From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome! We have a lot going on in this month’s double issue, so here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come.

This month, not only do we have our monthly chapter meeting, but we also are having a fall social! Our chapter meeting is focusing on the ethics of intercultural technical communication. For more information, read on or visit the RSVP page. To learn more about the fall social, visit the RSVP page.

Next, it is my honor to share with you the exciting news of a new graduate scholarship at the University of Central Florida (UCF), inspired by one of our amazing members, Mike Murray! Read on to learn more about this exciting new opportunity and the inspiration behind it all.

Next up, Dan Voss shares about the Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK), a valuable source of tech comm knowledge, as well as a great mentoring program project.

Finally, Alexandra Engrand wraps up the newsletter this month by recapping our popular September meeting focused on job hunting.

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meetings!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Will You Sink or Swim in the Perilous Ethical Shoals
of Intercultural Technical Communication?

Find Out at Our November 21 Meeting!

By Dan Voss

With the globalization of the technical communication profession comes a new challenge: how to identify and resolve ethical conflicts that cross cultures. It’s hard enough to do that within one culture with a common value system, let alone across cultures with often-conflicting value systems.

It’s like piloting a ship through perilous shoals. You need a compass and a lighthouse.

Both of them come with the price of admission to STC Florida’s November 21 educational meeting, a mini-workshop, “Exploring the Ethics of Intercultural Technical Communication” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Perkins Restaurant on University Blvd. and also available online.

The 2-hour event includes an engaging presentation by the authors of Chapter 5, “Teaching the Ethics of Intercultural Communication” by Bethany Aguad and Dan Voss in the anthology of research articles Teaching and Training for Global Engineering: Perspectives on Culture and Professional Communication Practices, edited by Madelyn Flammia of UCF and Kirk St.Amant of East Carolina University and published in 2017.

Following the presentation is a “hands-on” workshop that is sure to be both challenging and enlightening. In it, you’ll be guiding your ship through the perilous shoals of ethical conflicts technical communicators encounter as we practice our profession across the boundaries of nations, religions, and cultures.

So be ready to steer your ship away from the rocks in forehead-wrinkling cases like “When in Rome,” “Make No Assumptions,” “The Deadly Dose,” and “No Women Need Apply.”

We will be charging the following rates for this meeting:

-$6 for STC Florida Chapter Members (part of Society for Technical Communication membership, not membership of this meetup group)
-$12 for all other attendees

The same pricing applies for online attendees. We will have a moderator on the call to welcome all virtual attendees. The presentation will start at 6:30.

Visit our Meeting Payments page to pay ahead for the meeting and receive the call details if you want to attend online.

Mike Murray ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship Honors Legacy by Inspiring Others to Follow Suit

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Our long-time chapter leader Mike Murray has been the inspiration for a brand-new graduate scholarship at UCF, which was announced this month. It has been his dream to Make a Difference in the lives of people who live with disabilities and other health challenges, and it is his hope that this scholarship will support students whose careers will place them on the front lines in patient care and the development of best practices.

The scholarship fund is accepting contributions (see the end of the article), for those who wish to support this worthy endeavor and honor our friend and colleague Mike in the process.

 

UCF School of Communication Sciences and Disorders to Benefit

Republished with the Permission of the University of Central Florida College of Health Professions and Sciences (CHPS)

Published on the UCF Website and Via Social Media, November 8, 2019

Link to Online Publication at UCF

A TOAST TO A NEW CHPS SCHOLARSHIP. A new scholarship for the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Mike Murray Make a Difference Scholarship, lifts off at Mike’s home in Waterford Lakes where he and the founding co-donors inked the Gift Agreement. Mike (center) is joined by his wife Kay to his right and the co-donors (from left, camera view: Dan Voss, Karen Lane, and Jon Kessler). – Photos by Jon Kessler.

Mike Murray (a.k.a. “Da Voice”) of Orlando, an ardent UCF supporter and an expert communicator, is the inspiration for the newest scholarship for graduate students in UCF’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Murray has made a huge difference in the Central Florida community over the past 30 years through his communications expertise, leadership, and countless volunteer activities.

Fueled by a start-up donation from three of Murray’s long-time friends and colleagues in the Society for Technical Communication (STC)—Jon Kessler, Karen Lane, and Dan Voss—the Mike Murray Make a Difference Scholarship will open for applications in February 2020. The award will be disbursed next fall and annually thereafter.

