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November 18, 2013

S&TC Alumna: Rose Hruska

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Rose Hruska
Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist
Advanced Informatics
B.S. in S&TC, 2013

What is your current position?
I am a Technical Writer/User Documentation Specialist at a Minneapolis-based healthcare educational software company called Advanced Informatics. Our company produces E*Value, a customizable software that assists healthcare educators in managing student data and administrative processes. My main duty is to create and update documentation about E*Value functionality for the software's online help manual. Since the tools within the software are always changing, I am constantly editing existing documentation and creating instructions for the use of new tools. Another duty I am tasked with is adding documents that assist my co-workers in communicating with clients to the company Wiki. I also post updates about new tools and features on the client-facing administrator homepage in E*Value and my co-workers often ask me to proofread and edit their documents.

How does your position relate to technical communication?
My position relates directly to technical communication because it requires me to present technical information in a language and format that is concise but easily understandable.

What aspects of your study in technical communication have been most relevant to your current work?
Learning the process of editing my own and others' writing during my undergraduate career definitely helped prepare me for the job I have now. After I draft a document, I consult subject matter experts within the company and ask them to check the text's accuracy. Often, I need to revise the documentation to reflect obscure variables that can be produced within the software. Being able to revise my work to make it as accurate as possible is crucial for creating documentation that is useful for clients. Another aspect of my study in technical communication that has been extremely relevant to my current work is being able to analyze the needs of my audience.

What did you learn about technical communication that surprised you most in the workplace?
The most surprising component of technical communication in the workplace is how much I must communicate with other employees in order to complete projects. Although technical writing seems like a fairly independent line of work, I often need to consult coworkers from multiple departments to gather all of the information needed to write technical documentation. I was also surprised by the importance of well-written emails in the workplace. Emails that are poorly written and unclear can waste the time of all parties involved if they have to ask for clarification.

What message do you have for our current students?
Work on creating a clean, detailed resume. Your resume should show employers not only why they'd want to hire you, but also why they'd want to work with you. Internships can be crucial; relevant experience is attractive to potential employers, and internships give you an idea of what your career after college might involve. Also, start applying for jobs a few months before graduation. Even if you don't get a job offer right away, potential employers may keep your resume on file in case a position you're qualified for becomes available.

June 3, 2013

Coaxley Ames and Mikelonis Award Recipients

On behalf of the Undergraduate Committee in the Department of Writing Studies, I am pleased to announce the recipients of our 2013 undergraduate awards.

* Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award ($1000): Heidi Cameron and Carah Kucharski
* Victoria Mikelonis Memorial Award in S&TC ($200): Christi Mastley

More information about these awards can be found on the Undergraduate Awards & Scholarships web page.

Congratulations to Heidi, Carah, and Christi!

May 3, 2013

EPortfolio 2.0: Networked Learning in CLA

Professors Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch and Ann Hill Duin, along with Kathleen Hanson (Journalism) and Celina Byers (CLA-OIT) had their E Portfolio proposal funded by the Provost's eLearning initiative.

They proposed the addition of an EPortfolio 2.0 to the curriculum in the Journalism Bachelor of Arts program and the Writing Studies / Technical Communication Bachelor of Science program. "The EPortfolio 2.0 program will allow all participating students to create a portfolio of finished work that demonstrates key abilities and activities critical to their respective major programs of study. This dynamic "2.0" version of EPortfolios will also include unique articulation of a Personal Learning Network (PLN), or arrays of people and social networking tools that connect students with information, knowledge and perspectives that enrich their undergraduate educations across and beyond the curriculum."

April 25, 2013

Congrats S&TC Graduates

Congratulations to all our 2013 S&TC graduates. And thank you to everyone who attended our lunch and networking event, especially the reps from CLA Career Services, Amcom Software, LSS Datasystems, Boston Scientific, JPG & Associates, Inc., and Medtronic.

