Genna Bonfiglio

Credentials: Medical Student, U of Colorado-Denver

Major & Certificates: Biology, Certificates in Classical Studies and Global Health
Year of Graduation: 2016

I am currently a third-year medical student at the University of Colorado in Denver. In addition to patient care, I am interested in public health and policy, and addressing social determinants of health. Between graduating from UW and going to medical school, I spent two years as an AmeriCorps member in Boulder, CO, working full time providing classroom help and afterschool programming to elementary and middle school students from underserved communities. During my experiences in college and after, I always found it most rewarding to seek out novel experiences, where I could learn new things in new places, and meet people different from me.

What motivated you to study classics in college?

While I knew I wanted to study biology for a career in healthcare, I also wanted to study something I considered to be a hobby. I had always been interested in ancient history, fascinated by how ancient people were really the first innovators in their respective fields: philosophy, arts, medicine, engineering, and more. In particular, I was interested in Ancient Greek and Roman history due to my family roots in Sicily– my cousins in Sicily live within miles of ancient amphitheaters and other sites rich with ancient history. Additionally, few biology majors get the chance to study abroad, and a Classics certificate gave me the opportunity to study one of my interests internationally and up close in Rome.

How did your major impact what you did after college and are doing now?

Classics is a unique interest to have, which makes it so rewarding to find others who share that interest. I love connecting with people (including patients) about shared interests in Ancient Mediterranean cultures, Greek or Roman myth, or even just interest in traveling to and exploring that area of the world. My education in Classics has given me such a great appreciation for the arts and literature. Serendipitously, when I was in AmeriCorps, my fifth-grade students had an assignment to script and act out a play based on a Greek myth. Helping them with that assignment was so much fun!

What do you remember about your major or classes in classics? What were the highlights?

If anything, I found my Classics classes to be a much needed relief from my biology, chemistry, and physics classes. All are rigorous, but there is an element of entertainment and fun that is unique to the classes offered as part of the Classics curriculum at UW. There are so many ways to connect Classics to the modern day, from the sciences, to pop culture. My absolute favorite class that I took during my time at UW was Greek Myth with Professor Aylward. Every lecture was like story time, but for college students (and we were graded on how well we listened, of course).