April 2012

15 04 2012

Inside this issue:


From the Editor’s Desk

15 04 2012
Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Chapter STC!

Welcome to another exciting issue  of Memo to Members.

First off, I would like to send a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to David Coverston, who last month, was honored as the recipient of the 2012 Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award. David’s commitment to the chapter as Membership Chair, and his monthly Tool Tips column here on Memo to Members, make him a true pillar with which our chapter could not stand. Hats off to David!

I’d like to welcome our newly elected Secretary, Rachael Blankenbecklor, who joins the Memo to Members family as the new captain of “If You Missed Last Meeting…”

Speaking of elections, Kelli Pharo brings forth a formidable slate of candidates for our 2012-2013 chapter year. Vote! Vote! Vote!

And with that, we’re off to the races…

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  newsletter@stc-orlando.org You will get an Active Member point for your submission

Alex Garcia
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC Memo to Members

President’s Corner

15 04 2012

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

Greetings to all as we progress through a beautiful spring. I hope everyone is able to spend a little time away from everyday obligations to enjoy nature’s bounties.

Today I have three topics to share with you.

At our March chapter meeting, we announced the Society for Technical Communication awards bestowed upon four of our most dedicated volunteers. These honor recipients were awarded framed certificates in recognition of their service. The Society recognizes individuals who have performed outstanding service at the chapter level.

Dalton Hooper was awarded the society’s Distinguished Chapter Service Award. His citation reads For your faithful and steady support of the Orlando Chapter in so many ways. You are a breath of fresh air, and the Orlando Chapter appreciates your wit and wisdom.

Kelli Pharo was awarded the society’s Distinguished Chapter Service Award. Her citation reads For your sustained, heartfelt contributions to the Orlando Chapter, and for providing an excellent role model to our student members. You make the difficult seem like a piece of cake.

Sarah Baca was awarded the society’s Distinguished Student Service Award.  Her citation reads For outstanding service to STC at the University of Central Florida, in the Orlando Chapter, and on the Society’s Community Affairs Committee.

Patricia Cruz  was awarded the society’s Distinguished Student Service Award. Her citation reads For outstanding service to STC at the University of Central Florida, in the Orlando Chapter, and to the Society’s student member outreach initiative.

Congratulations, all!

The second topic I would like to share with you is the plan for our newly instituted Brevard–Orlando mixer. You will remember that in September 2011 the SpaceTech Chapter and the Orlando Chapter merged. At that time we resolved to make our activities as geographically inclusive as we possibly could. In service to that resolution, we are inviting all Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter members, former members, not-yet members, Brevard technical communicators, and friends to attend our Brevard–Orlando networking event on Saturday, April 21, at 1pm in north Melbourne. The location is Charlie and Jake’s Brewery Grille (6300 Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32940). There is no charge for this event, and the chapter will provide refreshments. If you’re an Orlando Central Florida Chapter member, your first drink is on me.

Charlie and Jake’s is easy to reach from both Brevard (really easy) and the Orlando area (pretty easy, just a slightly longer drive). From Orlando, take the Beachline (528) east to I-95 south. Take the Wickham Road exit (Exit 191) off I-95; turn left (east) onto Wickham Road. Drive 3.5 miles; Charlie and Jake’s will be on your right at the intersection of Wickham & Jordan Blass. Phone me if you get lost (407-421-7795).

If you can make it to the mixer, please try to let us know in advance by using our online RSVP form: http://www.doodle.com/ur6dhwrmu7ichxkz

If you don’t use the form, you’re still welcome to attend. Please come over and meet your counterparts from Orlando area and Brevard!

We will also be taking the mixer concept to other parts of Central Florida. If you would like to suggest a location (northeast corridor? western Orlando area? southwest?) please contact me (president@stc-orlando.org), and I’ll try to make it happen. We live and work in a geographically diverse area, but we would like to make our events accessible to all who want to attend. Please help make that happen by contributing ideas for locations.

