire has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Tuscany at the Santa Marta site with the University of Siena, and Baratti and Venturina Terme with the Soprintendenza of Pisa and Livorno. More recently, she has worked in Sicily at the Temple of Apollo at Halaesa with the University of Messina and Oxford University, and the agora of Morgantina with the Contrada Agnese Project.

Evan Colby

Evan Colby

Concentration: Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics
eoc9@cornell.edu

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2020 with a BA in Classics and Linguistics, Evan joined the department of Classics at Cornell in the fall of the same year. His interests are mostly linguistic in nature and are centered primarily on Greek, including Modern Greek. Some of these linguistic interests include Greek and Latin historical phonology and morphology, the Homeric Kunstsprache, phonological theory, and the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. He also maintains an interest in epic as a literary genre, with a focus on Homer and Vergil.

Leah Cynara Cook

 

Photo of Leah Cynara Cook

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
lcc2@cornell.edu

Leah is a PhD student in Classics, working towards her degree through the Employee Degree Program. She earned her B.A. from Cornell University in 1993, dual majoring in Classics and Philosophy, graduating magna cum laude in Classics and with distinction in all subjects. Her research interests include the intersections of ancient magic, epic poetry, and pharmacology and botany. She is also the program coordinator for the Plant Sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.

Mary Danisi

Mary Danisi

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
mcd245@cornell.edu

Mary is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in Greco-Roman art and archaeology. She received her B.A. in Classics summa cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2017. Her research addresses the materiality and aesthetics of ancient ritual practices. Her dissertation, “Crafting the Cosmos: Fillets and the Fabrication of the Sacred in Ancient Greece” presents the first comprehensive analysis of the production and function of handwoven bands in Greek cult, during the Archaic through Hellenistic periods. Her work has been supported by the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, the Lemmermann Foundation, and the Society for the Humanities. Mary has taught courses in classical languages and literature, and on Greek and Roman material culture. She has held internships at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as The Frick Collection, and has conducted archaeological fieldwork at Onchestos and Corinth. During the 2022-2023 academic year, she is the Homer A. and Dorothy B. Thompson Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. She is a current member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Samantha Davis

 

Samantha Davis

Concentration: Classical Philology and Literature
scd225@cornell.edu

Samantha is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell in Philology. She received her B.A. in Classics (2013) and her M.A. in Comparative Literature (2016) from the University of New Mexico. She is interested in all aspects of Greek and Roman comedy, particularly Terentian comedy as well as the social, legal, and political history of the Middle Republic. Other research interests include ancient drama more broadly, Old Latin, elegiac poetry, epic, and satire. Her dissertation uncovers modes of Terentian adaptation and innovation by analyzing the significant changes Terence makes to certain “stock” characters. She traces these characters (parasitus, adulescens, ancilla, miles, and servus/a) from their origins in Greek comedy and uncovers identities (often unexpected) that help to contextualize ancient cultural issues.

Ethan Della Rocca

Ethan Della Rocca

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
ehd35@cornell.edu

Ethan joined the Classics department as a PhD student in the fall of 2020. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Chicago that same year, receiving a B.A. in both Classics (with honors) and Philosophy. He is interested in the intersection of literary form and philosophical thought, particularly in the works of Lucretius and Seneca. Other interests include the role of digital humanities within Classics as a tool for both research and education. During his time in Chicago, he worked on the Logeion project and developed the parsing feature Morpho. At Cornell, he has continued his work in digital humanities with the Lexeis project.

Sarah Epplin

Sarah Epplin

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
sme84@cornell.edu

Sarah received her B.A. in History summa cum laude from the Appalachian State University Honors College in 2017 and her M.A. in Classical Languages from the University of Georgia in 2019. Her Master's thesis conducted a study of the terms corpus, caro, spiritus, and anima in the works of Tertullian and analyzed their significance for understanding Tertullian's eucharistic theology. Sarah began the Classics Ph.D. program at Cornell in 2019. Her research interests include early Christian rhetoric and self-presentation, Second Sophistic intellectual culture, and the interaction of Roman religion with other ancient religious traditions.

