Alumni reflect - conversations with Classics Club members
Where are you now?
“Professionally, I’m a writer in Hollywood with experience at Disney Animation, Pixar, Amazon Studios, Skydance, and quite a few projects with The Muppets. I’m developing an animated show with Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band, and have a new Christmas movie going into production with Eddie Murphy. Academically, I’m also a tenured professor of English and Theater at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.” -Dr. Kelly Younger (MA, Classical Studies)
“Right now I'm taking some time off after 28 years as a software engineer, engineering manager, and Chief Technology Officer. I've spent my career building software products and high-performing engineering teams with my roots in Open Source and Free Software. I've worked at a number of companies, including Apple, Google, and co-founded my own company, Tock.” -Brian Fitzpatrick (BA in Latin with a Greek Minor)
“I am a business analyst for the Girl Scouts of Colorado.” -Andrew Keyser (BA, Classical Civilizations)
“I teach Latin and Ancient Greek at a high school full-time, and I am also in the master’s program in philosophy at Loyola. I teach at a small private school in Naperville.” -Rebecca Caithamer (BA, Ancient Greek and Classical Civilizations, minor in Latin)
“Academically, I graduated with a masters in humanities in 2015, a year after my postbac with the classics program. Currently, for the past five and a half years, I have been working at Northwestern University doing a variety of roles in administration and academic coordination. I am an executive assistant and administrative coordinator for the dean, doing lots of coordinating and supporting lots of high-level executive functions and initiatives.” -Parth Joshi (BA, Classical Civilizations; postbacc graduate)
“I am working fulltime downtown as a medical assistant at a mid-sized medical practice, as well as doing parttime tutoring. I’m pursuing medical school so I’m working at this practice fulltime.” -Christina Pham (BA, Latin and Classical Civilizations)
What difference has studying Classics made in your life?
“It’s made a world of difference and I incorporate lessons learned on a daily basis. As a storyteller, I am constantly reconnecting to ancient story structure, characters, plots, archetypes, and themes. Basically, the Poetics.” -Dr. Kelly Younger
“It has been the foundation for the -- often unique -- perspective that I bring to my work in software engineering. In an industry (and, specifically the companies I worked at) where the vast majority of the engineers have degrees in computer science, my humanities-rooted perspective often helped me look at things from a different angle than other people in the organization. This led me to build teams like the ones I built at Google that literally changed the industry and the internet, including Google's Data Liberation Front (responsible for launching https://takeout.google.com/ and changing the way that companies treat the lock-in of your data) as well as Google's Transparency Engineering team which is responsible for sharing actual data that helped shape internet policy worldwide (see the Google Transparency Report here https://transparencyreport.google.com/). Fun fact: My work attracted engineers who had Classics degrees when I worked at Google and at one point 20% of my team had degrees in Classics!” -Brian Fitzpatrick
“There’s a transformative power to reading these texts and feeling known by the concepts in them, especially when they talk about big concepts like death, friendship, truth, and beauty…Even though 2000 years separate us, these ideas that they identify are still true. The timelessness of Classics makes it more powerful.” -Rebecca Caithamer
“Classics teaches deep reading, helps avoid misreading, and encourages critical thought.” -Parth Joshi
“Professionally, studying these texts in an ancient language and having to pay such close attention to each word to decipher it correctly taught me to be very detail-oriented, to the point where it’s automatic for me to think this way. Now when I’m working at this job I feel like I notice a lot of details that my coworkers don’t, like they don’t start from the details and go to the bigger picture. That’s a lot of the reason why I’m so successful at this job now and a lot of it is just paying attention to small details.” -Christina Pham
Why is pursuing a Classics degree beneficial to students at Loyola?
“A classics degree might not get you your first job, but it will get you your first promotion.” -Dr. Kelly Younger
“The Classics really develop your critical thinking skills and your brain…It also cultivates inquisitiveness. I felt encouraged to ask questions and connect ideas in all my classes, which was a great environment that promoted that type of behavior. It’s really good to ask questions everywhere in all of your classes, but Classics really reinforced that.” -Rebecca Caithamer
“I've always felt that my degree in Classics gave me not only the data that I learned from my classes, but gave me a full set of tools for a lifetime of learning, decomposing, and analyzing any complex problem, issue, or mechanism. I'm a life-long learner and tinkerer and many is the time that I've walked head-on into something that I didn't fully understand. My training in the Classics enabled me -- much like when I was trying to muddle my way through a translation where I wasn't sure of some of the words (and didn't have a dictionary at hand--remember this was before Google!) and I would be able to sort out the meaning of a sentence by extrapolation. This set of tools enabled me to learn multiple computer languages with no formal training as my career grew (and the industry changed) as well as delve into complex issues of internet policy with no background in policy or law.” -Brian Fitzpatrick
“If you’re pursuing STEM, I think it also helpful to pursue a humanities degree alongside that. One of the great things about Classics is that with other humanities classes you have to pick, like do you want to study philosophy, do you want to study linguistics, do you want to study literature…. But with Classics, it’s more of a mixed bag and it truly embodies the jack-of-all-trades method of learning, a very renaissance type of learning. You learn linguistics through studying a piece of ancient literature in the ancient language itself. I like that…you get more out of it than you would from just one school of study. Classics provides you lots of insight into different schools of thought and helps you think in different ways.” -Christina Pham