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STC hosts Alumni Handshaking Night
November 14, 2008
The MSU chapter of the Society for Technical Communication held Alumni Handshaking Night on Friday, November 14, in the CSU Heritage Room. Forty students, alumni, and faculty participated. Gretchen Herrick, David Chapman, and Susan Campbell served as panelists, talking about their industry experience and answering questions from students and faculty.
- Gretchen Herrick is a technical writer in the packaging industry and started in at Brenton Engineering in Alexandria, MN and has recently moved to the northeast Minneapolis company of Thiele Technologies. Herrick works in palletizing and is one of two technical writers at the company she currently works for. Gretchen found that the most helpful skills she learned at MSU were her researching, writing, and communicating skills. She noted that it is important to learn to write for your audience and how they will be using it.
- Susan Campbell works for Emerson Process Management in Eden Prairie, MN and is a technical writer. Susan works on marketing, brochures, documentation which includes online and how to help, as well as managing printing and doing press checks. The documents she creates are translated into 19 different languages and are used around the world. Susan also stated that you need to have a curious mind, you need to be able to interview and ask how things work.
- David Chapman works remotely for Sycamore Environmental Consultants, Inc. in Sacramento, CA and works to make sure companies are complying with state and federal regulations at a site or project and makes a formal report about the project. David stated, “You get what you put in,” when asked about what he found the most useful for his education at MSU. He continued that independent projects and the proposals class were helpful for him and his career choice.
When asked what type of qualities they would look for in a candidate, almost all alumni present stated that being flexible and possessing a willingness to learn are extremely important. Alumni added that the field is constantly changing in terms of technology and you have to be willing to learn that technology. Susan Campbell added that you need to be able to pick up new skills quickly and be a team player. Gretchen Herrick noted that you also need to be able and willing to work with everyone from engineers to production staff.
Following the panel presentation, the Chapter recognized Dr. Lee Tesdell for his upcoming Fulbright and recognized Dr. Kathy Hurley for her service to the department and to students. Kathy will be retiring at the end of fall semester.
STC Members participate in 2008 GPACW Conference at Iowa State
November 7-8, 2008
Iowa State University hosted this year's Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing (GPACW) conference on November 7-8 in Ames, Iowa. The coneference theme was "Multimodal Composition Pedagogies." Dr. Lee Tesdell, Dr. Heather Camp, and Dr. Nancy McKenzie presented at the conference and had students from their graduate level courses have work presented, including STC participants Katie Tormala and Paul Dobratz.
Paul Dobratz, a graduate student in the technical communication program, presented research that he, Katie Tormala, and Paula Naumann conducted on laptop use in wireless classrooms. Paul commented, "The presentation went well, but it was the discussion afterward that was the most mentally stimulating. It was good to intelligently discuss pedagogy and the varie ways that insturctors are tackling the availability of new technology in the classroom."
The conference had various sessions from multi-modal communication accreditation to teaching advanced graphic design to textual analysis. "The conference helped me think more about how I might use technology to imporve the quality of my writing courses and to enhance my professional life. I learned about creating an online teaching portfolio, developing writing assignments that ask students to compose texts that include audio and video components, and using Internet resources to support student learning," Dr. Heather Camp continued, "The conference motivates me to experiment with new composing technologies in my teaching, to provide opportunities for first-year writing students to utilize and extend the already impressive repertoire of technological skills that they bring to their work."
Overall, it was a great learning experience for those involved. The participants were offered the opportunity to share knowledge and discussion on pedagogy, computers, and writing.
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