The Passion of Grant Writing

Written by Mary Jo David

Grant-writing presentation at WCC May 2, 2014On Thursday, April 24, 2014, STC/SM sponsored a Grant Writing 101 program for members and non-members alike. Three panelists provided valuable insight and anecdotes about their experiences assessing grant opportunities and writing grants. The panelists included:

  • Dawn Massie: Grants Manager at Hope Medical Clinic (Ypsilanti)
  • Laura Crane: Grant Administrator at Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor)
  • Scott Gifford: Vice President of Community Development & Grant Management at Matrix Human Services (Detroit)

The panelist perspectives were interesting and varied as they crossed the spectrum of non-profit and for-profit organizations. Dawn’s presentation included her thoughts about the qualities of a good grant writer. She also mentioned the unique opportunity she has at Hope Clinic to describe the good work being done there, not just for those awarding the grants but also for an internal audience of those who work at the clinic who don’t always realize the impact of their work. Laura focused on the grant process and emphasized the need to clearly show how the needs and goals of the organization requesting the grant align with, support, and further the purposes and vision of the grant funders. Scott stressed the importance of relationships and suggested that successful grant writers must recognize the importance of developing strong relationships with the grant funders long before these writers prepare and submit their grant requests. One message that came through loud and clear from all three panelists is that to be a good grant writer you need to be passionate about the organization you’re working for, the topics you’re writing about, or best case, both.

The program was well attended by a mix of professional writers and students. Early in his presentation, Scott inquired about the make-up of the audience: the vast majority had no experience in grant writing, and most were there just to learn the basics about what’s involved in this field.
As always, time was provided at the beginning of the evening to encourage networking among attendees. Special thanks to Lisa Veasey, Programs Manager for STC-SM, for organizing this program and to Washtenaw Community College for providing the venue.

Northeast Ohio/STC Chapter’s Program Meeting—Component Content Management Systems

Last week I had to the chance to attend the Northeast Ohio/STC Chapter’s program meeting on component content management systems (CCMS). Yes, it was a long, 3 ½ hour drive to Akron (I guess that’s why God invented XM Radio), but I am a member of the NEO chapter and hadn’t seen other chapter members or been to a meeting in quite a while. Besides, I was really interested in the topic since I currently have a client who has asked me to develop a content management system (CMS) for his small I/O device manufacturing company. So I figured this would be a great opportunity to learn more about what I was getting into (ignorance may be bliss, but it also usually ends up costing you customers).

The program speaker was Ms. Suzanne Mescan, Vice President of Marketing for Vasont Systems and a contributing author for the book Virtual Collaborative Writing in the Workplace: Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies and Processes. Ms. Mescan has worked in many aspects of the information management and publishing industry, including content management, editorial, art and design, project management, and pre-press production. So I figured that if anybody could help me with CMS, she could. Plus, the information announcing the program began with the words, “If you’re a technical writer who has no reason to go beyond MS Word, get ready to explore strange, new technologies…” – hey, this sounded just like me! Now I was hooked! Continue reading “Northeast Ohio/STC Chapter’s Program Meeting—Component Content Management Systems”

The Brainiac Paradox

Mark Cornillie.

STC/SM members and friends who attend our program meetings come for a variety of reasons and that was indeed the case for the “The Brainiac Paradox” program on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. For example, I attended “The Brainiac Paradox” event because I was curious about how Mark Cornillie, the author of the book by the same title and the featured speaker, defined the term “brainiac” and wondered whether I qualified as one. Mark Lockwood, a chapter member and past president, half-jokingly told me that he attended to “find out why he has a job as a technical communicator.” I’m guessing that some guests came just for the food. But regardless of the attendees’ personal reasons for going, the brainiac event was a great opportunity for everyone in the room to hear about Mark Cornillie’s investigation into the world of individuals whose superior mental abilities don’t always make them successful in other areas of their lives.

Mark explained that the brainiac paradox he investigated involves people who demonstrate recognized genius but are often socially “atypical” or disadvantaged. He asked why some people excel in one area of their lives but not in others. He discussed how the individuals he studied strongly display the characteristics of the brain’s left hemisphere (they are often logical, analytical, mathematical, and organized) but seem to be severely lacking in the brain’s right-hemisphere traits (they are typically not intuitive, empathetic, emotive, or holistic). He gave examples of the impact this paradox had on these individuals’ performance in both personal and organizational settings, and how hard it was for them to relate to others in team or collaborative settings. Continue reading “The Brainiac Paradox”

Recap of January 14 Program—Beyond the Heat Map: The Future of Eye-Tracking

Jon West

We were treated to a very interesting presentation on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Jon West, Director of Marketing and Opportunities for LC Technologies, Inc., located in Fairfax Virginia, was our speaker and demonstrator. He began the evening by setting up his eye-tracking device and software so that before the talk the attendees could experience first hand how this technology works.

In his presentation, Jon covered the history of eye-tracking as it applies to human-computer interaction. The technology was developed as far back as 1898 and some of Jon’s slides showed mechanisms that appeared almost like medieval torture devices! Jon discussed the evolution of this technology through the years and told us about the implications that it has for today. Among the applications that currently benefit from this technology are: marketing research, usability, and medical. Jon also predicted that this technology would be used in the future with robots, cell phones and other devices.

After the talk, Jon again demonstrated the eye-tracker device to the attendees who were interested in having their eye movements calibrated and then analyzed to show how they were interacting with what they saw on the monitor.

We thank Jon West for a very informative and fun presentation and we also thank Cengage Learning® in Farmington Hills for allowing us to use their facilities and for arranging for the food and drinks.