After studying at the University of Edinburgh last spring, Allyson D’Antonio ’20 will be returning for her post-graduate studies. She will soon begin work toward her master’s of science degree in history, focusing on English political history during the Early Modern era (1450s to 1750s).
Why did you decide to major in history? Why in European history?
I became interested in history in the first few years of high school, and my passion for it hasn’t diminished. I believe that studying history allows us to understand what we have in common with those who lived centuries before us. Whether that’s a king, conqueror, or farmer, we can learn so much about how our world became what it is by understanding what it used to be.
English and Scottish history is fascinating to me because we can see what is effectively a 1,000-year evolution of Western cultural history in one small island. While not universal by any means, it provides a window into how one somewhat insignificant island state became one of the most powerful empires in history in less than a millennium.
How did Hamilton influence you to continue your education?
I’ve worked a lot with Professors Kevin Grant and John Eldevik, who have both been incredibly helpful in figuring out which schools and programs would help me to pursue my greater career paths. Also, the support of the entire Classics Department, including Professors Shelley Haley, Anne Feltovich, and Jesse Weiner, has been invaluable to me.
What drew you to the University of Edinburgh specifically?
When discussing graduate programs to apply to, it made sense to look into programs in the countries I was planning to study. I had spent a semester at Edinburgh in spring of ’19, and it was honestly one of the most wonderful experiences of my academic career. The history program there will provide me with the training to advance my academic career, while also providing resources and faculty that specialize in my areas of interest.
What experiences at Hamilton helped prepare you?
The College’s history program is often given a reputation for being tough and at times overwhelming, but it has taught me how to write concisely, clearly, and effectively to get my argument across. I have also learned the value of asking for assistance and learning from all of the instruction you are given. I have been proud to see my work improve drastically over my four years at Hamilton, and I hope it will only continue to as I continue in academia.
What are your future plans?
I am planning to go into academia professionally, eventually getting my Ph.D. in history with the intention of teaching. I hope to be able to make many of the historical topics I study more accessible, hopefully fostering historical curiosity in young students in the same way it was in me.
I chose Hamilton because I wanted to go somewhere that I could study what I wanted on my own terms. I spent most of my time in high school waiting to go to history class or study hall, but at Hamilton I didn’t have to wait. I could study the topics I was already interested in and spend time exploring things I never would have thought of. I double-majored in classical studies because I needed another credit freshman year and fell in love with it. Hamilton gives students a chance to choose their academic future, and it was a wonderful experience.