COH Outstanding Senior: Emily Allerton

May 14th, 2021

Congratulations to the College of Humanities’ Outstanding Senior for Spring 2021, Emily Allerton!


Allerton is graduating with majors in Russian and Slavic Studies, Creative Writing and Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, with the ultimate goal of becoming an MD/PhD, specializing in integrative neuropsychiatry and conducting ethnobotanical research in the pursuit of therapies for neurodegenerative infectious diseases.


As an undergraduate, Allerton has studied abroad in Moscow, conducted biomedical research in the SanGiovanni Laboratory with a primary project focused on the nexus between neuroscience, the microbiome, and nutrition, and worked in the Survivors of Torture Behavioral Health Department at the International Rescue Committee.


Allerton is Haida and Tlingit, Eagle Frog (enrolled with CCTHITA), and has career goals of studying the effects of traditional lifestyles, diet, and medicine on health in post-Soviet Eurasian countries and her family’s homelands of Southeast Alaska.


Suzanne Thompson, Assistant Professor of Practice and Undergraduate Advisor in the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, taught Emily in several classes and wrote a nomination letter describing her as not only an excellent student of language and literature, but a student who showed tenacity in the face of adversity.


“Emily has performed brilliantly over the years in my language classes,” Thompson wrote. “Emily approaches Russian as I imagine she approaches her science subjects: with discipline, focus, ease of mastering difficult concepts quickly, and willingness to ask the hard questions.”


Allerton said the interdisciplinary nature of Humanities studies provided the space she needed to realize and develop her future goals.


“My multifaceted interests confused well-meaning people who suggested a more focused direction. In the Russian Department, however, my many curiosities and desire to connect seemingly unrelated concepts were always met with encouragement and direction, helping me to solidify my goals and prepare for the next step after graduation,” she said.


Her courses in language and culture also taught Allerton that humanities perspectives are greatly needed in the medical fields.


“My Humanities studies have also emphasized the fact that people are not isolated, mechanical organisms—a concept that can easily be lost in the medical field and world of hard sciences,” she said. “Our health is not limited to our physiology but revolves around family, culture, diet, environment, and even history.”

Allerton’s innovative pairing of her knowledge in the humanities and her skills in science speaks to her overall talent, motivation and tireless work ethic, Thompson wrote.


“Emily is a poster child for what we in the Humanities strive to develop: students who use critical thinking and communication skills to interpret and speak about our world, students who develop their adaptability to navigate an ever-changing, increasingly complicated global community,” Thompson wrote.