Mythology Study Opens Door to History, Culture of Greece

Created: February 24, 2017  |  Last Updated: July 9, 2020  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 24, 2017) – A Magellan Project is often a chance for Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students to expand classroom learning with an internship, but some students – like sophomore Megan Yosko – use the experience to explore another passion.

Megan, a biology major and Spanish minor, plans to pursue a physicians assistant program after she graduates from W&J. But when she decided to complete a Magellan Project, she put her career aspirations aside and traveled to Greece to study something she truly loves: Greek mythology.

“I chose this topic because I have always had an interest in learning about the ancient mythology stories. It is amazing to me that after many years of passing down these stories, we still have the knowledge of them,” Megan said.

She also couldn’t believe how many temples and structures dedicated to these stories are still standing. It amazed her to see the passion and dedication ancient Greeks had to their traditions.

Megan spent three weeks travelling through Greece, spending most of her time in Athens and on the island of Rhodes. She also made excursions to the cities of Nafpaktos, Olympia, Delphi, Meteora, and Mycenae, and the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. She toured museums, ruins, temples, and other sites where ancient Greek influence could still be seen.

While touring the country, she didn’t really know what she was going to find, but she knew that it would be an adventure. It was sometimes tricky to navigate a country where English is not the native language, but this didn’t deter Megan. The trip helped her clarify stories she had learned incorrectly, and also gave her new insight into Greek culture and history.

“I learned a lot about not only the mythology, but about the history of Greece,” she said. “I spent a lot of time meeting with professors, and tour guides who knew a lot about the ancient history of mythology. Additionally, it taught me about diversity and culture. I learned to respect their beliefs, and become accustomed to their culture.”

She also loved that everyone in Greece seemed to know these stories. It was as if you could find a new story anywhere, and history is still very much a part of everyday Greek life, Megan said.

“I learned a lot about the unique little stories that are passed down through word of mouth,” she said. “One story that a taxi driver explained to me with great details is how Athens got its name.”

In addition to the rich educational information she uncovered, Megan was impressed with the travelling itself. She had always wanted to travel, and after this experience, feels that it helps people to grow as individuals.

Megan’s Magellan Project gave her new independence and courage, and is motivating her to keep her dreams of travelling alive. She thanked her advisor, biology Professor Jason Kilgore, Ph.D. for encouraging her to pursue the experience.

“This trip was only the beginning; I can go and do whatever I want in the world, with or without people. And I think that was what I learned from my Magellan the most: confidence,” Megan said.


About the Magellan Project

Established in 2008, Washington & Jefferson College’s unique Magellan Project extends liberal arts learning outside the classroom by providing scholarship funding for students to spend the summer pursuing independent projects and internships in the United States and abroad. Learn more about the Magellan Project on the W&J website. 

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.