In an Earlham classics course, Micky Jo Myers ’16 discovered her passion, stories. That discovery and a set of undergraduate research experiences launched her toward a Ph.D. in folklore at Indiana University.
“I was interested in learning about the mythology of ancient Greece and Rome, and I believed studying Latin would make it easier for me to learn other languages, which it did,” she says. “While taking the classical studies courses offered at Earlham, I became fascinated by the construction of narratives and how those narratives are connected to notions of identity. I decided to continue my education by pursuing a Ph.D. in folklore because I saw the discipline as offering a useful way of approaching those issues with contemporary communities.”
Myers, a first-generation college student, says her research experiences at Earlham made her a strong candidate for graduate school. Through the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Graduate Fellowship, she completed her master’s in 2018 and is currently working toward a Ph.D.
“The liberal arts education I got at Earlham improved my writing abilities, my research skills, and provided me with the place and opportunity to develop confidence in myself as a scholar,” she says. As a McNair Program Scholar, she took on what was essentially graduate level research. “I cataloged the chronological changes in the portrayals of female mythological monsters in the art and literature of classical antiquity.” She focused on sirens, harpies, and gorgon, paying special attention to the controversies involved in their modern interpretations.
She presented the conclusions of her research at the University of Cincinnati Research Symposium.
“While at Earlham, I also had unique opportunities to develop advanced research skills,” she says. As a junior, she was accepted into the Information Fluency in Classics Workshop presented by Harvard University Center for Hellenic Studies.
“Along with eleven other classical studies undergraduates from across the United States, I was invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in informative sessions and to attend workshops on advances in scholarly communication and technology,” she says. “That same summer, I was also invited by the Earlham history department to join the college’s research cohort at the GLCA Library of Congress Research initiative of 2014. Our team’s proposal was one of only three applications from across the Global Liberal Arts Alliance to be accepted. I was allowed to participate in the Library of Congress’ Research Program, which gave me the opportunity to work directly with research librarians at the Library of Congress and access original archival materials. While there, I did independent archival research, which also helped to prepare me for grad school.”
High impact experiential learning experiences are at the core of an Earlham education. Through the Earlham Program for an Integrated Curriculum (or EPIC), hundreds of students per year are placed in internships or research experiences that allow them to put their education into action. Every student is eligible for about $5,000 in funding to cover the cost of such an opportunity, and many Earlhamites complete multiple internships, research experiences or off-campus study programs during their four years of college.
Also while at Earlham, Myers served as a teaching assistant for a course on Roman poetry.
Her efforts and skills did not go unnoticed. She received a five-year graduate school scholarship, which is fully funding her Ph.D. program at Indiana University.
“Now, as part of my graduate experience,” I’ve had the opportunity to be an associate instructor for undergraduate courses on American folklore and world arts and cultures,” she says. “I’ve found that I really enjoy teaching, and I hope that I can one day be a professor.” At I.U., she also has enjoyed working for the state’s folk art program, Traditional Arts Indiana, and says she would be excited to direct a similar program.