Over the past two weeks, I have enjoyed the wonderful gift of serving as an intern for the 2017 Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) seminar here at the Center for Hellenic Studies. As an undergraduate self-designed Classics and History double major, I have been taking courses all year in topics such as epic and myth, Greek language, Greek political history, as well as my latest foray, early Christianity. Plato has been in the background of every class, but never a major topic. Therefore, a seminar of this intensity about the philosopher has been the perfect way to unite and polish the year.
As an intern, my duties have been taking notes during the seminar, working with the streaming and recording capabilities of the CHS, ensuring that the thirsty horde of professors gets their coffee at snack time, and of course, cleanup afterwards. Being part of the force that enables these seminars to take place has impressed upon me the exact goals that the CHS had in mind for students at the end of the seminar. First and foremost, being here allowed me to take the seminar; but more so, being expected to take notes not for myself but for the utility of the participants and posterity of the seminar meant that I had to pay careful attention to our discussion. I was even required to participate by preparing a discussion topic much like the professors had to. Learning how to stream, record, and edit our sessions was something that simply cannot happen in my small, Midwestern college of Ripon College. I will definitely go home and tell my faculty about Sunoikisis, as we learned about over dinner, a step towards the future classroom that is very possible there. Finally, the last goal of the seminar was to show students their faculty in intellectual discourse, and we interns surely saw a lot of that. Perhaps more interesting and profound things were said over coffee and during meals than were said in the structured seminar environment. And cleaning up after it all was still made perfect sense in this context: the goal of improving the experience of the seminar participants was the same, for me at least, whether I was taking out the trash and washing dishes or frantically googling facts, books, and pictures to show during the seminar.
My long year has been leading up to this very moment, but I would never have arrived had it not been for the help of many others. I will do this chronologically, from my perspective: First, I would like to thank Dean Ed Wingenbach, who even put the idea in my head that I should do something like this over the summer, and told me that the CHS existed. Next, I would like to thank Professor Eddie Lowry and Professor Diane Mockridge for endlessly working for and with me, and for their prudent counsel, and for writing the letters of recommendation for this internship. Next, I would like to thank Emily Kohut, Allie Marby, Lanah Koelle, Professor Kenney Morell, and Professor Greg Nagy for welcoming me and making me feel at home here at the CHS. They really are practicing what they preach here about inclusivity; I felt perfectly comfortable here, like a colleague, not an intern. Next, I would like to thank Adam and Jordan, my fellow interns, for being amazing coworkers and friends. Finally, I would like to thank the CIC, and all the faculty members from around the country for providing me with this opportunity and making it what it was. This has truly been a treasure of an experience, and as soon as I can come back, I will.