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Westminster College Student and Professor Present at Latin Conference

Posted on Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College senior Kelsey Steele, a Latin and music education major, and Dr. Dwight Castro, professor of classics, presented research at the 2013 Septimana Californiana (California Week) Latin Conference in July at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

The presentation included a survey of the themes, style and composition techniques of the epigrams written by the late first and early second century Roman poet Martial, as well as techniques on practical methods for composing original Latin epigrams in Martial's style.

?The word ?epigram? is based on the Greek word ?epigramma,? which is literally equivalent to the Latin ?inscription,? meaning that something is written upon a tablet, monument or tombstone," Castro said. ?Originally, epigrams were short sentiments, two to four lines and usually written in poetic meter, that commemorated a deceased  family member. Later, the form became adapted by poets to express a variety of sentiments about human life and behavior. "

The presentation was followed by a workshop in which participants worked on composing, in Latin, an original epigram that imitated both a theme and one of the meters found in Martial's own epigrams. Castro is in the process of collecting all the original epigrams and will seek a journal in which they may be published.

Castro chose Steele to attend and present at the conference with him, because of Steele's capstone research on the composition of Latin epigrams. The project is part of the capstone course, an at least four-semester-hour course required for every student. It is designed to provide an opportunity for students to evaluate and asses the strengths and limitations of their major field, permits opportunity for structured reflection on the value of education in and beyond the major, and provides another chance to strengthen communication and problem-solving skills.

Steele's participation in the conference and funding for his research was supported by a grant from Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning. The Center was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs, including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences. 

Visit for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Steele is a son of Kevin and Amy Steele of Pittsburgh and a graduate of North Allegheny High School.

Castro, who has been with Westminster since 1970, earned an undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College and master's and Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Contact Castro at 724-946-7150 or email for more information.

Kelsey Steele
Dr. Dwight Castro, professor of classics