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Natalie Liounis

I am currently working as an editor for Metabiota, a global infectious disease organization. Metabiota works to mitigate disease risk worldwide through research and capacity-building activities, such as providing low-income nations with appropriate personal protective equipment, increasing security in biosafety laboratories, and training laboratory workers in best practices. They partner with international and governmental organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense (DoD), to increase awareness of disease spread and prevention and to investigate emerging infectious diseases.

I joined the Metabiota team to edit a disease landscape analysis of the US Pacific Command area of responsibility—a massive, multi-authored undertaking that at one point exceeded a thousand pages. With a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in PWE, I had a lot to learn about infectious diseases. However, I was able to learn quickly through collaborating with subject matter experts and reading through/editing annexes, which included profile information on pathogens and international health organizations. Within a couple weeks, I learned more than I ever thought I would about diseases, and I had a new obsession with Ebola virus. Now that the landscape analysis has been completed and submitted to the DoD, I have been working with the Business Development team to edit proposals, and I’m still learning new things every day.

The greatest thing about the PWE master’s program is it sets you up to learn more. When you graduate with this degree, your education door doesn’t close; in fact, this degree is like a door stop that continuously allows more knowledge to enter your brain. It prepares you to work in fields you never thought you’d work in. When I was a student, I had no idea how perfectly interning in an aerospace laboratory would prepare me to work in other technical disciplines, and I never thought that my experience teaching technical and business writing—and even composition—would prepare me for the real world. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I had in graduate school for anything, and I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned from the brilliant and encouraging faculty in the WVU English Department.