Jonathan Broida

BS in Anthropology and History, MA in History

When he was a child, Jonathan Broida’s mother went on a trip to Egypt. She returned with all sorts of gifts and trinkets for her family, but Broida wasn’t interested in any of them. Instead, his attention was drawn to the artifacts she had brought back with her.

“After seeing the artifacts, I was absolutely consumed with wanting to know more about them and the people who created them,” Broida said. “I feel an urge to discover the hidden truth behind everything. For example, everybody uses a box, but who created the box? Why did they create it? What did they initially use them for?”

Broida’s inner drive towards knowledge and understanding the past drove him to attending SUNY Brockport after earning an associates degree from Monroe Community College. He knew that he wanted to study Anthropology at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The only problem was that Brockport did not offer a master’s degree in Anthropology. Knowing he wanted to stay at Brockport, Broida joined the combined degree program in History. He planned to earn both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in History in just under five years, all while continuing his research in anthropology.

“As a child I grew up hearing war stories from my grandpa, who was a World War II veteran,” Broida said. “History and Anthropology naturally go hand in hand, so I knew that if I pursued a degree in both of my passions, it would only strengthen my knowledge of each field.”

In his junior year, Broida performed a summer research project with Dr. Jennifer Ramsay. The purpose of his research was to examine the agricultural economy of the Roman VIth Ferrata Legion in the Jezreel Valley in Israel and how it contributed to larger questions related to supplying the Roman Army. Using Archaeobotany, Broida looks at certain plant seeds and grain that were part of the average Roman soldier’s diet. Then, after studying the geography of the area and the Roman legions trade partners, he can theorize what, and how much, of the grain was imported. Broida is still working on his research and the opportunity would never have been possible without the help of Dr. Ramsay, who Broida credits for far more than just the research opportunity.

“Taking a class under Dr. Ramsay completely rekindled my underlying passion for Archaeology,” Broida said. “Without her I wouldn’t have been afforded the many opportunities I have had at Brockport, including my trip to Sicily.”

In May 2018, Broida traveled to Sicily, Italy to continue his archeobotany research. The Gerace Project gave Broida the opportunity to gather more archaeological evidence of grains and plants that were able to be grown in portions of the Roman Legion hundreds of years ago. With this, he will be able to further solidify or contest his current research.

Broida graduated from Brockport in May of 2018 with his Master’s degree in history. He has always been passionate about human rights and because of this, he’s always felt more pulled to the Anthropology portion of his degree. He has thought about pursuing his PhD so he can go on to teach Anthropology at a university. Wherever he goes, Broida will always remember the support he received from SUNY Brockport.

“Coming from my time in high school and other colleges, I was absolutely blown away by how much the professors at Brockport care about their students,” Broida said. “They showed me kindness and dedication that I had never experienced before and it helped me believe in myself and achieve things I never dreamed I could.”

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