Alexandra Walsh

Alexandra Walsh

Class of 2018, European Studies
Public Programming and Outreach Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks
Alexandra Walsh

Thesis Title: Pursuing a Second Odyssey: A Study in Homeric Renegotiation by Modern Greek Poets

What Now: Public Programming and Outreach Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks

What Next: J.D. Candidate at University of Pennsylvania Law School

Follow Me: a_walsh8 (Instagram)


Anyone close to me during my undergraduate years knows that my Harvard life was split roughly into two parts: the Hist & Lit portion of Alexandra, and the Mission Hill After School Program (MHASP) portion of Alexandra. These were my two passionate, seemingly unconnected, pursuits. Now, when I tell people about my professional aspiration--a career in education advocacy--they have an easy enough time contextualizing it through my work with MHASP. And if they were to become the poor, unsuspecting recipients of one of my frequent MHASP anecdotes or soliloquies about education inequity, this path I've just started along would make total sense to them.

But what should not be undervalued is the role that Hist & Lit played in all of this too. I devoted the bulk of my time in the department to exploring the ways in which myths and stories from the Classical world were renegotiated and repurposed in different European contexts across millennia. I had incredible fun traversing time and space--from Virgil's Rome to Kassiani's Byzantium to El Greco's Renaissance Spain to Seferis' modern Greek state. Through all of this, Hist & Lit cultivated my greatest skill: an appreciation for individuals and their experiences. My tutors nurtured in me the independence to give life to my own thoughts, analyses, and interpretations. But they also gently, and necessarily, pushed me to approach materials with openness and perspective.

Everything is created by a person with his or her own unique story at a unique moment in time. Conscientiously thinking about the people and societies that produced the works I love helps to deepen my understanding of the world around me. Since graduating, I have put this mindset into practice constantly: as a Fulbright Scholar working with the Gitano community in Madrid, as a graduate student at Oxford researching children’s rights to self-determination, and as a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, supporting D.C. students in feeling a sense of ownership in cultural production and encouraging the expression of their own cultural histories. Now, as a future lawyer, I look forward to drawing from the experiences of the youth and families I work with to continue fighting for and creating a system that will better — and more equitably — serve our kids.