Abby Westover

Abby Westover

Class of 2017, Medieval World
Humanities Fellow, Dumbarton Oaks and Folger Shakespeare Library
Abby Westover

Thesis Title: Hair and Female Agency in the European Middle Ages

What Now: Humanities Fellow at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum and the Folger Shakespeare Library

What Next: Work in historical preservation, museum curation, or costume design for period dramas

Follow Me: @abigailwestover94 (Instagram)

One of the most valuable parts of my experience in History & Literature was realizing the importance of diversity in education. The interdisciplinary focus of Hist & Lit allowed me a freedom to approach topics, issues, and authors from many different perspectives. My thesis followed this type of rubric, focusing on one specific theme (women's hair in the Middle Ages) and addressing its significance from many different angles. Hist & Lit also encouraged me to study abroad, adding further complexity not only to my academic experience but also to my personal life.

This type of mentality, where no part of culture is deemed unworthy to be scrutinized and all aspects of life are inextricably connected, has shaped my career outlook. As of now, I don't plan to go into academia (a career path many people think is the only option for those who study humanities). However, I am pursuing work in which the humanities plays a central role. This coming year I will be working on a project developed between Dumbarton Oaks and the Folger Shakespeare Library, applying critical skills honed by Hist & Lit to curate exhibitions. Further down the road, I plan on either going into museum work full-time or pursuing historical costume design. It's been amazing to realize that I can retain my passion for the humanities through different and diverse tracks, and I have Hist & Lit to thank for that.