From the Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

On this, my three-year anniversary as your Memo to Members editor, I would like to you all to know that it has been an honor to serve in this role. I mentioned back in December’s edition that I have decided to pass on this honor to a worthy successor so that I may explore other roles within the chapter. My successor and I have already initiated the knowledge transfer process, which will continue through the May 20-23 STC Technical Communication Summit in Orlando before I hand over the reins once and for all. In fact, this edition of MtM was co-edited by my Newsletter Apprentice—a title that will soon be outdated, as she is rapidly mastering the craft.

So, without any further delay, I am pleased to introduce your new Memo to Members editor for mid-2018 and on. Please give it up for…

Emily Wells!

Emily Wells, Newsletter Apprentice for STC (Orlando Central) Florida!

Emily, a recent University of Central Florida (UCF) graduate, has been very active in bridging the gap between our STC chapter and the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) club of UCF. In fact, she served as student co-manager (with STC Fellow Dan Voss) in coordinating our internationally recognized  student mentoring program—which partners established technical writers with FTC students—through the 2016–2017 academic year and the first semester of the 2017–2018 year before transitioning that position to Misty Arner to take on her Newsletter Apprenticeship.

With her uproarious wit and proven dedication, I have no doubt that Emily will soon do great things as Communications Manager and Newsletter Editor for our chapter.

 

 

Holy segues, dear communicators! Speaking of FTC and UCF…

It’s time for our annual FTC/STC joint meeting at UCF!

FTC at UCF and the Orlando Central Florida (OCF) Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) will be hosting a mini-conference on technical communication on Tuesday, February 13 in the UCF Student Union 316A from 6:30-8:30 p.m. This year’s mini-conference will employ a rotational method of lectures called a progression. The meeting comprises three 25-minute miniature seminars at venues (aka, tables), each festooned with a balloon color-coded for the presenter’s subject.

Admission is free, and anyone interested in technical communication is invited.

The traditional multi-hued balloons will flutter above the six progression tables (a.k.a., venues) as the annual FTC/STC meeting comes to the Student Union Building at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 13, at UCF. The program is entitled “Reach the Summit—at the Conference and in Your Career.”

The focus of the February 13 meeting at UCF is on the upcoming 65th annual STC international conference coming to Orlando May 20-23 (Summit 2018) and on the diverse career paths available within the technical communication field.

Offering a wealth of knowledge conveyed in a carnival-like package, this informative and festive event combines professional growth. Admission is free—and it comes with catered refreshments from Chik-fil-A!

Like the “Pick a Path” career-oriented meeting at UCF last year and the content-oriented “Mining for Knowledge” meeting the year before, the February 13 meeting is in a progression format. Three rotations of six topics hosted at color-coded venues give attendees the opportunity to explore the upcoming Summit and take a look at career options within technical communication.

Please click here to RSVP.

We offer more articles about this landmark event in this edition of MtM; just look for the FTC/STC banner as shown above!

Also in this edition:

  • A word from our President, whom one might say is over the moon about the recent rocket launch!
  • A word from our Secretary, with a recap of our blockbuster MadCap Flare presentation from January!
  • A word from our Treasurer, with a public service announcement about the great opportunity for student volunteerism at the Summit!

Read on!

Nick Ducharme
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

 

The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
(Orlando Central) Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

Article written 6 February 2018

 

 

 

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile”

Starman” by David Bowie

 

Dear members and friends, you’ll have to indulge my geekiness this month in President’s Corner. Today, my husband and I ventured out to Titusville, FL to witness the test launch of a new super-rocket: the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. This spacecraft, a three stage rocket with three boosters, had as much thrust as the Saturn V rocket that took us to the moon in the 1970s. Meaning, it was the largest rocket launched in my lifetime. As a degreed rocket scientist, this launch was monumental for me.

The payload? A 2008 candy apple red Tesla Roadster convertible, because WHY NOT? The passenger? A mannequin named Starman. The course? A perpetual, heliocentric, elliptical Hohmann transfer orbit. From our friends at Bill Nye the Science Guy’s The Planetary Society, here is a little more about Starman’s projected trajectory:

A Hohmann transfer orbit can take a spacecraft from Earth to Mars. The orbit is an elliptical one, where the periapsis (nearest point) is at Earth’s distance from the Sun and the apoapsis (farthest point) is at Mars’ distance from the Sun. The transfer orbit has to be timed so that when the spacecraft departs Earth, it will arrive at its orbit apoapsis when Mars is at the same position in its orbit. Earth and Mars align properly for a Hohmann transfer once every 26 months.

