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Erin Bendixsen

1. Why I studied Classics.
When I first chose the Classics program at BYU, I was a sixteen-year-old with no real idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I chose to continue in the Classics program because I liked studying with classmates and professors who thought like me, and who also enjoyed the things they were studying.

2. How did my degree in Classics prepare me for what I’m doing now?
Studying Classics means studying not just the languages the Ancient Greek and Romans spoke or the events that happened in their history, but also understanding the culture and people that were alive during that time. As an employee at a public library and someone applying to get a degree in Public Administration, this is what I use most in my everyday life: the understanding I gained that all people are different, but also that we are all the same.

3. What would I do differently?
The one thing I regret most is not asking the Classics professors for more of their time outside of the classroom. Despite the fact that I was understanding all of the material presented in class, I know that had I gone to the professors to ask for recommendations on which direction to take my studies and how best to apply my knowledge my experience in the program would have been greatly enriched.

Patrick Merkle

1. What I’m doing after graduating with my degree.
I finished my Classics degree in 2019 and published my honors thesis in 2020. I enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in the Fall of 2020 and was one of the few students at Penn able to pronounce the legalese we learned. This semester I started at the Wharton School for an MBA; I'll finish both JD and MBA degrees in the Spring of 2024.

2. Why I studied Classics at BYU.
I studied the Classics because I believe that a knowledge of Latin and Greek is necessary to know English. Most other courses at university could be learned on one's own but Latin and Greek demand guided instruction, so I took classes with such professors.

3. How did my degree in Classics prepare me for what I’m doing now?
My degree has helped me to write lengthy legal briefs and prepare prospectuses for business ideas.

4. What would I do differently?
I’m not sure what I would do differently besides write an Honors Thesis in the Classics Department. I double majored with Political Science and, after abandoning an Honors Thesis with a classical theme, I split the difference between the two departments and wrote a thesis with the History Department.

5. Are there any additional insights you’d like to share with students considering the Classics?
Every student at BYU should be required to have a basic knowledge of Latin (some could study Greek as well). I am a firm believer that a basic grasp of classical languages (certainly of those most important: Latin and Greek) helps one to properly communicate his ideas to an audience.

Rachel E. D. Lambourne

1. Why I studied Classics at BYU.
I studied Classics because I have long been fascinated with all things ancient. I had dreams to become an Egyptologist (still do in my heart of hearts) and thought Classical Studies would get me the closest I could in undergraduate studies. Also, I have always enjoyed slightly shocking and perplexing people and the response that I get when I casually slip in that I studied Latin and Roman and Greek history at university gets me that reaction. Ha! That's why I first decided to declare Latin as my major. The reason I continued is because of the people—the students and professors. And I loved the way my mind was continually broadening, my perceptions challenged, my soul expanding.

2. How did my degree in Classics prepare me for what I’m doing now?
I met someone my senior year and married soon after graduation. I've heard that type of thing happens at BYU. We began a family soon after and I did not pursue my undergrad plans of tutoring Latin or continuing education full time. Instead I pivoted and pursued my Master's part time in Museum Studies at Harvard. I felt fully prepared by and confident in the rigors of a BYU Classical education to rise to the expectations of the program and the university. I found a passion for intentional museum going and all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into exhibition and education. If my kids can arrive to adulthood accustomed to—or at least not freaked out by—nude bodies in art, I will have had some success. Recently, my youngest (almost four) found my copy of The Cat in the Hat in Latin on the book shelf and insisted I read it to him repeatedly over several days. The Latin words felt rusty in my mouth but soon the cadence of the language came back. With it so many memories got tugged from the dusty recesses of my mind. I'd forgotten how simply brilliant the language is, so logical and so rich. Merging my love of Classics and museums, I take every opportunity I can to indoctrinate my children into the world of the past. I want them to see beyond and outside our own very limited current perceptions. I hope they understand sooner and better than I how small our personal experience is in the vastness of human history; how connected our experiences are in the body of humankind. I have a greater appreciation for the big picture of it all. I celebrate (or perhaps 'commemorate' is a better word) the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius with my family each year on 24 August. Often it's just pizza. Occasionally we have a full festival with sour patch kid candies being buried alive in the stratified pudding cups and a volcano centerpiece of soda and mentos. It's my third favorite holiday of the year. (Just for fun, here is a fully documented party.)

