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. 

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.

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 third year at Cornell in the Classics Ph.D. program on the Philology track and remains interested in various aspects of Greek and Roman comedy, Roman social and political history, as well as Archaic Latin. 

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 is a third year PhD student in Classics concentrating in Classical Archaeology. She received her B.A. in Classics and Chemistry from Smith College in 2015, and an M.Sc. in Archaeological Science from the University of Oxford in 2016. She is currently working on chemical analysis of organic residues from food and natural products (organic residue analysis) in storage jars and plaster floors from Late Bronze Age Cyprus, to study foodways, food products as economic commodities, climate and agricultural production, and social structures. She is also interested in foodways, economy, and prestige goods during the Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods in Cyprus, Greece, and the Eastern Mediterranean.


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.

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 joined the ancient philosophy program in 2014, receiving his BA in Classical Studies and Economics from Dartmouth College in 2012 and completing Penn's post-baccalaureate program in 2014. He is writing a dissertation on skeptical Academic approaches to authority, teaching, and interpretation in Cicero's dialogues. His publications include work on Ciceronian reception, Virgil, and Protagoras, and his research interests include Hellenistic and Roman philosophy, ancient hermeneutics, didactic poetry, 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