Category: students

Gareth Williams to Speak on Violence in Contemporary Mexico

williams_colloqThe Humanities Department’s Rhetoric, Theory and Culture 2014-15 Colloquium Series is pleased to welcome Gareth Williams, Professor of Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan. Professor Williams’ talk is entitled “2666, or The Novel of Force.” It will take place on Friday, April 3rd, at 5 pm, in Forestry G002 (refreshments will be available). All are welcome!

Here is the abstract for Professor Williams’ talk:

Upon the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, Simone Weil penned one of her most renowned essays dealing with the relation between force and the foundation of the city, titled “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force”.  Roberto Bolaño’s 2004 novel 2666 is a fictionalized attempt to approach the murder of hundreds of working class women in and around the city of Santa Teresa (Ciudad Juárez) in the deserts of northern Mexico from the 1990s to the present.  The novel also offers a sustained reflection on the double originality of the political, that is, the constitutive relation between reason and force.  At the heart of the novel’s aesthetic is the questioning of the relation between war as the register and experience of the everyday and the contemporary grasped as (im)possible metaphorization, which in turn raises the question of what is possible in literature, in life, in the face of death.

Professor Williams is the author of The Other Side of the Popular: Neoliberalism and Subalternity in Latin America (2002), The Mexican Exception: Sovereignty, Police, and Democracy (2011), and numerous articles examining the relation between cultural history, literature, and political philosophy. He is one of today’s key thinkers about Latin American politics and culture.

For more information, please contact Marcelino Viero-Ramos.

Photo credit: Shaul Schwarz for The New York Times


Jane Kirby, Intern for Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath Department; Further Thoughts

My co-op as a technical writer in Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath department is coming to a rapid end. I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, and how much I’ve learned in the last 6 months, from writing skills to professional skills and even plumbing installation skills. I’m constantly learning new things, meeting new people, and gaining valuable skills I know I’ll need for my career development.

As my experience comes to an end, many people are asking me what I think of Kohler, my job, and my overall experience here. In short, I’ve been telling them that Kohler is a remarkable company, my job here has had its ups and downs, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

The people I’ve met and worked with here have been nothing but supportive and welcoming. I was nervous going into this job, knowing that I could run into some people who hear “co-op” and automatically place me on the bottom of the totem pole, if even on the totem pole at all.

But I’ve hardly run into this. Every engineer, writer, and manager I’ve met has been truly interested in my time here, what I’m doing, how I’m liking it, and even my future plans. I couldn’t have asked for a better company to work for and better people to work with.

I’ve still got a month and a half to crank out, so it’s not over yet. Needless to say, I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for this cool opportunity.


Sarah Ingold, Intern for BB Marketing Group

This summer I have been given the opportunity to work for BB Marketing Group based out of Libertyville, IL. BB Marketing was started in 2008 and specializes in working with in the technology channel. I was given the chance to work for them last summer and am grateful to have to opportunity to do so again. My aunt who is the president of the company gave me the offer a few years ago and I finally took her up on the offer last summer and was their first intern. It has been quite the learning curve both for me and for them. I work remotely as a consultant, which adds a different view and dynamic than going into an office every day.

I work on a variety of projects with varying levels of creativity. Ranging from research and creating excel spreadsheets to designing layouts in Word. I am becoming well versed in Microsoft Office applications, and learning many things beyond the basics of the programs. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working for BB Marketing and have been learning many valuable things. During this time I have truly learned the importance of time management and communication. It is very interesting and eye opening to only be in contact with ones coworkers through email or phone, but it brings a different perspective on working in the world outside of college. It has greatly helped my confidence in working independently. Working for a family member has also been a wonderful experience, as my supervisor my aunt and I now have gained a wonderful professional relationship outside the familial one we already have. I am excited about what the rest of my time with BB Marketing will bring.


Theresa Tran, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas

Working as an intern in technical communications for KOHLER Kitchen & Bath has been a great learning experience for me even though I have only been here for a little over a month. I have met so many people as well as have been able to help many people. It is very rewarding to know that the work I do has the potential to help a wide range of people near and far.