Stephen Fodroczi

Stephen Fodroczi

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
sdf75@cornell.edu

Stephen graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University in Spring 2020, receiving three B.A. degrees in Classics, Music, and English Literature. He joined the Cornell Classics department as a Ph.D. student in the Philology and Literature track in the fall of the same year. His honor’s thesis, “Homeric Songs: Oral Poetic Recitations and Musical Performances”, explored the musical aspects and oral nature of the Homeric epics with similar musical and oral poetic traditions. He is interested in the orality-literary framework, epic (especially Homer), ancient music and performance, and Ancient Greek poetry. Other interests include the development of Roman satire, katabasis, Sappho, and the issue of genre in ancient literature.

Kathleen Garland

Kathleen Garland

Concentration: Classical Archaeology
kg452@cornell.edu

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

 

Photo of Rebecca Gerdes.

Concentration: Classical Archaeology
rfg75@cornell.edu

Rebecca began the Classical Archaeology track in 2016. She holds a B.A. in Classics and Chemistry (Smith College ’15), and an M.Sc. in Archaeological Science (U. of Oxford ’16). Her work focuses on integrating archaeological and chemical approaches to study ancient food practices. In her dissertation research, she is developing new methods for analyzing food residues in ceramics that account for effects from the ancient Mediterranean environment, and new ways of interpreting organic residues to make the results more accessible and to better integrate them into archaeological results. She is a member of two excavations in Cyprus, the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project and the Yeronisos Island Expedition. Rebecca is a co-founder of the Archaeological Science Group at Cornell and a founding member of the CIAMS Anticolonialism and Antiracism Interest Group. She enjoys doing outreach in archaeology and STEM for middle and high school students. She’s happy to talk about her experiences in any of these areas. Rebecca served as the Assistant Director of the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies in 2021-22.

 

Olivia Graves

Olivia Graves

Concentration: Classical Archaeology and Art
og84@cornell.edu

Olivia Graves is a PhD student in the Classical Archaeology track. Before starting at Cornell in Fall 2020, Olivia completed a B.A. in English and Classics from UC Berkeley (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), an MPhil in Archaeology from the University of Oxford (Distinction), and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Classics from UCLA. Her research interests primarily concern the socio-economic lives of non-elite peoples in the Roman world. She has participated in archaeological fieldwork at the Bronze Age cemetery of Aidonia in Greece with UC Berkeley (2015; 2017), the Roman small town of Dorchester-on-Thames in the UK with the University of Oxford (2016; 2018), and most recently the rural minor center of Marzuolo in Roman Tuscany with Cornell (2022).

Isaac Hoffman

 

Photo of Isaac Hoffman.

Concentration: Classics Literature and Philology
imh42@cornell.edu

Isaac Hoffman graduated from Hofstra University with a B.A. in Classics and Latin in 2019. He is a PhD Candidate on the Philology track and currently working on a dissertation exploring flowers and plants as literary devices in Greek and Latin literature of the early Imperial period. He enjoys teaching and speaking Latin and exploring the boundaries between texts and objects.

Hyeonseo Kim

Hyeonseo Kim

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology

hk683@cornell.edu

Hyeonseo joined the PhD program in Fall 2022 on the Classical Philology and Literature Track. She received her BA in Philosophy and Classics summa cum laude from Seoul National University in 2019, and a Classics MA in 2022 from the same institution. She is primarily interested in the presentation of speech and poetry in ancient Greek thought, with a focus on Greek epic and ancient receptions of Homer. She is happy to talk to prospective students about her experiences.

Dante King

Dante King

Concentration: Interdisciplinary Classics
dgk63@cornell.edu

Dante is a second-year Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Classics. In 2021, he earned his BA in Classical Languages magna cum laude from The College of Wooster and investigated foundation stories' influence on and interaction with early Roman imperial society in his Honors thesis, “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Vergil and Ovid’s Clashing Portrayals of Individual and Group Identity.” While Dante maintains a wide range of interests, he is most passionate about investigating the relationship between text and image in the ancient Mediterranean manuscript tradition and the later, indeed ongoing, reception of Mediterranean antiquity with emphasis on Rome's legacy in medieval and early modern manuscripts. He is currently the secretary of Cornell’s Medieval Studies Graduate Association (MSGA) and also works with Professor Emeritus Jeff Rusten on the Lexeis project, using Python to digitize single author ancient Greek lexica. Alongside his work in Classics, Dante has nurtured a love of music and theatre. He has sung in various languages (including Latin), both solo and in choral environments, and acted onstage in twelve productions, including Euripides' Medea (Jason) and Terence's Adelphoe (Demea).

