From the Editor’s Desk

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello Members and Friends of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC,

Back here safe and sound after a thrilling three week trek through Southeast Asia–a much needed break!

I would like to thank the Chapter’s Administrative Council for recognizing me with the Distinguished Chapter Service Award at the January 2013 meeting at UCF. UCF, FTC and STC all mean a lot to me, so it was a great place to receive this award.

It is with great pleasure to announce that our chapter meetings are moving to the Microsoft Store in the Florida Mall and will now be on a different night: the 3rd Thursday of each month. Vice-President Debra Johnson has more in her column.

On an international level, the STC Elections are upon us. Voting opens on March 11th. Get informed at and be ready to make your voice heard.

Until next month,

Alex Garcia
Memo to Members Newsletter

President’s Corner


Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

How is your winter going so far? If your life is anything like mine, it’s going way too fast. Maybe because February is such a short month, maybe for other reasons, it seems as if deadlines  approach as quickly as onrushing trains, and with as hefty an impact. But because most of us live in Florida, at least we’re not also grappling with record-breaking snowstorms as some of our northern neighbors are.

So since I’ve introduced a geographic reference, let me expand on that a little bit to tell you something about your fellow chapter members. If you’ve been paying attention you noticed a couple months ago that our 2012 State of the Chapter Survey results were collated so expertly by one of our members, Candace Du Lac, who is a student at UCF. Candace’s report was published on our chapter Web site ( Please visit the site and pull up the report, because it reveals information about who we are and what we hope to get from our membership.

In addition to the information you will find in the report, you may be interested in knowing a little bit more about our chapter members. At present we have 51 members, of whom 12 are students, 8 are regular members, 23 are senior members (5 or more years of membership), 1 is an Associate Fellow, and 7 are Fellows. We are spread out geographically: Our most distant member lives in Sweden and we have a members in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Kentucky. Fourteen of our members have addresses in Orlando, with the remainder sprinkled throughout Central Florida.

The fact that our membership is spread out over a wide area leads me back to a theme I wrote about last year, one I am now revisiting. Some of you participated in our Networking Meet and Greets last year. We held one in Brevard, one in Lake Mary, and one in the attractions area. Those who attended—members and non-members—were enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet other technical communicators, learn about our Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter, and catch up with chapter plans and events.

This year we are planning several such get-togethers. We will definitely have one in Brevard and one in Lake Mary, but we would also  like to expand our reach and hold a couple of events in other places. If you would like us to hold a networking event in your area, please contact me ( and let me know where you are and where you’d like to meet. These events are open to members and non-members, and there is no fee to attend. The chapter pays for snacks, and you buy your own drinks. We can hold them after work or on Saturday afternoon. When you let me know where you are, also mention your preference for weeknight or Saturday afternoon. If either is fine, mention that.

In other news, you will read elsewhere in this issue about the exciting changes to our meeting schedule, location, and fees. We hope we are making it easier for you to attend meetings and more attractive for you to become a member of the chapter. For membership information, check out the Society membership page ( or contact our membership manager, David Coverston ( And don’t forget to RSVP for our February 21 meeting:

Next, if you have been thinking of becoming more active in our chapter and would like to get your toes wet in chapter leadership, we have a number of activities and positions that could use a volunteer or two. Some activities would require just a few hours work; others are a commitment for the year; and still others are in between. Make the chapter your own by volunteering. You will get more from it than you give, I promise. And you will also be earning Active Member points, valid towards earning a coveted Active Member shirt. When our June banquet comes around and your colleagues and friends are receiving their shirts, wouldn’t you like to be getting one, too? Contact me ( about volunteering; contact our Nominating Committee Chair, W.C. Wiese (, about running for office.

And don’t forget our Rising Stars program. We support our chapter’s educational and professional development initiatives by fundraising through our Rising Stars program. You can contribute at several levels—no gift is too large or too small—and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your tax-deductible contribution is used to fund scholarships and support the programs and speakers that you have come to expect and enjoy. To make a contribution or find out more, contact Erika Higgins (, our Rising Stars chair.

See you next month—and stay cool!

A View From Number Two

Debra Johnson

Debra Johnson

By Debra Johnson
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

Happy February Everyone! 

