What is your educational background? How long have you been a member of STC? In what STC positions have you served?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Botany and a Bachelor of Forestry from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication, completed in May 2012, at Lawrence Tech. I have been an STC member since 2009, and I took over as webmaster in late May 2012.
Why did you decide to pursue technical communication as a career?
It pursued me!
My undergraduate education was extremely heavy in science, math, and technology. When I was offered a contract position as an indexing editor for UMI, I took it and started my professional life indexing biology, chemistry, engineering, and math dissertation abstracts.
Most of my working life I have been a self-taught graphic designer who also edits, writes copy, and illustrates. “Self-taught” is a secret code for “I read a lot about what I do, about the things that influence how I do what I do, and I look at a lot of different types of communication and talk to people to see what works and what doesn’t.”
My daughter pointed out that I was a technical communicator after she did a multiyear time audit of my project work. Boy, was I surprised. There’s a name for it.
Why did you decide to join STC?
Having learned that I had been in technical communication for all these years, I wanted to learn more about the possibilities, so I joined STC.
Where are you currently employed?
I run my own business, Inkberry Solutions, and I am an adjunct professor at Lawrence Tech.
What are your job activities? What do you find most interesting and/or satisfying about your job?
Currently, the focus is on proposals—consulting on process, developmental and technical editing, and building a custom database system to manage content for future proposals. I do a lot of other things as well: graphic design, illustration, simple websites, and teaching the “why” and “how” to clients—a lot of “why,” but not as much “how.” The best part of my work life is the wide variety of projects.
What are some examples of projects you are particularly proud of?
I built a database system that tackles the administrative end of a five-year federal project to produce thousands of fixed-priced environmental reports about parcels of land. The database allows my client to handle heavy bouts of report-writing while keeping track of where each one is in the process, and maintaining profitability.
How has being an STC member helped you with your career?
It has exposed me to some new ideas, and it has given me some exposure.
What advice do you have for students as they are entering the field of technical communication?
Keep learning. Read, including about things outside your particular area. Talk to people. Write. Draw. Paint. Learn a craft. Keep looking at the rhetorical bent and the design of communications, especially when you are the end user. How does it affect you? How would you improve it?
What else would you like our readers to know about you?
The joke is on me. I spent my undergraduate college career studiously avoiding anything and everything having to do with English, and now I work predominantly with words.