Learning ancient Greek is challenging and rewarding for Mandy Porter ’23, a double major in archaeology and classical studies who lives in Dickinson’s Human Cultures House. Last summer, during a study-abroad experience in Athens and Paros, Greece, she had a chance to study the inscriptions in ancient Greek epigraphy of the Aegean Islands. This summer, she participated in an archaeological field school at Jamestown, Virginia. Below, Mandy discusses these experiences along with what it's like to live in the Human Cultures House and her work as a student-researcher for Dickinson College Commentaries, a project that challenges students to help refine tools to teach ancient texts.
Clubs and organizations:
Archaeology Club (president), The Peddler (head manager, manager) and Eta Sigma Phi honor society (Dickinson vice president/secretary).
Dean’s List, National Society of Leadership and Success, Eta Sigma Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta and Early Excellence Student.
On choosing Dickinson:
My hometown has a tradition of having mermaid sculptures everywhere, so when I first toured Dickinson, the mermaid on the top of Old West was like a sign saying, “This is the school!”
Best thing about my Dickinson experience:
I live in the Human Cultures House, a special-interest house for students interested in anthropology and archaeology. From movie nights to blowing bubbles on the lawn, I’ve made a lot of great memories with my housemates, and we’ve become a tight-knit family unit.
Favorite class/learning experience:
As a classics major with an emphasis on ancient Greek, I have had Greek courses with one or two other students. These small class sizes have allowed me to improve my language comprehension with lessons that have been personalized for me, and they've helped me to become close with my professors. Learning ancient Greek has been challenging but very rewarding, and I appreciate my professors' support.
Favorite place on campus:
On studying abroad:
I studied abroad in Greece during summer 2021 as part of a seminar in ancient Greek epigraphy of the Aegean Islands. The highlight was studying the inscriptions, in person, in the Epigraphical Museum of Athens and the Archaeological Museum in Paros, Greece. I also appreciated the duality of Greece’s beauty, from the urban-meets-ancient landscape of Athens to the stunning beaches of Paros.
As I kid, I wanted to be …
… an archaeologist. I grew up near the archaeological site of Jamestown, Virginia, and I remember watching the archaeologists working there. This summer, I participated in an archaeological field school at Jamestown, so I have come full circle.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
The key is perseverance. The past few years have not been anything like I expected when entering Dickinson [before the pandemic,] in 2019. I had to learn to adapt and make the most of every scenario. Despite many unexpected turns and difficulties, I have had many opportunities I never imagined possible.
About my research:
Through the classical-studies department, I work as a research assistant for the Dickinson College Commentaries, which serves as a digital archive for classical texts, with reading tools for students. In summer 2021, I collaborated with scholars and fellow students to refine student-friendly tools for books 9-12 of Homer’s Odyssey. We would read and translate the text and then decide if any note or vocabulary entry needed to be edited. I edited the vocabulary for the texts. This summer, we will be continuing the project. This project further enhanced my ancient-Greek comprehension and my experience in performing classical research.
Read more Student Snapshots.
Published December 15, 2022