By Dan Voss
Manager, Education Committee
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund will pass a significant milestone at the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter meeting May 16 with the awarding of the 31st and 32nd scholarships in its 17-year history.
The recipients, University of Central Florida undergraduate student Candace Du Lac and UCF graduate student Cory Bullinger, were selected from a highly competitive field by a panel of judges from the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter.
These 2013 scholarships are likely to be the last presented exclusively by the chapter. Thanks to the early fruition of a fundraising initiative and the generosity of corporate and personal donors, future scholarships will be funded primarily from the earnings of an endowed UCF Foundation Fund that will honor Melissa’s memory—and the excellence in technical communication to which Melissa was so passionately committed—in perpetuity.
Beginning in 2014, the scholarships will be evaluated and awarded by a selection committee in the UCF English Department. This committee will include faculty members as well as representatives of the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter.
Both of the 2013 recipients are active student members of our chapter as well as of the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at UCF. Both sport impeccable academic credentials. And both impressed the evaluation panel with their knowledge of and commitment to the technical communication profession as reflected in their scholarship application letters.
Du Lac offered these insights into the profession: “Technical communicators are professionals who use modern means to effectively communicate their message to a target audience. They aim to provide important information in a way that best meets the audience’s needs—through illustrations, accurate and helpful, editing, etc. Factors such as purpose and context must also be considered in order to produce a well-balanced, usable document.”
She went on to say, “I want to become a technical communicator in order to bring accuracy and consistency to corporate documents. I hope to eventually achieve a position as a content or copy editor where I can use my knowledge of grammar and the English and Spanish languages to best represent my employer.”
Bullinger explained why she has chosen a career in technical communication: “I found the field to resonate with my innate desire to write and design content that would actually be used. I then realized that in every job I held, I had actively attempted to redefine my role as an administrative assistant to that of a technical communicator. I would undertake roles outside my original job description—I managed websites, wrote newsletters, created marketing materials, edited company documents, created informal style guides, etc. I desired to create aesthetically pleasing documents with well-written accurate information.”
With the prestigious Pellegrin Award now emblazoned upon their already impressive portfolios, one can foresee nothing but success for our latest two recipients as they embark upon their careers in our profession.
Since the scholarship was instituted in 1997 to honor the memory of 1994 UCF graduate and STC chapter member Melissa Pellegrin, 32 scholarships representing an aggregate $12,200 in financial assistance have been bestowed—21 to undergraduate students and 11 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.
To contribute to the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund via check, cash, or charge card, contact the Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter treasurer. The current treasurer is Sarah Baca (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the incoming treasurer-elect is Alex Garcia (email@example.com).
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).