March 2012

17 03 2012

Inside this issue:


From the Editor’s Desk

17 03 2012
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Chapter STC!

Welcome to another exciting issue  of Memo to Members.

What an exciting issue we have in store for you. First and foremost is an open letter from Mentoring Program Co-Chair Dan Voss regarding our “Over the Top” campaign for the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship. It is a lengthy post, but definitely worth the read. As a former recipient of the scholarship, I can tell you that the extra money made a difference that summer; I traveled to from Orlando to Boulder, CO for an internship.

This month’s meeting, on Tuesday March 20, revolves around career development and is sponsored by SkyBridge Resources:

We hope to see you there!

Are you on Facebook? “Like” the Orlando Chapter STC at: Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @STCOrlando on Twitter

Do YOU have an article you’d like to submit for Memo to Members? Don’t be shy… email me at You will get an Active Member point for your submission

Alex Garcia
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC Memo to Members

President’s Corner

17 03 2012

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

This month I have some exciting news to share with you.

As you may remember, 2011 saw us moving forward in several directions to bring better services and value to our Orlando Chapter members. In September the SpaceTech Chapter (Brevard County) officially merged with Orlando Chapter to form a larger, more comprehensive entity to serve the Central Florida area. As part of that merger, we pledged to hold events in Brevard County and are in the process of planning one of those events for the spring. I hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend. Details will be forthcoming.

For a variety of reasons—some aspirational and some involving tax requirements—your Administrative Council voted this month to rebrand the Orlando Chapter with a new name to reflect our new geographic and interest area. This week the STC Board of Directors approved our name change, so we will henceforth be the Orlando Central Florida Chapter.

This change is more than a name change, although obviously it is that, too. It seeks to encompass with the title our enduring ties to all of Central Florida, and most particularly our very special ties to the University of Central Florida. It cannot have escaped your notice that when you attend our meetings you see a substantial contingent of UCF students who participate in chapter activities, both as attendees at our meetings and—even more impressive—as volunteers in support of the chapter. These dedicated students are the future of our profession and our Society, and they are to be commended for their interest and enthusiasm as they work toward their entry into the world of professional technical communication. We have traditionally enjoyed a very strong student presence within our chapter, with student membership representing between 20% and 30% of total chapter membership, and we anticipate even more robust ties moving forward.

Additionally, the Orlando Chapter—now the Orlando Central Florida Chapter—was nurtured in its early days by UCF academics (Gloria Jaffe, Dan Jones, and others), and from the very beginning our chapter has had the closest ties to the technical communication program at UCF. I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that although we could have had a chapter that functions separately from the university and its students and professors, it would not have been the innovative chapter it was and continues to be.

The last exciting news for now comes to you courtesy of your many colleagues and friends who have contributed to the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Fund over the years. As you may remember, a few years ago we placed the fund with the UCF Foundation for safekeeping, with the understanding that over a five-year period we’d be adding to it until the fund reached the self-sustaining endowment level of $25,000. Well, we’re almost there, and we’re a year ahead of schedule. If we go Over the Top before the end of June, we’ll be funded a full year before we anticipated, and the fund will be able to grant scholarships to deserving UCF technical communication students and honor Melissa’s memory indefinitely into the future.

If you have ever contributed to Rising Stars (our annual fundraising campaign) or directly to the Pellegrin Scholarship Fund, you have been part of the support for this worthy cause. Now you have the opportunity to push the endowment fund Over the Top. We are very, very close to full endowment and hope to announce the completion of our endowment at our April 17 chapter meeting. We have just one more month to make it happen. Please plan to be a part of the excitement with your endowment-supporting donation. Contact Erika Higgins to make your donation or to get more information ( Both the Orlando Central Florida Chapter and the UCF Foundation can accept tax-deductible donations.

Back in the realm of chapter business, please try to attend the April 17 meeting for yet another reason: We are holding chapter elections that evening. Look in your mailbox and on the chapter Web site ( after March 15 to see the election slate.

And not to get too far ahead of myself, don’t forget the March chapter meeting, March 20, 2012, at the Winter Park Civic Center. You won’t want to miss this timely panel discussion from employment professionals concerning the state of technical communication employment in our area and elsewhere. They will be telling us about where the jobs are and how to get them and how to break into the business when you’re a newcomer. They will also be answering your employment-related questions. Don’t miss it!

