Reflections on the program

Success is never a straight line. My path has been varied and it took me a few semesters to really find my sweet spot in this program. As a nontraditional student I have had a steady stream of “life happens” experiences including a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease for my Mom, the birth of a beautiful baby, and each of my sons moving across the country.

A major turning point for me was in the Spring 2013 semester when I took Theory of Technical Communication. The reading list for the class was interesting and each week I discovered practical applications and nuggets of information that I could immediately apply to my professional life. Dr. Karen Kuralt asked valuable, probing questions that helped me make connections between the theory of technical communication and the practical application of the workplace. I found my voice through writing about communication and leadership and the ways the two intersect. In addition, I’ve worked countless hours with doctors and other medical professionals to provide care for my Mom. Using the skills I learned in this class I have been able to effectively communicate with healthcare professionals because I knew how to consider my audience. I’ve also kept tedious and detailed notes and have stayed organized through an indexing system. This positive communication has resulted in more effective communication with her healthcare team and ultimately has provided a higher quality of care for my Mom.

As I walk away from the experience of graduate school I take with me a deeper understanding of the concepts of rhetoric and how these concepts weave through technical writing. I appreciate Jeanne Fahnestock’s description of rhetoric as “relentlessly functional.” I make connections everyday to Kenneth Burke and his eye-opening concept of terministic screens. I have learned there is great value in the words, “just write” and “keep writing.”  My life has been enriched because of what I’ve learned. My life has also been enriched because of who I’ve learned from. It is my hope to make a contribution to our discipline through teaching and to shine a light on rhetorical concepts and then invite others to participate in writing and communication opportunities.

Thanks and gratitude
I would like to extend a thank you to each Professor I’ve had in this program. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and for encouraging me in my writing efforts.
A special thanks to Dr. Barb L’Eplattenier for your encouragement to use my organization skills in my grant writing efforts to change the world, and to Mr. Micheal Greer for being a great mentor and opening my eyes to the opportunities of  providing a rich online learning experienceAnd, a very special thanks to Dr. Karen Kuralt, for your patience and for giving me the keys that unlocked the doors of technical communication. You have given me a beautiful gift and I will do my best to share this gift with the intention of making the world a better place. Each of you have profoundly impacted my writing and kindly challenged me to be a better writer and communicator.

Dedication: I would like to dedicate this portfolio to my parents, Melanie and Bob Adams. My Mom, a librarian, instilled in me a deep love of books and literacy. My Dad had a heart for service and a fun-loving passion for life. Because of the values they passed on to me–education and service, I’ve found my calling in service through teaching and empowering others.


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