We are thrilled to welcome Katherine Baeckeroot to the STC-SM executive council as our newly appointed vice president. She will take the helm as chapter president in the summer of 2019. We look forward to Katherine’s contributions as we continue to work together on goals that will provide value for our chapter members and the professional community. So you can get to know her a bit better, Katherine was kind enough to answer a few question for us. Please join us in welcoming our new VP!
What is your educational background?
I graduated from Michigan Technological University in the fall of 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Scientific and Technical Communication and a minor in International Spanish. I am currently pursuing my Master of Science degree in Technical Communication with a specialization in Usability and User Experience.
Why did you decide to join STC?
I currently work in a position where I am the sole technical writer. It can become difficult to stay in touch with the technical communication community and to get feedback and advice. I joined STC so that I would be able to join a new community of like-minded individuals, to volunteer, to help the organization grow, and to contribute to the future of technical communication as a profession.
Why did you decide to pursue technical communication as a career?
I personally chose to pursue my professional career in technical communication because it fits my personality. Technical communication requires writers to be conscientious, caring, diligent, and meticulous. I try to be as organized as possible in my daily life, and this transcends into writing. I especially enjoy technical communication within the field of software development because I love using the tools, and I love making sure that people can use the software to do the tasks they have set out to do.
Where are you currently employed?
I currently work at A&D Technology, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A&D produces software and hardware systems used in the automotive testing industry; we provide tools for test automation, data acquisition and control, and test lab management solutions. I am the technical writer on the software development team, and we utilize Scrum methodologies during our software development life cycle.
What are your job activities?
At my job, I work alongside software developers and quality control analysts throughout the software development life cycle. This involves participating in daily standup meetings, sprint planning meetings, and review meetings. I use the software to create task and GUI-based documentation that is maintained in a wiki and produced as online help and PDF files. I also edit documentation and work with program and project managers to ensure that documentation is consistent, accurate, and in-line with the product scope. When necessary, I perform testing for features and bug fixes.
How has being an STC member (or volunteer) helped you with your career?
Throughout my professional journey, I have had the opportunity to be involved with an STC student chapter, network with STC members, and expand my horizons within the technical communication industry. In 2014, I attended the STC Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, and this experience ignited my passion and motivation within the field. Working with other STC members fuels my curiosity, cultivates inside me a need for more knowledge, and supplies my motivation to strive for better communication.
What advice do you have for students entering the field of technical communication?
My advice to you:
- Read, read, read, read, read, and read. Whatever you can get your hands on. Reading helps you become a better writer, editor, and leader.
- Network. Reach out and join your local STC chapter. Find others who can help you grow. Ask those people how they got to where they are.
- Ask questions. You can never ask enough questions, whether it be questions to your subject matter experts, professors, or colleagues.
What else would you like our readers to know about you?
I love cooking, biking, reading, spending time with my cats, and learning. I love technical communication and I am very much looking forward to this opportunity to serve the STC-SM community and represent the industry.