Parilia is the annual festival to celebrate the “birthday” or foundation of Ancient Rome on April 21st. For the past eight years, Colgate, Union, Hamilton, and Skidmore Classics departments have gathered for an undergraduate conference to commemorate Parilia!

This year, the conference was at Colgate University! Professor Mueller and Professor Raucci brought a group of Classics students, including three of us who presented our senior theses. Shelby Cuomo, who I actually went to high school with also, talked about “The Impact of Marriages and Extramarital Affairs on Political Careers: Case Studies of Julius Caesar and Bill Clinton,” Anh Thao Nguyen discussed “Political Culpability: Exploring Scapegoat Figures in Roman Antiquity,” and I presented on “De-gendering the Tragic Hero(ine): An Exploration of Female Protagonists in Tragedies of Sophocles and Shakespeare.”

Shelby's picture of me, Shelby, and Thao at Parilia!

I was so excited that I was in the first session during the morning. Not only was I ready to get the intimidating public speaking over with, I had the worst deep chest cough and I was worried the medicine would wear off by the afternoon (it did). I made it through the presentation without coughing once- huge victory- and it was actually, in retrospect, really fun! I was dreadfully nervous for the questions portion that I had practiced saying, “That’s so interesting, but unfortunately with the time and the scope of my project I just didn’t look into it” about 100 times the night before, way more than I had even practiced reading through my paper. But, the questions ended up being my favorite part! The professors and students from the other schools had such interesting things to say about my paper- and it was great to hear their feedback and their take on directions for further exploration. It was also such a good opportunity to prepare for Union’s Steinmetz Symposium in May!