Author: ersmith

Technical Communication Internship, Michigan Tech Gardens

Whitney Johnson

When I applied for a student gardener position, I was overjoyed that I would get to spend all my time outside doing what I love to do while also taking classes and getting paid for my time.  It took me nearly a year to realize that what I was doing could be related to my Scientific and Technical Communication major based on the fact that the degree is incredibly broad and can be applied to a wide variety of situations.  The STC degree has allowed me to take bits and pieces of what I have learned in my classes and apply it to this internship.  This includes things such as design, spreadsheets, documentation, information organization, and prioritization. 

In this internship, I am mapping all 172 gardens across campus and documenting the plants in each one.  The objective is to create a page on Michigan Tech’s website where visitors can learn about the gardens and the overall ability to grow plants in a climate such as ours which, to some, may seem a bit difficult if not impossible.  The overall goal is to spread awareness and promote the creation of green spaces.  On the technical end, in addition to the garden mapping, I am revamping the garden department’s current method of chemical storage.  With this, I am reorganizing, documenting, creating spreadsheets, laying out safety procedures, and ensuring all OSHA standards are met.  This will be beneficial not only moving forward with day to day tasks but also with the overall training of new students.  I am thrilled that the work I am doing will be used for years to come.  It is not simply busywork, but instead, something that will help me progress in my career and also serve future employees in this role.

 I am realizing, while still in college and taking STC classes, that the skills I learn in school and apply in my working life are more concept-based than specific information/procedure based.  I am learning how to learn, and the STC program is putting me in the mindset to do that.  I know how to take in all sorts of seemingly unrelated information and connect them in ways that are unique and beneficial.  I think that this is a great opportunity for me to harness my skills in a real-world setting.  I entered this major because I was intrigued by the idea of being able to adapt to a work environment of my choosing and being able to take my work with me, not going where my work takes me. — Whitney Johnson, STC


Editing Intern, Portage Review Undergraduate Journal

When I was thinking about attending Michigan Tech some of the things I was excited about were the small class sizes and the opportunities that were available to me. I found these two things come together when, thanks to a small class size in my editing class, my professor reached out to me about an opportunity as an editorial intern with the Portage Review here on campus. 

I started my internship at the beginning of my second semester here at Michigan Tech and I was thrilled about the opportunity to work with graduate students and be a part of the school’s growing literary journal. So far, I’ve had the chance to write documentation, use WordPress, and edit blog posts. I have enjoyed learning new things and practicing my skills in my field. This internship has been a great opportunity I’m thankful for!

— Jayleen Rossi, STC


Design/Communications Intern, Visual and Performing Arts Department

My experience with my Humanities/VPA internship has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have been helping Professor Lisa Gordillo with an international art installation project, specifically I’ve been helping her design a model of the Mayan city Zaculeu, in Guatemala. She is planning on putting a temporary art installation at the site, so she wants a model to help plan what she will do for that instillation. Having a visual/physical representation of her site is very helpful to her process. I started working for her at the beginning of the 2018 Fall semester, and the position will continue until I graduate. It has been a truly fun and interesting experience. I have had the opportunity to practice my design abilities and frequently use equipment I have always wanted to play with. I have also learned so much about the fascinating Mayan culture, and Central America as a whole. This experience has improved my time management ability and help me experience a whole new culture. 

I don’t know where this internship will take me, but having international work experience will be great for my resume. If you are able to apply for an internship or research assistant position, go for it. It can only make your life and your academic experience more interesting, and having it on your resume is a huge advantage when you are looking for a job post-graduation. It is truly an amazing experience that I will never forget. 

— Zachary Marten, STC


Podcasting Internship, Portage Lake District Library

I managed to snag this internship at the Portage Lake District Library after talking to its director and Tech alum, Dillon Geshel, at a pre-career fair networking event last spring. I ended up talking to Dillon about an idea he’d mentioned toying with in the past: making a podcast. After playing with ideas for a while, we settled on a very broad “Keweenaw history and culture” topic.  

 My time at PLDL was very hard to describe.  The nature of my project didn’t require me to have regular working hours, but I still had to put in quite a bit of time to get things done.  I spent the first few weeks working in the library and the Tech archives trying to find topics and then write the first episode, a twenty-minute set of short stories about shipwrecks. 

When making the podcast, I had to dig up every bit of sound design knowledge I was taught in the two VPA classes I’ve taken. I wouldn’t have been able to make a professional piece without them.  Dillon gave me frequent feedback on what I’d been doing and was very positive about the whole thing; he seemed excited to have someone who could handle the technical aspects of podcasting.  

Having a background in STC wasn’t really essential for this internship, but it did make the initial stages much easier.  Because of the heavy emphasis on personal communication early on in the STC program, I was relaxed at the networking event and my first few days of work.  My early classes affirmed my confidence and let me start my work without too much stress. 

I would definitely recommend seeking out this internship.  It was heavily focused on my own growth as a professional, which really showed how genuine the program was.  You can tailor it to pretty much any humanities endeavor, and Dillon is always open to new ideas.

—Liam Andersen, STC


Technical Writer, Center for Technology and Training

When I first began at Michigan Tech, I was very daunted by the idea of presenting a portfolio in order to graduate, but my internship with the Center for Technology & Training in the Civil Engineering Department at Tech has given me many opportunities to work on meaningful projects that help build that portfolio.

As a technical writer intern, the projects I work on directly relate to my STC degree and are building confidence in my abilities as a technical writer while affirming my decision to pursue my major. My supervisor and all the full-time staff that work for the CTT are all super patient and extremely nice. It is also great to work with so many interns from all corners of the college because it allows me to learn from their skills and make connections.