Why the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders? It’s a Long Story.

–“Da Voice.”

Murray is a remarkable leader with a unique ability to build and sustain an organization. Through both his professional career, including 10½ years in the U.S. Air Force and 31 years with Lockheed Martin, and his service to the community through Cub Scouts, Little League, youth football and basketball, and Special Olympics bowling, Murray helped unify organizations and inspire their members to reach new heights of achievement.

His iconic role as “Da Voice” in his service as a sports announcer for Dr. Phillips High School football and basketball as well as Rollins College women’s volleyball was the perfect personification of his core belief: use your voice to inspire the best in others.

Karen Lane, one of the founding donors to the scholarship, expressed, “Mike’s super power is his ability to identify people who can make a real difference and empower them to do so. This scholarship will carry Mike’s vision forward as his permanent legacy at UCF and beyond.”

Resilience, Persistence, and Grace

Murray has been battling Parkinson’s Disease since 2008. He has refused to yield to the limitations this progressive disease imposes, yet, ironically, the first thing to go was his booming announcer’s voice.

Instead of quitting when his voice was taken away, Murray reached out to others with disabilities. He used one of his other gifts—his superb writing ability—to share his personal experiences and send a compelling message: focus on abilities rather than disabilities.

Murray has dedicated the last 15 years of his life to reaching out to people with disabilities and debilitating illnesses, including those who have “lost their voice”—often quite literally—due to aphasia, speech pathology, deafness, cognitive limitations or progressive disease processes and those with other life-limiting disabilities including blindness and mobility restrictions.

As a 30-year member and Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and a charter member of its AccessAbility Special Interest Group (SIG), Murray used his eloquent writing style to drive home the message that people are defined by their abilities, not their disabilities. This is evident in his landmark article as editor of the AccessAbility SIG Newsletter Achieve! titled “The Elephant in the Room.”

In this article, Murray addresses the awkwardness people typically experience when meeting a person with noticeable disabilities. As he said, “With my distorted facial appearance (the ‘Parkinson’s Mask’), I became the ‘elephant in the room.’ Nobody was comfortable with me.” Murray’s closing advice on how to deal with “elephants in the room” is inspiring:

As the debilitating illness slowly erodes Murray’s physical and cognitive capabilities, he focuses not on what he cannot do but on what he can. “What I tell other people in my situation is to place their finger on their wrist. I tell them if they feel a pulse, they still have work to do.”

Be Like Mike: Make a Difference

And that is precisely what Murray continues to do. Knowing his time may be shorter due to the Parkinson’s, he wants to continue “Making a Difference” through this new UCF scholarship, even after his death.

“Mike makes things happen,” Lane said, “and his commitment to excellence is infectious.”

Scholarship co-founder Jon Kessler also spoke to this point: “As president of the Orlando Chapter of STC, Mike used the full force of his personality to transform a previously stagnant and unmotivated group into an internationally recognized center of excellence in the communication profession.”

Murray is a personal leader as well as an organizational leader. He has served as a mentor in the STC Florida Chapter’s flourishing mentoring program for technical communication students at UCF since its inception in 2003. In 2018, he founded the leadership development program Pass the Torch, which has inspired up-and-coming leaders, both within STC and in their professional roles.

Scholarship co-founder Dan Voss said Murray is always focused on impact. “Mike has always measured success by results, not intentions. Now, by establishing this scholarship, he has passed his torch to UCF’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders. He is confident scholarship recipients will carry on his mission of helping others by ‘Making a Difference’—now and long after he’s gone.”

A single guiding philosophy will govern the selection of the annual scholarship recipient: which candidate is most likely to make the greatest difference in the practice of his or her chosen field and in the lives of the patients being served. Guided by information provided by the student applicants as well as their performance in the classroom and in the field, the faculty selection committee will determine who best carries forward Mike’s commitment to making a difference in the world.

A LEGACY PRESERVED. Mike and Kay Murray celebrate the launch of the new CHPS scholarship for the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Mike Murray Make a Difference Scholarship. The new fund carries on Mike’s mission of helping others, especially those with disabilities or debilitating illnesses.

Students can apply for the scholarship using the online scholarship system at Scholarship A2O – Academic Works.

