Introducing the 2017 Ken Rainey Award Winner

Ken Rainey Award


The Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research was established by STC in 2006 to celebrate and honor Professor Ken Rainey’s passion for research that results in improvements to technical communication, especially to practice. The goal of the award is to encourage quality and excellence in technical communication research by honoring those whose research studies have made an outstanding contribution to the field. The committee for this year’s award is Ann Blakeslee, PhD; Charles Kostelnick, PhD; Michael Albers, PhD; and Hope J. Lafferty, AM, ELS.

This year’s winner is Tharon W. Howard. The citation reads: For focused and significant contributions in the area of industry research related to usability and user experience; a superior record of carrying out high-impact research in industry and workplace contexts; a well-deserved reputation in the field; and for mentoring and preparing generations of students for the workplace.

Congratulations to Tharon for this well-deserved honor.

Meet the Technical Communication Cover Competition Winner: Aram Johnson-Wilson

The illustration on the cover of the February 2017 issue of Technical Communication is the creation of Aram Johnson-Wilson, a student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia who is studying Interactive Design.


As Aram explains,

 I have always been passionate about graphic design and have been making projects both in and out of class. After the journal cover competition was presented to me by my Applied Graphics teacher, I decided that I wanted to submit a design that related to minimalist writing. Technical communication largely deals with computers so I decided that I wanted a minimal computer to go on the cover. The design, inspired by the minimal computer and desk designs that I searched for online, also includes common other items that one would expect to find on a personal desk. With the addition of these objects, I hoped that the cover would feel more friendly and inviting.

While putting the project together in Adobe Illustrator, the first issue that arose was adding depth to the computer and desk. Unlike the other objects in the project, the computer and desk didn’t look great being completely flat. I decided that there would need to be a few light shadows in order to separate the different segments of the desk and to separate the computer’s stand from the bottom bezel around the display. Besides struggling to decide on what exactly the lamp should look like, I thought the rest of the project went smoothly. After reviewing my work, I believed that it captured what I wanted it to. Much can be learned about technical communication by simply accessing your home computer and searching online. I wanted to capture this idea in the journal cover.

Aram hopes to complement his academic training with a job or internship in technical communication prior to graduating in 2019. He is available at

Call for Judges for 2017 International Summit Awards Competition

In between holiday preparations, our competition teams are hard at work preparing for the annual International Summit Awards Competition (ISA).

Each year, we select a group of experienced technical communicators to help us evaluate and judge the competition entries. These elite teams carefully review each entry and judge how closely it meets the ideal for its category.

The bulk of the work will happen in February and March. We notify the entrants at the end of March, and the winners are included in the Honors Brochure.

To be considered, fill out the Google form: by 15 January 2017.

If you are selected, the ISA team will send you instructions, schedules, and of course the entries you will judge.

Sigma Tau Chi and Alpha Sigma Honor Societies

The student honorary societies Sigma Tau Chi (STX) and Alpha Sigma (AS) recognize student members of the Society who have distinguished themselves as students and have demonstrated promise of future contributions to the Society and the profession.

Membership in STX is an honor given to students enrolled in a program in technical communication, who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above, are exemplary in participation in STC, and demonstrate a potential for significant contribution to the profession.

Membership in AS is an honor given to students enrolled in a program in technical communication who have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above, demonstrate active participation in STC, and have the potential to contribute to the profession.

Please refer to the STX/AS Honor Societies  page on the STC website for the application and complete guidelines. Applications are due November 30, 2016. Email the application to Dr. Russel Hirst, STX/AS committee chair at

Deadline for STC Local Competitions Extended to 31 October

There’s still time to get your entry in for the STC local competitions!

When you enter, you get the following benefits:

  • Gain valuable feedback on your work from objective peers.
  • Validate your innovative ideas.
  • Learn new techniques and best practices.
  • Get advice from your peers.

If you win:

  • It looks good on your résumé.
  • You can use if as a marketing tool.
  • Award-winning entries make a great addition to your portfolio.

Enter by 31 October 2016 to the competition nearest you: