Recent Placements: Archaeology and Religion
Lucas Reckling ’12 double majored in archaeology and religion at Lycoming College. His interest in archaeology has a long history. “I got into archaeology because my mother taught fifth grade, and they did a unit on archaeology in that class when I was growing up. We always had these children’s books lying around the house about ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt that fascinated me.” Reckling says the biggest draw for him in the program at Lycoming College was the biblical languages minor woven into the department. “Taking biblical Hebrew with Dr. Robin Knauth was a lifechanging experience, as far as diverting my interest from just playing in the dirt to reading the texts.” Now, Reckling is one of only a handful of people in the world who can translate the Akkadian language — essential for studying first-millennium Mesopotamian history, but particularly difficult to learn, as it involves the ancient cuneiform system of writing. He underwent a rigorous independent study in Akkadian with Robin Knauth, Ph.D., assistant professor of religion, that he thinks put him ahead of the curve. Currently a doctoral student at the University of Toronto, Reckling aims to increase access to and publication of ancient Mesopotamian tablets, tens of thousands of which remain untranslated. He also wants to help fuel automated, machine-driven translations of cuneiform.
It was always a dream of Jessica (Martin) Peragine ’04 to work in a museum. At times she wondered whether it would actually happen. But it was the skills she learned at Lycoming and the determination she developed working within the College’s close-knit environment that pulled her through. “Studying alongside other intellectually interest driven students and friends gave me the confidence I needed. And having learned under professors like Dr. Knauth, Dr. Johnson, and Dr. Chandler, who were passionate and excited about their work helped keep me focused on what I wanted to get out of my degrees and how I could apply them to a future career. The same goes for Sue Beidler in the library who always told me to pace my work,” said Peragine. As an archaeology and history student at Lycoming, she learned to conduct organized, focused research. Her classes always kept her interested — and she still has all her textbooks and notes from her professors, which she refers to even now. She also had the opportunity for various internships and work-studies at Lycoming that gave her the insight and experience in the museum field and natural history that she would later need on her résumé. Married to her best friend, Paul, Peragine now works at the Charleston Museum in Charleston, S.C., as curatorial assistant for the natural history department. Her work involves cataloging, data entry, photographing and cleaning specimens, fossil prep and exhibit work, among other tasks. “This is the first job I ever had that I look forward to going back to each day.”