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Vanderpool brings home several awards from honors convo

Barry McNamara
Emma Vanderpool is shown with a poster of 'Towards a New Lexicon of Fear' during Monmouth College's recent Scholars Day. Also pictured is faculty member Bridget Draxler, one of the organizers of the event. In addition to her honors convocation awards, Vanderpool was judged to have the best poster in humanities and liberal arts.
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Emma Vanderpool started her academic career at Monmouth College with a bang, receiving a highly-coveted National Latin Honor Society Scholarship from the National Junior Classical League (NJCL).
The freshman classics and history major from Frankfort ended her first year in style, too, receiving an armful of awards at the college’s annual Honors Convocation on April 29.
Two of the awards were for the same paper, titled “Towards a New Lexicon of Fear.” Students sometimes win multiple honors for the same work, but classics professor Tom Sienkewicz said this was the first time that a student had received both the Thompson Prize in Humanities and the Harold Ralston Classics Essay Award. The latter prize is for the best paper on a topic directly related to the civilization of ancient Greece or Rome. The Thompson Prize honors an outstanding piece of creative or scholarly work in the humanities.
“I knew Emma was a special student when she auditioned for a Latin Performance Scholarship last spring, and my first impressions have only been reinforced during the past academic year,” said Sienkewicz. “It is especially rewarding to know that Emma’s Latin teacher (at Lincoln-Way East High School) was Matt Katsenes,” who graduated from Monmouth in 2004.
“Obviously, Matt not only taught Emma well but served as a great inspiration to her,” added Sienkewicz. “Her relationship with Matt makes Emma my ‘academic grandchild,’ and I look forward to working with her during the next three years.”
Vanderpool’s award-winning paper, which grew out of a Summer Opportunities for Intellectual Activity (SOFIA) project last summer, was a statistical and grammatical analysis of the Latin word “pertimescere,” which means to greatly fear. It was based on work she did with MC faculty members Logan Mayfield and Nick Dobson in their SOFIA project, “Cryptology and Linguistics.”
“Getting to work this past year with Professor Sienkewicz and Professor (Kris) Lorenzo has given me a greater sense of what else there is to learn,” said Vanderpool. “I’m experiencing a higher level of academic scholarship, and I find that really exciting. Doing the type of work I did on my paper is something I never would have imagined in high school.”
Vanderpool’s summa cum laude performance on the National Latin Exam was noted at the convocation, and it marked the fifth year, dating back to high school, that she had attained those high marks. As a result, the National Latin Exam Committee recently notified her that she would receive a gold medal and a book prize.
Vanderpool also walked across the Dahl Chapel stage to receive two other awards – the Classics Department Prize for outstanding work in the department and the CAMWS Prize for excellence in the promotion of Latin.
She received the latter honor for staffing open house events, helping with the Eta Sigma Phi national convention in Chicago and being an active member on campus of the Classics Club and Eta Sigma Phi, which is the national classics honor society. She also worked as a Latin/Greek tutor and as a student assistant for the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, which is headquartered in Monmouth.
Vanderpool has not wavered from her career goal entering college, which is to teach Latin. She plans to attend graduate school after she completes her Monmouth education in 2017.