Uncovering layers of ancient history, Luther College senior Alex Aakre spent four weeks of his summer assisting in the excavation of a shipping complex in the Western port of Corinth, Kenchreai, Greece.
Aakre, son of Teresa and Warren Aakre of Onalaska, Wisconsin, is a 2015 graduate of Holmen High School. He plans to graduate from Luther in 2019 with a major in history.
The majority of day-to-day work in the excavation at Kenchreai involved cleaning and processing the dig site by scrubbing, weighing and counting pot sherds. Over the course of the month, Aakre's team processed more than 48,750 pot sherds.
"Greece is a place where the layers and layers of earth compose the very foundation of Western civilization. Being able to handle pieces 2,000 years old is beyond my understanding," Aakre said. One of the most meaningful things he processed and cleaned was a pot sherd that contained the fingerprint of a slave. "When you're cleaning 48,000 pot sherds, you lose the human connection, so those little reminders that a human, who wasn't any older than me or my co-workers, lived here, brought me back to the importance of the dig. Even though the work could be considered mundane, this is part of the human story that hasn't truly been written about," he said.
Reflecting on his experience, Aakre concluded that "being in the heart of Paulian Greece was impactful to me as a history and pre-seminary student, planning to attend Luther Seminary next year. Going to Acro-Corinth, visiting the ancient site there and getting to stand in the building where Paul was put on trial by Roman officials, contributed to my decision to attend seminary."
Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing and connecting the student to alumni through the college's Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.
An internship work supervisor assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students also complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.