The third and final item concerns a matter very dear to the hearts of chapter members: our Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship Fund. As you may know, since 1997 the chapter has awarded scholarships to worthy technical communication students to honor the memory of our esteemed colleague, Melissa Pellegrin, who was a graduate of the UCF Technical Writing program. Four years ago the scholarship fund was transferred to the UCF Foundation to provide stability and growth, and at that time the chapter pledged to bring the fund up to a level of $25,000 within five years in order to make it self-sustaining.

The five-year full-endowment goal was ambitious, but thanks to the generosity of individual and corporate donors, we are within shouting distance of our goal, one year ahead of schedule. At our April 17 chapter meeting we hope to make an exciting announcement concerning our Over the Top campaign to push the scholarship fund balance above our endowment threshold. If you are in a position to contribute to the fund—in any amount—you can be part of this special event. Please pledge your donation now (risingstars@stc-orlando.org)—this is the perfect time. And be sure to attend the chapter meeting on April 17 when we announce the results of the campaign.

That’s it for this month. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing as many people as possible at our events. We are here to serve you, so help us do that by letting us know what programs and activities you would like us to provide.

A View From Number Two

15 04 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.


Did you know April is….???

  • National Garden Month
  • National Poetry Month
  • National Kite Month
  • Jazz Appreciation Month

More importantly, April is the month the STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter presents awards to deserving students. At this meeting, the Chapter Education Committee rewards the winners of the 2012 local high school writing contest and presents Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarships to selected University of Central Florida Students.   We will also be holding Chapter elections this month for four chapter officer positions and two director-at-large positions.

The Nominating Committee has announced the following slate of officers for the 2012-2013 chapter year:

President: Karen Lane

Vice President: Debra Johnson

Secretary: Rachael Blankenbecklor

Treasurer: Sarah Baca

Director-at-large: Erika Higgins

• Director-at-large: David Coverston

We ask you attend this very important meeting.

Tuesday, April 17th 6:30 p.m.     Winter Park Civic Center        1050 West Morse Blvd Winter Park FL 32789

Refreshments at 6:30pm   Program begins promptly at 7:00pm

Regular Meeting Fees apply

RSVP to vicepresident@stc-orlando.org

The ballot with candidate biographies is available here

In order to vote in the chapter election, you must:

  • Be a current member in good standing of the chapter
• Submit your ballot by 7:10pm at the April 17 chapter meeting.
    — or —
Send your vote to nominating@stc-orlando.org by April 15.

It’s very important for all members in good standing to support and encourage our future Technical Communicators and to VOTE for Chapter Officers.

Please join us!    RSVP to vicepresident@stc-orlando.org

If You Missed Last Meeting…

15 04 2012

Rachael Blankenbecklor

by Rachael Blankenbecklor
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

…you missed a night that centered on careers: how to cultivate one and the results of all that hard work. The latter was showcased to start the night, as Erika Higgins announced the recipient of the 2012 Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award: our very own Membership Chair David Coverston. David is a Sr. Documentation Specialist for First Data Corp in Maitland. This is an honor held in high esteem in Central Florida and the chapter would like to once again congratulate both David and First Data on a  great accomplishment!

The main program was a terrific and insightful presentation by John Darone of Wyndham and Joe Kavanaugh of SkyBridge Resources, who sponsored the meeting. Our guests gave us an overview of their background, their jobs individually, and then addressed what it means to work with or through a hiring agency.

They offered their opinions on different aspects of the hiring process such as:

  • Tips for making a great impression at the interview like asking questions and showing initiative
  • The random questions you might get at your interview and suggestions for how to answer them
  • How to handle an interview if you are feeling overwhelmed
  • The importance of internships, memberships, and other activities
  • Resumes and cover letters
  • What hiring agencies (specifically SkyBridge) look for in potential clients and candidates
  • The current issues about employers asking for Facebook credentials.

After the gentlemen presented their information, the floor opened up for a heated round of questions, stories, and general discussion. Many attendees had burning questions, regardless of their current job situation, that Joe and John were pleased to answer.

With the variety of interesting and helpful information that was presented at the meeting, everyone left with at least one kernel of knowledge about the screening and hiring processes of agencies, and the overall resume-to-being hired process.