As always, please let me know if you have ideas, concerns, or questions about the Orlando Central Florida Chapter. I’m always interested in hearing from you, whether you’re a member, non-member, previous member, or anyone else:


Let’s Keep that Green Candle Burning …The Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Fund “Over the Top” Drive is on!

17 03 2012

Dan Voss

An Open Letter from Dan Voss

Orlando Central Florida Chapter Colleagues:

This is a personal appeal to each of you, asking you to consider supporting a special fund drive this month which has as its goal bringing the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund to maturity.  We are within striking distance (counting pledges, within about $1,500) of the $25,000 minimum for a self-sustaining endowment that will honor Melissa’s memory in perpetuity.

And we just this week received terrific news: a generous benefactor who prefers to remain anonymous has pledged up to $500 in matching funds for all scholarship fund donations we receive in March and April.

If we can reach or get close to the goal by April 16, we could be in a position to give Melissa’s parents, Fred and Marge Flesche, and her brother, Mark, the opportunity to make the contribution that takes the Fund “over the top” at the April 17 chapter meeting where the scholarships and high school writing competition awards are presented.

LET’S KEEP THE FLAME BURNING! When the green candle memorializing Melissa Pellegrin’s memory is lighted on April 17, we hope to be celebrating early passing of the UCF Foundation threshold that endows the Scholarship Fund honoring her memory in perpetuity.

If we reach the goal by June 30, the Fund will start generating “spendables” in June 2013 to fund future scholarships each year from that time forward.  We have another year until the deadline for reaching $25,000, but there are two significant benefits of reaching it sooner: (1) we’ll receive revenue from spendables to fund scholarships a year sooner, and (2) the Fund will begin earning interest as part of the overall UCF Foundation endowment, a small pond in an ocean of hundreds of millions of dollars, but with a rising water level nonetheless.

We are also sending a letter of appeal to all former scholarship recipients with the hope they will be moved to make a contribution … large, small … whatever is within their wherewithal.

And, of course, we are making this appeal to you as well.  If you are moved to respond, please print out the simple donation form below (following the testimonials from former scholarship recipients) and mail it along with a check or a charge card authorization to our chapter treasurer as indicated on the form. Or, if you prefer, you can make a cash contribution at the next chapter meeting.  All contributions are tax deductible.

If the company you work for has a matching program for gifts to an accredited university, contact me ( and I’ll put you in touch with the coordinator of the scholarship fund over at the UCF Foundation where a direct tax-deductible gift and your company’s match earmarked for the Pellegrin Fund will get us closer to our goal.

Consider, also, that as a 503(c)(3) non-profit organization, under new Heart of Florida United Way guidelines, the STC-Orlando chapter probably qualifies to be the recipient of part or all of your United Way contribution if you are currently supporting such a campaign at work.  I know we had that option with the Lockheed Martin and UCF United Way campaigns this year.  The tax-deductible United Way contributions are sent to the STC chapter, earmarked for the scholarship fund, either in a lump sum or via weekly payroll deductions—whatever option you select in the United Way drive. One chapter member made a generous such contribution via United Way last fall, and with each paycheck, the scholarship fund takes another step toward maturation.

Obviously, United Way supports hundreds of worthy causes.  While we certainly won’t turn away any United Way contributions in future years, all of your contributions—whether via United Way, gifts to the UCF Foundation with company matching funds, or direct personal contributions—are part of what is basically a one-time appeal to ensure the fund is self-sustaining before the deadline.

And please remember, if you are in a position to donate now, as a minimum your contribution will be 100% matched by our anonymous benefactor, who wants to give Melissa’s parents the opportunity to put the Fund over the top on April 17.  And if your company matches gifts to educational institutions at 100%, then your contribution will not only be doubled, but tripled.  Even if the company match is 25% or 50%, that still more than doubles the impact of your donation.

NOW IS THE TIME! If you would like to help the Scholarship Fund honoring Melissa Pellegrin’s memory reach self-sustaining status and if you are in a position to contribute, please do so now … an anonymous benefactor will match your contribution 100%!

Let me explain the green candle.  Light green was Melissa’s favorite color, as we learned when, as an honor student in UCF’s technical communication program, tassel-turning graduate, and new STC-Orlando chapter member, she joined the Education Committee, of which I was then the chair.  The color suited her perfectly: quiet, elegant, classy.

