Debra Trusty, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Instruction

Dr. Debra Trusty is a lecturer in the Classics department at the University of Iowa and has been teaching at UI since 2017. Her research interests include undergraduate pedagogy and Classics in the classroom, fringe reception of Classics and mythology (including video games, board games, young adult and adult fiction, comics, and TV/film), Bronze Age Greek archaeology and material culture, Mycenaean ceramics, ceramic studies and analyses, ancient craft and food production and consumption methods, and ancient technologies. She received her B.A. in archaeology from the University of Evansville and then her M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from Florida State University.

Dr. Trusty has been fascinated with ancient cultures since she was a small child. Pouring through books on Egypt, Greece, and China, she was excited by the discoveries archaeologists were making and wanted to be a part of the action. When she was in high school, she participated in a program that took students to Peru and was overcome with a sense of awe when first exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu. The experience changed her life and she knew she had to make archaeology her career.

When Dr. Trusty started college, she immediately declared archaeology as her major and excitedly enrolled in Introduction to Greek Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology. To fulfill her language requirement, she selected ancient Greek. After taking years of Spanish, she wanted to try something different and was excited to one day read the epics of Homer in their original language. She became immersed in the ancient Greek world and in her junior year attended the College Year in Athens program. It was there that she finally got the chance to walk among the sites, monuments, and art that she had been studying for years. Of all of the time periods, she found that she enjoyed the Bronze Age (2000-1100 BCE) the most. From there, she quickly realized that she also wanted to be a professor. Having come from a long line of educators (her mother and several aunts on both sides of the family were K-12 teachers and talked about how much they enjoyed watching students learn), Dr. Trusty was eager to experience the rewarding feeling of education and merge it with her love of archaeology and ancient Greek culture.

She enrolled in graduate school at Florida State University and frequently traveled to Greece in the summers, excavating and serving as a trench supervisor at Mycenae for UC Berkeley's field school under the direction of Dr. Kim Shelton, as well as a member of the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project at Korfos, Greece (co-directed by Dr. Daniel Pullen at Florida State University and Dr. Thomas Tartaron at the University of Pennsylvania). Her dissertation focused on the importance of cooking ware vessels in Mycenaean political economy and was entitled Ceramic Analysis of Cooking Ware Vessels and its Implications for Early State Political Economies. She received several grants for her research, including a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant.

Dr. Trusty was hired as a lecturer by the Classics Department at the University of Iowa in 2017 and has taught a wide range of classes on campus, including:

  • Classical mythology (CLSA:2016)
  • Hero, God, Mortal: Literature of Greece (CLSA:1010)
  • Love and Glory: Literature of Rome (CLSA:1020)
  • Classics and Cinema (CLSA:1809)
  • Myth Makers of the Classical World (CLSA:3016)
  • City of Athens: Bronze Age to Roman World (CLSA:3821)
  • Food in Ancient Mediterranean Society (CLSA:3836)
  • Greek Archaeology and Ethnohistory (CLSA:3235)
  • Classical and New Testament Greek (CLSG:1002)
  • World of Cicero: 3rd semester Latin (CLSL:2001)

She served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Classics Department from 2019-2022. Her favorite part of working at UI is engaging with the students and helping them explore their interests in the ancient world. In 2019 Dr. Trusty directed a study abroad program that took students to Athens for 10 days and she looks forward to offering another study abroad course in June 2022. If you're interested in archaeology, Classics, or any aspect of the ancient Greek or Roman world, feel free to contact her or stop by her office.

Dr. Trusty enjoys video and board gaming, especially games that involve the ancient world like Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Sid Meier's Civilization. You can follow her on Twitch at

Debra Trusty
Ph.D., Florida State University
Contact Information

224 Jefferson Building (JB)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States