 

The Hohmann Transfer Orbit. SpaceX Launched its Falcon Heavy,
the world’s most powerful rocket, from historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on February 6, 2018.

 

We need to understand all of the achievements that took place within the first six hours of today’s mission:

  1. Two previously-flown Falcon 9 first-stage boosters lifted a center core, and then landed, simultaneously at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
  2. An unproven two-stage center core carried a fairing and payload to Earth escape velocity. It attempted a water landing, but did not survive.
  3. An unproven fairing third stage deployed a payload, sending it off into the Hohmann Transfer Orbit.
  4. The payload survived the radiation of Earth’s Van Allen belt.

This flight was a proving ground for the technologies that will take humans back to space, past low-Earth orbit. I honestly cannot wait for the achievements to continue.

So, my fellow technical communicators, embrace your geekiness, and embrace the TECHNICAL part of our profession. Become the subject matter experts in whatever you are documenting. If it’s hardware: tear it apart and rebuild it. If it’s software: try to break it.

UPDATE 10:00 PM 2/6/18: The rocket’s second stage burned too long, meaning Starman and the Tesla overshot the Hohmann Transfer Orbit. They have entered a heliocentric orbit that will take them past Mars and into the Asteroid Belt. Such is life in orbital dynamics. Elon Musk’s Twitter update read:

Here is Elon Musk’s last picture of Starman before his car’s 24 hour batteries expired. Godspeed, Starman!

 

 

If You Missed the Last Meeting

Crystal Brezina

By: Crystal Brezina
Secretary
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
secretary@stc-orlando.org

On Thursday, January 18, the Orlando Central Florida chapter of STC convened at Riptide Software in Oviedo for their monthly meeting.

Bethany Agaud and Darci Kingry from Fiserv presented the content management platform MadCap Flare, a topic-based technical documentation tool. Bethany and Darci gave an overview describing how MadCap Flare works and how they use the tool at Fiserv for technical communication. Bethany and Darci showed their combined knowledge of MadCap Flare to present MadCap Flare for inexperienced users and to provide tips for improving your Madcap Flare skills. After, Bethany and Darci facilitated a question and answer section to discuss the tool with experienced users.

This Month’s Meeting

Dan Voss

Don’t Miss the February 13 Meeting at UCF!

Annual FTC/STC Meeting Previews STC Summit as Our Young Leaders Take the International Stage

By: Dan Voss
Education Committee Member
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
education@stc-orlando.org

The traditional multi-hued balloons will flutter above the six progression tables (a.k.a., venues) as the annual Future Technical Communicators (FTC)/STC meeting comes to UCF from 6:30 to 8:55 p.m. on Tuesday, February 13, in the Student Union, Room 316A. The program is titled Reach the Summit: at the Conference and in Your Career.

The twin focus of the February 13 meeting is on the upcoming 65th annual STC technical communication conference coming to Orlando May 20–23 (hereinafter referred to as Summit 2018) and on the diverse career paths available within the technical communication field.

Offering a wealth of knowledge conveyed in an informative and festive package, this event is a “don’t miss”—not only for UCF students, but also for professionals in the Orlando Central Florida (OCF) Chapter. Admission is free. And it comes with catered refreshments from Chik-fil-A!

Like the career-oriented Pick a Path meeting at UCF last year and the content-oriented Mining for Knowledge meeting the year before, the February 13 meeting is in a progression format. Three rotations of six topics hosted at color-coded venues give attendees the opportunity to explore the upcoming Summit 2018 and take a look at career options within technical communication.

Here’s What’s in Store for February 13

The matrix of progression rotations and venue topics for the February 13 meeting also serves as the program for the event.

