From the Oval to Athens: Getting the Most Out of Every Opportunity

January 12, 2017
Stavroula Pabst

History and Modern Greek double major Stavroula Pabst takes advantage of every window open to new educational horizons. In her quest for an exceptional education, the fourth-year student from Lancaster, Ohio, has engaged in field work at an ancient Greek archaeological site, walked in the steps of soldiers and citizens in World War II Europe and sharpened her Greek language skills in the cradle of its birth.

This past summer, Pabst was one of three students chosen to study at the University of Athens, courtesy of the Phaedon John Kozyris and Litsa Kozyris Travel Awardnewly established by Ohio State alumna Litsa Kozyris (BS, education; MA, history), who, like her late husband John, is an avid supporter of study abroad in Greece, a commitment that informs this endowed award.

“I was gifted with a wonderful opportunity to spend more time in a country I consider to be my second home, as well as meeting many different people from around the world who were just as interested in learning about Modern Greek as I was," Pabst said. “While the classes, taught in Greek, were somewhat intimidating, it was an amazing experience to meet so many students from other countries — Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, Italy — and see their passion for Greek, Greece and learning languages, in general. My Greek has improved greatly as a result; it was a key period to work towards fluency in another language.”

During her undergraduate years at Ohio State, Pabst has sought out ways to complement and supplement her classroom learning.

In summer 2014, Pabst had the chance to work with History Professor Timothy Gregory’s Kythera Program at the Ohio State Excavations at Isthmia. “I did field work and learned the basics of archaeological survey around the island, and had the chance to see and do interesting things from all time periods of the island’s history,” said Pabst.

In spring 2015, Pabst was one of a handful of students selected to take part in History Professor David Steigerwald’s WWII study-tour program. A unique component of this program is the student requirement to blog about their experiences in London, Normandy, Paris and Berlin. These become part of an indelible living-learning legacy. 

As to her after-graduation destination, Pabst says she is not yet sure. She's applied for a Critical Language Scholarship for Russian and may apply to the Modern Greek studies master’s degree program at McGill University. Having written for The Sundial Humor Magazine and participated in Backburner Sketch Comedy on campus, Pabst also says that she may consider a stint in comedy before pursuing her graduate degree. 

“I believe my time at Ohio State has taught me how to learn, and how to think about the world differently. History is a great major because the field forces you to think critically about how you've thought about the world previously — and it gives you significant context for understanding the world stage as it exists today."

(copy by the College of Arts & Sciences)