2013 Spring and Summer S&TC Grads:
Sumaya Al-Saadoon
Lisa Bain
Amanda Baukol
Lauren Brown
Kevin Cotch
Lucas Geissler
Cecily Groves
Chad Haugejorden
Rose Hruska
Alexander Kaiser
Jessica Krohn
David Leonard
Nicholas Libby
Scott Nichols
April Peterson
Sarah Priem
Desmond Richardson
Lacy Schwartz
Charles Seymour
Anna Skov
Molly Smith
Anna Verstraete
Benjamin Zientara

March 7, 2013

WRIT 4501 Usability course featured on Hennepin University Partnership web site

librarypic.jpgWRIT 4501, Usability and Human Factors in Technical Communication, is featured on Hennepin University Partnership web site's home page. The picture is from the Minnesota Librarian Association conference in October 2012, where Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch presented on this project with three students from Writing Studies and with Amy Luedtke from Hennepin County Library. Pictured from left to right are: Georgina McNiff (S&TC undergrad), Mary Frances Hull (MS/CERT), Xanthe Walker (MS/CERT), Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, and Amy Luedtke. We are continuing this collaboration with Hennepin County Library again this semester. http://www1.umn.edu/hup/

February 19, 2013

S&TC Alumna: Jenna Bauer

Bauer_Jenna_colorprint.jpgJenna Bauer
Marketing Communications Manager & Assistant Vice President for Piper Jaffray
BS. in S&TC 2007

What is your current position?
I am the Marketing Communications Manager & Assistant Vice President for Piper Jaffray, a Minneapolis-based investment bank where I manage a small team that wears many hats. On a given day, I am managing and delegating several projects which can range from annual reports to press releases to tradeshow booths to photo shoots. Last year, my biggest undertaking was managing the redesign of our corporate Website. I am also the main overseer of our brand, meaning that I am often "enforcing rules" with respect to how we represent the company through messaging and visuals. A lot of my time is also spent writing and editing various materials--pitch books, Web pages, conference books, articles and speaking points for our top executives.

How does your position relate to technical communication?
The financial sector tends to be complex and fast-paced, which involves interacting with subject matter experts and translating information to an understandable and digestible format. I am often returning to the core principles of audience, purpose, context and ethos, pathos, logos when setting objectives and it makes our efforts that much more impactful. As a corporate communications group, we are broadcasting messages to large audiences in many forms--Web pages, e-mails, press releases, brochures and ads, to name a few. We need to make sure our communications are timely, capture the audience's attention, reinforce the message or image we are trying to convey, and promote a desired action. The STC coursework positioned me well to think critically and creatively on these topics.

What aspects of your study in technical communication have been most relevant to your current work?
While I didn't take a typical career path for an STC major, I've seen a lot of synergies between the coursework and my job. Our group manages virtually all aspects of marketing--the corporate website and intranet, relationships with the media, brand and identity, social media presence; all of which require us to be a gatherer, conduit and distributor of information--essentially, applying many of the fundamentals from the STC program. My team also develops collateral like ads, brochures, presentations, signage and mailers. These materials require a compelling message and visual design, both of which the STC program prepared me well for with courses like Visual Rhetoric, Project Management and Usability.

What did you learn about technical communication that surprised you most in the workplace?
I always felt the STC program events and faculty prepared me well for a transition into the working world. One thing I hadn't anticipated right out of college was the extent to which I have to explain our decisions and policies, often on things as minor as a word choice or a graphic treatment. Being able to ground and articulate your work in a convincing way is especially important early in your career, and will make you a very effective communicator. Context helps our fellow employees better understand what we do and why we do it. But, being in a non-typical career for an STC grad, I was surprised how much the material was applicable in my daily work, for example, editing a report, directing on a book layout or simply communicating initiatives to other employees.

What message do you have for our current students?
If I could go back in time, there are two things I would do differently as a student:

1.) Take goal setting seriously. I used to think of goal setting as a mandatory classroom assignment, but now I see it as very important to being successful. Try to think 10 steps ahead and spend a lot of time setting your goals. If you aren't sure what path you want to take, have as many informational interviews as you can with people working in fields you are--and are not--considering. You will find that most professionals are happy to talk with students about their jobs. Also, try to complete at least one internship. It will help with the college-to-career transition and of course greatly increase your odds of getting a job after graduation.

2.) Network more. As a student, I was really intimidated by networking but soon realized, like anything, it just takes practice. I now really like to meet and connect with other professionals and even formed a networking group recently, which is a good reminder that stepping out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Don't think of networking as a quick way to get a job, but instead, approach it as a long-term endeavor and a means for broadening your perspective.

September 26, 2012

S&TC Student Recruitment Activities

The undergraduate/graduate program recruitment committee held its first joint session, "What can I do with a degree in technical communication?" to promote our major, minor, MS, and certificate programs. Twenty-seven attendees including current students, prospective students, Writing Studies faculty and staff, CLA advisers, and alumni gathered in an active-learning classroom in STSS on Friday September 21.