The program features OCF Chapter member Dawn Claessen (Blue Venue) previewing her Summit 2018 presentation as well as taking a look at STC’s Special Interest Groups (SIGs), veteran conference speakers W.C. Wiese (Green Venue) and Dan Voss (Red Venue) with distillations of recent presentations that include a wealth of career tips, early-career professionals Bethany Aguad and Nick Ducharme (Gold Venue) with pointers on how to “jump-start” your career, and OCF Immediate Past President Debra Johnson (Burgundy Venue) with practical tips for attending the Summit and valuable advice for students on networking with professionals—at the Summit, within STC, and in the workplace.

That accounts for five of the six venues.

At the 6th table, the “Royal” Purple Venue, four of the OCF Chapter’s young Rising Stars—President Alex Garcia, Secretary Crystal Brezina, Treasurer Bethany Aguad, and Communications Manager/Newsletter Editor Nick Ducharme—preview the two presentations they are making at the Summit. Both presentations support the Summit theme: Communicating the Future.

Their first, scheduled for Leadership Day on Sunday, May 20, is titled “Forging the Future: Tips and Tools for (Re)Building Your STC Community.”

Their second—an Education Session slated 3:45–4:45 on Monday—is titled “Fueling Your Future: STC Experience Builds Professional Leadership Skills.” It shows how taking advantage of leadership opportunities as young professionals within an STC community translates directly into growth to assume leadership positions on the job.

Rising Stars in the International Spotlight

The selection process for Summit presentations is extremely competitive. For four early-career professionals to be presenting not once, but twice, at the international conference may well be unprecedented in the history of the Society.

If you want to see why, drop by the Purple Venue to see our Rising Stars in action.

In essence, as a “smorgasbord” of tasty tech comm topics, the February 13 event at UCF is a “mini-conference.” At the annual STC Summit, attendees derive maximum benefit from the experience by studying the conference program in advance and identifying which sessions are of greatest interest to them.

Similarly, attendees on February 13 can target any three of the six topics in the program matrix they feel to be most beneficial for them, both in planning to attend Summit 2018 and—in the case of student members—charting their course within our profession.

The last time the STC international conference came to town was back in Y2K, when it was jointly hosted by the Orlando and Suncoast chapters. The OCF Chapter, which recently merged with the Suncoast Chapter to form the nucleus of an evolving statewide STC community, is serving as STC’s host chapter for Summit 2018 at the Hyatt Regency on International Drive.

The twin sponsors of the February 13 event, the OCF Chapter and the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at UCF, are also working together as Florida hosts for Summit 2018.

 

An Amazing Opportunity for Students

Student STC members from UCF join an 18-student volunteer corps that provides administrative support at the conference in return for free registration—a $200 value. In addition to gaining a wealth of technical knowledge from leaders in the technical communication field, the  volunteers also have an exceptional opportunity to network with professional practitioners from all over the world.

Normally, attending the international STC conference as a student would cost several times the $200 student registration fee when you add the cost of travel, lodging, and incidentals. The last time UCF students had this opportunity was in 2000. It will likely be a long time before the international conference comes to Orlando again, if ever.

In addition to providing student volunteers from UCF, as the Summit 2018 host chapter, OCF is staffing a table in the registration area. Debra Johnson is serving on the Society’s 65th Anniversary Committee. FTC members and published STC authors within the chapter are writing a sterling series of articles in STC’s monthly Intercom magazine, offering Summit attendees suggestions about things to do besides the “main event” while they are visiting Central Florida.

Jack’s Coming Back!

OCF is well represented on the Summit 2018 program. In addition to Dawn Claessen and our Rising Stars team mentioned above, we’ll be represented by marquee Summit speaker and author Jack Molisani, an OCF member from Jacksonville, who is making two conference presentations here in May. Jack is an exceptionally dynamic speaker who presented career-oriented tips from his 2014 and 2015 STC international conference presentations at Orlando Chapter meetings in August 2014 and August 2015—Washlines XIX and Washlines XX, respectively. These were the last two editions of a 20-year series of festive panel- and progression-style August meetings at which chapter members shared information gathered from the previous spring’s international STC conference.

The 2016 “Pick a Path” and 2017 “Mining for Knowledge” FTC/STC chapter meetings at UCF picked up on the colorful Washlines tradition, balloons and all—and the February 13 meeting “Reach the Summit” carries it on.

