Archaeology and Classics Professor Beth Fisher
Victoria Harrison '13
-story by Lena Wallace '14
Randolph-Macon College Professor Beth Fisher looks forward to working with more
students interested in the archaeology
major, which was added to the curriculum in 2012. Fisher, who teaches archaeology
and classics, was thrilled to celebrate R-MC’s
first archaeology major at the 2013 Commencement ceremony.
A Transformative Experience
Victoria Harrison ’13, an Orange County, Virginia native and archaeology
and Greek major, took many of Fisher’s courses.
“Professor Fisher’s advice was helpful from the first day I met her, and I thank
her for single-handedly giving me a backbone,” says Harrison. “She helped me transform
from a shy student who couldn’t speak up in class to a confident young woman. When
I came to Randolph-Macon, I knew about Professor Fisher and Classics Professor John
Camp and their international careers. I was so happy when Professor Fisher told
me, during my senior year, about the archaeology major. To know that I am the first
student to graduate with a major in archaeology makes me very proud.”
This summer Harrison is digging in the Athenian
Agora under the supervision of Camp, the
Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation Professor of Classics. Each year Randolph-Macon
students can apply to join other undergraduate and graduate students from all over
the world at the summer excavations. During this eight-week dig, excavators live
in apartments in Kolonaki on the slopes of Mt. Lykavettos and learn firsthand about
the techniques of archaeological work and the Classical world.
“I will spend two months digging in the birthplace of democracy, where Plato and
Aristotle walked centuries ago,” says Harrison. When she returns from the Agora,
she hopes to work for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in Williamsburg, Virginia,
and she eventually plans to earn a Ph.D. in archaeology.
This summer Fisher is advising five students at the Athenian Agora and one student
at the Mohegan Archaeological Field School in Connecticut; the latter is sponsored
by the University of Leicester. Archaeology major and classics minor Emily Savino
’15 is excited about participating at the Mohegan Archaeological Fields
“Professor Fisher made special assignments for me and I will receive academic credit
for the class,” says Savino. “I don’t think I would have been accepted into the
program without the things I learned in her classes.” Savino says the lab portion
of the class, in which students dug at Signal Hill Plantation in Hanover County,
helped prepare her for field school. “Professor Fisher's instruction in tool etiquette
and usage, the process of recording each part of the excavation, and keeping a field
notebook will help me the most at field school.”
Fisher said she enjoys teaching at Randolph-Macon College because she can explore
a range of topics.
“I have the opportunity to teach a wide variety of subjects, including
art history, archaeology and languages,” she says. “The archaeology major
includes methods, archaeological law and field experience.” Fisher has also taught
First-Year Experience (FYE) courses, including Archaeological
Methods/ Irreplaceable Resources, which she team-taught with
Environmental Studies and Biology Professor
Alumnae Success Stories
Krystin Husz ’12, who majored in classics and
Latin, spent two summers working in the Athenian Agora and plans to pursue
a career in cultural heritage law.
“I am so pleased that Krystin is going to law school,” says Fisher. “I congratulate
Krystin and wish her well in her future studies. Her decision to join her love of
archaeology with a career in law is a great example of the flexibility and success
of a Randolph-Macon education.”
Laura Gawlinski ’98 recently received tenure at Loyola University
Chicago, where she teaches Greek religion, epigraphy, archaeology and topography.
Gawlinski was one of Fisher’s first students to dig in the Athenian Agora and is
now one of the Agora field supervisors.
Fisher’s plans for January Term (J-term) 2014
include traveling with students to study archaeology in Israel. Participants will
visit museums with expert guides and study Hellenistic cisterns (underground reservoirs).
In 2012 students visited archaeological sites,
museums, monuments, synagogues and churches in Jerusalem and throughout Israel.
Fisher, who joined the R-MC faculty in 1988, earned her B.A. from William and Mary,
her M.A. from Florida State and her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. She
was presented the Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Professor Award at the
2013 Honors Convocation ceremony.