Monday, April 4, 2016

Sarah Crosley, 2016 Senior Star in Classics

The Department of Languages announces Sarah Crosley, the 2016 Senior Star in Classics. The Department recognizes her devotion to language learning (Latin, Greek, and Roumanian), her membership in Phi Sigma Iota and winner of a 2015 Phi Sigma Iota Scholarship, and her Journey experience. In her photo, Sarah visits Mount Vesuvius and explains: "In this photo, I am about 2/3 of the way up Vesuvius, the infamous volcano that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Behind me is the dried lava from the most recent eruption in the 1960s. During this entire trip, I was stunned and amazed by my surroundings because after spending years studying these locations, I could not fathom what it would feel like to be actually there."
Sarah Crosley, Senior Star in Classics
When our official departmental page is finished its upgrade, Sarah's picture and statement will join other senior stars featured there, but we are happy to include her statement in this post.

I began studying Latin in high school, but my interest in the language as something other than a simple requirement was not sparked until my first year at Jewell. As a first-year, I was simultaneously impressed and intimidated by Dr. Woodruff. There was something about how I perceived her presence in the classroom that inspired and encouraged me to continue past the 200-level required course.

Since that first class, I have had at least one class a semester with Dr. Woodruff. One semester in particular, I had three classes with her. I’ve added Greek to my studies, taken Roman history, and done my own research on interactions of Roman religion and foreign cults. And throughout all of this, Dr. Woodruff has been a guiding force and without her support I would not have been able to achieve the level of success that I have attained at Jewell.

While it is clear to me that I have learned a massive amount of information and my reading list is long and broad, I have learned so much more that I believe is specific to studying a language and doing so on a higher, more individual level. I have learned that taking responsibility and charge of my education is the most important thing I can do for myself, especially when there isn’t another student for you to lean on in the class. I have learned that loving what you do and what you read is so much more important than always having the right translation. I have learned that if you don’t know the word or where to start translating a sentence, staring blankly at Dr. Woodruff is not a real solution.

As a junior at Jewell, I joined Phi Sigma Iota, the language honors society. With the help and support of Dr. Myers and Dr. Woodruff, I was awarded a scholarship from this national organization so that I could study Romanian before traveling there to participate in an archeological dig for three weeks. I was awarded additional funding by the College for this opportunity and also for a two-week academic study tour through southern Italy. Both of these experiences augmented my studies at Jewell, and the work I did in Romania inspired my senior Capstone research project.

In my opinion, studying the language of a different culture or country is one of the most respectful steps a person can take toward full understanding of that culture or country. So much of language interacts with, influences, and directs culture; learning another language, whether modern or ancient, reveals deeper aspects of that culture that cannot be found solely in a history book. Language is a structure that we utilize on a daily basis and I cannot picture what my education at Jewell would look like without it.

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