Featured MS Student: Grant Elgersma
Why did you choose the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota?
I liked the focus on rhetoric and the fact that the program is online. I was also interested in all the courses offered, and I appreciated the range of topics. Because I live in the Twin Cities, I also wanted to be in a program where I could make connections with people working in local companies.
Where are you from (hometown)?
I'm originally from Bradenton, Florida but I have lived all over the US, most notably in Chicago, Idaho, Los Angeles, and Honolulu HI.
Where did you previously attend school? What is your degree in?
I have a MA in philosophy from DePaul University in Chicago. My BA is in English and philosophy, which I earned at Dordt University.
What are the most important things you've learned from this program?
I've learned about processes, workflow strategies, and tools used by technical communicators. At the same time, I've gained a deeper understanding of the many ways writing can meet users' needs. I appreciate the scope of the research on technical communication I've encountered, and also the depth of analysis about writing-related topics.
What has been your favorite WRIT course, and why?
I've learned so much in every WRIT course, but because of my interests in languages and different cultures I found WRIT 4562 International Professional Communication to be particularly engaging. The readings and projects have made me think about globalization and technology in new ways, and I am more aware of both the opportunities and conflicts that develop as people connect with one another in the world economy.
Would you tell us about a course project that was particularly meaningful to your professional development?
I'm currently involved in a Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Partnership (TAPP) project where I'm working as a project manager with translation students at the University of Trieste in Italy. This project has given me an opportunity to explore the benefits and limitations of collaborative technologies, and to experience some of the rewards and difficulties of working with people internationally on a shared project.
What are your career goals?
My background is in teaching, so I would like to be involved in designing training programs, authoring help documentation, UX writing, or other forms of technical communication that have a strong educational component. I'm also interested in working in local government, gaining experience with international teams in a global company, and developing educational experiences using mixed reality technologies.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing their MS or Certificate with Writing Studies?
I would advise someone who is looking to make a career change, update their skills, or increase their digital technology competencies to apply for this program. Technical communication is a broad field and there are many different ways you can apply your background and interests.
What are your interests/hobbies outside of academia?
I love biking around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, vegetable gardening, and learning about native plants. I also love learning languages by reading books, watching movies, and listening to podcasts.