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Ashleigh Petts

  • West Virginia University MA, 2013petts
  • Marshall University BA, 2007
  • Technical Communications Specialist at Quadax
  • Cleveland, OH

I first became interested in the MA in Professional Writing and Editing after completing my undergraduate degree and entering the workforce. I was aware of technical writing as a profession, and I had a vague knowledge of rhetorical theory from undergraduate English courses, but I didn’t consider becoming a technical writer until I took a job that involved a lot of writing. After further researching the profession, I decided to apply to WVU to help advance my career.

Currently, I work as a technical communication specialist for Quadax, a medical billing company in the Cleveland area. One of my primary job responsibilities is documenting software enhancements for two of the applications my company developed in-house. I write the release notes explaining new software features, and I later update the user manuals with information about those features. In addition, I help to write, edit, and design internal newsletters, and I write and edit articles about the healthcare industry that are published on our website and distributed to clients.

I make use of what I learned in the MA in PWE program every day. The coursework and close guidance from professors helped me to develop a philosophy of technical writing and editing that I use in all facets of my work, from writing user-friendly documentation to interacting with other technical writers and subject matter experts. My job involves a lot of research and figuring out how things work—whether in our software applications or in the industry as a whole—and I use the skills I developed during my time at WVU to help me find accurate information quickly. I even use what I learned in to help me make small, everyday choices, such as deciding how many screen shots to include in the release notes and where to place them.

I learned a lot from my professors and fellow students during my time at WVU. The MA in PWE provided a great foundation for my career, and I know I’ll continue to draw on my experiences in the program for years to come.