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. Dr. Blackburn is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University. Prior to that she served as the Deputy Director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Program at 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.