Category: students

Connor Will, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas, Further Thoughts

Will ConnorI was nervous going into Kohler. Carrying a box of doughnuts toward the turnstile gates, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. I had to swipe my badge twice–once at the gate and once inside the building–just to get to my desk. I sat down at my computer with someone who took a pastry and gave me my credentials for the email and various databases that Kohler uses. People stopped by to welcome me and grab doughnuts as I was given a crash-course in the software I’d be using for the rest of my co-op. Soon after, I was taken to each one of my coworkers all of whom greeted me with a handshake and a “Thanks for the doughnut!” Just like that, I was in.

Since then, I’ve gotten the chance to be a part of various teams working to create manuals, guides, and video instructions for products being sold all over the globe. I didn’t realize it right away, but the documents I’ve been working on will go out into the world and real people will follow instructions I had a hand in writing. My co-op’s almost done and I still haven’t gotten over how cool that is. In just four months I feel that I’ve gained more than I could have hoped for, and for that I am grateful to everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I am more than impressed with the wealth of experience and the sense of comradery imparted by my coworkers and mentors; I know I will forever remember my time at Kohler as my first glimpse into the professional world of technical writing. Here in the office, you are not treated as a student, but as a fellow employee. Quality work is expected from you as you are relentlessly pushed toward self-improvement. If there is one thing I will take away from this experience, it’s that perfection is an ongoing process.


RTC Graduate Student Colloquium Series Presents “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis”

RTCColloquiumPosterCorrectedThe Humanities Department’s Rhetoric, Theory and Culture 2015-16 Graduate Student Colloquium Series will be holding an event, “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis” on Friday, October 2, 2015 from 4-6 PM in Walker, Room 120A. Two of our esteemed graduate students, Thomas Adolphs and Heather Deering, will be presenting papers, respectively titled “Solidarity and the Life-World: Facebook and the Image that United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement” and “The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity.” Dr. Karla Kitalong will be offering commentary and moderating discussion. These papers both deal with questions about visual rhetoric and its political implications.

This event will inaugurate a series of colloquia in which graduate students and faculty will have opportunities to share their work in a format modeled on a typical academic conference panel. The goal here is, in part, to create opportunities for graduate students to gain experience presenting their work among peers and colleagues, but it is also hoped that this will be a venue for the sharing of scholarly work and questions across the various disciplines that make up our department. I hope that everyone will be able to attend and contribute to a lively, collegial discussion.

Light snacks and Dionysian refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.

Here are the abstracts for the papers to be presented:

“Solidarity of the Life-World: Facebook and the Image That United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement”

This presentation will focus on the red and pink marriage equality logo, developed by the Human Rights Campaign’s to provide a sense of unity for the LGBTQ movement through digital space. The distribution of the logo began on March 25th, 2013, through the peer-to-peer website, Facebook. The intended symbolism of this event was, as described by the HRC, to display a sense of solidarity among the LGBTQ community and its advocates as the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision on the case United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. The response to this logo, however, could not have been predicted. Facebook saw a 120% increase in the number of profile images changed during only a twenty-four hour period, roughly 2.6 million individuals. Seemingly overnight, the red and pink logo was a cultural phenomenon, with corporate entities as diverse as Kenneth Cole and Bud Light displaying their support for the cause by replicating the logo with their own products. How and why did this viral event happen? What impact has the event had on our cultural cognition of LGBTQ rights after we “unplug” from our digital devices? By investigating the phenomenological theory of the life-world, it is the author’s intention to address such questions.

“The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity”

In the initial stage of his architectural career, Le Corbusier promoted whitewashing as the communicative medium that could restore order and rationalism to the larger society. Through its ability to define the very lines of architecture and to erase impurities associated with expression of ethnicity and class, whitewashing was the means through which Le Corbusier desired to reform the human eye—to condition it to see that which was worthy of its gaze.  This paper explores his work through Foucault’s theories of spatiality and subjectivity to address how whitewash could impact the larger society, leaving behind inscribed lines of class and racial segregation.  Furthermore, through establishing this new way of seeing through the fashioned form of a rational human, Le Corbusier instituted a new subjectivity, a new inhabitant of living spaces. In an environment devoid of sensual identities, this human becomes the product of a systemic machine powered by pervasive binaries.


Sarah Kelly, Tech Today Intern for MTU Marketing and Communication

When I first was hired to work in University Marketing and Communications (UMC), I was nervous and worried. I was hired to edit and publish the University’s Tech Today Newsletter. I didn’t know how to read editing marks, I didn’t understand AP style, and I felt that I was given a huge responsibility. That was two and half years ago. I currently still work in UMC as an editing intern, and I’ve grown since my first day.

UMC has a fantastic environment. Everyone works to maintain and promote Michigan Tech’s image and name. When you pick up a catalog about Summer Youth Programs, someone in UMC was responsible for the colorful images and engaging Michigan Tech-style text. When you click on Michigan Tech News about a professor doing research about wolves or nanoparticles, that news piece was written by either a student or a dedicated news writer. The department works together for a common goal. My favorite part, however, is working in a department full of wonderfully well-versed and sassy communicators. They know how to talk; they know how to create eye-catching designs; and they know how write.

This past semester I feel that I have expanded in my role as an editing intern. I have helped revise the submission process for Tech Today. I’ve had the opportunity to communicate directly with faculty and staff, and I’ve learned how to communicate effectively with them. And I trained a new student editor for the newsletter. After my two and a half years in UMC, I have grown and become a “content expert” on how to use the publishing program as well as the expert on the style guidelines for the newsletter. My time in UMC has culminated in my last year being spent as an intern. I am thankful for the lessons that I have learned this past semester, as well as the changes that I have experienced within myself and the department.


Theresa Tran, Intern for KOHLER Kitchen and Bath Americas; Further Thoughts

“Communication is key.” This is a commonly used quote to represent the importance of communication. Effective communication is important for personal relationships, constructive working environments, problem solving, and conflict resolution. This holds especially true in a professional work environment.

There are so many ways to communicate a message whether it is through written word or through the use of technology and motion picture. Communication can be made through the way that we talk to one another, but even more forcefully, by the way that we portray ourselves. While working at KOHLER, I have learned that expressing confidence in one’s work speaks powerfully towards the knowledge that one is perceived to hold. Having confidence helps persuade others to understand that you are the subject matter professional. Being able to ask the right questions has been a crucial aspect of my journey at KOHLER. It has been an important lesson for me to learn as there are many times that being assertive is important in order to provide the end customer with what they need.

Technical communications has taught me more than what many believe involves only writing technical manuals. I have learned that there are many opportunities presenting themselves for my growth especially in the field of communication. As with many things, I have come to understand that the work that I put in is what I will get out. As long as I make the most out of any experience or opportunity that presents itself to me, that is how much I will receive in return.


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.