Liberal arts background leads Ariana Myers ’14 to Princeton University

The close friendships made with classmates and professors are the most rewarding aspect of her liberal arts education for Ariana Myers ’14. “With such a small residential campus, you really get to know your classmates well,” she says. “Many of the friends I made during my time at Ripon are destined to be lifelong.”

At Ripon College, she majored in history, Spanish and a self-designed classical languages major. “Without the training of Ripon’s top-notch language faculty, none of my career would have been possible,” Myers says.

She now is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Princeton University. She spent her first two years in the program taking classes and learning relevant languages to her research, such as Arabic and Hebrew. She also spent time in Spain reading 800-year-old parchments, mostly in Latin but some in Catalan, and fragments in Hebrew and Arabic.

Her academic adviser at Princeton is William Chester Jordan ’69, who also received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton and now serves as the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of Ripon College.

“He has been an incomparable mentor and has helped me to develop my research interests and understanding of the medieval world far beyond what I had imagined to be possible,” Myers says. “Under his guidance, I will continue to refine my research findings from this past year in Spain in order to write my dissertation, which is about how religious conversion between Islam and Christianity in the Crown of Aragon changed during the 13th and 14th centuries.”

Myers’ class of 2014 will celebrate its five-year reunion during the next Alumni Weekend June 27-30, 2019. She has been a loyal donor to Ripon College, giving each year since graduation, and she has been a guest lecturer for the Introduction to ARMS (Ancient, Renaissance and Medieval Studies) course.

“I give back to Ripon because I believe in its liberal arts educational model,” Myers says. “I originally picked Ripon over many contenders for my undergraduate education because it emphasized small class sizes, a wide variety of academic disciplines, and incredible opportunities for enrichment.

“In giving back to the College that helped me to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a historian, I see myself as encouraging the continuation of the system that allowed me to learn five languages and experience such incredible summer opportunities as an archaeological dig in Greece, a tour of the castles of southern France, and more. None of that would have been possible without the kind of mentoring that Ripon’s model offered to guide me toward those opportunities and support me in my quest for scholarships and funding.”

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