Joshua Bayona ‘22 is furthering his understanding of the classical world as he pursues a two-year M.A. in classical studies at Washington University in St. Louis. There, the classical languages major and linguistics minor will be looking deeper into classical society by delving into his interests, late Republican and early imperial Roman social and political history and historiography, and ancient science and medicine.
Bayona was drawn to WashU for many reasons, including some features it shares with Haverford. He explained that he was personally drawn to a number of professors due to their research interests being similar to his own interests. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to write a master’s thesis in their second year, which Bayona said would help refine his research and writing skills. This will build off of his senior thesis, which explores the ways the Roman historian Tacitus uses medical interactions in his Annals to advance arguments about the imperial government.
“Through Haverford’s coursework and the experience of researching and writing my thesis, I’ve found classics to be both a challenging but also rewarding discipline that I wanted to continue after graduation,” Bayona said.
He noted that the Classics Department’s tight-knit, congenial atmosphere was determining factors for his decision to continue pursuing the field after Haverford.
Bayona also recognized that serving as a teaching assistant for “Elementary Latin” classes, as well as a department assistant, allowed him to learn more about classics as a professional discipline. He hopes to continue this as he pursues his master’s by serving as an Assistant in Instruction (AI).
“The program employs master’s students as AIs, who help professors teach undergraduate language, culture, and history classes, so I’ll gain valuable pedagogical experience—this is relatively rare for a master’s program in classics,” Bayona said.
His decision to attend graduate school was also influenced by his professors who walked that path before him. In addition to getting advice from Associate Professor Matt Farmer and Visiting Assistant Professor Hannah Silverblank ‘12, he learned a lot from his thesis advisor, Associate Professor of Classics Bret Mulligan, who guided him through classics research and writing.
“I talked to my Haverford professors several times as I went through the application process, and their advice was invaluable,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out to current grad students in the programs you’re looking at and ask them questions about their experiences.”
Bayona described that when searching for a graduate program, he did research into many professors’ CVs, publications, student theses, and department handbooks, all to find the program where he could pursue his interests most effectively.
“Give yourself room and flexibility for your specific interests to shift a little — mine certainly have over the course of this last year, so whatever program you choose, it’s a good idea to make sure there’s at least more than one professor you’d like to work with,” he said.
While he isn’t sure if he will pursue teaching or a Ph.D., or something completely different next, Bayona is certain that WashU will provide him with the support he needs.
“Classics is a very interdisciplinary field, so whatever I decide I know the skills I’ll gain in this program will help me,” he said.
“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.