Shelby Marter, Intern for MTU Policies and Procedures Department

Do you know the difference between a policy and a procedure? I didn’t either when I started my internship through the University Policies and Procedures Department here at Michigan Tech, but this opportunity has changed my perspective on how I can learn through professional experience and use my major, Scientific and Technical Communication (STC), to help make confusing information compelling and easy to understand.

My internship is located in Houghton at the Michigan Tech Lakeshore Center, where I work closely with individuals in Business Operations. My supervisor, Ann Kitalong-Will, is director of the department, and guides me through the various projects I’m assigned. Most of the time I work independently, either researching or writing content for my projects, but I also attend quite a few meetings that keep everyone in our office updated and on-task.

The projects I’m working on are interesting, especially because they all relate to STC. I’ve updated the official policy format used for publishing policies so that they’re visually appealing and easier to navigate, and I’ve also developed a how-to guide for writing policy. Both of these require user analysis, which is a rhetorical principle I learned through my courses at Tech. Additionally, I’ve been given the task of updating my department’s web page, so I’m learning how to manipulate the site development system, as well as how to use HTML and CSS. I have no experience in web design, so this internship is a great opportunity to develop technical skills. I also have the chance to oversee the policy development process, and I’m learning that technical writing requires multiple draft cycles—and lots of teamwork!

Overall, I think this internship has been an awesome way to get a feel for my major because I’m directly working on real projects that will affect the campus community. I’ve learned a lot by applying my in-class learning to a real-world situation, and am excited to follow the path that this experience has laid out for me.