Featured MS Student: Liz Fendley
Where are you from?
Where did you previously attend school? What is your degree in?
I graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in psychology. I started out at the U of MN in the technical communication graduate certificate program, and transferred to the MS program.
Why did you choose the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota?
I was impressed by the reputation of the department and the university. I liked the idea of attending a cutting edge research university.
What are the most important things you've learned from this program?
Audience is everything, usability is everywhere, and you are never too old to enjoy learning.
What has been your favorite Writing Studies course?
That is a tough question because they have all been helpful in different ways. I think I will say Writ 4664W: Science Writing for Popular Audiences, which was taught by Professor Logie. I enjoyed the process of tailoring scientific information to a specific forum and its audience.
Would you tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development?
I enjoyed designing and conducting a usability study for Professor Kastman Breuch’s graduate seminar in usability. I worked with two other graduate students, Molly McMahon and Sarah Puett. We helped to identify issues and recommendations for a portion of the website of a local fortune 500 company. It was cool to have a real world project to work on as a student.
I am also the graduate assistant to the Technical Communication Advisory Board. The TCAB is made up of industry leaders within technical communication who help to provide experiential learning opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students. Recently we had our Fall Connect, a speed-networking event that was well received. Students enjoyed meeting directly with the TCAB members and asking them about their backgrounds and getting career tips.
What are your career goals?
I am interested in pursuing a technical communication career within the medical industry. The skills I have learned in the MS program helped me to land a part time job as a contract technical writer at a medical device company.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing their MS with Writing Studies?
This is a great program, and an MS in S&TC is a marketable degree. Make sure to utilize all of the resources available to help you learn — especially your professors, other students, and electronic tools.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of academia?
I enjoy yoga and reading.