Tragically, Melissa’s life candle went out in 1994, when she was just a few short years into a promising career in technical communication and in an altar-bound personal relationship as well.  Those of us who knew Melissa feel the sadness every year when we honor her memory at the annual awards banquet in April.  But over the years, as the Fund continues to grow, the ceremony has become a quiet celebration of her life as well as a poignant memory.

Many scholarship recipients have spoken eloquently of how much the Pellegrin scholarship has meant in their careers, in their lives.  A record of their testimonials follows this article, after the account of the scholarship’s dedication ceremony.

You could have heard a pin drop 2 years ago at the awards ceremony when then-chapter-president Kelli Pharo spoke at length of how the Pellegrin scholarship had not only helped her complete her degree and enter our profession, but also introduced her to her “STC family,” which, in turn, led to a series of events culminating in wonderful things in her family life.  “It changed my life,” she concluded. None of us had ever heard that complete story.

My eyes were moist.  Everybody’s were.

Dr. Dan Jones at UCF, who had Melissa as a student in a number of classes, recalls her first meeting with the Education Committee.  Melissa had raised a question and dutifully addressed it to “Dr. Jones.”  Dan smiled and said, “School’s out, Melissa.  You can call me ‘Dan’ now.”  Melissa blushed slightly and murmured, “Thank you, Dr. Jones, I will.”  That was Melissa.  And, in a very real sense, that still is Melissa as the scholarship fund bearing her name nears maturity.

In a riveting address before the1997 Florida Trends conference when the memorial fund was established, Melissa’s dad held us spell-bound.  Rather than paraphrase him, allow me to take you there in via this link to the front page story, “Looking Back, Looking Forward,” on page 1 of Vol. 2, No. 2 (October/November 1997) of the chapter newsletter, which was then called Trends, like the conference:

Returning to the candle, I’m not sure when this started—it was 10 years ago, at least—when we began a tradition of having Melissa’s brother, Mark, light a memorial green candle in front of a framed photograph of Melissa after the scholarships were presented.  I remember a time when a pesky draft kept extinguishing the match before Mark could bring it in contact with the candle wick long enough for the wick to ignite.  The match went out four times before a befuddled but persistent Mark finally got the candle to light, its warm glow illuminating Melissa’s smiling face in the photo.

“No question, that was Melissa,” Mark allowed with a loving smile.

I couldn’t disagree.

I suspect it may be rather breezy again in the Winter Park Civic Center April 17.  But this time, with your help, not only is the green candle going to light—it is going to burn forever.

The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship


Sharon Wissert, Undergraduate
Ann Vogt, Undergraduate
Michele Damron, Graduate student
Melanie Woods, Graduate student

Kelli Cooper, Undergraduate
Anna Gaal, Graduate student

Mireille Shebbein, Undergraduate
Rudy McDaniel, Graduate student

Christine Payne, Undergraduate
Jason Nichols, Graduate student

Ana Marichal, Undergraduate

Bonnie Spivey, Undergraduate
Cynthia Hauptner, Graduate student
Robert Stultz, Graduate student

Melanie Trickey, Undergraduate

Peggy Bivins, Undergraduate
Alex Garcia, Undergraduate
Carrie Avery, Graduate student

Rachel Eichen, Undergraduate
Jen Juneau, Undergraduate
Heather Stearns, Graduate student

Daniel Beck, Undergraduate
Ashley Carney, Undergraduate

Kaitlin Martinez, Undergraduate
Tiana Sliger, Undergraduate

Kelley MacEwen, Undergraduate
Joshua Yehl , Undergraduate

Michael Wilson, Undergraduate



Sarah Baca, Undergraduate

Patricia Cruz, Undergraduate

Pellegrin scholarships are prestigious scholarships sponsored by the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Orlando Central Florida Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). These scholarships are much valued by the recipients, by the University of Central Florida’s technical writing faculty, and by members of Orlando Central Florida Chapter of STC. Students who receive this scholarship are particularly outstanding, outstanding not only for their academic work but also for their many other contributions and activities.

The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund was founded in 1997 by the Orlando chapter of the STC to honor and preserve the memory and generous spirit of a valued friend and professional colleague, Melissa Pellegrin. She was a 1994 graduate of the University of Central Florida and a member of the STC’s Orlando chapter. Melissa was an exceptional student who earned an Orlando chapter undergraduate scholarship. After graduation, she served on the Orlando chapter’s Education Committee.

