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What's Happening at STC Carolina
February 01, 2017
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What’s Happening at STC Carolina?
By Martin Wall, STC Carolina Member
Happy 50th Anniversary, Carolina!

It’s been exciting year so far at STC Carolina. We’ve had a variety of programs, socials, and workshops. This summer, the new Administrative Council planned several engaging programs for 2016 and 2017, including presentations on Section 508, user experience, creative networking, and video production. October saw the third annual DITA workshop and the start of our long-running annual competitions.

About this time last year, we held a highly successful resume clinic, which combined technical writing (analyzing and writing geared towards appealing to hiring managers) with current resume writing practices. The clinic also incorporated resume critiques and mock interviews, which were performed by hiring managers and veteran technical communicators.

Christina Mayr, current STC Carolina president, has a firm conviction that being a part of STC is important due to the need for people to continue to build their skills throughout their life. “It is important for every professional, regardless of industry, to direct their own self-education and career advancement,” says Christina. Many professions have mandatory continuing education that must be taken each year, but technical communicators must often develop their skills on their own with little more than their own curiosity as a motivator.

These skills, which STC can help a person develop, are essential because one the most surefire ways to get passed over for a position is to fail to demonstrate evidence of understanding their industry’s latest tools and technologies.

What’s on Tap for 2017? 

2017 marks our 50th anniversary as a chapter, and it’s shaping up to be a busy year with various volunteer projects and a variety of programs. To celebrate 50 years as a chapter, a celebration is being planned for mid- to late-2017. This event will feature food, drink and entertainment, and past leaders will share the changes they’ve seen since the chapter was formed in 1967.

A group of volunteers is embarking on a website redesign; teams will be building the new site from the ground up by re-thinking the website’s information architecture, UX, and web design for its current users – you! Recent user tests have revealed that locating events and becoming an STC member are too difficult. We plan to fix these issues and to also make the chapter’s educational resources and upcoming events much more visible and user-friendly.

Christina believes that her most important function as an STC leader is to facilitate a place where students, recent graduates, and those undergoing career transitions can find a peer network that provides useful and timely resources. The mentoring program, led by a recently formed mentoring committee, is also undergoing the process of becoming more formal, structured, and project-based. These dynamic changes are rooted to STC Carolina’s firm conviction that our chapter’s livelihood depends on our ability to service students and new technical communication professionals.

Finally, a Madcap 101 training workshop is planned for April, so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks! If you have program ideas of your own, please contact us at programs@stc-carolina.org.

We need you in 2017! 

STC has no shortage of resources - workshops, presentations, socials, etc. - that it provides to an aspiring technical communicator that wants to be on the cutting edge of technical writing. “In my nearly 10 years with STC Carolina,” Christina says, “I’ve discovered one simple truth: you get out what you put in.” STC rewards those who are serious about improving themselves. But even more importantly, it rewards those who are interested in making the industry better for everyone.

The STC Carolina admin council is actively planning events for 2017, and they need your help! If you’re a member or a non-member and you would like to get more involved in STC, you have several options that will allow you to get more out of your experience with our organization. You can:

  • Perform a presentation at a chapter meeting or one of the lunch ‘n learn sessions that we hold in order to increase your fellow members’ knowledge of your industry or area of expertise. API documentation, working in an Agile environment, or project showcases are all welcome at one of the four chapter meetings left in the 2016-2017 year or at a lunch ‘n learn webinar.
  • Write for the STC blog, the Carolina Communique, by submitting articles for publication.
  • Be a judge at next year’s competitions.
  • Members are also invited to join the 50th anniversary planning committee. Contact president@stc-carolina.org for more information.

Martin Wall can be contacted at mdwall1234 at gmail dot com.

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