Alumni Profile

Ashleigh Allen

Undergraduate Alumni 2010


I graduated in 2010 with a double major in German Language and Literature and Biology. People are often surprised by this combination, but I think it benefited me a great deal. During college it let me do interesting things, like study abroad and work in a cell biology research lab in Bonn, Germany. I think the two majors helped make me a really balanced student. German was especially helpful in making me a better writer (even in English!) Studying language, literature, and film made me a more thoughtful and detail-oriented person; this ultimately proved very “practical,” and helped me secure my first job.

After graduation, I took a position as a health writer for Lockheed Martin on a contract with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). There I researched and drafted responses to cancer-related questions from the public. This was a really exciting job, and helped me realize my interest in public health.  Since then, I’ve also worked as a medical data coordinator, abstracting cancer clinical trials for the NCI so that the Institute can set research priorities. These experiences helped me narrow my career focus. This past Fall I actually decided to come back to UVa, to work towards a Master of Public Health degree. Studying German absolutely helped me develop the critical thinking skills needed for this sort of interdisciplinary field.

In my free time I like to cook, and I try to keep up with my German by practicing with my grandmother and by watching German films. I’m also trying to learn how to play Fußball (it turns out this is pretty hard).