Melissa’s commitment to excellence was evident in the quality of her academic and professional work. She shared her enthusiasm in many ways, including professional presentations at STC conferences and meetings. She was employed as a technical communicator with The Resource Center, Inc., in Tampa, until her untimely death in April 1997.

To compete for these scholarships, students must complete an application, submit transcripts, and compose a letter discussing why they chose this discipline, what they consider the profession to be, and why they want to become a technical communicator. They may also discuss their need for financial aid if applicable, as well as any other factors they believe should be considered relative to their candidacy for the scholarship.

A majority of the non-student members of the Orlando Central Florida STC Education Committee determines who the recipients of these scholarships will be. Recipients are presented with certificates and checks from the scholarship fund, and their names are added to a permanent plaque displayed at UCF.

For more information, visit:

To the educators, Orlando STC members, and scholarship nominees of the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Program:

As the parents of Melissa Pellegrin, the mention of STC Programs, the University of Central Florida, and the scholarship program renews emotions with many faces.

For the parents of a child attending college, especially as highly accredited as the University of Central Florida, they are also attending college as viewed through the eyes of the child. They experience the ups and downs, the successes and disappointments.

All emotions experienced during the four years of classes, schedules, and relocations during semester breaks, are replaced in their entirety on graduation day. The pride of parents who have followed their child through the formal education years is unsurpassed by the moment the diploma is received.

When Melissa graduated, her college connections and friendships converted from student to colleague. Her desire to give back to an institution that gave her so much was deep-seated in her thoughts and actions. Melissa highly respected Dr. Dan Jones as a professional and they had a relationship that survived time and Melissa’s untimely death.

The loss of a child is a devastating experience for a parent. It is one that we sincerely hope that no one of you experiences on the road of life that lies ahead. This, too, is one of the faces of emotions that surface in and out of our lives as we also travel the road of life.

With all of these facts behind us, today’s awarding of the scholarships in Melissa’s honor helps to fill a void that developed due to her untimely departure. We are just as proud of all the recipients of the scholarships as we are of the level of the program that honors our daughter’s name and keeps her memory vivid.

Fred and Marge Flesche
(Melissa Pellegrin’s parents)

Comments from Recipients
Of a Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship

“I was truly honored to be one of the earliest Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship recipients and to be included in a long line of outstanding technical communicators by the Society of Technical Communication. It was awarded at a point that validated my career choice as a technical writer.”

“Currently, my certificate hangs on my office wall adjacent to my UCF diploma in recognition of my accomplishments.”

Sharon K. Wissert
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“At the time I received the Pellegrin Scholarship, I was in much need of the scholarship money. I was a single mom who quit her job to finish college full time. Not only did the scholarship help with my living expenses, but the honor of being a Pellegrin Scholarship recipient assisted me in establishing great professional relationships that enabled me to further my career.”

Ann K. Vogt
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship was both an encouragement and an honor. The fact that I was chosen to receive a scholarship bearing Melissa’s name meant a lot to me because I knew from others that she was a diligent, professional, caring person. Being recognized and honored in a tangible way for my hard work as a student encouraged me to continue with the technical writing program at UCF.”

“My current professional role is that of a part-time freelancer—most recently testing K-6 mathematics software. My professional role is part-time now so that I may devote as much time as possible to my new full-time, personal role of ‘Mommy’ to my 16-month-old son.”

Michele Damron
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“I was truly honored to be among the first recipients of the Melissa Pelligrin scholarship. Receiving the award seemed validating, as I worked hard for my master’s in technical writing during a difficult personal period. The recognition, and yes, the money, came at a much-needed time. Also, I was acquainted with Melissa and knew what an exemplary student, and later, professional, she was. To receive an award in her name was really meaningful.”

“Even back then, I suspected I would use my master’s in a ‘non-traditional’ setting and indeed have spent the last six years doing administrative work at UCF. For several years when I taught writing courses and directed an advising office, I enjoyed introducing many students to technical writing. In my current position, I spend most of my time writing, primarily policies and procedures. My colleagues have come to appreciate the skill set a technical writer can bring to administration, and I’ve been able to connect them with technical writing students to work on various campus projects. Currently, I’m at work on a doctorate in Higher Education Administration, where I spend lots of time … writing.”

