Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate majors in the Department of  Classical Studies have the opportunity to pursue research interests. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides financial support for student research stipends, supplies, and travel. Research through UROP must take place under the guidance of a BU faculty mentor, and is defined as any scientific or scholarly activity that contributes to the production of new knowledge. Visit their website for more information.

Current Undergraduate Researchers:

sydney_shea-150x150Sydney Shea (CAS ’14, Ancient Greek and Latin)
Mentor: Jeffrey Henderson, Classical Studies
Alexandria’s Influence: the Culture of Editing Homeric Manuscripts
2nd place poster at 16th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium: link

After studying Homer’s Iliad as a sophomore, Sydney developed a strong interest in Hellenistic manuscripts.
Editors at the Library of Alexandria who processed centuries of Homeric oral poetry into written form each had their own unique style—some considered strict and some more liberal. Nonetheless, all contributed to today’s perception of Homer’s heroic epic, the Iliad. The editor of any manuscript is responsible for forming the text so that it influences an audience in a distinct way. Individual editorial styles and agendas have the ability to dictate how an audience receives a text, and to affect how it is perceived and preserved in a culture. In this research, Sydney investigated ways in which ancient editorial culture have influenced today’s perception of the Iliad, one of our greatest text sources for early Western civilization. She began with some background about life at the Library of Alexandria and how scribes, editors, and librarians operated, then investigated two of the most important Homeric editors at the Library, Zenodotus and Aristarchus, and analyzed their respective editing styles.
Finally, Sydney offers several hypotheses concerning the editors’ impacts by showing the crucial difference between various versions of the Iliad, which illuminate the level of difficulty editors faced when deciding on certain versions. Sydney plans to pursue a graduate degree in Classics, as a way to continue studying the subject she loves. She encourages other students to try research, whether or not they have found their passion, and strongly feels that research “helps you determine your path in life.” Students shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to experts outside their department and even the Boston University community.

Sydney’s Abstract



Meghan Kelly (Pictured left)
(CAS’15, Classical Civilization and English)
Antiquity in Ireland: A Digital Humanities Examination of the Classical Allusions in Yeats
Sarah Weiskettel (Pictured far left)
(CAS’14, Ancient Greek and Latin)
Antiquity in Ireland: Classical Allusions in Joyce

Sarah and Meghan are collaborating on a webpage, in which they discuss classical allusions in modern Irish literature.  Subjects in the humanities often have reputation of being ‘behind the times’ or largely ignorant of technology. The digital humanities is an exciting newly developed field that aims to integrate technology into the humanities. Technology has to potential to enhance and even revolutionize fields like the classics by making texts digitally accessible in online databases, allowing for computational analysis, and inspiring new kinds of interactive and multimedia scholarship. Sarah and Meghan hope that their website will be useful and enlightening to classicists, Irish studies scholars, and students worldwide.

Sarah’s Abstract
Meghan’s Abstract