Archives—June 2018

Victoria Sage Receives Award from Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council

Victoria SageVictoria Sage, technical writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT), is the recipient of the 2018 Carmine Palombo Individual Award from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC). In addition to her duties as a technical writer at the CTT, Sage is editor of the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program’s The Bridge newsletter.

In announcing the award, the TAMC notes “Vicki’s work in these roles has been a great service to the TAMC in that many of Vicki’s efforts advance the strategies of the TAMC Work Program through key training and educational initiatives for professionals at local transportation agencies. Vicki has also provided leadership and advocacy of asset management principles as well as communicating relevant programs of the TAMC and transportation agencies across Michigan in helping develop stories in The Bridge.”

One of the driving factors in Sage’s nomination for this award was her role in development of the TAMC Bridge Asset Management Workshop. Using innovative features of common desktop software, she transformed the TAMC training into a focused workshop to quickly and easily create a bridge asset management plan for students attending the training.

“Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans, and she developed an innovative way to use everyday tools to help the workshop attendees,” says TAMC Bridge Committee Chair Beckie Curtis. “This innovation has been a game changer in terms of what can be accomplished in the training workshops and making it even easier for people to have a document that they can then use to organize treatments in a way that is financially manageable.”

Transportation asset management is a process of managing public assets, such as roads and bridges, based on the long-range condition of the entire transportation system. TAMC, created in 2002 by the Michigan Legislature, promotes the concept that the transportation system is unified, rather than separated by jurisdictional ownership. Its mission is to recommend an asset management strategy to the State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Legislature for all of Michigan’s roads and bridges.


Noah Kozminski, Intern with Kijenzi

Noah Kozminski in a class with Kenyan studentsMy internship with Kijenzi—a group introducing 3-D printing for medical applications in rural Kenya—was less a formally established involvement, and more a reflection of ongoing efforts I started in summer 2017 and will continue in this summer. I had the opportunity to continue investing my time and energy in a project that I believe in, and to have some tangible return on that investment in the form of credits.

This internship led me to develop and fund a research project, develop a web presence and branding material, and be an integral part of an international interdisciplinary team. I’ve had extensive opportunities to develop my skills as a professional communicator with the variety of work I have been responsible for over the semester and beyond, giving me the hands-on experience necessary to learn a trade. Getting outside the classroom and working on client projects with real-world impacts is an invaluable experience, and I appreciated the chance to work with Kijenzi during the academic year, continuing my involvement in the organization while also advancing my degree at Michigan Tech.


Wynter Lindgren, Writing intern in University Marketing and Communications

Wynter Lindgren at Design Expo 2018If you want to know if you have a passion for something, you should gain experience in it. Thankfully, Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications department, or UMC, was my opportunity. I spent the past two semesters working in the department as a student writer. I had come into it with no idea what I would gain, but left with some important lessons.

First: planning. Being a college student already requires balance, but put a job on top of that and you have someone in need of Google Calendar. After adding in time for interviews, writing, and meetings, my time soon became thin. Meeting deadlines and creating content I was proud of was crucial to me. If I didn’t make the time, then the words would be bland and unimaginative.

Then I moved into learning about communication. There are so many people within the UMC, from writers to editors to those that make the content accessible. Making sure people know your intentions and plan of attack clearly is important. While this was great to learn, I also found out that sometimes people just won’t answer you and there is nothing that you can do about it.

Lastly, I would say I gained much more respect for people in my field. Of course, not being a part of it before meant I never knew much, but I didn’t realize the amount of work put in. It opened my eyes for me to see that writing wasn’t something that anyone could do, but something people with passion could do. Those who helped make my writing better knew exactly where I was at and gave wonderful ideas to aid me. If it wasn’t for them, I’m not sure I would have continued to love writing. The UMC made me fall in love with being a writer all over again.


Nathan Shaiyen, Photography intern at University Marketing and Communications

Nathan Shaiyen with University Photographer Sarah ByrdIf I told you that I didn’t enjoy my time at my internship, I would be lying. My time working for the University Marketing and Communication here at Michigan Tech has been one that I could never have imagined. The skills and experiences I learned are so important in helping me be a better professional in my field.

Working with a supervisor that always pushes me to be better and also allows me to express myself is something I never thought I would get out of a job. Also, working with a team that I can always learn from is great because I gain so much knowledge from different people in so many different areas.

My favorite moments in my internship were the times a client was thoroughly impressed with the end result of a project. This made me feel like I was really giving my all and it was being recognized, and I’m sure it made my supervisor proud, too. It meant that all I was learning was being applied to my work.

I could talk about all that I did and how I did it but what I’d rather say is that the experience is something that I’ll cherish. I think that as a student being able go out into the word and work really allows you to learn so many things that you might learn in the classroom, but it lets you apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to whatever job you are doing. The classes we take do a great job of preparing us for a lot of what’s going to come.

In summary, this is a great opportunity. Give your absolute best and try to learn as much as you can.


Liam Andersen, Intern at Keweenaw Research Center

Keweenaw Research CenterI spent my spring and summer semesters in 2018 working at the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). My main job was writing project reports—actually, it was writing one project report. There was a two-year research effort about tank ice cleats that was wrapping up when I started the KRC, and I was given the final report for it. The job was a classic cubicle farm, reports-and-spreadsheets deal. Most of the work they do involves military contracts based on ground vehicle testing. Absolutely everything about the job was foreign to me. I’d never done real technical writing before, and I was dumped right into it with very little actual instruction; I only got a folder of information and the gist of the project.  Because of that, though, it was one of the fastest learning experiences of my life.

Having a trial by fire like that as my first internship was amazing in terms of preparation for other jobs. Since I was thrown in with little direction, I had to make my own way, wading through the confusion about how the data was organized, interpreting all the raw scientific data, and gleaning what the engineers had neglected to mention in their briefings. All my work since then has been incredibly smooth in comparison—knowing how rocky a starting point can be gave me an appreciation for every bit of help I get.

The actual experience I gained from the job was hugely eye-opening, too. The way the KRC is run is very informal in some places, but mind-bogglingly procedural in others. The cognitive whiplash from switching between the two nearly snapped my neck. On top of that, there were a hundred little things every day that I had to learn, or at least become familiar with, like modeling software and weird physics concepts. I hadn’t really thought about whether I wanted to work as a technical writer in an engineering field, but I’m glad I tried it—I would never know whether I liked it if I hadn’t. I definitely learned more about my limits from this job.

Looking back on it, I think I would’ve liked my first internship to be a bit more relaxed, but sometimes getting burned is the best thing that can happen to you—you might just come out fireproof.