Featured Certificate Student: Sybil Scott
Why did you choose the Department of Writing Studies at the University of Minnesota?
I live in the Twin Cities so it was a logical first thought even though I was looking for an online program. But as I researched other programs, I learned that the technical communications department at the U of M is highly regarded, so that solidified it for me.
Where are you from (hometown)?
Houston, Texas. I consider myself more of a Houstonian than a Texan. : )
Where did you previously attend school? What is your degree in?
St. Olaf College with BAs in English and music.
What are the most important things you've learned from this program?
There was something useful in every course. Going through the full process of a usability test was eye opening. Having an introduction to digital technologies is increasingly important for any writing career. And information design skills are applicable in everyday life, even in something as simple as an email.
What has been your favorite WRIT course?
Information design, hands down. While I already considered myself somewhat of a writer, the principles in this course--from writing for selective reading to telling a story with data to ensuring accessibility--took my writing (and my confidence level) up a big notch.
Would you tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development?
In the information design course mentioned above, we were asked to write a report on a topic of our choosing while practicing the design principles we were learning. I chose application programming interface (API) documentation as my topic on a whim--I had seen it on the professor’s list of examples and also on a list of current most in-demand skills. Through my research for that report, I gained a solid direction for my new career path as well as a portfolio piece that displays not only my knowledge of API docs but also my skills in information design.
What are your career goals?
I’m currently working my way through the API Documentation course on Tom Johnson’s website in hopes of becoming an API documentarian. It’s an upcoming field that I’m very excited about. I hope to be applying for jobs within the next few months.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing their MS/certificate with Writing Studies?
It made all the difference for me to only take one course at a time. It may not be for everyone since it takes longer--especially if you’re doing a full master’s--but I would definitely recommend it for anyone with a full-time job and other life commitments. It kept the workload and stress level manageable.
What are your interests / hobbies outside of academia?
I enjoy being outdoors (like many Minnesotans), especially on hikes with my dog and bike rides. I also read, make stained glass, do a bit of amateur knitting, and am a self-taught bass player currently without a band.