Technical Communication Club Jams Out

SOCORRO, N.M. July 3, 2013 – Three technical communication students participated in a Presentation Jam, organized by the statewide Society of Technical Communication chapter June 8 in Albuquerque. Elizabeth Barteau, Keegan Livoti, and Griffin Swartzell are members of the Trinitite Club, which is the New Mexico Tech campus chapter of the Society. In Albuquerque, they talked about various issues and gave presentations on wikis and LaTeX.

The Presentation Jam is an informal event open to STC members. Each participant gives a 20-minute on a topic of his or her choosing.

STC-Summit-Griffin 2013

Griffin Swartzell poses with an illuminated logo of the Society of Technical Communication Summit in Atlanta earlier this year. 



Elizabeth Barteau, president of the STC Trinitite Chapter, at the annual conference in Atlanta.



Keegan Livoti, vice president of the STC Trinitite Club, at the conference in Atlanta.

Courtesy Photos

“The idea is to do something fun that’s not high-pressure that involves professional development,” Barteau said.

Barteau talked about setting up wikis – websites that allow easy user editing – and gave an overview of their defining features.

Livoti gave a presentation on LaTex, which is a mark-up language primarily for typesetting technical and scientific documents.

“LaTeX's most recognizable benefit is its ability to produce beautiful math typesetting,” Livoti said. “But my favorite aspect of LaTeX is that formatting and content are separated, so that you can focus entirely on content if you wish and never have to worry about formatting going wrong somewhere.”

Swartzell’s talk focused on how to present “lightning talks,” which are fast-paced improvised presentations.

In addition to the three Techies who presented, former Tech student Roger Renteria – the current president of the statewide Kachina chapter of the STC – also gave a presentation.

The Society of Technical Communication is an organization dedicated to improving students’ skills in communication. Technical communication most generally refers to conveying complex ideas to a broad audience and to using technical forms of communication like websites and software tools to help deliver a message. The campus chapter, STC Trinitite, provides non-majors with resources on how to effectively communicate by pooling knowledge of all students, and by hosting workshops on writing, editing, and other technical skills. Barteau, the current chapter president, describes the Trinitite Club as a group whose primary interest is education. She said the club helps fund student travel to conferences, which helps them make the transition from an academic setting to their careers.

The Trinitite Club has been fairly active over the past year, attending two academic conferences and hosting club events and fundraisers on campus. Three students attended the Conference of College Composition and Communication (http://www.ncte.org/cccc). Livoti, Barteau and Abigail Smoake presented posters.

The chapter was also able to fully fund three club members to attend the national STC Summit, giving the students the chance to network with and learn from professional communicators in various fields.

“It’s incredibly eye-opening to see what people in industry are talking about,” Barteau said. “What are the hot topics of the year?  It gives you a clear picture of knowledge gaps from class work and gives you heads-up so you can close those gaps before you put yourself on the job market.”

The Trinitite Club has a strong presence with the technical communication majors at Tech, but they are trying to expand their horizons and offer events that would benefit other majors. Barteau said the club is planning to increase campus presence by hosting open workshops, starting with a LaTeX workshop during the fall 2013 semester.

The club also plans on holding fundraisers, running social events such as Locavore Lunch, and networking with other clubs. Barteau said she hopes to organize a Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser during the first week of classes in the fall, and is considering selling raffle tickets as well.

Barteau said she hopes public events will attract more Techies to the club’s professional and academic activities.

“I’d like to ramp up our fun events and have more events that aren’t fundraising,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll generate more interest and have more successful events. We’ve been isolated as a club and I want to present the image that we’re willing to work with other majors and other clubs. We’re always working with scientists and engineers.”

This summer the club officers are planning other events for the upcoming fall and are willing to take feedback and suggestions or coordinate events with other clubs through the official club email at stc@nmt.edu.

– NMT – 

By David Wood/New Mexico Tech