18th Year of Memorial Scholarship
Maise, Vrhovac Receive Coveted Pellegrins
As UCF Foundation Funds Award for 1st Time
By Dan Voss, Education Committee Chair
The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund celebrates a significant milestone at the STC Orlando Central Florida year-end chapter meeting June 19 with the award of the 33rd and 34th scholarships in its 18-year history.
The recipients, recently graduated University of Central Florida “senior” Charles Maise and UCF graduate student James Vrhovac, were selected from a highly competitive field. Each received a $500 financial award.
For the first time, the 2014 awards have been funded from the UCF Foundation’s Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund, which reached maturity as a perpetual endowment at this time last year—
2 years ahead of schedule thanks to the early fruition of a fund-raising initiative and the generosity of corporate and personal donors.
Honoring a Colleague and Friend… …Excellence in Technical Communication
Established in 1997, the scholarship honors the memory of the 1994 graduate who herself won an STC scholarship in 1993 and went on to join the STC Orlando chapter and serve on the Education Committee.
For the first time, this year’s scholarship applications were evaluated and awarded by a selection committee in the UCF English Department. This committee included two faculty members, the English Department chair, a UCF administrator, and a representative of the OCF chapter.
Both of the 2014 recipients sport impeccable academic credentials. And both impressed the selection committee with their knowledge of and commitment to the technical communication profession, as reflected in their scholarship application letters.
Thoughts about our Profession
Maise offered these insights into the profession: “For me, a technical communicator is someone who, through the use of language and design, makes the unfamiliar more familiar or easier to understand. That may seem like a vague definition, but that’s only because of the many purposes technical communicators can serve. Technical communicators teach other people. They persuade, inform, and clarify. They widen perspectives and strengthen our understanding of each other and the things we do. I want to do all these things for people. Whether working in a team or as an individual, I want to help build understanding between people, even if it’s in regard to a seemingly trivial matter. Connections, even the smallest of them, help build understanding.”
Vrhovac had this to say about a technical communicator: “My initial understanding of what a technical communicator is was that of someone who writes and works in technical or scientific industries and creates instruction manuals; this is a very shortsighted definition of our field. I believe we work in the most flexible and dynamic of communication industries. [Technical communication] is a discipline which provides opportunities to work with and around the world. While a novelist may create a window into a world real or imagined, we create the meaning of our world. We develop the means and paths through which communication happens. We are global providers; there is little informative communication that transacts in which the expert touch or guidance of the technical communicator has not played a part. Many careers aspire to influencing and changing the world we do it every day in some little way.”
With the coveted Pellegrin Award adding luster to their already impressive credentials, one can foresee nothing but success for our latest two recipients as they embark upon their careers in our profession.
More than $13K Awarded Over 18 Years
Since the scholarship was instituted in 1997, 34 scholarships representing an aggregate $13,200 in financial awards have been bestowed—22 to undergraduate students and 12 to graduate students.
To a person, the recipients have paid testimony to how much the award has meant to them as they completed their education and entered the profession. See “Former Pellegrin Scholarship Recipients Share Their Thoughts,” on the Education Committee pages of the chapter web site.
The latest scholarship winners are no exception.
Thoughts about the Scholarship
Maise expressed his feelings as follows: “When I learned that I had received the scholarship, I was honored and thrilled. Like some of the recipients before me, I found it reaffirmed my decision to follow this path in study. In reading about the history of the scholarship, I was inspired by the spirit of camaraderie and support within the Orlando Central Florida chapter of STC. I recently attended a chapter meeting and was welcomed with open arms and genuine interest. This scholarship has provided me with more than the monetary award and the prestigious note in my resume. As a recipient of this scholarship, I hope to affect others with positivity and support in my work as a professional.”
More briefly but just as fervently, Vrhovac said, “I am humbled by this award, and hope I will be able to return as much as I have received from our chapter and society. This support helps me as I finish the last miles of what has seemed a long, but rewarding, journey.”
Supporting the Scholarship Fund
To contribute to the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund via check, cash, or charge card, contact the STC Orlando Central Florida chapter treasurer, Alex Garcia (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Note that since STC is a 503 (c) (3) charitable organization, all contributions are tax deductible. Many employers allow employees to direct their annual United Way campaign contributions to any 503 (c) (3) organization.
If your employer matches donations to colleges and universities, we encourage you to take advantage of the match by contributing directly to the UCF Foundation, earmarking your contribution to the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund. To do so, contact Laura Pooser at UCF (email@example.com).