Rachel Preminger
Rachel Preminger. Photo:Abby Cohn

Rachel Preminger fell in love with classics during a required humanities course as a first-year student at Reed College. “The lessons you learn are so portable,” she says. “It’s not about memorizing facts but learning how to think.” A Phi Beta Kappa recipient, Rachel faced an enviable dilemma upon graduation — weighing the competing offers from an array of top-drawer doctoral programs.

“Berkeley kind of offered the best of all worlds,” she says. The campus’s renowned and supportive faculty, “fabulous” students, a pedagogical focus — and fellowship assistance — all figured into Rachel’s decision to come here in 2007. For Rachel, who grew up in Boise, Idaho, the Bay Area’s cost of living was (and remains) a reality check, particularly since she doesn’t want to add to her undergraduate debt. Receiving the Berkeley Fellowship was “an amazing gift,” she says.

Rachel likens classics research to a “Petri dish” for culturing exciting ideas. As a graduate student instructor, she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm with Berkeley undergraduates. Eventually, Rachel wants to become a classics professor.

—By Abby Cohn