Recently, a request came from Senior Professor Sandi Harner of Cedarville University to Rockwell Automation and Parker Hannifin. Sandi directs the Professional Writing and Information Design Program and said, “Each year, we take several of our students (usually about 15 students plus 2 professors) on a spring trip to visit a couple of companies where we can meet with their technical writing staff and talk to them about their careers.”
The Cedarville students/faculty first visited Parker Hannifin on April 8th and met with Senior NEO STC Members Janean Voss and Lisa Mileusnich. We gave them an overview of Parker and the products we make, explained some of our daily project tasks, reviewed tools that technical communicators use, and took the group on a brief building tour. It was wonderful to meet the students – their curriculum is preparing them to be the writers of the future!
Cedarville alumna and Senior NEO STC Member Carrie Cianciola took the lead and organized the Rockwell Automation portion of the visit. A group presentation was arranged for that afternoon and each presenter was a member of our local NEO STC chapter. The presentation included information about technical writing jobs at Rockwell and much, much more.
Information Development Manager David Frey kicked off the meeting by introducing students to the products Rockwell Automation makes. A “How It Is Made” video from the Mars factory opened up the session showing students how Rockwell Products are used on the manufacturing lines to make Snickers candy bars. The students were delighted to receive the sweet treat after the video!
Carrie talked about how we create and publish documents, then Kelly Graham gave an editing lesson. Robin Boldt instructed the audience about information architecture and user research, while Bob Young spoke about the tools we use at Rockwell, as well as giving the students an in-depth introduction to the features and benefits of STC membership. Lynn Nickels talked about Marketing Communication roles. Finally, Dave wrapped up the presentation with tips about how to get a job in the field of writing and informed students about what hiring managers are looking for.
Giving back as professionals is vital to passing the torch—or in this case, the proverbial “pen,” to encourage young people to go into writing fields. If you have a story about academic outreach you would like to share, please contact the newsletter committee. We would love to hear about it!
By Lynn Nickels