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Thanks to generous students and alumni, we were able to give participants a view to the skills and knowledge that transfer from programs to workplace. Jim Hall (MS, OIT Director UMN Morris), Jim Willenbring (MS, Medtronic), Tony Poetz (MS, XRS ), Kari Gordon (BS, LSS Data Systems) shared their experience with the large group and during breakouts for our undergraduate and graduate programs.

We plan to hold joint sessions at the beginning of fall and spring semesters with an aim of recruiting new student.

The joint committee: Lee-Ann K. Breuch, Ann Hill Duin, Barb Horvath, and Joe Moses

September 14, 2012

2011-2012 Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2011-12 winners of the Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award, Phillip Stubbs and Frank Liang. Both Phillip and Frank are new S&TC majors, and Frank is a double major in English. The Coaxley Ames Award is for students interested in improving their writing through advanced study. This award is made possible by a generous donation from the Coaxley Ames family, who support improvement in student writing at the University of Minnesota.

April 18, 2012

Diane Feldman Technical Editing SIG Scholarship

The Technical Editing Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) is offering two scholarships of $1400 each.

The first scholarship assists students who are pursuing an undergraduate degree in technical communication (or a related area, such as professional writing or digital media) and the second assists students who are pursuing a graduate degree in technical communication (or a related area, such as professional writing or digital media). Students applying for one of these scholarships are expected to be able to demonstrate their focus on topics related to technical editing through their academic studies, current jobs, special projects, or undergraduate/graduate program. The winners will be announced in the Technical Editing SIG newsletter.

For more information on the scholarship program, please see the STC Technical Editing website: http://www.stc-techedit.org/Scholarship.

April 25, 2011

Mikelonis Award Recipient

Kristin O'Connor, a junior in the Scientific and Technical Communication major in Writing Studies, has been chosen as this year's recipient of the Victoria Mikelonis Memorial Award. Kristin is interested in technical writing, usability, and editing, and she will be studying abroad next year. This award offers a $200 award every year to an exceptional undergraduate student whose academic pursuits reflect a commitment to scientific and technical communication, rhetorical studies, and/or intercultural communication. (Suggested uses are books and a membership in the STC student chapter.) The award is presented in recognition of Professor Mikelonis's leadership, commitment, and her tremendous contributions to the University of Minnesota with the hope that the student will continue to build on Professor Mikelonis's work.

Congratulations, Kristin!

April 8, 2011

Congratulations to the recipients of the Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award!

Congratulations to the recipients of the Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award! The award recognizes excellent writing in 1xxx-level courses and 3xxx-/4xxx-level courses. We had many excellent submissions, and four awards were granted:

First place, 1xxx-level writing (cash award of $100): Andrea Daughtery, "Seventeen: Impact and Influence," WRIT 1301 University Writing, Instructor Timothy Olekskiak

Second place, 1xxx-level writing (cash award of $50): Alison Seacord, "Why We Should Look," WRIT 1301 University Writing, Instructor Joe Moses

First place, 3xxx/4xxx-level writing (cash award of $100): Micah Sandberg-Spieler, "Social Media Strategy for The Cedar," WRIT 3562W, Instructor Joe Holt

Second place, 3xxx/4xxx-level writing (cash award of $50): Jennifer Nicklay, "Consultant Guilt in the Writing Center Community," WRIT 3751W, Instructor Kirsten Jamsen

Their papers are available for viewing as PDFs at the links above. Congratulations to our winners!

March 16, 2011

Undergraduate scholarship application deadlines: March 21st

Don't forget to apply for these scholarships--money is available: March 21 is the deadline to apply for the Medtronic scholarship ($2000.00) and The Victoria Mikelonis Fund ($200).

More information: http://www.writ.umn.edu/ugrad/scholarships.html.

January 21, 2011

Free Web development classes for S&TC majors!

Take advantage of these opportunities to learn Web development skills! Registration is required.

OIT Technology Training will present three web development courses for Writing Studies students. Participants can enroll for the training using the our web site. We will send enrollment confirmations and class reminders to the participants.

Course 1: Web Development: Essentials - XHTML
Date/Time: Saturday, Feb 5, 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Walter 210
Instructor: Dennis Svendsen
Registration Code: s735b02

Enroll in the Web Development: Essentials - XHTML course
Click on the Custom tab on the right side of the page, enter the provided registration code, click the Enroll button, then follow the registration steps and submit.

Course 2: Web Development: Essentials - Cascading Style Sheets
Date/Time: Saturday, Feb 19, 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Walter 210
Instructor: Pat Haggerty
Registration Code: q745c02

Enroll in the Web Development: Essentials - Cascading Style Sheets course
Click on the Custom tab on the right side of the page, enter the provided registration code, click the Enroll button, then follow the registration steps and submit.

