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I Joined the STC New England Chapter's Council

A lot has been going on in my career this past month, and I was so busy that I didn't have time to post anything to this site. I'll detail my progress at Canary Systems in a future post, but for this one, I want to report on some exciting news.

Last week, I was officially elected to the Society for Technical Communication New England Chapter's council. I join my colleagues Nancy Allison, Emily Alfson, Mark Decker, Patty Gale, and Cynthia Joyner in creating monthly events for the chapter's members. Next week, on September 16th, I'll greet the members and guests as they arrive at September's event, the event "Frenemies? Tech Comm, Tech Support Working Together," at the Hilton Garden Inn in Burlington, Massachusetts. In addition, I'll run an icebreaker activity called "Rose-Bud-Thorn." This activity allows technical writers to write down on sticky notes what they like about their jobs (rose), what they don't like about their jobs (thorn), and what could be great if only they worked at improving it (bud). The writers will then post each note in its respective section on giant sticky notes that adhere to the walls of the meeting room.

The intent is for technical writers to see that they all have common interests, likes, frustrations, and goals, and they can use others' notes to meet new people, discuss their frustrations, and come up with strategies to turn their buds into roses for their jobs. This is part of an overall effort of the chapter to make members more involved at these meetings, to create a strong community of technical writers that can rely on its members to give advice and information to help others improve their careers or job performance.

Later, on October 20th, I will visit Professor Karen Gulbrandsen's Writing Computer User Documents class at my graduate alma mater, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, to present on the STC and the New England Chapter to the current graduate students and any interested undergraduate students. The goal is to find interested students who want to become a part of an organization that can show them a glimpse of the technical writing profession, and an organization that can help them transition into a career via mentorships, monthly events, professional development, documentation competitions, and a list of jobs and internships for entry-level workers.

I'm glad I was chosen for this position. I'm still transitioning from a graduate student in professional writing into a professional technical writer. Becoming a council member gives me the opportunity to become even more involved with the profession, and I can use the skills I learn through being a council member and participating at these events to improve my performance at Canary Systems, and to be a better technical writer overall. This position will also give me the confidence to take on new challenges and rise to the occasion, so I can become a dependable member and a great contributor to a team effort at the chapter.

I want to thank Steve Jong, my mentor and former council member for nominating me, and I'd like to thank Nancy, Emily, Patty, Mark, and Cynthia for welcoming me to the council last week. I can't wait to work with all of you for the 2015-2016 year of STC New England.

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