This semester there are 12 interns working at the CTT, including three STC students, software-related majors, mechanical engineers, and civil engineers. All of us Humanities students have a comradery from working and taking classes together, although the projects we work on at our internship are very different from each other. The CTT seems to have endless amounts of work involving a spectrum of projects. I primarily work to design manuals, flyers, workbooks, presentations, and other teaching materials aimed towards educating local agencies and civil engineers on the latest research, information, and practices. I also write articles for The Bridge newsletter, which is distributed throughout the state. It is rewarding to see my writing and designs in print. 

The CTT is a great place to work because they know their workload is huge and that they need a strong team of interns in order to accomplish everything, so interns and the work they do are truly valued. This also means they are always looking for additional interns, so venture across to Dillman 309 and see what they’re all about like I did!

— Sarah Lindbeck, STC


Humanities Undergraduate Attends Society for Technical Communication Summit

STC 2020 Summit Logo

Professional development opportunities that students can take advantage of while they are in school contribute significantly to student success after graduation. For Julia Barnes, Scientific and Technical Communication (STC) major, a recent opportunity to hear from professionals in her field was a great way to continue to build her expertise and her network. Barnes attended the 2020 Society for Technical Communication Summit in May. 

While she was looking forward to a trip to Seattle, WA to attend in person, Covid-19 restrictions resulted in a shift to a virtual conference. However, the result was no less impactful for Barnes. “I was able to visit sessions that covered a wide range of topics from project tracking to giving feedback. I learned a lot and engaged in meaningful conversations with the other attendees as well.” One benefit of the virtual format? “All of the sessions have been recorded and the slides are available to download until August or so. So many of the topics this year are relevant, no matter the workplace or profession. I’m going to continue tuning into sessions so that I can hear what other technical communicators have to say.”

STC undergraduate students from Michigan Tech have been able to attend the Summit annually over the past several years thanks to the encouragement and support provided by Nancy Hoffman, a member of the Society for Technical Communication and generous friend of the Humanities department. The department thanks her for helping provide these valuable opportunities for our students.


Dr. Fonkoué Publishes New Book

Dr. Ramon A. Fonkoué has published a new book titled Nation Without Narration: History, Memory and Identity in Postcolonial Cameroon (Cambria Press, 2019). According to the publishers, “This book traces the roots of the current turmoil and sheds light on overlooked factors impacting nation building in post-colonial Cameroon. It demonstrates the urgency of cross-disciplinary work on African societies and the continued relevance of postcolonial criticism as a theoretical framework. It extends the postcolonial critique inaugurated by Homi Bhabha’s Nation and Narration into twenty-first-century sub-Saharan Africa. It also reframes the question of modernity and development in this context, suggesting an approach with a bearing on people’s lived experience.”


Culture Clashes, CRISPR Cuts, and Hollywood Horrors: 41 North Opens Tonight

Human NatureAmerican Factory, Human Nature, and Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street lead the 41 North line up tonight as the film festival opens its four-day run in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

HUMAN NATURE, a film that tackles the science and ethics of editing the human genome, screens at 7:30 PM. A panel discussion and Q&A will follow the film with Dr. Paul Goetsch, Dr. Caryn Heldt, and Dr. Alexandra Morrison.

The festival is free and open to the public. To learn more about all the films and events throughout the weekend, visit 41northfilmfest.org. Students will need their HuskyCard, others can reserve a ticket.


Megan Hughes, Humanities Internship at Portage Lake District Library

Portage Lake District Library PuppyAfter spending a summer volunteering at a small-town library, I was lucky enough to get a fall internship at the Portage Lake District Library. As their first student intern, I was their test dummy for a lot of ideas that they wanted to try out, and every one of them was brilliant. I entered the internship with a decent amount of training under my belt, but still found myself leaving each day having learned something new about what goes into running a library.

I was led by the hand the first two weeks, which acted as my training period, but after that most of my work was self-reliant. I would check in with the staff supervisor to see where they needed me, and I would get to work. The major project I was involved in was that I organized a community learning event, doing everything from creating posters and press releases to hosting the event in the library’s community room. While I was in charge of developing the event, it was overseen by the staff supervisor and library director, both of whom were integral in the learning experience.

The event that I organized was centered around digital art software and equipment. Patrons were encouraged to test out programs that I and my co-presenter had installed on our laptops and explore an art medium that many people refrain from testing. The event came together well, and despite having only a small group of individuals attend the event, it was ultimately a great success.

This experience has heightened my interest in library science and offered me opportunities to work with the library community. Before this internship I found myself lost about what it is that I wanted to do with my life, but seeing how dedicated every staff member was to spreading the love of literature has made me realize that I too would love to share that passion with others. Being able to get hands-on experience with patrons and staff members, developing a community event, and seeing the impact that this small group of people had on the community as a whole was nothing short of amazing to me.


Tyler Morgan, Student Media Writer with Michigan Tech Alumni & Friends

Alumni HouseMy time as the Student Media Writer at Michigan Tech Alumni & Friends has been the most thorough and engaging experience I have been able to take on as a Scientific & Technical Communications major during my college career.  I’ve been able to experience much of what I have been craving for work as an undergrad whether it be content production, copyediting, interviewing professionals and Tech alum, or  becoming professionally ready with programs such as the Adobe Creative Suite, web development tools such as WordPress, or collaborative tools to work with others across the office.  I have been creating Alumni Profiles on the Michigan Tech website, creating social media content, and so much more.

It’s warm and cozy walking into what used to be the University President’shouse, now an office building.  The first floor is renovated into an incredibly welcoming room with couches, fireplace, and all.  The further you delve, the more you’ll see incredibly modern offices, standing desks, and hardworking Michigan Tech employees!

It’s here I’ve been able to grow my portfolio to its finest, meet and get to know professionals in my field, and make connections that’ll last a lifetime.