The OCF chapter is pleased to announce that Jack will be back in Orlando before his Summit 2018 appearance in May. He’ll be presenting at our chapter employment meeting on March 22. That’s another “don’t miss.”

All in all, the February 13 meeting, the March 22 meeting, and Summit 2018 on May 20–23 are exceptional opportunities for professional growth, networking, and plain old fun.

Don’t miss out! Mark your calendars for all three!

 

Preparing for Their Debut on the International Stage. OCF Rising Stars (Bethany Aguad, Alex Garcia, Crystal Brezina, and Nick Ducharme) and their Session Coaches (STC Fellows W.C. Wiese, Karen Lane, Mike Murray, and Dan Voss) consumed nearly two dozen donuts—22 to be exact—in a marathon session at the Orlando Public Library on Super Bowl Eve, storyboarding their two presentations for the STC Summit 2018, coming to Orlando in May. For a preview of their outstanding presentations, be sure to catch the Purple Venue at the February 13 FTC/STC meeting at UCF!

The View from Campus

Students! Take Advantage of This Volunteer Opportunity!

Turbocharging Your Career at the Orlando Summit

Andy Romero

By: Andy Romero
FTC President
Student Member, Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC

The 2018 STC Summit Conference offers STC student members the opportunity to serve as volunteers at the May 20-23 event, where you will experience top-notch technical training in conference education sessions and network with well-established professionals.

The student registration fee of $200 will be waived if you serve as a volunteer. In addition, since this year’s Summit is right here in Orlando, you will not incur the formidable cost of travel, lodging, and incidentals as you would when the conference is in another city.

In addition to earning students a complimentary registration, volunteering at the Summit positively impacts students’ careers by increasing their overall exposure to the technical communication field. At the conference, student volunteers can engage in technical communication topics beyond the classroom. They can also build their professional networks and strengthen their resumes and portfolios.

Attending the Summit is worth its weight in gold in terms of job placement and career advancement within the technical communication profession.

The opportunity to attend the 65th annual STC Summit Conference as a student volunteer in Orlando has only one precedent—when the Orlando Chapter hosted the event back in 2000. The likelihood of the conference coming to Orlando again any time soon is low.

But hurry! There are only 18 positions for student member volunteers, and with the conference in Florida, they are going to fill rapidly. I have already secured my volunteer position, and I urge my fellow students to get yours as well.

For details on what student volunteers do and how to apply for a student volunteer position at the Summit, see the article by Bethany Aguad in this edition of MtM.

Another professional growth opportunity for UCF technical communication students is right on the horizon. In addition to the STC Summit Conference, the UCF Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at UCF is hosting our annual joint meeting with STC on Tuesday, February 13, from 6:30 to 8:55 p.m. in the Student Union,

The program, titled Reach the Summit: At the Conference and in Your Career, gives students the chance to preview some of the presentations at the upcoming STC Summit, as well as to explore the diverse career paths within the technical communication field.

For a detailed description of the topics being offered at the six “Venues” in the progression-style program, see the article by Dan Voss in this edition of MtM. In essence, the February 13 FTC/STC meeting here at UCF is a mini-conference covering many aspects of technical communication. As a Student Government Associated (SGA)-supported event, it’s free of charge for all attendees, and it includes free catered refreshments supplied by the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter.

I highly encourage my fellow students who are interested in “touring” the various technical communication occupations and in networking with veteran STC conference presenters to attend the February 13 meeting.

I also urge you to take advantage of the exceptional opportunity to attend the STC Summit free as a local student member volunteer.

Student Volunteering at the STC Summit: Free Registration and Networking

Bethany Aguad

By: Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

The STC Summit is accepting student volunteer applications now, and the 18 spots are going to fill up quickly. Volunteering at the Society for Technical Communication Summit is the least expensive investment you can make in your career. It’s free!

The qualifications for a student volunteer are simple—Are you an STC student member, and do you want to attend the world’s premier technical communication conference for free? If yes, then this opportunity is for you!

