Gold membership: A great value proposition for STC members

By Lori Meyer

This year, I joined seven STC Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Normally, the total cost would be $55.00. The cost to me? $0.

This year, I attended three STC live webinars. Normally, the total cost would be $90.00. The  cost to me? $0. 

This year, I added an STC chapter to my membership. Normally, the cost would be $25.00. The cost to me? $0.

Why? In one word (or perhaps in one color): Gold.  Because I am an STC Gold member, I was able to save $170.00 on these educational and networking opportunities. STC Gold membership is available to technical communicators of any professional level. A Gold membership provides several valuable benefits. Here are just two of them:

Free membership in all STC SIGs

STC provides two types of SIGs, each of which focuses on a specific subject area. 

Communities of Interest 

COIs provide channels for discussion and networking via Slack and other social media outlets (for example, Google Groups). Each COI is run by one or more facilitators, who monitor discussions, encourage member participation and information exchange, and help members find additional resources about the subject area. 

 STC currently offers these COIs: 

  • Academic 
  • Accessibility 
  • Agile 
  • Application Programming Interfaces (API)
  • Contracting and Independent Consulting
  • Health & Medicine
  • Solo Technical Communicator 
  • UX and User Experience 
  • Women in Technical Communication

Communities of Practice 

COPs provide a wider range of networking, educational, and skill-building activities, including webinar presentations and workshops. Each COP has a leadership structure that offers a variety of volunteer opportunities and recognition, along with a budget that funds special presentations, contests, conferencing tools, and (depending on funding available) stipends for leader attendance at the STC Summit conference. COPs manage their own websites that keep members up to date on the group’s activities and provide opportunities for both student and professional members to contribute articles. 

STC currently offers these COPs: 

  • Instructional Design and Learning
  • Policies and Procedures 
  • Technical Editing

For more information about these SIGs, go to https://www.stc.org/communities/

Free registration for all STC live webinars 

STC offers several live webinars each year, presented by seasoned technical communicators. Each one-hour webinar is recorded, and attendees are given access to the recordings and (if provided by the presenters) handouts. 

For descriptions of the live webinars coming up in early 2022, go to https://www.stc.org/education/live-webinar/

 

Additional benefits 

Gold membership also offers these benefits: 

  • Free membership in one STC chapter of your choice 
  • A printed version of the STC Intercom magazine (8 issues)
  • A 20% discount on STC online courses 
  • Free access to the Salary Database 
  • Extended early-bird registration deadline for the STC Summit conference 

I’ve been a Gold member for six years, and its benefits have enriched my membership experience. Over the years, Gold membership has given me added incentive to participate in more STC communities and activities, and has strengthened my membership. If you’d like to experience the same added value, consider going Gold! For more information about how to join or renew as a Gold member and take advantage of all of its benefits, go to http://stc.org/membership.

Lori Meyer is the immediate past membership manager of the IDL SIG. She also volunteers for several other STC communities, including the Rochester and Florida chapters, and serves as an ad-hoc director for the STC Community Affairs Committee. Lori works full-time at a cybersecurity firm in Northern California.

First Fridays at 5: Student Liaison Report

By Ruth-Anne Klassen

Our IDL Student Liaisons enjoyed working on the First Fridays at 5 program in 2021. First Fridays @ 5 offered students a chance to practise presenting and hosting a meeting. Those who challenged themselves to take on this opportunity met a friendly audience and learned from a supportive community.

At May’s meeting, Megan and Anita talked about the benefits of joining the IDL SIG as student members. Student members have access to career-building resources like free webinars, competitions, and volunteer opportunities. Along with joining the conversation on Slack, students can participate in the IDL community to learn from other technical communicators. 

For the June virtual gathering, Anita shared her experience converting her in-person quilting guild to a digital group. She described how she engaged people who were not previously familiar with online formats, hosted a flipped classroom (in which participants review material before class and work on assignments during class time), and created effective quilting manuals for the class.

July’s First Friday was a time to network, often drawing from Zoom virtual backgrounds to give inspiration for the conversation. We talked about past experiences with science museums and hobbies and looked forward to future STC events.

Anita hosted the August meeting with a presentation about how to use Slack effectively. She addressed topics like how to create or edit a profile, how to manage notifications, how to manage availability status, and how to send a message to a channel or individual.

In September, Ruth-Anne led us in showing parts of our lives in Zoom Virtual Backgrounds. We witnessed travel pictures, admired pets or family members, and got to know both new and familiar attendees better.

Kristie talked in the October meeting about the need for precise communication in technical writing and in life. Based on her experience as a patient in the healthcare system, she spoke about how words like “treatment” can have ambiguous meanings, so it is important to choose words wisely.