2012-2013 Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC Election Slate

15 04 2012

Kelli Pharo

By Kelli Pharo
Nominations Committee Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter Elections

It’s that time of year again–time for chapter elections. Voting will occur during the April 17th monthly business meeting held at the Winter Park Civic Center. All current chapter members will be allowed to vote.

The following is your slate of candidates.


Karen Lane

Karen Lane has served as chapter treasurer, employment manager, and this year’s president of Orlando Central Florida Chapter. She is an STC Fellow who has worked at both the chapter and Society level on a variety of projects. Karen freelances as a technical editor and indexer and has been a member of the chapter since 1994.


Debra Johnson

Debra Johnson is the current VP and Director of Programs for the Orlando Central Florida chapter, where she is responsible for arranging the programs each month for the chapter meetings.  She is running for her third term in office. Debra is the 2011 Jaffe Award recipient, a mentor to Tech Comm Students of UCF, and serves as a judge for High School Writing Awards and Jaffe Awards.  She is currently on the committee to develop the new chapter website and volunteers whenever she is needed. She has been a Technical Communicator for over 18 years.


Sarah Baca

Sarah Baca is a technical writer at Pentaho, a business analytics company. She graduated from UCF in 2011 and has been active with STC on both local and international levels since 2010. She has enjoyed serving as Treasurer of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter during the 2011-2012 year and hopes to continue serving for the upcoming year. She is married to Jerry Baca and has six kids (three stepchildren and three bio children) who entertain her in between Orlando Central Florida Chapter meetings.


Rachael Blankenbecklor

Rachael Blankenbecklor is a recent graduate from University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. She received a minor in technical communication and a minor in environmental studies. In fall 2011 she was President of Future Technical Communicators at UCF and has been a member of STC since August 2011.

Director at Large (2 positions are being filled)

Erika Higgins

Erika Higgins has been a member of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter for nearly 10 years and has served as the chapter’s newsletter editor, vice president, president, communications manager, Jaffe award chair, and most recently director at large. She is a professional Instructional Designer in the financial services industry and an avid volunteer in her community.

David Coverston

David Coverston received his Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida, and has worked in a number of different areas in technical communication, ranging from writing documentation for mainframe and PC platforms, serving as departmental IT liaison, to automating documentation processes through macros and scripts. He enjoys teaching others how to be more productive, including writing a “Tool Tips” column for the chapter newsletter, where he shares his discoveries with others. David has been an STC member since February of 2000, and is a senior member.  He has served as chapter secretary, Membership Committee Chair, and mentor. A high point for David was receiving the Distinguished Chapter Service Award in 2011.

Tool Tips

15 04 2012

David Coverston

by David Coverston
Membership Manager
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

Shortcuts in Excel

Since Excel is one of the most widely used business applications, adding some knowledge of it to your arsenal of skills is a plus for technical communicators. But first, a word or two about using shortcut keys. I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to fall into two categories: mousers and keyboard pounders. Here is my take on that–don’t fall into either category exclusively. You put too much strain on your wrists if you do. Switch back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard. If your hands are on the keyboard, use the shortcut keys. Of course, you have to know the shortcut keys to use them. You will most likely find that some tasks are just easier to do with shortcut keys.

You can view a list of shortcut keys for Microsoft Office products at http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/keyboard.aspx  I have found it easier to use a printed list, such as the PDF at http://www.shortcutworld.com/en/win/Excel_2003.html . I have a notebook next to my computer with printed lists of keyboard shortcuts for all the applications I use, and also other useful information like Regular Expressions, HTML color charts, and ASCII characters.  Hey, you can’t remember all that stuff! But I have some useful ones you will want to remember.

So here are the Excel shortcut keys I use the most:

Control+1 Displays the Format Cells dialog box.
Shift+Spacebar Selects a row
Control+Spacebar Selects a column
Control+; Inserts the current date
Control+↓ Move to the end of cells with data

Use this with any of the arrow keys. This is helpful in finding cells with missing data. For example, position your cursor in the first cell of a column, then press control+. The cursor moves to the end of the data in a column, unless there is a blank cell in that column. It stops at the blank cell.

Shift+ Control+↓ Move and selects to the end of cells with data
Shift+ Control+* Selects the current region around the active cell
Alt+Enter Inserts a return in a cell