Course 3: Web Development: Dreamweaver CS5 Basics
Date/Time: Saturday, Mar 5, 12:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Walter 210
Instructor: Curt Squires
Registration Code: w6e7776

Enroll in the Web Development: Dreamweaver CS5 Basics course
Click on the Custom tab on the right side of the page, enter the provided registration code, click the Enroll button, then follow the registration steps and submit.

Spring 2011 Welcome Lunch for S&TC students!

Free Lunch!

Wednesday, January 26th
12 - 1:30pm
135 Nicholson Hall

Drop in anytime you can. Lunch will be available at noon,
followed by a short program at 12:30pm.

Program includes:
* Scholarship opportunities for S&TC majors
* Information on the S&TC major
* Information on Free Web development sessions
* Upcoming events

November 5, 2010

World Usability Day: Thursday, November 11

Please note an upcoming event, Usability Day, which will be held next Thursday, Nov 11 in Walter Library 402. As part of the event, Stuart Blessman and Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch are giving a presentation titled "Search Engine Optimization." Stuart is a student in our undergraduate major in Scientific and Technical Communication.

More info is available at the University's Usability Services website.

Please attend if you can!

2:30 - 3:15 p.m. | 402 Walter Library
Presentation: "Search Engine Optimization (SEO)"
• Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Writing Studies
• Stuart Blessman, Student, Scientific and Technical Communication

October 29, 2010

Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award

We are pleased to announce the Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award for undergraduate writing. This award is made possible by a generous donation from the Coaxley Ames family to recognize writing in higher education. The Department of Writing Studies will offer two $100 awards each year: one award in First-Year Writing, and one award in a 3xxx or 4xxx level course. Nominations can be made by students or by instructors, and the deadline is January 4, 2011.

More details about eligibility, criteria, and deadlines for the Coaxley Ames Writing Excellence Award are available on the Department of Writing Studies website.

May 17, 2010

Joanne Steinhofer wins undergraduate Medtronic Technical Communication Scholarship

I'm happy to announce that this year's winner of the undergraduate Medtronic Technical Communication Scholarship is Joanne Steinhofer. Ms. Steinhofer is a Scientific & Technical Communication (S&TC) major with a subplan in Information Technology & Design.

An outstanding student who made the Dean's List last Fall Semester, Joanne is a deserving winner of the award.

Congratulations, Joanne!

Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Writing Studies

May 4, 2010

Joanne Steinhofer wins Victoria Mikelonis Undergraduate Award in Scientific & Technical Communication

I'm happy to announce that this year's winner of the Victoria Mikelonis Undergraduate Award in Scientific & Technical Communication is Joanne Steinhofer. Ms. Steinhofer is a Scientific & Technical Communication (S&TC) major with a subplan in Information Technology & Design.

As an undeclared major in her first year at the U of M, Joanne happened upon a S&TC brochure that caught her eye and led her to our major with the goal of becoming a Technical Communicator. An outstanding student who made the Dean's List last Fall Semester, Joanne is a deserving winner of the award.

Congratulations, Joanne!

Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Writing Studies

January 27, 2010

Info session for new and returning S&TC majors

Please join us for an information session in the Department of Writing Studies.

Thursday, January 28th
Drop in anytime between 11:30am & 12:45pm
45 Wesbrook Hall (downstairs)

Learn about:
New curriculum and sub-plans
Scholarship opportunities
Preparing for your internship
Software training resources


Get your questions answered and meet new and old majors, advisors, and undergraduate program staff and directors.

FREE FOOD!
Chips, beverages, and sandwiches from Erbert and Gerbert's!

November 5, 2009

Class blog featured as part of NCTE National Day on Writing

A class blog from WRIT 3001: Introduction to Scientific and Technical Communication was featured in the Write@U Gallery for the NCTE National Day on Writing (October 20, 2009). The blog can be seen at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/lkbreuch/writ3001. Students are writing about readings and guest speakers, and they are sharing their reflections about technical communication.

Guest speakers include:

October 14: Alecia Ramsay, IBM
October 21: Guy Petrie, Medtronic
October 28: John Neenan, US Bank
November 4: Lee Thomas, Yamamoto Moss
November 11: Janel Anderson, Thomson-Reuters

Congratulations to students in WRIT 3001!

