Dr. Blackburn received her PhD in 2015 from Washington State University as part of the Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program. This program requires specialization in a minimum of three fields. Dr. Blackburn chose political science, communication, and veterinary clinical sciences/global animal health. For her doctoral work, she constructed a mathematical model that allows for quantified policy and communication inputs to determine how different disease intervention policies and communication strategies impact the spread of a disease outbreak. Following the completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Blackburn worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Field Disease Investigation Unit in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. During this appointment, she worked on a variety of projects, including seasonal prevalence of E. coli in dairy and beef cattle, health differences from feeding dairy calves milk replacer vs. real milk, and the impact of Bifidobacterium on the health development of dairy calves. Dr. Blackburn is currently a postdoctoral researcher with the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, conducting research on various aspects of pandemic disease policy and control.