This Month’s Meeting

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

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!

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