The 2018 Summit takes place May 20–23 at the Hyatt Regency on I-Drive here in Orlando. The Summit is packed with more than 60 education sessions with topics covering all aspects of technical writing, editing, project management, and publication production. These sessions begin Monday morning and continue through Wednesday morning. Not only does volunteering allow you to capitalize on your STC membership and receive complimentary registration, but it also provides you access to networking opportunities with professional practitioners that you would miss as a regular attendee.

Here are my top reasons you should take advantage of this opportunity to volunteer:

  • You will avoid paying the $200 student registration fee.
  • You will work directly with STC members and presenters from around the globe.
  • You will learn the latest in technical communication tools and trends.
  • You will have a fantastic resume-building item.
  • As central Florida locals, you will avoid the high costs of travel, lodging, and incidentals.
  • You will get to represent the Orlando Central Florida chapter, FTC, and the UCF English department.

STC Summit 2012 – My First Summit as Student Volunteer
(Left to Right) Bethany Aguad, Sarah Baca, Jenny Mellquist, Karen Lane, and Dan Voss

If you have never been to the Summit, then I can understand why you might be intimidated by the prospect of registering as a student volunteer. I attended my first STC Summit as a student volunteer, and I even stepped up the following year to help coordinate the student volunteers. (I actually wrote an article about my experience for Memo to Members: First Time at the STC Summit.) The STC Summit has the following student volunteer positions: room monitors and registration clerks. Both positions have a light workload and provide countless opportunities to take advantage of everything the Summit has to offer.

Sign Up as a Student Volunteer Now

To sign up, please complete the Student Volunteer Application Form as soon as possible, and send it to STC’s Education Manager, Deborah Krat, and the Student Volunteer Coordinator, Carolyn Klinger. The posted deadline is April 2, 2018, but I believe the 18 positions will be filled well before then.

When I first attended the STC Summit as a student volunteer, I found that the knowledge, connections, and confidence I gained exceeded all of my expectations. If you take advantage of this exceptional opportunity, I am confident you will feel the same way.

From the Editor’s Desk

nick2016

Nick Ducharme

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Happy New Year, and welcome back to Memo to Members! This will be one of our most dramatic, high-octane years in chapter history as we continue to gear up to host the 2018 Technical Communication Summit this May.

Our first meeting of the new calendar year, fittingly, packs quite a punch. MadCap Flare know-how is a highly desired resume addition in today’s job market, and we have a program planned to deliver exactly that! Check out our synopsis below, and also click here to RSVP.

MadCap Flare Presentation

Bethany Aguad and Darci Kingry from Fiserv will be giving a presentation on Thursday, January 18 at 6:30pm at Riptide Software: Intro to MadCap Flare. MadCap Flare is a single source content management tool used to publish content across a variety of channels and devices. The presentation will start with an overview for those who are new to the tool, but will also include a question and answer section for more experienced users. MadCap has kindly sent some swag, so we will be having a small giveaway for attendees!

The presentation will cover:

  • MadCap Flare Overview
  • MadCap Flare User Interface Elements
  • Best Practices and Tips for Improving Your Content
  • Q&A

We will be serving chicken tenders from nearby Huey Magoo’s and drinks as refreshments. We will also be providing the opportunity for attendees to attend remotely. All attendees will also receive a copy of the slides after the presentation and link to the meeting recording.

To cover the costs for the food and remote presentation, we will be charging the following rates for this meetup:

  • $6 for STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter Members (part of Society for Technical Communication membership, not membership of the Meetup group)
  • $12 for all other attendees

Meet the Presenters

Both presenters work for Fiserv on Lending Solutions documentation.

Darci Kingry

  • Technical Writer for Fiserv Lending
  • Certified MadCap Advanced Developer for Flare
  • Creates and maintains online help, release notes, user and technical guides
  • Previously led technical teams in user experience, UI design, and icon design for a single Lending product

Bethany Aguad

  • Technical Documentation Specialist for Fiserv Lending
  • A. and M.A. in English: Technical Communication
  • Society for Technical Communication
    • Orlando Central Florida Chapter Treasurer
    • Scholarship Committee Member

Looking forward to seeing you there, this Thursday, 1/18/2018!

