Communication senior Riley Nelson conducts feminist research on Shakespeare’s Hamlet


Courtesy of Jerry Lee

Communication senior Riley Nelson. Nelson describes her summer research in the second part of a series.

Laurisa Sastoque, Reporter

This article is the second in a series featuring Northwestern students and their research projects during the summer of 2020.

Communication senior Riley Nelson is studying the feminist implications of casting women for the role of Hamlet over time as part of her senior thesis, under the supervision of English and Communication Prof. Tracy Davis and English and Comparative Literature Prof. William West.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Nelson is majoring in theatre and creative writing. On campus, she is the executive director and co-chair of Lipstick Theatre and is involved with the Student Theatre Coalition.

Nelson had initially planned to complete an internship in the theatre industry this summer. However, she had to rethink her options due to the pandemic. It was then that Davis advised her to start working on her senior thesis, as an opportunity for exploration.

“(This topic) is a conglomeration of all of my interests. Shakespeare, Hamlet, feminism — it’s all really exciting,” Nelson said.

Through her research this summer, Nelson has improved her time management and critical reading skills. She also has learned to utilize the Zotero software to cite her sources.

“My experience has been really positive. The library has a ton of resources to help people beginning research,” Nelson said.

Beyond her senior thesis, Nelson is interested in potentially pursuing a career in academia and continuing to work with research.

When asked about what she would say to a student looking to get involved in research, Nelson said conducting research “is less daunting than you think. Find support amongst the faculty and the library, because they can guide you through this process.”

Email: [email protected]
Twittter: @lauraisp405

Related Stories:
Weinberg student Noah Rabinovitch conducts research on Chicago identities
Northwestern students, professors benefit from summer research assistant program
Summer Undergraduate Research Grant recipients adapt to social distancing