The New England Chapter of the International Society for Technical Communication begins the new year restructured, re-energized, and reinforced as a valuable resource for technical writers and other technical communicators.
Emily Alfson is the President of STC New England Chapter
New England Chapter President Emily Alfson recently pulled together a committee dedicated to making the regional group even more valuable to technical communicators throughout New England.”There are thousands of technical communicators in New England working for large and small companies,” said Alfson. “In many cases they struggle to learn the latest tools and methodologies, to assess the impact of new technologies, and to connect to veterans who have solved the very problems they face. STC’s New England Chapter can help them to be more productive and happier in their profession.”
To that end, the chapter has a completely new website at http://stcnewengland.org. It provides meeting dates and times, courses, online papers, tutorials, and job listings for working and unemployed technical communicators. Also available is a full professional development calendar of monthly programs. Programs chair Nancy Allison noted, “Not all writers can make it to Burlington (Massachusetts) for meetings, so this year we started making the monthly programs available online as webinars.”
Under Alfson’s guidance, the chapter has brought back the group’s hugely popular annual competitions.
Kurt Kroeber, Competitions Chairman
Competitions Chair Kurt Kroeber said, “The value in the competitions is not in finding out whose work is best; it’s about finding the weaknesses in your own work as identified by experienced evaluators. Many companies find the competitions to be a very cost-effective way to get quality QA for their documentation. It’s fun to be the best and to see the best work.” Kroeber also pointed out that it doesn’t hurt your company’s sales to tell customers about “award-winning” product documentation. Many chapters host competitions in the fall, and the winners from STC chapters around the world face off again in the Society’s international contests the following year.
Rick Lippincott, Interchange Conference Chairman
The New England chapter has also brought back the popular InterChange conference. According to InterChange Conference chair Rick Lippincott, “The annual InterChange conference gives local technical communicators the opportunity to meet and learn from experienced writers who confront all kinds of challenges working for all kinds of businesses. It’s a chance to learn from peers and to gain experience as a speaker.” This year’s conference will be at UMass Lowell over the weekend of March 29-30. The Call for Proposals is now open, with details available on the STC New England Chapter website.
Since the economic downturn beginning in 2008-09, STC’s New England Chapter has continued to build visibility and membership even as job growth has slowed and corporate support for memberships has waned. However 2014 holds promise for one of the oldest most successful chapters of the Society. Its members, whether longstanding or new, are energetic, active, and bring value to the organization as a whole.