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Why enter the competition?

Emily Serna
Participating in the STC Summit Awards has been a great experience this past year, (2011-2012). As the only communications specialist at my job, I team with subject matter experts and designers but typically am the only writer or editor on my projects. While my goal is to transform a complex and intimidating subject into something both inviting and actionable, it can be hard to know if I've hit the mark. Entering the STC Regional Technical Communications Competition provided a valuable and unique opportunity for detailed and constructive feedback from respected technical communication peers. Winning at the regional and international levels shined a spotlight on technical communications at my job and served as an independent and respected source of verification that solid writing and design is a specialty area essential to a successful project.

Emily Serna, Best of Show in STC International Summit Awards and Regional TechComm Competition (NY and PMC), 2012-2013, Instructional Materials
PriceWaterhouse, STC New York Metro
                            
Ellen O'Brien
I’ve entered the competition a few times going back to 2006 and have won a couple of Merit awards and one Distinguished that went on to the international competition (Award of Merit there). Each time, the award was well publicized within my organization via newsletter, email, etc. Years ago, BMC kept a hall of Tech Comm awards in its Houston office, so it was very visible. But they down-sized the office several times and most all of us work from home now.
Anyway, I guess I’d say this: Even more so than being recognized by my peers and management, winning an STC Award of Merit gave me a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. As technical communicators, we seldom get a byline or even know for sure whether people read our work. But receiving the award confirmed that my work met some pretty high standards of usability and design. And the judges’ feedback, both positive and negative, helped me tremendously with future projects.

Ellen O'Brien, winner of multiple STC International and Local Awards
BMC, STC Philadelphia Metro

Over a long career (36 years), I have had the honor of participating in STC competitions in numerous ways. At the 31st ITCC in Seattle, an article titled “Some Psychological Effects of Syntax,” derived from my dissertation, received the “Award of Distinguished Merit.” A few years later, I was asked to be a judge for the Boston Chapter STC Competition, and the year after that, I was appointed to be one of the ITCC judges. In the mid-1990s, I was became Executive Editor of the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (JTWC), as well as the Editor of the Bayood Technical Communication Series. As a result, my participation in publishing evolved from producing my own work to mentoring the work of others. In that capacity, I was especially proud that JTWC received several awards, both for individual authors, and for the journal itself in the Metro Philadelphia STC Competition. Competitions at all levels of the STC are an opportunity for scholars and practitioners to share their work with wide audiences, and if as fortunate as I have been, to be recognized for their efforts. It is a most valuable part of our profession.

Charles H. Sides, Ph.D., Executive Editor
 JTWC, Editor, Baywood Technical Communication Series
STC Philadelphia Metro

Harold Fernandes
If you run with Olympic champions, your timing improves automatically. Entering the STC competition is a massive learning exercise and will take your writing skills up several notches. I’m still reaping the benefits of having entered the STC competition. I’ve gained tremendously from the feedback I received both the regional level as well as the International Summit awards level. The level of detailed feedback I received, helped me to make several improvements to the guide I submitted. I’d strongly recommend entering the STC competition as an opportunity for learning and professional advancement.


Harold Fernandes, STC International Merit Award 2012, User Support Materials
Avaya, STC New York Metro

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