June 21, 2013
By Austin Miller, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — Talent meets opportunity. This phrase is often used in sports, but it can also relate to academics.
Ole Miss women's golfer Kathryn Fowler was one of 59 Ole Miss students to receive a 2013 Taylor Medal, and now she's traveling to Greece, where she will conduct research for her senior thesis in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.
"I'm getting the opportunity to see pieces of art and see the area where it came from," Fowler said. "I'm going to different museums to see them up close. I've never traveled overseas, so this is a first for me. To have this opportunity, it's one of those opportunities I wouldn't have if I wasn’t at Ole Miss.
"One of the things that drew me to Ole Miss was the Honors College and thesis project. I never thought I would have the opportunity to go to Greece, look at different museums and be able to relate it to something I'm working on at Ole Miss."
Her senior thesis work is related to her classics major in the College of Liberal Arts, which has included Greek, Latin and archaeology classes. However, when Fowler arrived at Ole Miss from Southland Academy in Americus, Ga., she did not start out as a classics major.
"I started out thinking I wanted to be a chemistry major and go to medical school," Fowler said. "I had taken some Latin in high school, so I wanted to take Latin in college because I had not really taken another language. I took Honors Latin my first semester and just really liked it. And after Organic Chemistry, I decided I did not want to be a chemistry major.
"I took the LSAT last week, and I want to go to law school, and Classics has set me up well for that. I can't really say why I picked Classics. It just kind of fell together. It was classes I enjoyed. I have taken Latin, I have taken Greece, I have taken archaeology classes. I'm just really drawn to the subject."
Four years later, Fowler was one of 59 Ole Miss students to receive a 2013 Taylor Medal, the university's highest academic award. Her other honors and activities include 2011 Academic All American, vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and membership in Phi Kappa Phi, the university's highest academic honor across all disciplines.
"I was in Hawaii when I found out," Fowler said of receiving the Taylor Medal. "The letter got mailed to my home address. About three days before, I saw friends on Facebook congratulating each other for receiving their Taylor Medals. I found out a couple days later.
"We were sitting on the beach in Hawaii, I was with two of my teammates, and I started freaking out when I found out. I was real excited. I just felt like It was a huge honor to represent the athletic department by winning the Taylor Medal."
Fowler said she spent last year working on the preliminary part of her research, trying to figure out what she wanted to do, and traveling to Greece didn't become a reality until the end of the spring semester when her advisor, Dr. Aileen Ajootian, suggested the research trip.
She leaves for Greece on Saturday and will return to the States on July 3, and she said she doesn't really have a schedule of events for her stay in Greece, adding that Dr. Ajootian has planned what they're going to see and do.
Fowler, who competed this past season as a redshirt junior, has one year of eligibility remaining for the Ole Miss women's golf team, which earned its fifth straight NCAA berth, will put her clubs away for the next two weeks, then turn her attention to U.S. Amateur qualifiers.
"I'm not taking my clubs because I'm only going to be gone for two weeks," Fowler said. "I come back, I have three days at home, then I leave for U.S. Amateur qualifiers."
Austin Miller is a writer and blogger for OleMissSports.com. He joined the staff in June 2013 after serving as sports editor of the Daily Mississippian. Follow him on Twitter @austinkmiller.