November 4, 2009

Internship Opportunities

Check the following resources for internship opportunities:

Walk-In Hours with United Way: Internships for CLA Students
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
11:00 am to 2:00 pm
135 Johnston Hall
Stop by between 11 and 2 to learn about internships available to CLA sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Walk-In Hours with AmeriCorps: Jobs for CLA Students
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
135 Johnston Hall
Stop by between 1 and 3 to learn about jobs available to all CLA students and to recent graduates.

Internship Advice and a Pizza Slice
Thursday, November 12, 2009
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Coffman Union, President's Room (3rd floor)
Learn why internships matter, how to find one, and how to get a lot out of it.

February 10, 2009

Medtronic Technical Communication Scholarship -- Deadline Extended to March 11th!

Award: To provide a $2,000 scholarship award to undergraduate student(s) who are majoring in the field of Scientific and Technical Communication (S&TC). The award may be given to a freshman and may be continued for four years if the student makes satisfactory progress toward a B. S. degree. (Sophomores and juniors may apply as well and seniors with at least two semesters of full-time coursework remaining.)

More information

Download flyer

February 3, 2009

STC U of M Student Chapter Meeting & Event

Professional Portfolios: Communicate what you can do
February 28, 2009
1:00-4:30PM
St. Paul Campus

* Presentation by Fred Carpenter will provide a survey of what electronic and hard copy portfolios are, their purposes, and what makes them effective
* Workshops detailing the “how to�? elements of building a portfolio
* Attendees who bring their portfolios will have the opportunity to receive comments on how to make them better, and those who do not have portfolios will learn how to get one started

More information and online registration at www.stcchapter.umn.edu

Students $5 early registration by February 16
$8 after February 16 or at the door
Professionals $20 early registration
$25 after February or at the door

About the speaker: Fred Carpenter is presently graduate program coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences, Metropolitan State University. She has worked in academic, government and corporate environments including the Public Guardian's Office for the State of Alaska and Sybase Inc. Her interest in portfolios emerged as a result of being a coordinator and guiding applicants through the reasoning, design and execution of portfolios for the program.

Download flyer

U of M Job and Internship Fair

Monday, February 9, 2009
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Minneapolis Convention Center

Come to the biggest student career fair in Minnesota! More than 250 organizations will be there recruiting for hundreds of jobs and internships. The Job and Internship Fair is free and open to all U of M undergraduates, graduate students, and recent alumni. This event was created just for you!

For more information, visit: http://www.cclc.umn.edu/umjobfair/

January 14, 2009

Medtronic Technical Communication Scholarship

Find out more about the Medtronic Technical Communication Scholarship for technical communication majors. The deadline is February 1, for the 2009-2010 school year. This $2,000 scholarship is renewable. Details can be found at http://www.writ.umn.edu/ugrad/scholarships.html.

October 31, 2008

Tools Courses

Do you need to learn tools such as Dreamweaver & Photoshop? There are a number of resources at the University you can take advantage of:

1.) Free courses--CLA's "Get Wired!" program

The CLA Infotech Fees Committee and the University Technology Training Center (UTTC) offer non-credit computer training to currently enrolled undergraduates in CLA. Free courses are offered at the beginning of the semester and cover tools such as Dreamweaver, XHTML/HTML, Photoshop, and MS Office.

2.) Fee courses--UTTC Short Courses
UTTC also offers the above short courses, and several others, for a fee.

3.) For credit--UC 3201 & 3202: Web Designer Introduction I & II
3201--Web design process: plan, design, launch, and publish. Design principles, business practices, site analysis. Students use industry standard Web design software, including Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Dreamweaver, and Flash, to build Web site. HTML, CSS. Lectures, exercises, lab.
3202--Designing with Adobe Photoshop vector tools, using batch processing. Macromedia Flash as an animation tool. Developing an environment through ActionScripts. DHTML Layers, HTML frames, form processing. Internet service providers, hosting, search engines, Web site marketing.

Writing Studies staff member Shannon Klug has taken a lot of these courses. If you have any questions, she'd be happy to talk with you.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
The goal of UROP is to help you become involved in research and creative activity to stimulate your mind, broaden your perspectives, expand your intellectual and social networking and strengthen your connections to the University of Minnesota community, as well as the research and creative communities nationally and throughout the world.
UROP provides stipends of up to $1400 and research expenses of up to $300 for undergraduate students working with a University of Minnesota Faculty Mentor. Full-time (enrolled for ≥6 credits) undergraduates enrolled in any college on any campus are eligible to apply.

October 19, 2007

Medtronic Scholarship in Technical Communication

Congratulations to Scientific & Technical Communication major, Neil Fahlstrom, winner of the Medtronic Scholarship in Technical Communication for the 2007-2008 academic year!