Alumni Spotlight: Allison Otto

Allison Otto
I wanted to attend a college with a great theatre program, the opportunity to double major and to connect with peers in various disciplines, and the openness to explore my interests in addition to my future career. I realized that while I loved theatre, I wasn’t meant to pursue it professionally. I studied psychology at Lehigh University, and obtained my PsyD from Chestnut Hill College. I am now a psychologist with my own clinical and forensic practice in Allentown, PA. I teach as an adjunct professor, I present my research in the field of psychology locally and at national conventions, and I regularly testify as an expert witness. When giving testimony, I am keenly aware of the “drama” of the courtroom, and find myself less rattled than some of my peers. My background in theatre has been invaluable to me in a fun part of my career — consulting with the television and film industry regarding the portrayal of mental health issues and clinicians. I am able to integrate my knowledge of character development, cohesiveness of a script, plot development, and audience reception when I consult with writers, producers, directors, and actors. The Department of Theatre at Lehigh University nurtured my confidence, presentation skills, and receptiveness to feedback. Being an officer of the Mustard & Cheese Drama Society and collaborating on productions developed my networking skills and openness to other professionals. My experience in theatre has been essential in building my clinical skills and propelling my career forward. I would encourage Lehigh students to challenge themselves by exercising initiative, learning to manage and lead, and taking risks in the Department of Theatre!