Graduate Student of the Month - Jeffrey Howard

Jeffrey Howard is a second year MA student in Memorial’s Department of Classics. Throughout Jeffrey’s 27 year teaching career he has taken breaks from the high school classroom to pursue studies in a variety of disciplines. His passion is ancient military history. He is currently a full-time teacher at Waterford Valley High.

What drew you to pursue graduate studies at Memorial University?

I have been a lifelong learner and I have taken undergraduate and graduate courses from several universities in Canada and the United States. Through my studies I have found that Memorial University is a top ranked university and it is very close to home. I was also a graduate student at Memorial in the mid 1990s and graduated with an M.Ed in 1996.

What drew you to explore Classics?

When I graduated with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Memorial University I asked my thesis supervisor if he would provide me with a reference for post-graduate studies. He said he would once I found what my true passion was. At the same time I had been hired as a high school social studies teacher with one slot of history. I fell in love with history and completed ten undergraduate courses in history and then a MA degree in military history. Upon completing this second graduate degree I spoke to a graduate advisor in the history department who advised me that I must be proficient in the languages in which I would conduct research. I told him my passion was in ancient Roman and Greek warfare.He then informed me that my research would involve the study of Latin and Ancient Greek documents. Not to be deterred I began studies in introductory Latin and Greek and continued my studies at the graduate level in classics. So here I am.

Can you tell us a bit about your current research?

I am currently combing through ancient Roman historical writings such as Livy, seeking evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder among ancient Roman soldiers.

A supervisor can be key to the success of any grad student. What does your supervisor bring to the role as your advisor and mentor?

My supervisor is Dr. Tana Allen, Department Head of classics. I was a student of Dr. Allen’s in undergraduate Latin and Roman history. When she saw the passion I held for Roman history she encouraged me to apply for graduate studies in classics. Since then Dr. Allen’s expertise in ancient Roman history and archaeology have been an invaluable resource in my research.cAs a graduate student in Classics I also have the support of the entire classics’ faculty. They are all aware of my research interests and provide valuable feedback and research leads.

Have you attended any conferences/delivered any papers this year? Can you give details?

I have not attended any conferences this year but I have attended a number of lectures sponsored by the classics department and the Scholarship in the Arts fund. This speaker’s series has brought renowned classicists from Western Ontario, Winnipeg, British Columbia and Memorial University to MUN to speak on a series of topics about the ancient world.

Are you involved in any organization on-campus or off? If so, can you explain and detail such involvement?

I am also a research assistant for Dr. Sebastien Rossignol in the history department. I am assisting in primary source analysis of Medieval Latin documents.

What do you like most about being a graduate student at MUN?

I felt more like a colleague than a student in the classics department. As well, it is just as important to the department that I succeed as it is to me. You cannot get any greater support than that. As well, I got the opportunity to meet my two daughters for coffee or lunch much more often since they also attend Memorial.

What do you hope to do after completing your graduate degree?

I hope to pursue my doctorate in ancient history. Since Memorial does not have a Ph.D in Classics I am currently exploring options under the Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies. In addition to more studies, my wife Robin and I plan to travel extensively throughout Italy and the Mediterranean region, combining leisure and research among the ancient ruins of the former Roman Empire.

 

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