My first day at Kohler mainly consisted of meeting everyone in the office but I was quickly given a numerous amount of shower door projects that required attention to detail as well as frequent communication with an engineer. At first, this was overwhelming for me but I quickly learned that the engineer I was working with would be an extremely resourceful and patient person to work with. Around the same time, I was also given the opportunity to assemble one of the shower doors that I was writing an installation guide for which gave me insight into how a customer would see the document but also how usable the document was. After putting myself in the shoes of a customer, this was a great way for me to understand how important my role as a technical communicator can be.

There are still so many things for me to learn and I have already had the chance to experience different Kohler products that can play music, be heated, and even adjust according to gender! I would be lying if I said that I did not check to see what kinds of toilets and faucets are in a bathroom whenever I go into one. Kohler has already made a significant impact in my life. My work experiences have already affected the way that I view the world and I am looking forward to what else Kohler has to offer me but also what I have to offer Kohler.


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.


Katherine Baeckeroot, Intern for Quicken Loans

Katherine Baeckeroot at Quicken LoansThis past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to obtain an internship with Quicken Loans. Quicken Loans is a mortgage-lending company that operates out of Michigan, Ohio, and Arizona. For three months I worked alongside Quicken team members in downtown Detroit in what turned out to be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my life. My position title was that of a Technical Writer. I was on a team called Rock Docs, working alongside business analysts and other technical writers within the IT department. My main task as an intern was to create documentation for the systems within IT. This included all functioning parts of a process ranging from change management, risk management practices, to testing and implementation of applications. I mediated the information between the subject matter experts and the business analysts, creating usable documentation as a means of tracking information and for knowledge management purposes. The skills I learned at Michigan Technological University have been solidified by this experience.

Alongside the actual experience in the field, my time at Quicken Loans was incomparable. The company culture is absolutely phenomenal and the values that they hold most important are lifelong skills that are applicable in any situation. In addition to these aspects, I discovered a new-found love for the city of Detroit, as there were numerous opportunities to volunteer in the community in which we worked. My internship with Quicken Loans was one of the best experiences of my life; I grew immensely as a person from this opportunity.


Jane Kirby, Intern for Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath Department

I’ve been a technical communications co-op at Kohler’s Kitchen and Bath department for a little over a month now, and as geeky as it is, I will never look at a bathroom or kitchen the same way again. In addition, I have already gained valuable knowledge about what being a technical communicator is like, and I feel like my professional skills, as well as my communication skills, are developing immensely.

On my second day here, I was tossed right into a real project that put the company’s relationship with one of their biggest distributors on the line. I wasn’t quite ready to get so involved so fast, but I am always down for a good challenge.

I was put in charge of the project, and my supervisor guided me through as I needed, as did my co-workers. I had to ask for help if I needed it though—no one was here to hover and make sure I was doing everything I needed to be doing. Although pretty scary, the benefits of being on my own were huge, looking back on it. It made me feel like a real employee here, and not just the co-op. Being thrown into it right away, I learned the ropes of how things operate here very quickly, and am already deep into several other projects too.

Plus, I get to play around with really cool products like a bath that plays music, toilets that I could never afford, and more! I have also gained home-installation skills, and can proudly say I can now install toilet seats without even thinking. Like I said, I’m definitely geeking out, but I’m really learning a ton here at Kohler, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in the next 6 months.


CPTSC 2012 Conference a big success!

Last year’s Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication Conference was held at Michigan Tech’s campus back in August of 2012. The goal of these conferences is to bring together directors and administrators in the field of Technical Communication from across the United States and abroad. It was an international conference that brought about a lot of questions regarding diversity in interesting and innovative ways. The featured speakers talked about their experiences in the field as well as the issue of diversity in Technical Communication. Their topics of discussion ranged from honoring diversity in the field to usability testing to bringing diverse perspectives to programs. Overall, the conference posed many questions about the future of Technical Communication and the importance of diversity in the classroom. It offered a real-life experience to students who were able to attend and allowed for great networking opportunities for faculty and students alike.