Natalie Royal

Natalie Royal

Natalie Royal

How did you choose your specific area of study?

After I studied abroad at Oxford University for my BA, I knew with certainty that I wanted to continue my studies in English Literature. As a way to study what I love, and to pursue my professional interests, I supplemented my MA with a Graduate Certificate in Professional and Technical Writing (PTW). Reading and writing have become such an integral part of my identity, I don't think I will ever stop. I don't think I could ever stop.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

I think my background in literary studies and rhetoric has given me a unique advantage professionally. My studies in rhetoric have prepared me for the professional world, and my literary studies have fostered my analytical skills in ways that are useful in both academic and professional spaces.

Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?

I am proud of my Graduate Research Assistantship with Dr. Alok Yadav. I contributed to his digital project on African American Anthologies which includes an enumerative bibliography, documentation of covers, index of contents, and reception history. I was also granted a freelance editing opportunity by Dr. Douglas Eyman to copyedit for a peer-reviewed academic journal with an average readership of ten thousand visitors per month. These experiences gave me the confidence to participate in academic pursuits outside of my courses.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?

One of the professors who significantly impacted my Mason Career was Dr. Amelia Rutledge. I was lucky enough to take her as an undergraduate and graduate student. Through her challenging and engaging courses, I realized my true love of literature and literary studies. She is one of the most incredible professors I have ever had. I will never forget the impact she has made on my life. Dr. Michael Malouf was my advisor and encouraged me to study abroad and pursue my MA. I am incredibly grateful for his encouragement and his vision of my potential. Dr. Heidi Lawrence has also significantly impacted my life. The PTW program prepared me for a professional writing career and granted me the resources to secure one. I am incredibly indebted to her for my professional success.

What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?

My advice is to consider graduate school as a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself ample time to do the work and adhere to a schedule. Be gentle with yourself and remember that any, and all, progress is progress. Also, sometimes the most effective way forward to is take a break. If you plan accordingly, pursue what you love, and put in the work, your achievements will shine through.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

About a year ago, I was offered a job as a proposal writer for a government contractor. This has been a professional goal of mine since before I started the PTW certificate program. I am pleased to work a job that allows me to do what I love and that does not feel like "work." Long term, I hope to return as a Ph.D. candidate and continue my studies.