Melanie Woods
Assistant to the Vice Provost, Regional Campuses
University of Central Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 1997

“The Pellegrin scholarship meant a lot to me. It was not only helpful towards funding my education, for which I am extremely grateful, it was also meaningful to me because it came from STC. I have always valued my membership and participation in STC, and to be recognized by such a group was both flattering and encouraging. I will never forget the charity and recognition bestowed upon me by the Pellegrin family and the members of the STC Orlando chapter.”

“Currently, I work in Maitland as a Technical Editor II with PBS&J, an engineering and planning firm, in its aviation division. My husband and I plan to adopt a baby from Russia this summer, at which time my company has agreed to let me work part-time from home. As a side note—I really miss school, and would LOVE to go back some day.”

Kelli (Cooper) Pharo
Technical Editor II
Pellegrin Scholarship 1998

“For me, winning the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship was a validation that I had chosen the right path. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in creative writing and having spent a lifetime telling myself I was not technical in the least, I was more than a little apprehensive about pursuing a graduate degree in technical writing. During my first year in the program, though, I found myself thoroughly interested in the subject matter and was excelling in my courses; my confidence in my ability to become an effective technical communicator grew, and receiving the award was a much-needed confirmation that others had that same confidence in me. The knowledge and support I received at UCF, the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship -— all of it helped turn me into the person who now, 6 years later, is excelling at a position in FedEx’s information technology division. In my job there are not a lot of people with non-computer science degrees, and I’m very appreciative of all that it took to build my confidence to the point that I feel I am on par with the techies :)”

Anna Gaal
Senior Business Application Analyst
FedEx Corporate Services
Pellegrin Scholarship 1998

“… being presented with such an award that holds so much esteem was one of my most distinguished academic accomplishments. As I move forward in my career, I can always present the fact that I was the recipient of a well-respected academic accolade that venerates and congratulates students with talent, focus, and a commitment to their craft. I am privileged to have been one of these fine recipients and hope that in the years to come, future students with that marked distinction of brilliant talent, intrepid focus, and relentless commitment to the art of writing will always be acknowledged through the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship Fund.”

Mireille Shebbein
Technical Writer
The Hartford Group Benefits
Pellegrin Scholarship 2000

“I was honored to receive the Melissa Pellegrin graduate scholarship in 2000. This scholarship helped me through a particularly rough time as I was at the time working two part-time jobs and finishing two degrees from UCF. The funds provided by the Pellegrin scholarship allowed me to purchase books and supplies necessary for my classes, and allowed me to take some time away from work to complete my thesis. I am very grateful to Melissa’s parents for their generosity, to the STC Education Committee for selecting me from among many deserving students, and to UCF’s Technical Writing faculty for nominating me for this award.”

Rudy McDaniel
Computer Specialist, UCF, and T7T Doctoral Student
Pellegrin Scholarship 2000

“Throughout high school, and even the first two years of college, I often struggled with my courses and certainly did not receive any awards or scholarships. However, the semester I began my technical writing courses at the University of Central Florida, I felt a new willingness and excitement to learn and develop my writing and communication skills. This newly found interest in my coursework was also reflected in my grades, helping me to realize that this field might one day become a career where I could be successful and enjoy my tasks.”

“Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship at that point in my life was perfect because it motivated me to grow and develop my skills in the professional world, despite the obstacles. It was also wonderful to share the news with my parents and friends who saw me struggle with paying for school and the frustration with earlier classes. Knowing that I was selected by a panel of professionals provided me with confidence and pride in my work as well as anticipation for what the future may hold.”

“This is a very prestigious award at UCF. I am honored to be a recipient of this award and hope that it continues to inspire students to see what the technical communication field has to offer.”

Christina Payne
Technical Writer
(Marketing writing for information technology (IT) products)
Lockheed Martin
Enterprise Information Systems
Orlando, Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 2001

“After a last-minute change of heart, I veered away from … English Literature and instead enrolled in the technical writing graduate program at UCF. I had no tech writing experience, and I had only ever used a computer to write my English essays. So from the start, I always felt that I had to work really hard just to try to ‘catch up’ to the other students and keep pace. Two students who especially influenced me while I was in the program were Anna Gaal and Rudy McDaniel, both of whom are Pellegrin scholarship winners. They set a very high standard for their fellow students, and I learned a lot from just being around them and seeing the work they produced. When I found out that I had been awarded the Melissa Pellegin scholarship, I was at first humbled to be included such company. But at the same time, that was the moment when I first looked back and realized how far I’d come. And that was the moment when I first began to really think of myself as a technical writer. So the scholarship has helped me immensely—it signaled to me that I was on the right track and gave me the confidence I needed to keep working and learning.”