This month the STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter is holding its chapter meeting on a new day and at a new location!

Our regular chapter meeting this month is on Thursday February 21, 2013 at the Microsoft  Store , located in the Florida Mall near M&M World entrance and Macy’s. This new location affords us a great opportunity to provide you greater value and to help you in your career as a Technical Communicator.

The mall is located at 8001 S Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809-9132 See map below.

The Florida Mall
8001 S Orange Blossom Trail, 
Orlando, FL 32809

The Florida Mall
8001 S Orange Blossom Trail,
Orlando, FL 32809

As always, Refreshments at start 6:30pm and the Program starts promptly at 7:00pm.

This month’s meeting is packed with great information.

  • First on the meeting agenda, is a professional demonstration of One Note; Microsoft’scomputer program for free-form information gathering and multi-user collaboration.
    This program gathers user notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, and audio commentaries and shares them with other users of Microsoft OneNote over the Internet.
  • In addition to the demo, we will be presenting  the STC 2012 webinar – Creating a Professional Portfolio for Technical Communicators

Please go to  to RSVP and pay your meeting fees for February. There is no need print or bring the confirmation email we will have your name on our master list

If you will be a first-time visitor or guest this time, or you have already purchased a multi-meeting saver pass, we ask you to register/RSVP for the meeting to RSVP, so we have enough refreshments.  There is an option to do that at our Event site as well.

IMPORTANT! Microsoft and the Florida Mall prohibit collecting meeting fees or chapters donations at our new meeting location.  Your financial support is still very crucial to the chapter, so we ask that you use our new event service to RSVP and pay for your meeting fees in advance of the program date.  You can still pay or donate by Check or M.O.  Please send ASAP so we receive it prior to the meeting date.

MAIL to:
The Orlando Central Florida Chapter – Society for Technical Communication
Post Office Box 540444
Orlando, FL 32854-0444

See you there!                                                                             


If You Missed Last Meeting…

Richard Ries

Richard Ries

By Richard Ries

The award-winning Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter kicked off its 2013 season at the University of Central Florida’s student union in a joint meeting with UCF’s Future Technical Communicators club. This annual event is held on the UCF campus and is always free to all. An impressive crowd showed up, including several professors who teach technical writing at UCF.

Bethany Bowles was honored with the 2013 Distinguished Service Award for Students for her indefatigable work with both the STC and the FTC. Her citation reads “For your exceptional service to the chapter, the Society, and the technical communication community via your leadership in student outreach and mentoring programs, both locally and nationally.”

Sarah Baca was honored with one of the two coveted Distinguished Chapter Service Awards for 2013. Her citation reads “For your unfailing willingness to initiate and wholeheartedly support innovative and successful Orlando Central Florida Chapter activities and for always looking for ways to offer more value to members.”

Lockheed Martin employee Alex Garcia was awarded our other 2013 Distinguished Chapter Service Award. His citation reads “For your tireless dedication to the chapter, your imaginative and innovative approach as newsletter editor, your professionalism and leadership, and your growth from mentee to mentor.”

We are very proud of our award recipients and honor them for their service to the chapter and the Society.

Erica Higgins presented the 2013 Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award to chapter president Karen Lane for her “helpful, wise counsel” and dedication to the Society.

After the awards, Rhyne Armstrong, a social media expert from Atlanta, gave the keynote speech. He talked about the widespread use of social media and provided some staggering statistics: there are over 850 million active Facebook users worldwide (and growing daily); over 175 million Tweets are issued a day.

Armstrong emphasized that in cyberspace, perception is fact and anonymity is a myth. He cautioned students against posting frivolous “party pictures” that might compromise their success getting job interviews. He spoke candidly about the need to be on social media, and that most companies use it—in one form or another—as part of their hiring practices. Armstrong suggested creating blogs and using sites like Tumblr, and he urged STC members to build accessible portfolios. Among his other advice and caveats were to use LinkedIn; make your company stay relevant; never post proprietary information; always assume transparency; and avoid using the Web for negativity or flirtation. While he suggested creating an online presence, such as via a blog, he also maintained that one should do so taking “little bites.” If you stop disseminating content via social media, bow out gracefully and direct users to where else they can go for information on your company or product. He told job seekers to refresh their public résumés—those on the big job boards such as–once a week, even if that means merely changing a period or a comma to refresh the “change date.” Doing so will raise your résumé higher in any queue.

