Annual Future Technical Communicators (FTC)/STC Meeting: Recap and Takeaways from the FTC President
By: John Clement
Florida Chapter, STC
Hey! My name is John Clement, and I am the current president of the (FTC) club at UCF. After undertaking the role at the beginning of this year, I was thrown straight in to organizing the club’s (rapidly-approaching) largest event of the year. It was a great learning experience I would not replace as it placed me in the position of asking myself what I would want from this meeting so I could help turn that into a reality for others.
On Thursday, February 20th, FTC joined with the Society for Technical Communicators (STC) Florida chapter for its annual joint meeting. This year, we reprised our Career Paths Presentation from the previous year but with new faces. Six professional technical communicators, attending either in-person or online, each gave a presentation on their occupations and answered questions from the audience. The range of disciplines and backgrounds the panelists came from was a boon to have as students were able to hear from both new and experienced technical communicators working within different disciplines. The panelists were:
- Kelley MacEwen – Sr. Information Developer at Appian
- Melissa Rios – Integrated Product Support Manager at L3 Harris Technologies
- Delroy Thompson – User Assistance Designer at SumTotal Systems
- Gail Hart – Marketing Communications Manager at Comprehensive Health Services
- Tyler Dick and Madeline Park – Technical Communicators at Universal Studios
Each presenter gave a thorough presentation covering what they do now, how they got there, why they love it, and what helped them along the way. Each presenter also provided their contact information and the best places for students to reach out to them.
After the panelists concluded their career presentations, students asked questions such as how tech comm skills could be applied to other disciplines, thereby extending the discussion and giving everyone in the room additional and insightful information great to keep in mind as prospective technical communicators. On top of all that, students had the opportunity to network directly with the professionals after the event. For example, the panelists from Universal Studios had an internship position open and encouraged the students to talk to them about it to learn more and even apply.
This year’s Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship recipients were also recognized at the meeting: myself and Tamatha Hazen, who was not able to be present. In memory of Melissa, we in the room joined together in a moment of silence after I lit a candle in respect to her.
Speaking personally, it was very satisfying to see how the event turned out. The turnout put the room at full capacity; there were approximately 40 attendees, which was stunning. We had put a lot of work into advertising the event to students, but even then, our expectations were happily exceeded.
The fact that it could directly help others is all that matters. It is safe to say that each of the attendees came out having either learned something new, made a new contact, or became firmer in their understanding about the tech comm field. Organizing this event was an experience I would not change anything about as it developed me in numerous ways from leadership skills to task management to student outreach. I could not have done the least of it without the help of my FTC leadership team and those at STC who gave me the resources and information I needed to get the event off the ground. The positive results that arose from the event were the fruits of our labor. I am very excited for what I can continue to do in and through FTC moving forward.
Side note: As part of a project for my English class, I produced an infographic summarizing a few of the panelist’s presentations from this event. Check it out!
All the best,