"The professor directing the dig was flying in a small plane over an artichoke field one day and noticed the outline of a building foundation in a place where the artichokes weren't growing very well. Years later, he ended up directing an excavation to find out what that building was.
"We were excavating a part of the building, digging around a wall looking for what might have been left, and some people found some painted pottery.
"For one of my master's degrees -- I have one in classical studies as part of the doctorate and another one in Italian -- I studied at Middlebury College in Vermont. They run a language institute primarily in the summers. I went there before I went to Italy.
"Middlebury is known for a program called the language pledge, an agreement students sign to speak one language only, the language they are studying. You have to use that language in class and outside of class for six or seven weeks. I had very little Italian and it worked quite well. You learn very quickly.
"The decision to go to law school developed gradually. I had some affiliation with a not-for-profit organization in graduate school and worked on some leases they were drafting. The language was very precise, detailed and careful work. That was interesting to me.
"My academic interests also lean toward politics, so law seemed to be an area in which I could combine both of my interests, a natural progression.
"I did get a chance to teach. I taught at the University of Michigan as a graduate student and for a year after I finished. I taught Latin and ancient Greek and classical civilization.
"Teaching Latin was a good experience. Getting students to read in the language the first time is a wonderful transition to watch. That's the moment when you realize why you are doing this, the purpose for those three or four semesters you invested.
"I worked on the Washington and Lee Law Review in law school. They published an article I wrote that was inspired by my dissertation on the role fear plays in democratic politics and the views of Thucydides, an ancient historian and political thinker.
"The dissertation dealt with his assessment and understanding of the way voters react to scare tactics, like the daisy ads Goldwater ran against Johnson. He has the young girl picking flowers with the idea that something very bad is going to happen if you vote for the other person.
"Thucydides had always been presented as a very dour figure, very unhappy with democratic thought and life such as it was in ancient Greece. The argument I spent a couple of hundred pages talking about was that criticism of him as a democratic thinker was unfair and he was more positively inclined to democratic democracy.
"The general point I was making is that democratic citizens do a good job of recognizing when political figures use fear in their campaigns. They do a good job of understanding it and moving beyond it.
"I first came here as a summer associate in 2011 and again immediately after law school. I found this firm to be very intriguing. They were interviewing at Washington and Lee.
"I explored other options, but I noticed that some members of this firm had studied at my undergraduate institution. A number were students together with one of the professors I'd had in graduate school. The fact that some members had a background similar to mine drew me.
"I enjoyed my time here that summer. It was compelling enough for me to return. I started full time last August.
"I practice public utility law. We represent businesses regulated by the Public Service Commission. I enjoy the detail-oriented work, looking at the complex regulatory structures and rules.
"I'm gradually getting to know the area and trying to find my place in town.
"I started running seriously in graduate school. It became a good thing to order my day around. I live in South Hills, so I find my way down the Carriage Trail and of course, there's the boulevard. I run about three times a week, four or five miles. I'm thinking seriously about the Distance Run this year."
Reach Sandy Wells at san...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5173.