Mentoring Program off to Picture Perfect Start in 10th Year

Bethany Bowles

Dan Voss

Kickoff Meeting at UCF Features Photo Scavenger Hunt

By Bethany Bowles and Dan Voss

Our STC chapter has launched the 10th year of its highly successful and internationally pace-setting STC student mentoring program with a record-high 12 mentors and 12 mentees with a colorful kick-off meeting held in the Tech Writing Lab in Colbourn Hall on the UCF campus on October 21, as well as all over the campus.

After being introduced, the new mentor/mentee pairs—a.k.a., “M&M’s”—had the opportunity to take part in a photo scavenger hunt around campus and partake in refreshments that included home-made sandwiches, snacks, and, of course, cake.

The mentors and mentees learned who their partners would be for this year’s program (see box). Based on the steady “buzz” of conversation in the Tech Writing Lab both during the refreshments and while we tallying the results on the scavenger hunt, the “M&M’s” wasted no time getting started on establishing goals, objectives, and activities for their mentoring relationships, which will run through the end of the school year.

Tyler Beusse and Mary Burns work to fill out their mentor/mentee agreement form.

For this year’s bonding activity at the kickoff, the M&M pairs worked together to score points by finding and taking pictures of items on the photo scavenger hunt list. All the items listed below were things that could be found on campus with determination and a little ingenuity and captured on cell phone photos:

  1. Next to a sign/flyer/plaque which has either “FTC” or “STC” on it (double points for both).
  2. With the UCF Pegasus.
  3. In front of the reflection pond.
  4. Sitting on the benches on the boardwalk.
  5. In front of a building named after a UCF president (triple points for both such buildings).
  6. At Einstein Brothers bagels (triple points for both on-campus locations).

The first prize in the photo scavenger hunt was honor, glory, and a pair of matching FTC t-shirts for the pair that scored the most points. The competition was fierce—a real nail-biter on a par with the national election, coming down to the wire and ultimately decided by a razor-thin 1-point margin after the mandatory Florida recount. Translation: all the M&M pairs did exceptionally well in the hunt. Ultimately, Karen Lane and her mentee Candace Du Lac carried the day. While Mark Wray and RD Sharninghouse were nipping at their heels, Karen and Candace received an extra point for taking their picture on benches(plural) rather than on a single bench.

Mark Wray and RD Sharninghouse intently focus on their plans for the year.

The mentoring program, which pairs professionals in the Orlando Central Florida STC chapter with technical communication students at UCF, has had a highly successful legacy since its inception in 2003. The model for a number of other successful mentoring programs in the Society, including a program partnering the STC-France Chapter with the University of Paris, the Orlando mentoring program—co-sponsored by the STC-Orlando Central Florida chapter and Future Technical Communicators (FTC) at UCF—has been instrumental in sustaining and enriching the dynamic partnership with the university that has been a major factor in making our chapter an acknowledged leader and award-winning chapter in the Society.

Karen Lane and Candace Du Lac discuss their mutual interest in editing and indexing.

In the last ten years, the program has fostered 82 mentor/mentee (“M&M”) relationships, many of which have grown into long-term professional relationships and friendships. Each year mentees have received vital assistance in job placement, skills development, project management, big-company “politics,” and many other areas of endeavor. Mentors have enjoyed the immense satisfaction of assisting new technical communicators on the threshold of our profession.

Dan Voss’s second career as a cake model may be in jeopardy.

Our 2012-2013 “M&M’s” … a Dozen Duos and an All-Time Program High!

Mentee Mentor
Cory Bullinger W.C. Wiese
Megan Wedge Jen Selix
Paige Mulligan Alex Garcia
Candace Du Lac Karen Lane
Richard Ries Debra Johnson
Tyler Beusse Mary Burns
Marjorie Simonetti Sarah/Jerry Baca
RD Sharninghouse Mark Wray
Alicia Kerns Kathy Elbert
Rachael Blankenbecklor Erika Higgins
Rashelle Oberle Diane Heald
Bethany Bowles Dan Voss

 

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