Annie Hoopes, MD
Catherine Karayan, J.D., LL.M. in Taxation
My classics major has helped my legal career in unexpected ways as well. I like tax law because it's like Ancient Greek. No, really -- hear me out. In tax law, you pour through these short, yet complex code sections, littered with defined terms and cross-referencing. They are daunting. The first thing I do is find the verb. Like Ancient Greek or Latin, it's often buried between a mess of clauses and parenthetical phrases. Then, I try to figure out what each word is doing in the sentence. In many cases, I also have to figure out what defined terms like "qualified personal residence" actually mean. My goal is to turn a tax code section into English. It's delightfully reminiscent of my Greek and Latin classes. The ability to carefully translate and analyze isn't limited to the tax code -- it's useful for any close reading -- but I can't help but notice that lawyers with classics degrees are often tax lawyers and they're often very good at what they do.
(Ph.D. Candidate, Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan)
When I started out at Wash U, I had no intention of majoring in Classics. I thought I would just take a couple classes to allow a little more exploration of what I had enjoyed so much in high school. Little did I know that I would find it becoming so much a part of my experience as an undergraduate. That first day, coming from Writing 1 with mostly unimpressed, reluctantly-awake freshmen, and General Chemistry with the hundreds of eager students filling the auditorium and even resorting to sitting on the stairs, to arrive at Latin 318 was bliss. It was a class of eight or so students, so it really provided the chance to engage in discussion and get to know my professor, Cathy Keane. Even before the end of the semester, I was captivated and had happily turned in the major declaration paperwork to Cathy Marler. I ended up taking Latin courses covering everything from Ovid, Juvenal and Apuleius to Seneca, Cicero and Pliny, in addition to a fantastic course on Greek and Roman music and just sneaking in the first half of Intensive Beginning Greek in the spring of my senior year.
I also was a member in the Classics honor society, Eta Sigma Phi, and had great fun helping plan our new member initiations and other events with fellow students. The group of students and faculty in the Classics department is unparalleled, I think, for their kindness, scholarship and general camaraderie. I always looked forward to spending a couple hours in the undergrad study room- never knowing whom you might run into but knowing it would be fun- or attending the weekly Classics TV/movie watching. Certainly the thing I definitely did not anticipate was deciding to write a Latin honors thesis, but when the time came around, registering for that seemed the obvious option. Looking back, I realize that completing that thesis is easily the accomplishment of which I am most proud during my time at Wash U. Even though none of this changed my plan to attend graduate school in biochemistry, the Classical aspect of my education was very influential. It gave me a deep appreciation for logic and precise dissection as a method of study, which provides excellent training for a career in science, and a lasting interest in a wider variety of fields than would have been fostered had I studied just within Biology. I still make sure to visit the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology here at Michigan when they have new exhibits, and even though most of my time now revolves around bacterial gene regulation, some Latin phrases still end up in lab notebook.
As a second year student at Harvard Law School, the education I received in the Classics Department has helped me immensely, and not just so that I understand the term res judicata. The interdisciplinary nature of studying the Classics strongly mirrors analyses of the law – to truly understand a case, a statute, or a piece of Greek or Roman writing, it is necessary to closely analyze the text itself, research the historical background from which the writing arose, and identify the philosophical or political forces affecting the author’s (or authors’) decisions; sometimes, the philosophical ideal driving the text is itself based on classical thought. As a result, I find myself constantly surrounded in law school with the fingerprints of either the skills I received from the Classics Department or the substantive knowledge I gained from an education rooted in Ancient Greek and Latin. Such moments always cause me to think back to the Classics Department in fondness and in thanks.
Paul Allen Miller
Picking up where my high school courses left off, I studied both Latin and Greek at Wash U. I read everything from Cicero to Juvenal and from Plato to Homer, which helped me develop a deep appreciation for skillful writing and good grammar. My courses in Classics prompted me to take a wide range of classes in other fields, including linguistics, philosophy, and astronomy. The legal oratory I read also helped my performances on the Mock Trial team; as one of the attorneys responsible for closing arguments, I was occasionally called on to throw dust in the eyes of the jury. My interest in Classical legal systems led me to write a thesis, with the heroic support and guidance of Dr. William Bubelis, on ancient Athenian court procedure. Unsurprisingly, I am interested in a career in the legal profession. I am now a student at the University of Chicago Law School, where the skills and lessons I learned from Classics continue to serve me well.
I was a late arrival to the Ancient Studies major after academically wandering for my first two years at WashU. I fell in love with ancient history in a Hellenistic Greek history class in the spring of my sophomore year and jumped in the deep end for the next two years, almost exclusively taking courses in and around the Classics Department. My undergraduate career culminated with a senior project on Late Roman Britain, under the tutelage of Dr. Judith Evans-Grubbs. While an undergraduate, I also worked nearly full-time at a Clayton restaurant called The Crossing, where I fell in love with food. After graduation I ultimately decided to pursue a career in food, and cheese presented itself as a perfect food to study and learn from. I now work a unique and interesting job in cheese managing the inventory and providing customer service at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. The history of cheese occupies a unique space with intersecting cultural, geographical, religious, political, and social issues. I often find synergy between working with cheese and my studies in ancient history. I continue to have an interest in ancient history, language, philosophy, and literature and the analytical skills from my major make me a better person, citizen, father, husband, and co-worker. The ability to pick apart a source and look at it from all angles (truly, the heart of any historical inquiry but a skill particularly developed by the student of ancient history) is invaluable and I have my studies in the Classics Department to thank for that.