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Dylan Platz: Live Editing

Dylan Platz is our 2013 Diane Feldman Technical Editing SIG undergraduate scholarship winner. Dylan is working on his BA in technical communication and creative writing at the University of Tennessee.

As high school senior at Smyrna High School in Smyrna, Tennessee, I knew one thing: I was going to be an English major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. What I didn’t know was what I was going to do with it.

It was during my second semester that I stumbled into Technical Communications. I had never heard of it before, but it opened my eyes to so much. I immediately scheduled a meeting with the department head to discuss my placement in the program.

As I finished my freshman year, I was granted permission to declare Technical Communications early as my major—by an entire year. In the first semester of my sophomore year, I was enrolled in core, senior-level Technical Communications classes.

My introduction to Technical Communications came naturally. By the end of my sophomore year, I had taken and aced every Technical Communications class that the University of Tennessee has to offer.

It was no surprise to me when one of my professors asked me to join STC and become a student liaison for the East Tennessee Chapter. When choosing SIGs, it was obvious which one I wanted to choose first: the Technical Editing SIG.

Of all things Tech Comm, Tech Editing is my favorite. In my Tech Editing class sophomore year, I edited a large chunk of a 1994 Army RC-12N airplane manual for clarity, structure, style, design, and mechanics. It was a blast. Although I was also studying for finals and completing another project at the time, I was never stressed.

As I start my senior year, I face many decisions. In a year’s time, I do not know whether I’ll be in Washington studying for my Ph.D. or whether I’ll be in Tennessee working in the industry as a technical writer and editor. I may even volunteer my time as President of STC-ETC.

What I do know is that the Technical Editing SIG has given me a boost by awarding me this scholarship. Not only has it boosted my confidence, it has given me the financial independence to make more sound decisions.

Stumbling into Technical Communications did more than give me a road to the right degree, it introduced me to role models who have had an impact on my life in huge ways, taught me life lessons, and helped me to build on my foundation to become who I am today.

I look forward to this year’s decisions and trust that my thoughts will see a lot of red ink as I edit my decisions to tell the story I want to tell. Because, as in writing and editing, one small decision can change the whole story.

Page last modified on Tuesday, October 01, 2013 05:30:43pm EDT
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Corrigo: The newsletter of the STC Technical Editing SIG

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