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You’ve got what it takes in Tech Comm? Here’s your chance to PROVE IT!

doctormadeofawesomeCome on, admit it–you know you are good.  You know that deep down, you are one of the best in the tech comm business doing what you do.  Perhaps your co-workers and your manager know it, or your clients know it, but does anyone else?

Here’s an opportunity to show the rest of the world–especially your peers in the field–that you have what it takes to be one of the best technical communicators out there.

The STC New York Metro, Philadelphia (my chapter!) and Houston chapters –three outstanding award-winning chapters–have combined forces to bring you one of the best Regional TechComm Competitions available–and you don’t have to be a member of any of these chapters to submit an entry!

Click on this logo for more information!

You have to hurry, though, as all entries should arrive by 3:00 PM ET on October 17, 2013!

Now, you may be asking the following questions…

Why should I enter?

  • Winners receive awards and tangible recognition of achievement from the STC , which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year
  • Receive detailed evaluations from judges in the technical communications field; this objective peer evaluation supports continuous improvement
  • Validate your methods and earn visibility

Who can enter and what can be entered?

Anyone (student or professional) who produces technical communication, training material, or content for the web and other devices can enter. Membership in the STC is not a requirement. You may submit an entry as a team, an individual or on behalf of a colleague.

Enter your best work in the following categories:

  • Instructional Materials
  • Informational Materials
  • Promotional Materials
  • User Support Materials

Entries are subject to the rules that are defined in the STC General Information and Competition Rules.

The STC offers two levels of competition:

  • Local and regional
  • International

Regional competition entries that earn Excellence or Distinguished Technical Communication awards qualify for the STC International Summit Awards competition.

Sounds good! How to I submit my work?
The STC strongly encourages all entrants to submit the online version of their content or send URLs because:

  • Uploading online entries is faster and cheaper for entrants
  • There is less risk of damage to entries if sent online
  • Distribution of entries to Judges can be done quicker and at lower costs

Whenever possible, send the URL or the online version of your content. Instructions will be given on sending entries via GoogleDrive or FTP.

Okay, I want to do this! I’ve got what it takes! I’m ready to submit, and just need more details on the rules, entry fees, and all that’s involved with this competition, because I want to get feedback from top technical communicators from around the country!

Find all the details you need at the STC-NYC Metro Chapter’s Competition website, found at:

This is a great opportunity, so don’t miss it!


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By Paying Employees To Live Near The Office, Imo Cuts Commutes, Ups Happiness

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

There’s that one guy who commuted seven hours a day and claimed to love it. But for most people, the daily commute is something we dread. The average commute time in America is 25 minutes, per the Census Bureau (with great variation by region).

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

This is a great follow-up to my post titled, “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? (Not a tribute to the Clash).” Thanks to @BillCush for posting this on Twitter. I did have a commute just a mile and a half from my house at one point. It was the next best commute I ever had (the best being my current commute, which is working from home). I would have no problem moving to be closer to a company if a) buying and selling a house in this area was easy to do–we know it’s not, and b) if, for my personal circumstances, we could be assured that there was a special needs program or school that would appropriately accommodate my son’s needs. That’s what holds us back now.

But this is what perhaps Marissa Meyer at Yahoo!–and other employers–should consider.  They need to make relocation more practical and accessible, and be in more accessible locations. From where I live–between NYC and Philadelphia, so many people drive more than the average 25 minutes to work. I think 25-30 minutes is reasonable, but others will drive easily two to three times that amount around here. I remember the average commute in Washington, DC could easily be 1-2 hours, and that was considered relatively “normal”. That’s ridiculous, if you really think about it. We live in a time of great technology, and there are social tools we can use. We need to find the right balance between being either very close to work, or allowing for more work-at-home situations.


See on

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Did I just see a big glowing brain on wheels pass by?