Nick Ducharme
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

 

The President’s Corner

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

By: Alex Garcia
President
(Orlando Central) Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

Hi everyone. I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season. Here at the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC, we are embarking on our most important calendar year, in well, about 18 years—Orlando is hosting the 2018 STC Technical Communication Summit Conference and Expo at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on International Drive, May 20-23, 2018.

About four months ago, your Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC leadership team put together twin proposals to present at the Summit – one for the pre-conference Leadership Day and the other a technical session during the conference itself. Well, it is my distinct honor as your President, to announce that BOTH of our proposals have been accepted.

In our presentations, we wanted to showcase the incredible effects that our Mentoring program has had on creating new leadership within the Chapter. Four of your Chapter’s STC Fellows agreed to “sit out” presenting at their hometown Summit in order to “coach” four of your young Chapter leaders. The following two abstracts represent the combined effort of these eight Chapter luminaries:

Young Leader Coach
Alex Garcia
President, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
W.C. Wiese
STC Fellow
Active Membership Coordinator
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Mike Murray
STC Fellow
Chapter Historian
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Crystal Brezina
Secretary, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Karen Lane
STC Fellow
Chapter Director
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Nick Ducharme
Communications Manager and Newsletter Editor, Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Dan Voss
STC Fellow
Co-Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

From a personal perspective, I am honored and humbled by being accepted to present not once, but twice at an international conference. It has been a decade since I traveled to my last STC Summit as a student, so I am doubly thankful for the opportunity that speaking at this year’s Summit affords me. Registration is now open at the following link. Definitely consider taking advantage of the special 65th Anniversary rate, available through 31 January!

 

Technical Session

Fueling Your Future: STC Experience Builds Professional Leadership Skills (50 minutes)

Bethany Aguad, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, & Alex Garcia
The collaboration of experienced leaders with newer practitioners fosters leadership skills as the newer practitioners advance their careers and prepare to take on management roles in their companies and profession. Four young leaders detail their development from student members to Orlando Central Florida chapter leaders. Mentored by experienced professionals, these four “Rising Stars” describe the key roles they now hold within the community and how the chapter’s flourishing student mentoring and leadership development programs accelerated their growth into positions of responsibility. The presentation with interactive question and answer breakout includes a take-away handout, along with an index to an online toolkit of techniques and proven strategies to support newer members or less experienced practitioners as they prepare to assume leadership positions.

The topics covered in this session include:

  1. The student mentoring program as a model for workplace mentorship
  2. Veteran leaders training new leaders: Training entry and middle-level practitioners to assume leadership roles
  3. Annual Leadership Retreat as a key to strategic planning
  4. Fueling volunteerism with fun: integrating social activities into Administrative Council meetings

After the formal panel presentation, informal interactive discussions maximize the take-away value of the session by enabling participants to explore ways of adapting the leadership development approaches described in the session to their own STC communities and their professional careers.

 

Leadership Day Session

Forging the Future: Tips and Tools for (Re)Building Your STC Community (90 minutes)

Bethany Aguad, Crystal Brezina, Nick Ducharme, & Alex Garcia

As host chapter for the 2018 Summit, the Orlando Central Florida (OCF) Chapter welcomes its STC colleagues with an informative interactive panel presentation followed by a progression-style working session at Leadership Day. Four of the community’s young chapter leaders—our “Rising Stars, all “graduates” of the community’s flourishing student mentoring program with the University of Central Florida (UCF) and all now holding key leadership positions in the chapter—share tips and tools for sustaining and building an STC community.

The panelists collectively give a 30-minute overview presentation covering the 10 community-building and leadership initiatives listed below. They then pair up to host two 15-minute rotations of a progression-style “Take-Away Talk”—an interactive discussion in which the speakers field audience questions on the 10 OCF programs described in the presentation and distribute a take-away handout, along with the index to the online toolkit described above.

