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Monmouth College hosts Eta Sigma Phi National Convention

April 8, 2016

Michelle Ravel / The Courier - Monmouth College hosts Eta Sigma Phi, the National Classics Honor Society.

This weekend students from all over the nation gathered at Monmouth College for the Eta Sigma Phi National Convention. Eta Sigma Phi is the National Classics Honor Society. This event provides an opportunity for students from all over the country to come together for a weekend of fellowship and scholarship. Emma Vanderpool, class of 2017, is the chair of the local committee and helped to organize the convention along with Dr. Thomas J. Sienkewicz, Dr. Kristian Lorenzo and Dr. Robert Holschuh Simmons. Other members of the local committee included Mackenzie Davis, Rachel Masch and Tiffany Shaw. Vanderpool also worked as the National Vice President (Megale Hyparchos) and was elected National President (Megale Prytanis) at the end of the convention. The event included student presentations, dramatic readings and other interactive presentations. The event saw about 75 students, faculty and alumni from all over the nation. Students came from as far away as Arizona or New Hampshire, to as near as The University of Illinois or Augustana.

Vanderpool has had a passion for classics since she decided in high school that she wanted to be a Latin teacher. Vanderpool said, “Studying the Classics provides the opportunity to make connections with the past in order to better understand the present.”

During the convention, Vanderpool presented a paper entitled “Sights, Sounds and Smells of Animals in Martial’s Epigrammata,” which was later awarded the title of best paper. After this, four different presentations took place throughout the weekend. Sophomore Mackenzie Davis presented on the Eta Sigma Phi National Archives house here at Monmouth College, Dr. Mary Phillips presented on the James Christie Shields collection, Mr. Rick Sayre presented on the Canopus Stone and Dr. Kristian Lorenzo presented on the Monmouth College Archaeology Lab. In addition to these presentations, four Monmouth College alumni were invited to campus to speak on how the Classics have affected their career paths post-graduation. Sylvia Shults ’90 presented on her work as an author, Neil Dahlstrom ’98 presented on the presence of the Classics in his archive work at John Deere, Matthew Katsenes ’04 presented on his experience as a high school Latin teacher and Richard Harrod ’07 discussed graduate school options. In addition to these alumni, Rose Katsenes, Katsenes mother, spoke about clothing in the ancient world and explained the wide range of costumes that she had constructed and donated to the Monmouth College Classics Department. Dr. Simmons gave an interactive presentation on Macedonian, Greek and Roman warfare.

Rachel Laing, graduate of the MC class of 2015 and former member Eta Sigma Phi, came to Monmouth this weekend specifically for the convention. “The ways I use it are small for now,” Laing said referring to using Classics in life at a Graduate School without a classics program. “For example, in a modern American cultural history class last semester, we were reading a poem that used some Latin. I was able to translate it on the spot, and also explain the mythological story that part referred to. Studying Classics has helped my future by giving me the tools to understand parts of the world better.”

This weekend was an opportunity for students and faculty to showcase their passion for classics, and it all took place right here at MC.

Timothy Yates
Staff Writer

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