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Probing the Past

student snap shot photo, Luke Nicosia '21

Luke Nicosia ’21

Following high school internships at the Rochester Historical Society and the Landmark Society of Western New York, Luke Nicosia ’21 set his sights on a career in archaeology. Now as an archaeology, classical studies and mathematics major, he is pursuing his childhood dream while looking toward graduate school, fieldwork and possibly teaching.   


Rochester, New York.

Archaeology, classical studies and mathematics.

Clubs and organizations:  
Archaeology Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, club squash, contributor for The Square, club basketball and Physics Club.

John Dickinson Scholarship, Delaplaine McDaniel Prize Recipient, Dean’s List, Alpha Lambda Delta and Eta Sigma Phi.

Favorite book:

Papi (David Ortiz’s autobiography).

Favorite movie:


On choosing Dickinson:
It was the one school that went out of its way to make me feel wanted but also had outstanding academic departments in the fields I was interested in.

Favorite place on campus:

The Kline Center.

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Cheeseburgers and steak fries.

On choosing a major:  
Lifelong passions, high-school teacher recommendations, parental advice and personal interests all factored into my decision.

As I kid, I wanted to be …

… an archaeologist.

Favorite class/learning experience (and why):
Death in the Ancient World, because it allowed me to not only learn about incredible burial practices, but it also allowed for us to research and write on a topic of our choosing. I found myself enjoying reading 30-plus sources for my paper, simply because the burial concept I was researching was fascinating!

Favorite professor:
Adjunct Professor of Archaeology Marie Nicole Pareja Cummings. She was not only interested in what she taught but also inspired other students to have energy in the subject matter, even though they weren’t necessarily majors in that field.

On studying abroad:
I didn’t study abroad in college, but in high school I studied for three weeks in Ranomafana, Madagascar, working with a school group and some scientists on rainforest biodiversity. The highlight of that trip would have to be working in a lab looking at subfossils of animals from Madagascar 10,000 years ago, the same bones that were mentioned in a very decorated book, For the Love of Lemurs by Patricia Wright. We also got to meet and work with her!

Post-Dickinson plans:
Graduate school, and after that do some fieldwork, some museum work or go into teaching.

My little-known hobby/talent:
I enjoy collecting baseball cards, especially pre-1977 ones!

Biggest influence:
My parents, who taught me how to do the right thing and when it ought to be for myself and/or for others.

Proudest accomplishment:

Last summer, competing in my high school’s alumni basketball game, I hit a buzzer-beating shot to complete a 15-point comeback.

Dickinson in one sentence:
It’s small enough where you can know and understand everything but diverse enough where you can’t know everyone.
About my internship:
When I was in middle school, I volunteered at the Rochester Historical Society to organize its accessions, scan photographs, find a missing painting in their collection that was in a storage area and add data about their collection.

Starting in about 8th grade and up until this moment, I have volunteered for the Landmark Society of Western New York, which specializes in architectural research and historical preservation. There, I am primarily involved with scanning and organizing their expansive slide collection of over 100,000 images. Even at college, I still remotely work on the project in my spare time.

Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Learning doesn’t stop in the classroom. There are a lot of opportunities for seeing more to topics than what you get in lectures—like presentations, club meetings and internship opportunities.

Read more Student Snapshots.


Published January 10, 2019