The topics covered in this session and the speakers who will address them are as follows:

  1. Student mentoring program with UCF (Bethany Aguad and Nick Ducharme)
  2. College scholarship programs (Aguad and Ducharme)
  3. Leadership development program (Aguad and Ducharme)
  4. Active membership initiative (Alex Garcia and Crystal Brezina)
  5. Fund-raising strategies (Garcia and Brezina)
  6. Communication forums: website, newsletter, social media (Aguad and Ducharme)
  7. Growing virtual outreach to the statewide Florida STC community (Aguad and Ducharme)
  8. Strategic planning: annual Leadership Retreat (Garcia and Brezina)
  9. Fueling volunteerism with fun: social setting for Administrative Council meetings (Garcia and Brezina)
  10. Using STC’s Community Achievement Awards (CAA) program to build your community (Garcia and Brezina)

On average, 3 minutes of the overview panel presentation will be devoted to each of the 10 topics. The exact timeline will vary slightly depending upon the nature of the topic, but the total duration of the overview will not exceed 30 minutes. The four panelists will alternate in addressing the topics.

In the follow-up Take-Away Talks, Bethany Aguad and Nick Ducharme will host an interactive discussion on Topics #1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 above, and Alex Garcia and Crystal Brezina will host an interactive discussion on Topics #4, 5, 8, 9, and 10. The two rotations will run 15 minutes each, enabling the audience to interact with the presenters for all 10 topics. The idea of the informal interactive discussions is to maximize the take-away value of the session by enabling participants to explore ways of adapting the OCF programs described in the session to their own STC communities.

If You Missed the Last Meeting

By: Bethany Aguad
Treasurer and Co-Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

Members, old friends, and family came together on December 21st for a Holiday Celebration. The mafia room at Buca Di Beppo provided the perfect ambiance for a get together to catch up, relax, and celebrate the year’s accomplishments. Everyone enjoyed the delicious food and excellent company as the perfect way to end 2017!

The View from Campus

A Semester of Change

Nick Mina

By: Nicholas Mina
FTC Treasurer

Early on in the 2017 Fall semester, I found myself sitting in a room full of students whom I had never met and professors I had never taken. It was the first Future Technical Communicators (FTC) meeting of the semester, and my first experience with the club (or any club, for that matter). I was warmly welcomed, but still cautious. I feared being seen as an unprepared student who had not taken any steps to immerse himself in the professional world of Technical Communication. What I found, however, was that the students around me were in the same position that I was in; they were at the crossroads of Student and Professional, wondering which direction to take.

Until I stepped into that meeting, I was your average college student. I went to all of my classes, I did my assignments on time, and I studied for my tests. I had plenty of time left over to grab coffee with friends, go to the gym, and of course, binge watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones. I did not feel behind in my profession, nor did I feel out of the loop. I was in college, and I was doing everything that was expected of me… or so I thought. In a short period of time, I became a regular member of FTC and joined the leadership board as Treasurer. I became a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and obtained a mentor through the chapter. This chain of events would change my entire outlook of, and experience with, the Technical Communication program at UCF. All in one semester.

Through my involvement in FTC and STC, I’ve learned what it means to be a professional within the technical communication field. Prior to my membership, I would awkwardly stutter through the explanation of what I was studying and what I wanted to do whenever a friend would pose the question. The reason for this was simple. Before my involvement in FTC and STC, I had never met someone who actually worked in the field. Within weeks of joining, however, I was exposed to professionals at all different stages in their careers. Student interns, writing department managers, and my mentor, who recently retired from Lockheed Martin after a forty-five year tenure. Each of these professionals have been able to provide relevant and eye-opening advice pertaining to the Technical Communication field, and have motivated me to start redefining myself as a professional.

Perhaps the most eye-opening advice I received this semester came from my mentor in two parts. 1.) If you’re not good at it, don’t waste your time and energy trying to do it, and 2.) The recipe for success is useless without one key ingredient: experience. These pieces of advice have allowed me to focus my energy on parts of the technical communication field that I have skills pertaining to, and have motivated me to start my career now (as opposed to struggling to get it off the ground after graduation). Through advice like this from my mentor, and even students in FTC, I’ve learned the importance of being a student professional, rather than a professional student.

The 2017 Fall semester played a pivotal role in my efforts to transform myself into a professional. The insight I’ve received and the connections I’ve made can all be attributed to one thing: involvement. I could have ignored the emails about the September FTC meeting, but I decided to take a step out of the comfort bubble of college and attend the meeting. The change I’ve experienced as a professional has been astounding, and I feel that my newfound perspective of the technical communication field will pay off greatly in the long run.