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Department of Classics
The University of Mississippi

Gabby Coggin – Alumna Spotlight

Internship Coordinator & Academic Advisor, University of South Carolina Honors College

BA in Classics, emphasis in Classical Civilization, minor in English (2013)
MA in Anthropology (2016)

Gabby Coggins has worked in higher education, first at the University of Mississippi and now at the University of South Carolina. At UM, she worked first for the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s office as an Academic Counselor where she helped many graduating Liberal Arts students on degree requirements, course selections, academic rules and policies, and the degree application process.  She then worked with the Division of Outreach as the Program Coordinator for Study USA.  She was a coordinator for the Internship Experience program in Washington, D.C., New York and Atlanta.

She is now an Academic Advisor and Internship Coordinator at the University of South Carolina Honors College in Columbia. She has also worked with the National Society for Experiential Education, first as Experiential Kickoff Subcommittee Chair then as the NSEE 51st Annual Conference Chair. As chair of the annual conference, she facilitates monthly meetings with the planning committee, assists with any planning tasks, and collaborates with the NSEE board.

She has been working on a doctoral degree in higher education/higher education administration.


Why did you decide to major in Classics?
Latin was the first step into Classics. I loved the language, I was surprisingly not too bad at it, and had never taken a foreign language before. But really, I didn’t know Classics was an option as a field of study. I had always enjoyed history, specifically of the Mediterranean region, and when I found Classics, it was everything I wanted.

What were some significant accomplishments or favorite Classics-relevant memories while at UM?
Definitely my study abroad trips to Greece and Italy. Because of the support of the department and my family, I found new passions and interests during two summer trips. I had never traveled without my family, and had definitely never left the country, so doing both on a trip to Greece opened my eyes to a whole new world. It was a personal accomplishment to be more independent, and discover myself beyond my small hometown. My studies in Italy resulted in my Honors College thesis topic, and were my first step into archaeology, and I later received my master’s degree in Anthropology.  My master’s degree was a mixture of cultural anthropology and archaeology, and my thesis treated the influence of cultural changes and power regimes on religious architecture in Syracuse, Sicily.

Why study classics at UM?
The small department allows for deeper discussions, more individualized attention and exciting opportunities. The faculty are passionate, and really enjoy teaching their subjects. I learned so much in class, but also from being around them at events and during office hours. I would do it again everyday if given the choice. The UM Classics faculty helped shape me into the strong, empathetic, reflective scholar that I am today. They encouraged me when I was scared, supported me when I was tired, stood by during a tough thesis defense, and still celebrate with me to this day.

What do you see as the value of classics in today’s world?
At the base level, my English and grammar were much improved by taking Latin. Ha ha.

Classics taught me to think deeper, to ask questions, and reflect on the similarities in today’s world. Coming from a small town in Mississippi, I was always surrounded by people that thought the same things as me. The Classics department challenged me to think differently, to see things through a different perspective, and it made me the empathetic person I am today. I work with undergraduate students of all ages and phases of life. I have turned my interests and research towards cultural awareness in the workplace for interns, which I attribute to the lessons I learned as a Classics major.

I can see the effects of the Roman culture in today’s politics, the Greek culture in the church I attend, and think about Classics daily. I now attend a Greek Orthodox church where I can practice my Ancient Greek language, and I’m still learning the history of the region.