Cobber selected to dig in Athenian Agora

Many Cobbers will be working as interns this summer. Junior Michele Hockett is one of those Cobbers, but there’s one catch. Her internship is over 5,000 miles away and she’s going to have to get her hands dirty.

Hockett, majoring in sociology and classical studies, has been accepted for a prestigious internship in Athens, Greece. She will be working as an excavator in Athenian Agora for the American School of Classical Studies.

“The opportunity to participate in the summer excavations in the Athenian Agora is prestigious in that so few students are selected from the myriad who apply,” said classical studies professor Edward Schmoll.

Of the myriad of students who apply, only 35 students were selected for this opportunity. Additionally, 20 of the 35 are returning students meaning that only 15 new students were selected from the United States and Greece. Not only that, but they also typically accept graduate school students. Only about one third of the students are undergraduates.

“She is one out of 15 chosen nationally. I mean, how more elite can you get?” said art professor Peter Schultz.

Schultz informed Hockett of the internship and showed her the Web site. Hockett was immediately interested and quickly applied. Schultz and Schmoll wrote letters of recommendation for her. Hockett cited both professors as being incredibly helpful to her throughout the process. She then flew to Philadelphia, Pa. in January to have an interview with the director and attend the Archaeological Institute of America conference.

Hockett recalled the interview as one of the most unique she’s ever had. The director of the program told her that he didn’t care about her education; he would rather have someone who will work hard and who can get along with people on long, hot, hard days than someone who could translate ancient Greek. He asked Hockett questions about her family, her summers, and her work ethic.

Hockett learned she was accepted in early March, and since then her emotions have been running high.

“I’m so excited. I’ve cried a couple times about it. I haven’t really had time to think about it because I’m focusing on school…but I just can’t wait,” she said with a smile.

“While her selection redounds to the credit of Concordia,” Schmoll said, “the honor is genuinely hers. She has earned it.”

Hockett will leave for Athens June 6. Every day after that she will be digging in the agora until August 2. The agora is an ancient marketplace. They’ve found everything from graves to ancient homes, as well as a lot of pottery and other artifacts there, Hockett said.

“Just the idea of touching something that no one else has touched for thosands of years is really exciting,” said Hockett.

Hockett has had a longtime interest in ancient Greek culture ever since she traveled to Greece with the Credo program her sophomore year. She said it was studying abroad that made her fall in love with Greece.

Hockett thinks her love of ancient cultures might become a lifelong affair. After graduation, Hockett would like to join the Peace Corps for a few years, then go on to graduate school for archeology or anthropology.

“I want a career in this,” she said.

Hockett knows that her summer internship will be tough, but said she is planning to work hard and prove that she has what it takes.

“I’ll be one of the youngest people there,” she said. “I’m going to be learn something from everybody there.”

After her internship is complete, Hockett intends to stay in Greece until the school year begins to travel for a while.

“I’m also expecting to enjoy myself, I mean it’s a summer in Greece!” she said with a laugh.

Schultz agrees. “She’s going to have the time of her life,” he said. “She’ll be a great ambassador for the college.”

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