Health Communications Assistant, NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research, Pittsburgh
BA in English (with a concentration in Professional Writing and Editing), West Virginia University
ProfileAs an undergraduate at West Virginia University, Brittney Warnick focused her English degree on Professional Writing and Editing (PWE), working towards a career in editing at a publishing company. She worked with the WVU Press (WVU's publishing company) and Random House to gain experience, and while she found that she enjoyed it, she liked what she was learning in her PWE classes more.
"Those classes had a technical writing and editing focus, something I had never even heard of before. I liked the idea of creating documents people could learn from, but I still hadn't given up on publishing," Brittney says.
A WVU professor noted Brittney's interests and told her about the MAPW program at Carnegie Mellon University. With the program's flexibility and course offerings grabbing her attention, Brittney applied.
Though she came into the MAPW still interested in a career in the publishing world, her coursework and experience in the program have pointed her in a different direction: health communications, an area Brittney had not even heard about before coming to CMU.
"I learned about health communications in Professional Seminar. I've always been really interested in medicine, but never wanted to go into healthcare as a doctor or anything like that, so I was surprised and happy to find a place for me in the health field after all," she explains.
She credits the MAPW, especially Professional Seminar, as influencing her change in career aspirations.
"The program really allows you to choose what you want to do and make it happen. Professional Seminar introduced me to my career goal, the internship requirement gave me real experience to offer future employers, and I was able to schedule specific courses tailored to my career goals in my last two semesters," she says.
Brittney is also the managing editor of Thought, CMU's undergraduate research journal (each fall, a new MAPW student is chosen to join the Thought staff, taking over as managing editor during the spring): "It was a big challenge putting a staff together, staying organized, and getting the journal edited, designed, and published on time, but I'm really glad I did it. I'm proud of how the journal turned out and I got to learn about some of the amazing research undergraduates are doing here at CMU."
She advises those considering the MAPW program to take a class that's outside the typical coursework. In the spring, Brittney took Product Design and was the only non-engineer/industrial designer in the class.
"I got to use my writing skills to help present my team's ideas. Plus my project was really rewarding-my team designed a high-tech playground surface for UPMC Children's Hospital."