Liam McDonald

 

Photo of Liam McDonald.

Concentration: Classical Archaeology and Art
ljm288@cornell.edu

Liam is a fourth year PhD candidate in Classics concentrating in Classical Archaeology. He received his BA (Hons) in Anthropology from the University of Auckland in 2014 and his MSc in Archaeological Science from the University of Oxford in 2016. He has worked in CRM archaeology in New Zealand and at the Auckland Museum. He is a member of the Cornell Tree-Ring Laboratory and his research at Cornell focuses on wood provenance for the purposes of palaeoclimate reconstruction and examining ancient mobility. His other research interests include radiocarbon dating and calibration, human-environment interactions, scientific approaches to the archaeological record, and Roman history.

Clara McCafferty Wright

 

Clara McCafferty Wright

Concentration: Classical Archaeology and Art

cmw272@cornell.edu

Clara McCafferty Wright is a doctoral student at Cornell University in Classical Archaeology and Art. Her primary research foci include Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt, and Greco-Roman reception of Egypt. She recently completed an MPhil degree in Egyptology at the University of Cambridge with a dissertation entitled, “Reconsidering Cleopatra VII: The Lost Narrative of Egypt’s Last Queen.” Clara earned her A.B. at Bryn Mawr College in 2019, where she double majored in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology & Classical Cultures and Societies. At Bryn Mawr, she was a Hanna Holborn Gray Research Fellow and authored a thesis on Cleopatra VII’s political influence on the Isis cult in Italy. During her undergraduate degree, she also studied in the Egyptology programs at the University of Pennsylvania and the American University in Cairo. In addition, she established The Bryn Mawr College Magic Lantern Slide Digitization Project. Clara currently serves as a Director of The American Research Center in Egypt—Missouri Chapter, and a team member of the Egyptology State of the Field Survey Project. Clara is passionate about diversifying our understanding of the ancient world to one which includes the narratives of disenfranchised members of societies, including women, enslaved people, and the working class. She has a strong interest in using the study of the past to empower people today by making information on the ancient world accessible to rural and underprivileged communities.

Sara Merker

Sara Merker

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
smm435@cornell.edu

Sara Merker is a second-year PhD student concentrating in Classical Philology and Literature. She graduated with Distinction from McGill University (2020), receiving a B.A. with First Class Honours in Classics.  Sara aims to research the literature of the (so-called) Second Sophistic period, with a special focus on how this movement manifested in the provinces and informs our studies of religious 'identity' and law during this era. Sara has recently focused on these ideas through Apuleius’ Apologia and related rhetorical texts. 

Andrew Merritt

 

Andrew Merritt

Concentration: Greek and Latin Languages and Linguistics
aem335@cornell.edu

Andrew Merritt earned a B.A. in Classics from the University of Virginia in 2013 and in 2015 an M.Phil. in Classics from the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he entered the Ph.D. program with a concentration in Greek and Latin Linguistics. His interests comprise the historical and comparative grammar of Greek, Latin, and their relatives, Indo-European morphology and derivational semantics, lexical semantic change, Homeric Philology, and Archaic Greek Poetry. In 2020 the French Republic awarded Andrew a Chateaubriand Fellowship to further his doctoral research on the etymology of κάλλος ‘beauty’. The resultant dissertation, κάλλος and καλός: Morphology, Etymology, and Conceptual Genealogy, serves as an interdisciplinary contribution to conceptual analysis by means of insights derived Greek and Indo-European word-formation and etymology.

Alessandro Peiris Pattiyage

Alessandro Peiris Pattiyage

Concentration: Ancient Philosophy
ap793@cornell.edu

Alessandro joined the Ancient Philosophy concentration in 2021, after receiving his BA and MA in Classics from the University of Florence. During his MA, he also studied Ancient Philosophy and Indian Philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Besides Greek and Latin philosophical texts, his interests include Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy.

