Shawn Alfrey is the Associate Director of the University Honors Program, Boettcher Mentor, and Prestigious Fellowships Mentor. In these roles she is able to advise students, teach them, share in their book groups, and even go hiking and to the theatre with them! She also helps Director Keith Miller develop the Honors curriculum, participates on the Honors Council, and works with the Office of Admission and current and prospective students and their families.
Shawn received her Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. Before moving to the Boston area, she was a dedicated Coloradan, and attended the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she majored in English and Geography. Family and geography brought her back to Colorado, where she has taught literature and writing all over the metro area, including a couple of years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the DU English Department. Having loved working with the students and faculty here, she was happy to join the University Honors Program in 2007.
Shawn teaches Honors Writing, an Advanced Seminar on the American Literary Road Trip, Honors Seminars that run from the serious ("The Literature of Truth and Reconciliation") to the star-crossed ("Engaging the Bard: DU Students and the DPS Shakespeare Festival"), as well as a cross-listed course on Whitman and Dickinson. Her scholarly interests include post-bellum American literature, poetry, and cultural studies. Her publications include articles in The Massachusetts Review, Sagetrieb, and The Emily Dickinson Journal;. Her work on Whitman includes a book review and a course and lecture with CSO conductor Scott O'Neil on Ralph Vaughun Williams's Sea Symphony, inspired by Whitman. Her book on the poetics of the sublime in Dickinson, H.D., and Gertrude Stein was published in 2000 by Bucknell University Press. She has worked with Colorado Symphony conductor Scott O'Neil on a course and lecture on the Walt Whitman-inspired Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more recently has book chapter dedicated to the literary, film, and musical criticism of contemporary political philosophy, Slavoj Zizek. Her most recent publication concerns the value of community engaged coursework in honors pedagogy. She also hopes to revisit work begun late-nineteenth century American women poets, and one on postcolonial anglophone poetry.