Jason Nichols
Technical Writer
Pellegrin Scholarship 2001

“While the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship helped me pay for summer tuition, the true value in receiving this award runs much deeper -— it is representative of quality and excellence in technical writing, and I am honored to have received it. As many UCF students know, Melissa embodied every positive characteristic a technical writer could aspire to have. In her honor, I will strive to carry on this legacy of excellence.”

Bonnie Spivey
Editor/Technical Writer
Walt Disney World
Information Technology – IT Documentation Team
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“When I received the Melissa Pellegrin scholarship I found it motivating to be recognized within my field. This award symbolizes excellence in technical communication, and it offers assurance to prospective employers that I am capable of high-quality work. But this award is special because it is a memorial for Melissa Pellegrin, a young technical communicator much like those of us who have received the award. The recipients of the award are chosen by local professionals, many of whom knew Melissa, so they are highly selective. I am honored to have received the award.”

Cindy Hauptner
Future Doctoral Program Candidate
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“The Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship is more than simply a certificate and check. It is a symbol of excellence in honor of an excellent technical communicator. I am proud to be one of the few recipients of this scholarship.”

Bob Stultz
Future Law School Candidate
Pellegrin Scholarship 2003

“It’s a great honor to receive the award and to be able to carry on Melissa’s tradition. I know that only very talented students are selected, and I am proud to be considered one of their number.”

Melanie Trickey
Graduating Senior
Pellegrin Scholarship 2004

I feel honored to receive this prestigious scholarship. To be selected by professionals in the field and receive recognition for my hard work, inspires me and gives me confidence in my abilities. It motivates me to push myself to excel so I can continue the tradition of excellence set by Melissa Pellegrin.

Peggy Bivins
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

It is an honor to be among the recipients of such a special award. The Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship is a testament to the close bond that exists between Orlando-STC and the University of Central Florida. This scholarship will help me get to my technical writing summer internship at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp in Boulder, Colorado.

Alex Garcia
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

For me, STC Orlando helped bridge the gap between school and work. As a graduate student without a background in technical writing, I gained practical experience from the workshops, lectures, job fairs, and other services that STC provided. The culmination of this professional, academic, and personal support was being awarded the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. The scholarship allowed me to focus on career and academic development. Receiving this honor made me feel for the first time like I was a member of the technical writing community – a society in which one’s contributions are embraced, amplified, and celebrated.

Carrie Avery Blaustein
Scientific Editor
University of Florida
Pellegrin Scholarship 2005

This year (my junior year) of college, I have become highly immersed in the world of technical writing. Not only am I actively involved throughout the organizations, but I am also heavily promoting the major for the future students of the program. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my wisdom, and serve as an example, for many students who are unsure about the direction of their college education.

Most of all – this scholarship is recognition for my hard workout through school, work, FTC, and STC. It is acknowledgement that my contributions to all facets of technical writing do not go unnoticed. Considering the list of previous winners, it is an honor to be considered among them.

Rachel Eichen
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

To me, the scholarship serves a dual purpose: it is a way to honor Melissa Pellegrin’s memory and a source of fuel for my future.

Jen Juneau
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

I feel privileged and accomplished to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship for 2006. This award transcends the recognition and monetary value because I believe in the technical communication profession and am honored to be affiliated with all of the predecessors who exemplify Melissa’s caliber. I am proud to represent the STC, UCF and the Central Florida technical writing community.

Heather Stearns
Pellegrin Scholarship 2006

When I began college I wasn’t even sure what wanted to do, but once I chose technical writing, I decided to give it my best efforts. Receiving this scholarship is an honor that recognizes and validates my efforts in school. But more importantly, receiving this award encourages me to continue what I’ve begun with the hope that some day soon I can start to return the favor to the technical communication community. I am extremely thankful to receive this honor and encouragement.

