Three juniors awarded Caplan Travel Fellowships

Julia Fritsch ’25, Cristina Kiefaber ’25, and Ashley Koca ‘25 have been selected as the 2024 Harry Caplan Travel Fellows. The Department of Classics is eager to support their efforts in research.

Fritsch will conduct exploratory research in preparation for her honors thesis in classics through the Humanities Scholars Program. She plans focused tourism across Italy including (but not limited to) Pompeii and Herculaneum, Rome and the Vatican, and the island of Sicily. She hopes to decide an area of interest after seeing the breadth of antiquity firsthand.

After spending the Fall 2023 semester in Rome at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies, classics major Kiefaber wants to promote the experience of public classical art and spaces by recreating cities in antiquity using augmented/virtual reality. She intends to use the Caplan fellowship to visit Athens, Greece to interact with the archaeological sites and artifacts in person so that she can better visualize them virtually and increase public viewing access of these ancient Athenian sites.

Koca, a scholar in the Robert S. Harrison College Scholar Program, plans an intensive tour of European collections to research iconoclasm and Roman damnatio memoriae (condemnations of memory) for her honors thesis. With her experiences as an intern at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, she hopes to arrange private viewings of items not on display and learn directly from the curators. She is particularly interested in viewing the British Museum's collection of Assyrian reliefs, especially the Siege of Lachish panel. “I have written about many of these artifacts before, so it will be truly surreal to finally see them in person (and to scale),” said Koca.

The fellowships honor Harry Caplan, class of 1916, the late professor emeritus of classics, who taught at Cornell for nearly 50 years and was considered one of Cornell’s most beloved and inspiring teachers. After his death in 1980, his former students contributed to an endowment in his honor. Annual travel fellowships from that endowment are awarded to students who share his interests -- including Greek and Latin literature, ancient Jewish culture, and ancient and medieval Latin rhetoric. The fellowship grants can subsidize specific academic projects or intense and informed tourism.

Ryan Belle is undergraduate coordinator in the Department of Classics.


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		Rome at sunrise: Cathedral dome in the distance, bridge in the foreground