3. What would I do differently?
Um, that's a weighted question. What would I do differently? That somehow assumes regret and I am trying to make it a habit not to hold onto regrets in my life. Of course I would have conducted myself better among my fellow students and friends; I would have gone thatthird year with Dr Macfarlane to Italy when he invited me but I thought I was too newly married and poor to make it work (I should have made it work!!); I would have slowed down and soaked in all the classes and learning I could instead of rushing through in three years to graduate. So you caught me. I would have done some things differently. Mainly kept all my Classics friendships even better than I have (although a core of four of us from Ceclia Peek's classes have remained in touch and good, visiting friends!), done more, stayed longer.

Raechel (Vanderholm) Hornfischer

1. Why I studied Classics at BYU.
In my 3rd semester of College, I took a career explorations class and my instructor encouraged me to focus on what I enjoyed learning the most. I had always enjoyed history, mythology and learning new languages and that semester I was also taking CLCV 110 and absolutely loved it. I decided to learn more about the classics major and discovered that it fit perfectly into all the things I love. I declared my major that semester and never looked back!

2. How did my degree in Classics prepare me for what I’m doing now?
My current job does not have anything to do with Classics, but it did require a bachelor's degree. I knew when I came to college that having a degree would give me more opportunity in life and that has proved true. Getting my degree through BYU also allowed me to leave college with minimal debt which further jumpstarted my post- graduation life. The Classics program specifically helped me strengthen my love of learning, my attention to detail and my dedication. All of which are helpful tools in every aspect of my life.

3. What would I do differently?
When I declared my major, I did not know what I wanted to be in life and frankly, I still don't know. I chose to study Classics because it interested me. Perhaps in 10 years I'll decide I want to be a software engineer and then I'll wish I has used my undergraduate degree differently. But for now, I do not regret my Classics degree. Having a college degree allowed me to get the jobs I have now. But better yet, being in the Classics program gave me a community to gather with while in college. I came from a small town and in the vastness of BYU I felt totally unseen. Being a part of a small major like the Classics program, participating in the club and getting to know my classmates and professors made such a huge difference in my college experience. I look back on my time at BYU so fondly and I owe much of that to the wonderful people in the Classics program!

4. What is your current position?
I am a Class Scheduling Specialist in BYU’s registrar office.

Seth A. Jeppesen

Seth A. Jeppesen (he/him/his) is an associate professor of Classical Studies at Brigham Young University (2013-present). As a first-generation college student, he earned a BA in History and Latin at Utah State University in Logan, UT, followed by a year of post-bac study in Classics at Columbia in NYC. Seth earned his MA and PhD in Classical Philology from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied ancient theater and performance, especially the comedies of the Roman playwright Plautus, with a dissertation titled Performing Religious Parody in Plautine Comedy. Seth has published articles and book chapters on religion in ancient Roman drama and the reception of Greek tragedy in Brazil. In his monographPlautus: Trinummus (Bloomsbury: 2023)

Seth explores the themes and humor of one of Plautus' lesser-known plays (Trinummus) as he elucidates various critiques of Roman society embedded within the text. Currently, Seth is researching racial identities in Greek tragedy and working on a project that explores themes of social justice in Greek and Roman mythology. Seth teaches Greek and Latin courses at all levels as well as general courses on mythology and ancient literature with an emphasis on theater and performance. Often students in Seth's classes find themselves acting out scenes from Greek and roman plays, clapping out rhythms from ancient poetry, or presenting their own original, mythologically themed artwork to their peers.

When not on campus, Seth enjoys exploring the outdoors with his family, baking sourdough bread (he even started before COVID lockdown!), learning stringed instruments, as well as the occasional fit of creative writing.