Daniel Beck
Pellegrin Scholarship 2007

Since the announcement of my name as a recipient of the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship, I have felt an even deeper amount of positive reinforcement and professional encouragement from my fellow chapter members than I did at my first STC meeting. It is no surprise to me that this organization created a scholarship program like this in honor of another fellow member whose talent and life impacted many individuals. I am honored and privileged to be a recipient of this prestigous award because I know what it means to all of the members who knew and respected Melissa. I am proud to be involved in continuing her legacy as a scholarship winner.

Ashley Carney
Pellegrin Scholarship 2007

Receiving the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship reaffirms my success as a college student and STC’s commitment to funding capable technical communication students. The scholarship will help me as I apply to graduate schools in the near future.

My life has been filled with more up-and-downs than a pool of tidal waves. Staying focused and determined has helped me earn this scholarship. For students interested in pursuing this scholarship in the future, I recommend becoming or remaining active in STC and FTC. Find ways to contribute to these organizations because you will get more out of it than you think.

Michael Wilson

Pellegrin Scholarship, 2010


 I was very grateful to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. I consider my membership in STC to be one of the activities I most enjoy. I have gained so much from the amazing members and programs provided by the Orlando Chapter. The scholarship helped me finish out my last semester at UCF and I am very grateful to be blessed by the generosity of the Orlando Chapter of the STC.

Sarah Baca
Pellegrin Scholarship 2011

It is an honor to receive the Melissa Pellegrin Scholarship. Having been involved with STC for the past two years, I have met previous recipients of the scholarship and seen how they have carved out successful careers as technical communicators. Receiving the Pellegrin scholarship inspires me to follow their footsteps.

The scholarship has helped fund my trip to the STC international conference this year, where I was able to learn greatly from technical communicators across the world. I am extremely grateful to the Orlando Chapter for making this experience possible.

Patricia Cruz


STC Orlando Donor Form (PDF)

Let’s Go Over the Top!

STC-UCF Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Donation Form

_____   Yes! I want to make a tax-deductible donation to help this important scholarship fund become self-sustaining.

My name* is:


*You may remain anonymous if you wish.  See box at bottom of form.

My address (optional) is:



My email address (optional) is:


My donation amount is:  $________________

My method of payment is:

____  Cash (please bring to next chapter meeting)

____ Check (please enclose)

___   Credit/Debit Card (please provide information below)

Name of Card-Holder: _____________________________Card Type:  _________________

Card #: ________________________*  Expiration Date: ______________ 3-Digit Security Code: ______

*We will redact all but the last 4 digits of this number as soon as we process the charge.  It will not show in our files or on your receipt.

If your contribution is via check or charge card, please mail it to:

Treasurer, STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter
Post Office Box 540444
Orlando, FL 32854-0444

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A View From Number Two

17 03 2012

Debra Johnson

by Debra Johnson
Vice President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

Debra is currently the Technical Communications Lead Content Strategist at Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Orlando, FL where she is responsible for leading the Technical Communications team within Wyndham’s Information Technology department.

Hi Everyone!

This month is a very important meeting for STC Orlando.  It’s our annual March meeting where we discuss employment issues.  This panel discussion is a great way for those of you who are looking for a job or looking to keep the one you have to ask questions and get informed.

This year we have panelists from, SkyBridge Resources, a professional recruiting firm who specializes in contract, contract to hire, and direct hire opportunities for a broad range of technical disciplines.  SkyBridge has been very successful in identifying and placing qualified Technical Communicators of all kinds.  They are also sponsoring this month’s meeting.

We also have John Darone; Sr. IT Manager is also on the panel.  He leads the Requirements Management, Solution Management, Business Architecture, and Technical Communication teams at Wyndham Vacation Ownership, a division of Wyndham Worldwide Hotels and Resorts.

This is your opportunity to ask questions of the panel, such as, the state of the Tech Comm industry, what you can do to prepare for the job market, or make yourself a better job candidate or employee.




The dress code for this meeting is Business attire, please. No jeans or shorts.
It’s about Employment and personal presentation.


  • Winter Park Civic Center – 1050 West Morse Blvd, Winter Park, Florida.
  • Light refreshments and networking begin at 6:30 p.m., with the program starting at 7:00 p.m.

Please click on this link to RSVP –

  • Students who are Orlando Chapter STC members are $5.00
  • Students who are not Orlando Chapter STC members are $10.00
  • Orlando Chapter STC members (non-students) are $10.00
  • All others are $20.00
  • First time visitors are free

Please join us!


