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Graduate Alumna Takes Multidisciplinary Studies to London

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Jessica Comola

Allison Welty (MA ’15) is a learner at heart.

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Allison Welty

Allison Welty (MA ’15) is a learner at heart. Welty first studied history and English as an undergraduate, then came to DU for an MA in English — and her studies haven’t stopped there.

“When I was close to finishing my BA, all I knew was that I wanted to continue studying. I applied to DU because I was excited to live in the Denver area again, and I was really interested in the English literature program.”

Welty studied with Eric Gould, professor of 20th-century literature and translation, as well as a cultural studies scholar. As Welty’s thesis advisor, Gould supported her pursuit of a nontraditional project.

“I proposed a somewhat unique project. Dr. Gould steered me in the right direction and then gave me an enormous amount of freedom to explore what truly interested me, and what I felt needed to be explored further.”

Welty’s innovative work and dedication to literature landed her a lecturer position upon completion of her degree, but Welty felt something wasn’t quite right.

“I burned out quickly as an adjunct and almost immediately began to question if pursuing English was the right move. When the time came to take the next step and apply for PhD programs, I was dragging my feet.”

Welty faced a crossroads — should she continue the academic pursuits she’d been working toward? Or should she change paths, setting aside a formal study of literature to head in a new direction?

Welty found a way to embrace all her options, bringing together what she most loved about English in a new field that would provide her with a refreshing perspective on her studies.

“I knew I wanted to know more about the societies that created the literature I studied, so I started reading more about politics and political theory. I came across information for an interesting master’s program at the London School of Economics and Political Science that seemed like a great opportunity to transition into a new field.”

Welty took her multidisciplinary interests abroad and completed her second master’s in political science in 2018.

“Literature was always interesting for me because of what it can tell us about the society in which it was written,” she explains. “I was primarily interested in Postcolonial theories of literature that worked to show how human stories, fiction or otherwise, could both create the justification for these oppressive systems and challenge them at the same time.”

Studying the political theories and systems behind this literature gave Welty new insight into the texts themselves.

“I grew increasingly interested in literature that came out of totalitarian states, the stories oppressed people told as acts of revolution, and stories that challenged the dominant political systems in which they were written. So, when I left English to study political science, it seemed like I was finally studying the other side of this literature.”

Welty has plans to continue her studies and hopefully enter a political science doctoral program in the next few years. In the meantime, she is putting her knowledge to use by establishing a freelance writing career while looking for a full-time position in public policy research.

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