Armstrong can be reached by e-mail at

The STC will meet again Thursday, February 21, at the Florida Mall. Stay tuned for more details!

Recognizing Our Chapter Members

David Coverston

By David Coverston
Recognitions Chair
Membership Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

The Orlando Central Florida Chapter of  STC was proud to recogize four outstanding individuals during the Annual UCF/STC/FTC January meeting on the UCF campus.

Bethany Bowles, president of the Future Technical Communicators club, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Students. This award recognizes exemplary dedication by a student member to a chapter and its activities. Only one student per chapter is eligible for this award, and may only receive this award once. The Society places the names of the winners on its web site.



Sarah Baca, a 2010 recipeint of the Distinguished Service Award for Students, was awarded the Distinguished Chapter Service Award. This award recognizes the work of chapter members who provide exemplary service to the Society through their dedication to the chapter and its activities. Sarah is our chapter treasurer, and has worked on chapter communications, and worked to find solutions to our meeting place issues.



Alex Garcia also received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award. Alex, a long-time chapter member and a former president of the FTC, has served the chapter in many capacities. He serves as an advisor to student members, edits the chapter newsletter, and provides leadership in our social media initiaves.




Karen Lane, our chapter president, was awarded the Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award. This award is named after a former UCF educator who was a founder of the Orlando STC, and was Karen’s first technical editing professor in graduate school. Karen has served for a number of years at the society level as co-ordinator for conference activities and at the chapter level as treasurer and president. During her tenure as president, our chapter has won the chapter of distinction award twice. Karen has started her own business and has run it successfully for many years, and has served as  a mentor to a number of students.

Our chapter is proud of the accomplishments of these members and is proud to honor them.

STC to Establish Alliance with Sigma Tau Delta

Last October, STC Membership Manager Barbra Sanders received a call from Elfrida Gabriel at the international headquarters of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in English.

Sigma Tau Delta invited STC to speak at its international conference in Portland, OR, March 20-23, 2013, addressing two subjects: (1) careers in technical communication for English majors and (2) student mentoring programs. They also invited us to set up a table in the registration area to answer questions about technical communication, distribute materials, and—hopefully!—sign up new STC student members from among the anticipated 1,200 conference attendees.

Bethany Bowles

Barbra recognized this as a “job” for the STC Community Affairs Committee Student Outreach Team, which is co-managed by the writer and Bethany Bowles.

The outreach team was thrilled at the prospect of establishing an alliance with an international organization which is 8,000 members strong, most of them students—and students who share a common set of core skills with technical writers and editors nonetheless. What an opportunity!

Sigma Tau Delta generously offered free conference registrations and lodging for the representatives from STC. Unfortunately, while the STC Board was interested in this project, its travel budget for 2013 was already over-committed. However, resourceful STC treasurer Aiessa Moyna helped us find a way to fund an STC presence at the Sigma Tau Delta via a supplementary budget request from the three STC communities involved in the initiative: the STC-Orlando Central Florida chapter, the Willamette Valley chapter (WVC), and the Academic SIG. The University of Central Florida (UCF) also chipped in.

Rachel Houghton

Rachel Houghton

As a result, our peripatetic Bethany—she’ll be attending three conferences within a period of 6 weeks!—will be joining Rachel Houghton from the WVC to co-present on the two topics Sigma Tau Delta asked us to cover on the first day of the conference. Another member of the WVC will be joining Bethany for the second and third days of the conference, to help staff the STC table.

Bethany is particularly qualified to talk about synergy between STC and Sigma Tau Delta, as she is a member of both organizations. Indeed, she is president both of the Zeta Xi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and of the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at UCF.

Follow this hyperlink to the Sigma Tau Delta website, which provides bios of featured conference speakers and their topics. Be sure to scroll down. Rachel and Bethany are both on the marquée!

Watch for a full report on this exciting initiative in the April edition of Memo to Members.