College of Arts & Science at Miami University
Evan Hayes (Class of 2011)
- senior double major in classics and philosophy
- minor in medieval studies
- from Columbus, OH
- 2011 Goldman Prize Winner
Don't let your academic experience at Miami begin and end with your classes. Research! There are a ton of opportunities out there to do new and exciting work in any number of fields, but they won't necessarily fall in your lap.
"I'm Evan Hayes. Starting out as a first-year, I was certain I wanted to be a political science major and never would have believed where I'd end up. When I registered for classes for second semester, I saw that the Classics department was offering a class in Medieval Latin. I'd taken Latin in high school and the description in the course catalogue piqued my interest. Although it was just my "fun class" for the semester, Medieval Latin turned out to be one of the most challenging and interesting classes I've had at Miami, and I knew that Classics was the place for me.
Miami has a great liberal education plan that encourages students to take classes outside of their major, to gain experience in other disciplines or just because they sound cool. In my case, this really helped me decide where I belong."
One of the most important aspects of my Miami experience has been the opportunity to engage in research, both with faculty members and independently.
"One of the most important aspects of my Miami experience has been the opportunity to engage in research, both with faculty members and independently. As an Undergraduate Summer Scholar, I designed and implemented a project entitled "Do Androids Read Electric Greek?: Ancient Languages in the Digital Age." This gave me the opportunity to work with Latin and Ancient Greek in new ways, by designing digital tools to help read and understand these languages.
I have also had the unique opportunity of working with the Averroes Project, an interdisciplinary research group made up of students and faculty from several humanities departments. For the last two years, we have worked on the transmission of knowledge from Greek to Arabic to Latin and vernacular languages between classical Greece and the Early Modern era in Europe, focusing mostly on the works of Aristotle. This has allowed me to bring together my Classics and Philosophy majors as well as my minor in medieval studies while working with some of the most fun and engaging people on campus. By participating in this group, I was able to experience what serious research in the humanities is all about, even attending the International Medieval Congress, a major conference in the field.
My work with the Averroes Project encouraged me to pursue my honors thesis through the Dean's Scholar program in the College of Arts and Science. Through this program, I am conducting a yearlong research project on the medieval translations of Aristotle's works of philosophical logic. This will result in a serious work of scholarship, which I plan to submit for departmental honors at the end of this year."
It's really exciting to know that, as a result of the research I've done here at Miami, I've helped create opportunities for future students to study the past in new and different ways.
A New Textbook
"My most recent (and most exciting) project has been working with Dr. Stephen Nimis, professor and chair of the Classics department, on a series of textbooks for students of Greek and Latin. I was able to use the experience I gained and tools I developed working on my Summer Scholars project to create an efficient and versatile environment to process texts in these languages.
By producing glossaries and commentaries, Dr. Nimis and I can create classroom ready versions of ancient works, even those that are rarely taught. We're currently working on a student edition of Lucian's True Story [sample PDF], a comic adventure story that many consider to be the first work of science fiction! It's really exciting to know that, as a result of the research I've done here at Miami, I've helped create opportunities for future students to study the past in new and different ways."
My Advice to Students
"Don't let your academic experience at Miami begin and end with your classes. Research! There are a ton of opportunities out there to do new and exciting work in any number of fields, but they won't necessarily fall in your lap. Get out there, talk to faculty, and find out what you want to do. You may find that the projects you participate in or develop outside of the classroom are the most rewarding."