Tuesday March 20, 2012  

Networking and Refreshments 6:30pm

Program   7:00pm

We’ll see you there….Don’t forget to RSVP


Tool Tips

17 03 2012

David Coverston

by David Coverston
Membership Manager
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

More Mailing lists (you should know about)

Last month I wrote about newsletters and mailing lists as a way to keep up with developments on particular topics, or to ask question and get answers. This month I want to finish the topic with a few more helpful sources of information. The last four are useful for general audiences, not just technical communicators. All are free, but some have added content for paid subscribers.

Sitepoint, in my opinion, is one of the better publishers of books of interest to technical writers. Their titles include The Art & Science of CSS & The Art & Science of JavaScript. So if you think their newsletters would include links to article on those topics, you would be correct. As a matter of fact, the last newsletter included the topics 30 Best Grunge Fonts from Around the Web, and Create an Awesome Portfolio Layout in Photoshop. To sign up, visit and enter your email in the Subscribe to Our Newsletters! callout on the right side of the page.

Windows Secrets is a must if you are using Windows. Long time industry watchers Fred Langa and Woody Leonhard contribute articles. You can learn about trends and upcoming events in the industry, Recent articles titles include A Windows veteran looks at Win8 Consumer Preview and Is your free AV tool a ‘resource pig?’. Here is what Fred did for the latter article “I put six popular, free antivirus tools through their paces and measured their impact on startup and shutdown times, disk space, and RAM use.”  Go to to sign up. You can’t miss the subscription box on the web page.

Office Watch, a newsletter “not associated with Microsoft” has been around for a long time. As the site says, Office Watch has been publishing free, fearless and independent news about Microsoft Office since 1996. That’s saying a lot. Recent articles include Office compatibility with Windows 8 Preview, Paying and Saving with Office 365, and Moving a PST to Gmail. Both this newsletter and the Windows Secrets newsletters have websites with tons of useful information, and search boxes to help you find it. If you want to get a sneak peek at what Office 15 looks like, this is your source. Note: Watch the dash in the name.

Ask Leo is a newsletter from a former ‘Softie, Leo Noteboom. It is different from the others in that it consists primarily of questions and answers on a wide variety of topics. A recent issue featured these questions:

  • What difference does multiple-overwrite delete really make?
  • How do I temporarily turn off Microsoft Security Essentials for an install?
  • What Security Software do you recommend?

I have always found his answers to be spot on, and when there is a controversial question, both sides are fairly represented.

Ask Bob Rankin is a newsletter from another techie who takes questions and gives accurate, reasonable answers. A recent newsletter, which is sent in the form of a link to a web page, had answers to twenty questions readers sent in. They asked:

  • How can I make my computer run faster?
  • Is MagicJack a scam or for real?
  • Where can I learn Javascript?

If you have ever asked yourself questions like that, then you should head over to and sign up for his newsletter. Here are some tips on that first question:

  • Clean out Viruses and Malware
  • Remove Unnecessary Software
  • Update and Secure Your Software

And if you are not sure how to do all these, ask Bob!

My STC Success Story!

17 03 2012

Sarah Baca

By Sarah Baca
Orlando Central Florida Chapter of STC

I have been searching for a full-time position since I graduated from UCF in May of 2011. I know that in this economy there are lots of people searching for jobs, and I had a lot of competition against people with a more experience.

I feel very fortunate that I have the connections with other members of STC. I have a friend that I met through STC contacts who told me about a company that was hiring. Pentaho is a company that creates software for Business Analytics. With my minor in Marketing and my interest in business this was a dream job for me.

It’s because of this STC contact that I was recommended and landed this job. So far it has been a dream job for me (and I hope I’m not jinxing it). The people are wonderful, the SME’s are helpful, and I am learning a lot from my new lead and the senior writer on our team.

At Pentaho, everyone is so passionate about what they do. I have never worked at a company where the people were so in love with their product and their customer. Our competitors are giants in the industry, but with the energy and power behind our product I am very confident that Pentaho will prosper.

It is so exciting to be with this company. If you are feeling discouraged like I was, I encourage you to stick with it and keep those STC friends and contacts. It is worth it!

Editor’s Note: Do YOU have a similar  story about how membership in the Orlando Central Florida Chapter of STC has benefited your career? We want to hear about it! Email me at You’ll get an active member point for your participation. .