Every year we count on a set of celebrations in the Department of Classical Studies to mark the culmination of the academic year. The Philips Awards ceremony is one of the happiest of these events. It brings together students, family, friends, and faculty in a beautiful event honoring outstanding student performance. The Phillips Classical Prizes are a long-standing tradition in the department to promote and encourage the study of Greek and Latin. They originate from an endowed scholarship fund, bequeathed to the Department in the will of Henry Phillips, who died in 1895. The Phillips Classical Prizes are awarded annually to outstanding undergraduate students who, by virtue of a special examination, prove their excellence in the various levels of Latin or Ancient Greek. Modern Greek Prizes have been awarded annually since 1993 to undergraduate students at an intermediate and advanced-intermediate level for excellence demonstrated in the Modern Greek translation competition. 

Every year we have been able to come together for the Philips Awards ceremony to honor these prizewinners…  Except this year. 

On Wednesday, March 11, students learned that all instruction would become remote and public gatherings would be cancelled. That Wednesday evening, at 6:00 pm, a group of dedicated undergraduates gathered in one of the auditoriums of Angell Hall to take sight translation exams in Ancient Greek, Latin, and Modern Greek. Spread out in the hall, they translated passages into English from the ancient languages, and from Greek to English and English to Greek in the modern language. This was their last in-person instructional meeting of the year. 

With this announcement, we honor, with pride and joy—and a book prize of their choice—the winners of the Phillips Classical Prize competition, the Modern Greek Prize competition, and also the Contexts for Classics literary translation competition. The latter is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students from any department or college who submitted their own creative translations of Ancient Greek, Latin, and Modern Greek cultural texts. All of these students have excelled in the study of language and specifically in the transfer from one language to another of meaning at the level of words, ideas, connotations, structures, feelings, modes of thinking, and situations. Contexts for Classics (CFC) is an interdepartmental faculty initiative that aims to rethink the discipline(s) of Classical Studies from various critical, historical, and pedagogical perspectives. CFC sponsors several events annually, including the translation contest for undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Michigan.

Students, we are proud of your accomplishments, and just sorry we can’t say this to you in person.

The Department of Classical Studies is pleased to announce this year’s winners. Click here to read translations on the Contexts for Classics website.


Undergraduate Award Winners



Awarded the CFC Undergraduate Translation Prize for Euripides’ Medea

Shannon is a fourth-year Classical Archaeology major at the University of Michigan, currently finishing off her honors thesis about Roman-Egyptian store buildings and the grain trade. Her research interests include colonial interactions, the archaeology of rural communities, ancient agricultural practices and food production, and archaeobotany.



Recipient of the Phillips Classical Prize for Latin 5

Catharine Fennessey is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. She is majoring in Classical Languages and Literature with a focus on Latin.



Recipient of the Phillips Classical Prize for Greek 1a – Classical and the Phillips Classical Prize for Latin 4

Bellina Gaskey is a junior with an honors major in Classical Languages and Literature and she is also working towards an undergraduate certificate with the Graham Sustainability Scholars. She’s planning on applying to graduate school in Classics and will see wherever that takes her! 



Awarded the CFC Undergraduate Translation Prize for Dimitris Athinakis, ‘Frailty’

Vasili is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts where he is majoring in Economics with minors in Modern Greek Language and Culture, and Business Administration through the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.  He is a five-term University Honors recipient and a three-term James B. Angell Scholar.  Vasili also serves as an undergraduate research assistant for a graduate student in LSA Sociology and was a member of the Public Service Intern Program’s (PSIP) 51st cohort.



Recipient of the Phillips Classical Prize for Latin 1

Kara Kozma is a freshman planning to major both in Classical Languages and Literatures and in English.  As a burgeoning Plato enthusiast, she enjoys exploring the relationship between ancient philosophy and Romantic poetry, and as a steadfast admirer of Scipio Africanus, she favors the study of Roman generals, weapons, and tactics.  Kara has been inspired by her high school Latin teacher, Mr. William Finch, to work toward becoming a professor of Classics.




Recipient of the Modern Greek Translation Prize – Intermediate

Katerina Meidanis is from West Bloomfield, Michigan.  She is currently a senior at the Stamp's School of Art and Design where she is focusing on 3D design, specifically product and furniture design. Eventually, she would like to get her Master's in design or art.  Her online portfolio is https://www.katerinameidanis.com/ if you would like to check it out!  She has been studying the Greek language for a total of 9 years now, starting when she was little at Greek School.  She loves traveling and going to Greece every year to see her family and friends.  



Recipient of the Modern Greek Translation Prize - Advanced Intermediate

Christina Missler is an undergraduate double majoring in Modern Greek and Biology.  Her mother is Greek-Cypriot, so she grew up with a deep connection to the Greek language, especially since most of her mother's side still lives in Cyprus.  She decided to study Modern Greek in college for several reasons.  First of all, she wanted a better grasp on the language so that she could better communicate with her mother's side of the family.  She also wanted to improve her Greek skills as a way to become closer to the Greek part of her heritage.  Learning to translate the Greek language has been especially helpful for her personally.  Christina’s father, who is American and does not speak Greek, has a very deep appreciation of Greek songs, especially those that were originally poems.  Learning to translate the Greek language has allowed her to translate those songs so that her father can also understand and enjoy the lyrics, and therefore enjoy the songs more deeply.  In the future, she plans to deepen her Greek language skills and hopes to continue translating.  She would like to continue to translate Greek news articles and possibly scientific journals into English as a way to help bring new ideas originating from Greece and Cyprus to the rest of the world.



Recipient of the Phillips Classical Prize for Latin 3

Elliot Phillips is a freshman planning to study Computer Science and Latin. He’s not sure which one he’ll major in, or both, but he loves them both. His tentative goal right now is to become a high school Latin teacher and just explore computer science in his free time. Elliot is also a saxophonist in the marching band and spends a lot of his free time making his own pop music. He especially loves it whenever he can combine these three areas of interest. For instance, some of his songs contain Latin lyrics, and he’s made a few computer programs for converting between Roman numerals and Arabic numerals, as well as between our calendar date system and that of the Romans.



Awarded the CFC Undergraduate Translation Prize for Andreas Frangias, ‘Plague’

Margarita is a sophomore from Omaha, Nebraska, studying Neuroscience and Modern Greek at the University of Michigan. In her future, she hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. Coming to college, Margarita developed an ever-growing interest in Modern Greek History. As such, she chose to translate Plague, by Andreas Frangias, because of its political, cultural, and historical significance. This excerpt was published in 1972 as an allegory for Makronisos. It was written during the Cold War Era and under the rule and censorship of the Greek Junta.


Graduate Student Award Winners


Awarded the CFC Graduate Translation Prize for translations from Sappho

Laurel is a first year graduate student in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Art and Archaeology. Her interests include the organization of Greek households and the archaeology of childhood as well as reading Sappho! While obtaining her M.A. in Classics from the University of Arizona, she was fortunate to take the class “Literary Translation as Classical Reception” where the idea for her Sappho project was born. Although she attended Michigan for her undergraduate studies, this is her first time submitting a translation for the CfC Classical Translations Contest.



Awarded the CFC Graduate Translation Prize translations from Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, The flesh is a beautiful desert


Amanda is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Amanda graduated with her M.A. in Classics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018, and her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016. Amanda is interested in the reception of classical Greek and Roman material by 20th century American, British, and Greek women poets and performance artists, as well as in the intersections between classical reception studies and disability/performance/body studies.