Ruth Portes

Ruth Portes

Concentration: Classical Archaeology and Art
rdp226@cornell.edu

Ruth received her B.A. in Archaeology and Writing from Johns Hopkins University (2016), and her M.A. in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies from Brandeis University (2018). She is a Ph.D. Candidate specializing in the ancient Black Sea Region. Her work focuses on the social and cultural shifts that took place in the mid-first millennium BCE, and how Greek settlement on the coast of modern Georgia played into these wider changes. She has participated in archaeological projects in Spain, Israel, Mongolia, and Georgia. She is on the organizing committee and a founding member of the CIAMS Anti-colonialism and Anti-racism (ARCO) Interest Group, as well as a co-founder of Coffee Hour for Classicists of Color. She is always happy to talk about her experiences as a graduate student or in any of the above mentioned areas.

Matthieu Réal

Matthieu Réal

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
mr2222@cornell.edu

Matthieu joined the Cornell Classics Department in 2016 after receiving his BA (2014) and MA (2016) in Classics from Padua University (Italy). He is writing his dissertation on pre-Hellenistic textual exegesis. He has published on Andronicus of Rhodes and the Derveni Papyrus. His interests include Greek and Latin epic poetry, ancient literary criticism, and the developments of paratextual genres.

Emily Shanahan

Emmy Shanahan

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
egs77@cornell.edu

Emmy is a 5th year PhD candidate in philology. Her dissertation is entitled, "Penelope and the Psychology of the Marginalized". She got her BA from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was on the Dean's list and the recipient of the Eben Alexander award. She currently serves on the leadership team for Diversitas, of which she is a founding member.

Sophia Taborski

Concentration: Classical Archaeology
skt47@cornell.edu

Sophia Taborski is a PhD candidate in classical archaeology. She received her B. Phil. from the University of Pittsburgh in Classics and History and has taught English, Latin, and history at all levels. In her dissertation, titled “Fleshing Out the Body in the Roman Empire,” she explores how gladiators, miners, and curse tablet writers and victims experienced bodily abuse, resistance, and healing. She has examined curse tablets in Athens and Corinth as an Associate Member of the American School for Classical Studies. She has excavated in Argilos, Greece, and St. James AME Zion Church, Ithaca. Other interests include disability studies, pedagogy, bioarchaeology, race and ethnicity, and cognitive approaches to the ancient world. She also serves on the leadership team of Diversitas. She welcomes emails from prospective students about any of her experiences.

Adrian Walls

Adrian Walls

Bridge M.A. Fellow

ahw48@cornell.edu

Adrian (They/Them) specializes in literature, philosophy, and reception. While attaining BA’s in political science and classical humanities at the Ohio State University, they studied the intersections of enviro-determinism and philosophy in the Platonic corpus. Likewise, their undergraduate thesis argued that the representations of enslavement in the Ancient Greek novels parallel those in Aristotle and Euripides’ texts.

As the Classics Bridge MA Fellow at Cornell, Adrian has strengthened these projects with new skills and theoretical frameworks. In addition to improved abilities in Ancient Greek and Latin, the intersectional and decolonial theories of Black feminisms have broadened and deepened Adrian’s research. In their forthcoming MA thesis, Adrian plans to use these theories to examine the significance of race, class, and other identities in the feminism of Plato’s Republic, along with its receptions in more recent feminisms. Adrian is happy to speak about their experiences upon request. 

Belisarius Welgan

Portrait of Belisarius Welgan

Concentration: Classical Literature and Philology
bnw32@cornell.edu

Belisarius is a PhD candidate specializing in Hellenistic poetry and science. He received his BSc in Mathematics in 2013 and his MA in Classical Languages in 2016 from the University of Alberta, Canada. His master’s thesis, entitled “Diophantus’ Arithmetica and the Hypatian Rescension”, considered possible traces of Hypatian influence in the presentation of Diophantus' proto-algebraic treatise, the Arithmetica. His dissertation focuses on the astronomical poem, the Phaenomena of Aratus of Soli, and the use of poetic expression as a medium for scientific discourse in the Hellenistic period. His research interests include Greek epic and lyric poetry, ancient science and mathematics, and applications in digital humanities.

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