Make The Connection

January 29, 2018 | By Gopika Nair '18

‘My Whole World Became So Much Larger’

Classics Students Earn Trip to Rome, Florence, Pompeii

Name: Erin Fannin ’18
Majors: Classics and Theatre
Minor: English
Hometown: Goshen, Ohio

Name: Karis Lowrie ’18
Majors: Classics and Zoology
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Oregonia, Ohio

Experience: Herbst Prize, “Remnants of an Ancient World.”

Fannin and Lowrie were awarded the Herbst Prize, a grant exclusive to Ohio Wesleyan’s Classics Program, to travel to Rome, Florence, and Pompeii. Lee Fratantuono, Ph.D., helped the students organize their project and plan their trip.

Lessons Learned

Erin Fannin ’18

Fannin: “The biggest thing I learned was not to be afraid. Before this trip I had never been outside of the U.S. and never gone anywhere without my family. Through this experience, I found that I was capable of taking a step outside my comfort zone, and it all paid off.

“I saw things I’d only [read about] in books and [seen] on TV. In Rome, we walked through the Colosseum where Gladiators used to fight and into the Vatican to gaze upon their collections of Roman, Greek, Babylonian, and Egyptian artifacts. In Florence, we saw David and literally stumbled upon a castle where we went down into the crypts to see the resting places of knights. My whole world became so much larger.

“Prior to taking this trip, I took the Roman Republic course, which set out the first half of the great Roman Empire, where I learned how Rome came to be.

“In Naples, at the National Archeology Museum, I came across a sarcophagus that had been recently uncovered. Carved into this sarcophagus was the mythological story of Medea. This tied into my theatre major as my senior project was to perform excerpts from Euripides’ ‘Medea.’ My studies in Latin came into play in museums and crypts and all the sites we went to. I was able to read most of what I came across rather than on the [provided] translation because oftentimes there is something lost in translation.

“Now, not only do I want to go back and see the places I visited, but I also want to explore more. I’ve been looking into jobs with museums and other organizations that do archeological work because there is still so much to uncover.”

Karis Lowrie’18

Lowrie: “We learned a lot through the various museums and archaeology tours about the ancient history we study in classics. It was amazing to experience what it was like and to stand on the ancient ground. ...

“My favorite part of the trip was climbing Mt. Vesuvius. It was what I was most excited about for the trip to begin with. For the trip, a bus drives you part of the way up the mountain and then you hike the rest of the way and then to the rim of the crater.

“As we were driving up Mt. Vesuvius, we noticed a fire had broken out across the mountain. They were just beginning voluntary evacuation so we kept going up. During the hike, there was ash and embers landing on us, and it looked almost like it was snowing. By the time we reached the rim, there was smoke everywhere and you could not see anything toward the base of the mountain. We did find a few lizards running around on the rocky area above the tree line, which seemed eerie juxtaposed with the approaching fire.

“We made it back down to the bus before the fire line reached us, and they were starting mandatory evacuations at this time. We passed through the fire line on the drive down and everything changed immediately, what used to be green trees and plants was replaced by charred logs and dirt. Vesuvius was incredible to experience and being on the mountain during the fire was something I will not soon forget.” 

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

Fannin: “Ohio Wesleyan was recommended to me by my high school counselor. I liked the variety of majors offered and the flexibility in classes. I ended up choosing to come here because I was able to get a scholarship, which made the dream of going to college a reality for me.”

Lowrie: “I chose OWU due to the relatively low class size and professor-student ratio. I was looking for a university with a good zoology program that [would give me] hands-on experience. I was also interested in the different travel opportunities provided to the students. OWU has been an amazing experience, and I’m very grateful for my time here.”

My Plans After Graduation

Fannin: “I plan to find work in the theatre field in the first few years. I want to save up money while gaining experience. Once I’m in a more stable place, I would like to go to graduate school and pursue a master’s in classics. As of right now, I am keeping my options open to find work in both my majors.”

Lowrie: “I am working to build my career in wildlife rehabilitation.”