New Member: Megan Albert

Megan Albert has been volunteering with the SIG since the new year. She is a student at Simon Fraser University (SFU) currently, and completed a B.A. at the University of Alberta in Anthropology and Classics. She notes “I spent time volunteering for various programs there as a student, which led to me working for the University of Alberta Students' Union for 3 years. I spent about 7 years on the North Campus, and it's a much-loved area for me.”

Now we in the IDL are lucky enough to have Megan volunteering for us. She’s been busy packing and moving the past couple of months and hasn’t settled into an “official” role but has been a tireless supporter and organizer of the First Fridays at Five, which is an informal Zoom meeting held monthly (sign up here) for students, people who like students, and people who want to be a student or have been a student. In other words, you are welcome!

Asked to describe her job to a child, Megan replied “I write things that tell people how to do hard stuff.”   Megan says she was advised by teachers and professors that she should be a writer, as it's always been one of her natural abilities. Creative writing or an academic career didn’t interest her and while researching writing careers in corporate areas, Megan encountered technical writing. She immediately decided that it was the perfect fit.

Megan is nearly finished her certificate in technical communication from SFU. “As I await my final practicum course in September, I'm looking for freelance work and developing my portfolio. It feels great to start translating what I've learned to real-world applications,” she said. “Keep me in mind if you're looking for an entry-level contractor!” I guess if all else fails, Megan could seek out her alternate dream job: an interior designer. “I love DIY around the house as a hobby, and doing it professionally would be an amazing creative career.”

Megan kindly took some time out of her busy student/entrepreneurial life to answer some quirky questions for our newsletter:

What's your most memorable facepalm moment?

- I slipped on some ice at a Red Bull Crashed Ice event, and I accidentally elbowed a lady in the face who was helping me up. The crowd around me oooo'd and gasped and it was very cringe-worthy.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

- I make a point to encourage myself to fight past the fear of failure.

What is your secret guilty pleasure? (it won't be a secret after the newsletter is published.)

- I love watching The Bachelor/ette, it's good garbage.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

- My sweet cat Patches purring in my face.

Speaking of Patches...

Birthplace? Currently residing in?

- I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I still currently reside here.

What is your most common writing error? What is your worst pet peeve with other peoples' writing? 

- Sometimes commas get away from me, and I end up with too many or too little! A personal pet peeve in writing is using overly formal or niche language to sound more sophisticated. Your message is only as valuable as it is accessible to your audience.

Do you have a pet/pets? 

- My partner and I have two rescues. We have Patches, an incredibly sweet and chunky kitty (see picture above). Not much fazes her! We adopted Pika not even a week ago. She's an adorable, 7-pound, long-haired chihuahua with a bit of a sassy attitude! They're getting along great already!

New Member: Jannetta Lamourt

Let’s get to know Jannetta!

Jannetta Lamourt is a new volunteer for the IDL SIG who is also a student at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). A published poet, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

Jannetta has taken on the role of Social Media lead for the SIG and now oversees and coordinates our public-facing communication on Twitter, Slack, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Although she would rather be the Head Chocolate Taster at See’s Candy factory, she really enjoys her life in technical communications. In her words, “My writing began later in life. I was around thirty when I discovered computers and the cornucopia of information called the world wide web. From there – I volunteered with a women’s org online newsletter and developed articles as needed at first, then morphed into a bylined author, and from there upon a fellow reading some of my themed articles, was asked to author a six-week adult teaching course and [found that] the world of words was my oyster!” 

Jannetta works on technical writing and editing projects, writes website content and does  social media consulting, guides, and other documentation. Her company name is Quantivpro (www.quantivpro.com) and maintains her own website at www.jannettalamort.com.  Being self-employed, Jannetta is always looking for more work, usually on a freelance or contract basis. But, she says, if the right full-time remote position opened up… she’d be game!

Jannetta kindly took some time out of her busy student/entrepreneurial life to answer some quirky questions for our newsletter:

How would you describe your day job to a child?

I work on the computer creating stories and pictures 

What’s your most memorable facepalm moment?

Discovering—after multiple self-edits and using others to edit, and after printing a thousand or so pieces—that the title had lost its contraction of “you are.” That event reigns supreme as my ultimate FP moment. 

