Molly Kuchler ’18 will graduate this May from Rutgers-New Brunswick with a major in Classics (Greek and Latin option) and a minor in Religion. After graduation, Molly hopes to attend graduate school to study ancient history and eventually teach at the college or university level. She is an alumna of the Rutgers Archaeological Field School in Vacone, Italy (2016 season), a member of Eta Sigma Phi (national Classics honor society), and—most recently (fall 2017)—has spent a semester at the highly selective Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome (affectionately known as the Centro). We caught up with Molly to ask her about some of her experiences this past fall as a student in Italy.
RUTGERS CLASSICS: How did your semester at the Centro fit into your Rutgers academic trajectory?
MOLLY KUCHLER: “My time in Italy at the Centro last semester was really a capstone-like experience in my undergraduate career. I saw so many amazing places and objects that I never dreamed that I would see in person, let alone listen to a lecture in front of! The depth and breadth of the program brought the Roman and at times Greek world to life in a way I didn’t know I was missing out on beforehand. The program itself took all of the students and professors everywhere from the Etruscan tombs of Tarquinia (north of Rome) to the southern tip of Sicily and innumerable places in between.”
How would you describe the tone of the Centro program?
“Both week-long and program-wide trips to Sicily and the Naples and Mount Vesuvius area were collectively like a “Classics camp”. All along the way we enjoyed the culture of the regions we were in—trying wine, local seafood, and handmade pasta in Sicily as well as local pastry specialties and of course pizza in Naples. Many of these tastings were sponsored by the program as well, so there was opportunity for everyone to have these experiences together.”
Did you have free time? How did you spend it?
“Outside of class time, I along with my program-mates traveled in and outside of Italy when we had time on the weekends and over our week-long Fall break. I traveled to the Italian island of Elba (where Napoleon was first exiled!) and the seaside town of Anzio, then to Florence, Paris, Malta, and Greece. I lost count of how many local and world-renowned museums I visited both on my own and with the Centro! I also managed to get to the beach a few times throughout the semester, as late as our Fall break in October, which found me with a pineapple cup in hand on a crowded beach on an island in Malta. Two days after that I was 1700 ft in the air standing in front of the Athenian treasury in Delphi! The experiences I had were surreal.”
Would you recommend the Centro to other Rutgers Classics concentrators?
“I cannot recommend the ICCS highly enough to anyone with an interest in Classics or history. I received enough funding to make the trip the same price as a semester at Rutgers, so it wasn’t very stressful in that way. And it isn’t just a semester abroad—it is a semester of immersion in an area so rich in beauty and culture that it seems like a dream. It will tire you out, put you beyond your social and personal limits, and you will certainly come out the better for it. My time in Rome has forever shaped who I am and will be, and it has reaffirmed my intentions for my career and future. One lifetime (semester) is not enough!”
Thanks so much Molly—and all our best wishes for the next stage of your Classics career!