As a public health graduate student, Rica Abbott ’11 is expected to effectively communicate what can be complicated healthcare information to the public. She says her English (BA) – Professional Writing degree from Appalachian was excellent preparation for this work.
“I learned how to write for the lay reader and to use jargon correctly, to highlight pertinent information and use style and design to get a message across,” said Abbott. She’s currently working on a master’s degree in public health at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
“As a result I’m able to effectively present sophisticated information through the use of high-quality documents and oral presentations to non-medical populations,” she said.
Coming out of high school her professional goal was to be a physician. She debated on a major when she learned that a science degree is not required for medical school. The Professional Writing major appealed to her because it can be applied to a broad range of careers.
“Whether you want to be a doctor, lawyer, professor, researcher or whatever, the skills you learn in this major will be an important part of your everyday work experience,” Abbott said.
“Want to be a CEO? Professional Writing teaches students to create memos and reports, and to conduct presentations in a professional manner. Want to be a lawyer? Professional Writing teaches students how to craft a point of view and argue it in a public forum.”
Whether she’s pursuing opportunities in the global health field, working with management in a medical community, or preparing assignments and projects for her master’s degree, Abbott said she has found the Professional Writing major to be a key factor in her success.
“I know pursuing this degree was the best decision I could have made,” she said. “The opportunities have been endless for me because of what I learned in the program. Having excellent writing and communication skills is a bonus in the real world, and will make you a top job applicant,” she said.