May 14, 2018

Melissa Ballow ’18 embarked on her study abroad program to Greece, excited to learn the literary history of the ancient country—but unaware that her interest would bring her in front of an international audience.

The creative writing and publishing and editing double-major wrote a research paper for one of her literature classes on the effects the publishing industry had on ancient Greek texts.

Her work caught the attention of her professors in Greece, and she was invited to present her research at an international literary conference held at ΔΙΚΕΜΕΣ (College Year Athens), her cultural exchange university.

“I tracked how Greek documents were published and distributed from the beginning of the written word until the time of modern Greek independence,” Ballow says.
Within ancient Greek communities, texts were only available to the affluent and religious figures, but outside the country, they were printed and distributed to libraries, monasteries and universities.

“This imbalance led to a lack of literacy and historical awareness among Greek speakers, but maintained a record of classical theatre, poetry and history for centuries in other nation-states,” Ballow explains.

Since returning from Athens, Ballow has decided to teach literature and English in Madrid, Spain, for a year after graduation and then hopes to work in the publishing industry.