Name: Ashlyn Dow
Year: Class of 2010
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Major: Near Eastern Studies
Minor: Museums and Society
I transfered from Oklahoma State University after my freshman year. I was an Art History major at OSU and taking general introductory Art History courses among other general education classes. My second semester, I enrolled in an Ancient Egyptian Art class and after the first meeting of the class, I decided that I wanted to focus my studies mainly on Ancient Egypt, including its art and language. I know it’s a lot to discover one class period, but that’s just how my mind works. So, I went home and researched schools with fabulous Egyptology departments. I must admit, schools such as these are few and far between, but I soon realized that the major I wanted was called Near Eastern Studies and that Johns Hopkins had one of the premiere departments in the nation for it. I had my application in the mail within a week.
All students majoring in Near Eastern Studies must take two years of one ancient Near Eastern language and at least four courses of historical a nature, 300-level or above. Since I am focusing in Egyptology, I’m taking Middle Egyptian for my two year requirement for language, which is the hieroglyphic script and language. If you plan on going to graduate school after college for Near Eastern Studies, you have to complete two years of either French or German. A large portion of literature written about the subjects studied in the department are written in a language other than English, but mostly in French or German. Trust me, it comes in really handy to be able to decipher German when trying to use the bigger dictionaries for Middle Egyptian, which are written in German unfortunately.
I have really enjoyed several of my classes for the Near Eastern Studies major, but especially my language classes with Dr. Richard Jasnow. There was also a very interesting introductory class called Ancient Egyptian Civilization taught by Dr. Betsy Bryan that I took my first semester at Hopkins. Dr. Jasnow also taught an amazing class called Egyptian Religion. Both professors are incredibly talented and knowledgeable about the subject, and also world renowned.
Through the program I was able to go with Dr. Bryan to Egypt over Intersession 08 to travel the entire country and visit a very large number of sites in the 24 days that the group and I were there. We also were able to meet with Dr. Zahi Hawass, the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Director of the Giza Pyramids Excavation, and he gave us special permission to visit sites that normal tourists wouldn’t get to see.
Upon graduating next year, I plan on applying to graduate schools to continue my education in Egyptology, focusing on the art side of things. I really have no definitive idea of what I want to do after grad school, but I am more than positive that a fabulous opportunity will pop up along the way.
Click here to access more information about the Near Eastern Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the Near Eastern Studies question thread.