Ruth-Anne led November’s meeting with insight and ideas about working in a multi-generational workplace. Diverse age groups contribute to the workforce, and this diversity presents the possibility for conflict, but also for respect and collaboration. In the conversation that followed, we discussed how we respect people, such as by using their preferred name and being aware of our unconscious biases.

At the December get-together we told personal and professional stories, ranging from funny to embarrassing. Some stories involved mistaken 911 calls and the struggle of finding the right winter boot size. Folks also exchanged stories of faulty tech comm translations to other languages and unpleasant clients.

This past year, students have enjoyed improving their skills and learning from other members as they work to become better technical communicators. Next year, we are welcoming anyone interested to present at First Fridays @ 5 meetups. If you would like to get involved in this way, contact studentliaison@stcidlsig.org to discuss further. 

Signed,

Ruth-Anne Klassen

Student Liaison, IDL SIG

Student Outreach Corner

By Mellissa Ruryk

We have welcomed three new volunteers to our ranks since Paul issued the last newsletter, two of whom are students. Students are helping with short-duration tasks or signing up to take responsibility for one social media channel (for a length of time) with mentoring from Jannetta Lamourt, our social media manager.

Priyank Aggarwal, living in New Delhi, India, has stepped up to start and manage conversations and announcements in the #sig-instructional-design channel in the STC Slack Workspace. We use the channel to spark conversations about instructional design and learning among people interested or practicing in the discipline. Priyank is an IT Professional with several years of experience in IT training development, management and quality assurance.

Ruth-Anne Klassen, living in Calgary, Alberta, has a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Ambrose University. She has a great article about volunteering at the Summit elsewhere in this issue of the newsletter. Ruth-Anne is going to run the next First Fridays at Five, In November. We’ll be discussing “Diverse Roles, Common Goals: Working With Multiple Generations in the Workplace.” How can we better with different generations in the workplace, without regard to your age? We will learn and share ideas for working in a diverse workforce, and as usual, chat and network and laugh.

Edel Pace, from Tennessee, is studying Professional Writing with a minor in Creative Mass Media at the University of Memphis. Not surprisingly, we will use her social media skills after she helps “refresh” the Student Outreach Article Writing Competition materials. Edel is doing this work in the context of a university assignment where Mellissa Ruryk, Student Outreach manager, will act as her client. In her own words, “I want to participate in the community and be an active volunteer. As a student, this will provide me with valuable real-life experience and help me meet professionals in the field.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. The best way to gain real-life experience and network is to volunteer in your favorite Special Interest Group or a geographic chapter. Join us through this Eventbrite link.

Speaking of the competition…

Student Article-Writing Competition deadline is November 12. 

If you are a student enrolled in any post-secondary program of Instructional Design & Learning, you have exactly enough time to write and submit a 1,000-2,500 word article on almost any aspect of ID before the deadline. Learn everything you need to know about the competition on our website under the Students link. You could be published before you graduate and can link to your article on our website and in our newsletter. It’s a great addition to your portfolio and can help you stand out in a field of applicants. 

If you are a student and an STC member, please reach out to me to see how the IDL SIG can help you now and when you graduate.

Mellissa Ruryk

Student Outreach Manager

studentOutreach@stcidlsig.org

Stay with us in 2022! It’s time to renew your STC and IDL SIG membership.

By Lori Meyer

Hi, IDL SIG members, 

It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost over, which means that it’s time to renew your STC and IDL SIG membership for 2022! Our SIG leadership team appreciates your membership in the past year, and we want you to stay with us in 2022. All STC memberships will expire on December 31, 2021, so  if you renew now, your membership benefits can continue uninterrupted. Plus, you’ll be eligible to vote in the 2022 Society elections, giving you a say in who will be your STC leaders in the coming year.

Your IDL SIG continues to offer value-adding virtual educational and social events. We’ve planned some great webinars over the next few months—free to you as a member of our community. If you can’t attend a webinar, you can access a free recording at any time after the webinar. And if you’re a student member, our new First Fridays at 5 series (free and open to all) provides an additional way to build your networks, showcase your growing skills, and learn from seasoned techcomm professionals.

We hope you’ll know the staying power of STC and our community in your professional life…and that you’ll say Yes to renewal! To renew, go to the Membership page on the STC web site at http://stc.org, and click Join or Renew along the top navigation bar.

When you renew, be sure to select IDL SIG as one of your communities. The renewal system does not automatically carry your community membership forward to the coming year. By selecting IDL from the community list, you’ll be included in our SIG membership database, and you will continue to receive all the benefits of being one of our members as well as a member of STC. 

If you’re an STC Gold member, all SIG memberships are free for you! 

On behalf of our leadership team, thank you for being a member of the IDL SIG! We look forward to continuing our professional journey together as a strong community…where every member matters.

With warm regards,

Lori Meyer

Membership manager, STC IDL SIG

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!