At the Summit: Midnight Train [From] Georgia

Danielle Villegas, also known as TechCommGeekMom, is attending the STC Summit for the first time this year, so we’ve asked her to blog about her experiences at the Summit. This is the tenth post of her series.

The last day of the Summit was much more relaxed, but still filled with activity. After two and a half jam-packed days, I decided to take part of my last morning off, which I’m glad I did. I spent the morning catching up with my blogging at the charging station. There were only three of us taking advantage of the free chargers at the time. I enjoyed working and chatting with the other two attendees for about an hour or two.

I decided to squeeze in two last sessions. The first session I attended was the Lightning Talks II, with Rhyne Armstrong, Jamie Gillenwater, David Caruso, Richard Hamilton, Robert Hershenow, Adriane Hunt, Brenda Huettner and Alan Houser. Each speaker had five minutes to give his or her presentation, and the slides would automatically change every fifteen seconds. This meant there was some potential for presentations to be amazingly informative speeches, or total laugh fests. All the presenters were fantastic. Each presented some aspect of tech comm that he or she loved. I was especially honored when I saw at the end of Jamie’s talk, “101 Reasons We Love Tech Comm” which on an informal survey she conducted, the talk ended with a reason I had given her. I had to laugh because  it was a good quote, if I do say so myself, and because I had forgotten that I had written it! Alan Houser’s “ninja talk” involved someone else making the slides that Alan had never seen before the talk. High amounts of improvisation were needed, and Alan was up for the challenge! The author of the PowerPoint presentation had a wicked sense of humor, as the presentation was a humorous reflection of what Alan allegedly planned for his post-presidency of the STC, which included replacing Honey Boo-Boo on cable TV! These light-hearted talks were a perfect session for the last day.

The last session I attended was Char James-Tanny’s “Writing for Everyone.” Char is another person I’ve gotten to know over the last few months through social media, although we first met in person last fall. She is a force to be reckoned with, and her wonderful rainbow hair reflects her colorful personality! The talk centered on the idea of accessibility in technical writing, which I think is an oft-ignored issue. I’ve been taught about accessibility issues, but like most people I often forget to apply it to my work. Oddly enough, everything she taught were simple tweaks to keep in mind, and were things I could relate to. She talked about the visible as well as invisible disabilities that we, as technical communicators, have to think about when writing. It was a great talk and a great way to end all my education sessions!

The 2013 STC Summit ended with the Closing Luncheon, which served up a great meal and great reflections on the Summit from our new STC president, Nicky Bleiel. We got a preview of the 2014 STC Summit in Phoenix, Arizona! It was also a great opportunity to say goodbye to old and new friends and say, “See ya next year!”

Goodbye, Atlanta! Thanks for the ride!

So, after all this, what do I really think of my first STC Summit? Stay tuned as I will be reflecting on whether the Summit met my initial expectations.

Danielle M. Villegas writes the blog She graduated with her MSPTC degree from NJIT in 2012, and is currently a Web publishing consultant for BASF North America and an instructor for World Learning teaching business and technical writing.

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