Contributions to the Mike Murray Make a Difference Scholarship Fund can be made via check to the UCF Foundation at 12424 Research Parkway, Orlando, FL 32826 or via credit card at ucffoundation.org/MikeMurray.

TCBOK is a Treasure Trove of Tech Comm “Tidbits”

Perfect for a Mentor/Mentee Project

Dan Voss

By: Dan Voss
STC Fellow
Florida Chapter, STC

Are you familiar with the TCBOK?

If not, you should be. TCBOK stands for Technical Communication Body of Knowledge, a wiki-based collection of articles and links to credentialed resources covering a wide range of topics within the profession and housed on the STC website.

As you might expect, the TCBOK is a continuous work in progress, as the body of knowledge within the profession is ever growing.

A formidable amount of information categorized by wikis is already available (Figure 1), yet many areas of the TCBOK remain to be developed. That means the TCBOK is always open to new contributions, particularly in areas where new content is needed (Figure 2). Additional information in the already-populated wiki categories is also welcome.

That makes the TCBOK a two-way information highway. You can use it to research topics of interest within the profession, and you can also contribute to it in areas where you are a subject matter expert or have done research.

Contributions are welcome from students as well as practitioners. A TCBOK article is an excellent mentor/mentee project which, if accepted, becomes a bona fide professional publications credit for resumes and portfolios.

The length limit for a TCBOK article is 1,000 words; thus, it is not an overwhelming undertaking.

I encourage you to browse the TCBOK. When you see the variety of approaches to TCBOK articles, it will become evident that you can make a meaningful contribution either as a SME or as a student—or, better still, as a mentor/mentee team of both.

In so doing, you will not only strengthen your portfolio, you will enrich the body of knowledge of our profession and support STC’s global educational outreach.

And you’ll earn 2 points towards your Active Member shirt!

Worth considering, don’t you think?

Figure 1. Easy Access. Information in the TCBOK is organized into 45 categories accessible by “buttons” in the Wiki Tag Cloud on the TCBOK web page.

Figure 2. Ever Growing. Opportunities for contributions to the TCBOK abound. Every member of STC could contribute and there would still be room for more information.

September Meeting Recap

Alexandra Engrand

By: Alexandra Engrand
Member
Florida Chapter, STC

Mirhonda Studevant joined us last month for the September meeting where she shared with attendees her knowledge and resources for surviving job hunting. She has accumulated this information from the 20+ years she has spent working in the technical communication field. Studevant’s presentation was titled “Job Search Survival: How to Get Off the Island.”

The presentation was broken up into four parts:

  1. Signal for Rescue
  2. Find Fresh Water
  3. Find Food
  4. Avoid Injury

Studevant also listed various tools job hunters can use, such as the website Simply Hired, which searches various job sites and compiles the results in one place, and the online learning platform lynda.com, which was recently acquired by LinkedIn and is now LinkedIn Learning.

For a more detailed look at the presentation and a full breakdown of each category, visit https://stc-orlando.org/meetings/meeting-recordings/ and select the video titled “Job Search Survival: How to Get Off the Island (STC Florida Meeting).”

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Welcome! We have a lot going on this month, and I’m here to give you a sneak preview of what’s to come.

This month, our chapter meeting is focusing on one of the hardest topics for technical communicators: job searching. For more information or to RSVP, read on or visit the RSVP page.

Next, I’d like to welcome a new writer to MtM, Celeste Graeff, as she recaps our historic August meeting co-hosted with the North Texas Lone Star Chapter.

Finally, Dan Voss and Mike Murray bring us their second article in the Looking Back, Looking Forward column, this time focusing on our chapter’s student mentoring program. Read on to learn more!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Looking for a job can feel like being stranded on an island. You face a tidal wave of decisions and emotions. Join us from the comfort of your home on your phone or computer for our September chapter meeting where Mirhonda Studevant, longtime STC Atlanta member and recent STC Florida transplant, will share her job search techniques to boost your confidence, hone your survival skills and steer you toward your next opportunity. Whether your current job situation is smooth sailing or rough chop, this session will help you consider ways to navigate a better course.

Please RSVP using this link.

 

August Meeting Recap

By: Celeste Graeff
Member
Florida Chapter and North Texas Lone Star Chapter, STC

The collaborative meeting in August between the North Texas Lone Star Chapter (NTLSC) and the STC Florida Chapter was a success with 17 virtual attendees and 13 live attendees. It was the first virtual meeting for the NTLSC and, after some troubleshooting at the beginning, the virtual component was smooth and entertaining.