What is your motto or personal mantra?

Where there is will… there is a way. 

What is your secret guilty pleasure? 

A monthly subscription for Deathwish Coffee, my favorite (but not so secrete anymore)

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Did I mention coffee? Along with a list to do a mile long, I am generally a bright-eyed and fluffy-tailed morning person!

Birthplace? 

Lufkin, Texas

Currently, residing in?

Bernalillo, New Mexico  (Outside Albuquerque by 18 miles, and I consider it a half-horse town because it is too small to own a whole horse.)

Associations 

  • IDL STC
  • STC
  • New-England STC
  • SIG Women TechComm
  • SG Solo Technical Design
  • Civitan (Great Southwest Civitan District) 
  • Harpswell Foundation
  • Jasper and Angelina Counties in Texas, Genealogy Organizations
  • Quantivpro
  • Sandoval County Master Gardeners
  • Southern New Hampshire University

What is your most common writing error? 

Commas – their ever-changing positioning debate

What is your worst pet peeve with other peoples’ writing? 

  • Spelling and basic errors any word processor or email software pick up – red underlines have meaning! Take a moment and tidy up.
  • Wordiness, as in: I could maybe think about doing something about that issue, OR we would like to find a time to tell you perhaps what we think could be the issue… maybe. 

Do you have a pet/pets?

  • 16-year-old Chihuahua – Roky 
  • 18-year-old Aquatic Turtle- Myrtle
  • One rooster and four hens
  • I recently said a long goodbye to my beautiful 14-year-old Labrador Chief. 

Children? 

My son Conway is 26 and my daughter Nicole is 24.

Parents? 

I was adopted at age three, and my adoptive parents are now deceased.

I learned about my birth parents at age ten and met them later. I also found out I am the eldest of five children in my birth family; my father is deceased, but my mother is alive at 74. 

And here is Jannetta’s scrapbook page, which she designed herself:

First Friday Social Event

Join us on Friday, May 7, 2021 to initiate our First Friday social event for students and the Instructional Design & Learning (IDL) Special Interest Group (SIG) members. This event repeats on the first Friday of each month.  In May, join us for a short presentation on 5 advantages of being an IDL student member and stay to visit with IDL SIG members. Join the fun by registering on Facebook and Eventbrite. Tickets are limited, so register now.  

Getting the Most from my IDL SIG Student Membership

By Anita Matechuk

I made the scary decision to volunteer for the IDL SIG last fall. Because I was only half-way through my schooling in technical communication, I didn’t feel qualified to volunteer. I was unsure what most of the roles did and did not have the skills to help with the rest. The email offering to volunteer was sent with one goal: learn one new skill before they realized I was not a qualified volunteer.

My first IDL SIG meeting was not as terrifying as expected. I did not understand the majority of the topics, but the friendly nature of the meeting was encouraging. The impact of meeting professional technical communicators was surprising. Working in this field requires constant learning and even though I had the most to learn, it was less daunting to know I was learning with others.

I joined my second management meeting expecting to be told my invitation was a mistake. Once I got over my shyness, they not only tolerated my student input; they valued it. After the meeting was over, I read the entire website and signed up on social media.

A notice for a free webinar showed up on Facebook, so I signed up even though I knew nothing about the topic. Since then, I have attended every free webinar that fit into my schedule. I learned a lot during some webinars while others were above my comprehension level. Each webinar expanded my technical communication vocabulary.

I looked forward to my third management meeting, but felt a little guilty because I hadn’t contributed any value. That was solved when I happily agreed to join the student outreach planning meeting when it was offered.

The student outreach planning meeting uncovered another benefit of volunteering: The more I volunteered, the more people offered mentoring. Mentors don’t force you to take on a task you aren’t comfortable doing. They encourage you to try new tasks while supporting you in your learning.

I still find some aspects of volunteering scary. Okay, I admit writing my first article is terrifying and I have no idea how to create a webinar. These are both opportunities I volunteered for, and I am excited to learn.

I plan to try everything I can as a student. This includes continuing to volunteer and signing up for webinars. I registered to become an STC mentee. My one last goal for myself is to enter the IDL SIG student article writing competition. I am not planning on writing articles for a career, but this is a great learning opportunity.