When one receives an email that starts out, “Since I’m a momma’s boy and a geek…” you can’t resist reading what the rest of message says when you are a TechCommGeekMom. This is because I hope my own son follows that same description! 🙂

I received an email from Tyler Alterman, who is crowdfunding for a venture that he and some others are trying to come up with for a neat educational business. From the sounds of it, it reminds me a little bit of the Mad Science franchise, but with a twist on cognitive sciences instead of the physical sciences. Tyler summarized it as this:

“I’m currently crowdfunding for a lab-on-wheels and cognitive science education station with a glowing brain on top (“The Think Tank“). It’s a collaboration between artist friends and scientists from my lab to transform an old truck into a literal and metaphorical vehicle for empowering the public with the behavioral and brain sciences.”

ETA: Tyler later forwarded me the following press release, with more details:

What is pink and green on four wheels with a big, glowing brain on top? Granted he can fundraise $10,900 by March 13th, Tyler Alterman’s cognitive science education station will be. Alterman is teaming up with artists and scientists from his lab to build a  lab-on-wheels called “The Think Tank.”

“Most think tanks have Washington, D.C. addresses,” notes Alterman, a researcher at the New School for Social Research. “But The Think Tank, as a literal and metaphorical vehicle, will roam New York streets (for starters) without an address, empowering kids and adults with the behavioral and brain sciences wherever it parks.” To join about 70 others in supporting Alterman’s campaign–launched on Alterman and Darwin’s birthdays–check out his video and crowdfunding page at

The lab-on-wheels will be built out of a renovated box truck by Alterman and a team of artists headed by Christine Alaimo, a neuroscientist with a cupcake business in support of autism research. Alterman plans to bring classrooms and scientists aboard The Think Tank to teach the research process, collect demographically diverse data, and educate citizens with sidewalk talks about how the science of brain and mind can improve lives.

Created as Alterman’s senior thesis project, The Think Tank is a collaboration between the CUNY Macaulay Honors College senior and the New School for Social Research’s distinguished neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Casasanto, who holds a doctorate from MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and contributes to Psychology Today.

After meeting his funding goal of $10,900, Alterman plans to unveil the vehicle at a public benefit, held in the Honors College’s landmark brownstone neighboring Lincoln Center. The benefit will be headlined by the Amygdaloids, a rock band made up entirely of neuroscientists. Named for the part of the brain believed to register fear, the band is fronted by Joseph E. LeDoux, a leading authority in neural science, Director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety and author of such books as The Emotional Brain: the Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life. Other highlights include mini-lectures by noted experts and a screening of shorts from the Imagine Science Film Festival.

I’m thinking of throwing in a little money for this. Since he’s based in NYC, I hope at some point he might be able to travel or expand his business so it can visit my son’s school in Central Jersey! 🙂 It just sounds like a neat business venture, and anything that’s educational on wheels has to be cool, especially one with a big brain on wheels.  You can view the video above for more info, and then as soon as you are convinced, like me, to throw a few dollars his way, go to:

At this writing, it looks like Tyler and his staff are about a little more than a third of the way to their goal of almost $11K by March 13th. He’s not asking even for big donations–any donation will be helpful! I imagine that just the big brain for on top of the truck would cost about half of that money, if not more, so I think his crowdfunding goal is not asking for much, if we can all chip in a little bit.

I like this concept not only because Tyler suckered me in with “I’m a momma’s boy and a geek,” (that’s like Jerry Maguire‘s “You had me at hello”), and I can see an educational benefit to school kids, but I can see how it might also help us professionals, especially technical communicators. Think about it for a moment. Cognitive science, as Tyler points out in his video, is about why we do what we do, and what elicits reactions or responses. How important is that to technical communication? Very important! So having a team of experts out there who can start helping others understand the power of cognitive science would be great. I’m all about STEM causes, and this sounds like a great one! You could also say that as an advocate of mobile learning, this is a different twist on that concept!

So, what are you waiting for? Throw a couple of dollars to the Think Tank cause. Hopefully, it will help!