The three speakers came from very different backgrounds and shared with us how they use their technical communication skills in their current nontraditional roles. We had great questions from the live and virtual audiences and an engaging discussion portion as a result. It was an overall success and an enjoyable experience that provided inspiration for ideas about future collaboration between STC communities.

Maurice Moss, one of the three presenters, online and in-person.

 

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Student Mentoring Program Enters 17th Year

By: Dan Voss and Mike Murray
STC Fellows
Florida Chapter, STC

Welcome to the second installment of Looking Back, Looking Forward, a new column that appears periodically in Memo to Members. This column showcases articles and other documents generated by members of the STC Florida Chapter over our community’s 41-year history that still bear relevance to our community’s operations today and into the future.

In our September 2019 LBLF column, we are looking back at three articles that captured the establishment and growth of the STC Florida Chapter’s benchmark student mentoring program, co-sponsored with the Future Technical Communications (FTC) club at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

The highly successful program, founded in 2003 by the Orlando Chapter with FTC and UCF, is presently looking forward to its 17th year, about to get underway under the guidance of Education Committee manager Misty Arner and FTC president and chapter liaison Amy Truong.

In its first 16 years, the student mentoring program has generated 141 mentor/mentee pairings in which professional practitioners within the chapter have guided technical communication students at UCF as they have embarked on their careers.

It’s a Quadruple Win!

The student mentoring program has proven to be a win-win situation both personally and organizationally. Mentees get valuable practical professional development advice and job placement assistance they are not likely to get in the classroom. Mentors get the satisfaction of helping groom the next generation of technical communicators and they also benefit from seeing what ideas newcomers bring to the industry. The UCF technical communications (tech comm) program and FTC benefit from the professional expertise of many of our chapter members. And our chapter is assured of a steady pipeline of fresh volunteer talent that has played a major role in the extraordinary success of our community over the past 17 years.

You can read about the student mentoring program under the Education tab on our chapter website. Over the years, it has been emulated by several other STC geographic communities. The program guidelines and the various tools used to administer the program are available to all STC communities in the Community-Building Toolkit on our website.

Reaching Out to UCF

The first article about our mentoring program, “Bridging the Gap Between Industry and Academe,” was written by its co-founders, Orlando Chapter Education Committee Manager Dan Voss and FTC President Bonnie Spivey. The article was published in the Proceedings to the 52nd international STC conference (now called the Summit) in Seattle in 2005, in conjunction with a presentation delivered by Bonnie and Dan.

Reaching Across the Atlantic

The second article, «Un Programme de Mentorat International? Mais Oui, C’est Possible! Absolument!», tells an inspiring story of a trans-Atlantic virtual mentoring partnership that led directly to the establishment of a student mentoring program between the STC France Chapter and the University of Paris-Diderot modeled on the “Orlando model.” Coauthored by STC France Secretary Clio Fouque, then a student at the University of Paris, and Dan Voss, who met at the 56th international STC conference in Atlanta in 2009, the article was published in the Proceedings to the 57th international STC conference in Dallas in 2010. Clio and Dan’s mutually enriching and organizationally fruitful mentoring partnership offers a promising paradigm as our student mentoring program seeks to add a virtual dimension as it extends to other universities in Florida over the next several years.

Reaching Across the Society 

The third article, “STC Student Mentoring Programs: Investing in the Future,” was written by Bethany Bowles and Dan Voss for the 15th annual STC-India conference in Varca, Goa, in 2013, and published in the STC-India newsletter Indus in third quarter 2013. The article recaps the history of our chapter’s student mentoring program and chronicles Bethany and Dan’s 3-year tour of duty with the Society’s Committee Affairs Committee (CAC) as task leaders in the student member outreach program. The pair co-presented at Leadership Day at the 59th and 60th international STC conferences in Toronto in 2012 and Atlanta in 2013, respectively—in both cases distributing both printed and soft media copies of a comprehensive reference guide on student mentoring programs that other STC geographic communities have used to establish and sustain student mentoring programs.

Coming Attraction:

Watch for the next installment of Looking Backing, Looking Forward in the November edition of Memo to Members, where we’ll be looking at communication strategy past, present, and future.