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Kelci SchillyBS/BA 2015, Chemistry and Classics (Combined Greek and Latin)
PhD, Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Kansas, 2021

I graduated from UNC in May 2015 with a double major in Chemistry (BS) and Classics, Greek and Latin language.  I am currently a second-year graduate student at the University of Kansas working on earning my PhD in Bioanalytical Chemistry.  After graduation, I am hoping to start a career in the pharmaceutical industry.  I fell in love with Latin in high school and when I arrived at UNC I knew I wanted to continue my study of the language and culture.  After my first semester of taking Greek I declared a second major in Classics that ended up being one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at UNC.  The UNC Classics department is like a family, with excellent professors who genuinely care about their students and just love sharing their passion for their field with anyone who enters their classroom or office.

By studying Classics, I was able to maintain a balanced course load between the sciences and the humanities for all four years.  In a practical sense, this enabled me to hone my writing skills through all the term papers and expand my vocabulary, both of which will serve me well in my future career by enabling me to better communicate my work.  However, there were also several less tangible benefits Classics brought to my overall education.  I have found that the same critical thinking skills necessary to piece together the meaning of complicated Greek or Latin sentences is easily applied to the process of scientific research and problem solving.  The passion for the field that I witnessed in my professors and classmates has inspired me to keep learning for the sake of learning.  The small class sizes of my Greek and Latin courses provided me with an excellent platform to participate in class discussion and learn to better articulate my ideas.  It was not always easy balancing a demanding science course load with the nightly readings required for Greek and Latin language courses, but I would not trade the experience for anything.

I view the study of Classics as an integral part to a well-rounded education.  It teaches appreciation for other cultures and enables one to explore societal and political concepts from a different perspective.  Learning to read Greek and Latin is an excellent exercise in memorization and critical thinking, and learning to analyze the texts and find meaning in the subtleties of the word choice, allusions, and historical references is a valuable lesson for any analytical career.  My advice for anyone considering the study of Classics would be to go for it!  I may not be officially using my Classics major for my career, but the experiences I gained through these studies will remain with me and I will always treasure the ability to pick up an ancient text to read in its original language in my free time.

August 2016

2021 update: Before finishing her PhD at Kansas in 2021, Kelci worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.