Website Team

A wonderful and talented group of students and professionals built this website.

Building this site was a team effort that required a variety of skillsets. The STC Arizona Chapter would like to recognize the following students and professionals (our Agile scrum teams) for their efforts.

Product Owners

Claire Nickell, Mark Mastaw, and Mika Conner served as our product owners.

Claire Nickell

Claire NickellI was born in Boulder, Colorado, educated in Canada, married in Scotland. I currently live in Phoenix AZ in my sweet, historic home (built in 1936) with my husband, son, two indoor cats, and a herd of outdoor cats (stray and feral) which are either pest control or pests themselves, depending on the day.

After working for several technology companies over the last 20 years, in roles from technical support to network engineer to Change Control, I decided to pivot my career towards technical communications. I currently volunteer with two organizations as a technical writer while I search for my dream job (fighting climate change through documentation!).

I joined STC Arizona, and immediately jumped at the opportunities to join the website rebuild project. I was looking to gain experience with web design and pick up some scrum. I found it refreshing and invigorating to work with students and professionals all over the country. Its been a great journey, and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.

Project Management Comments for Claire Nickell

Claire served as a product owner and website contributor. She exceled at being a liaison between her team and product management.  She also provided suggestions and feedback to help improve our processes and workflows.

Claire helped to develop the content in the student-related (and other) pages of the website. She also applied search engine optimization (SEO) to several sections of website content.

The STC Arizona Chapter is extremely thankful for Claire's help and expertise with this project, and we are confident that her leadership skills, talent, and professional abilities will be strong attributes as she continues her tech comm career.

Mark Mastaw

Mark MastawI was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I still reside and work as a System Administrator at Wisconsin’s largest home seller, Shorewest REALTORS®. My background is quite varied. I have worked in areas such as asset management, inside sales, consumer lending, and for a time, I was even a Blackjack dealer!

In 2012, I obtained an associate degree in computer information systems from Bay Mills Community College before continuing to Lake Superior State University where I completed a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networking degree in 2015.

I am an avid and life-long lover of films and music. Over the years, I have attended dozens of concerts and a number of film festivals. I am happily married to myself, but I do share my life with a beautiful blue-nose Pit Bull named Olga.

I am currently approaching the final semester of a Master of Science in Technical Communication program at Arizona State University. I become a member of the Wisconsin and Chicago chapters of STC in 2018 and just recently added the Arizona chapter to my STC membership.

It is a truly incredible organization, and I am thrilled to be helping on this website redesign project. After I graduate in December, I will be pursuing a Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) certification from STC as well as a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification through the Project Management Institute.

My affiliations with ASU and STC have been incredibly rewarding and I fully expect they will continue to be so and will make my future all the brighter. If you are considering a career in the technical communication field, I highly encourage you to look into both of these amazing organizations. I doubt you will be sorry. I know I’m not.

Product Management Comments for Mark Mastaw

Mark exhibited strong project management skills from the day he volunteered to serve as a product owner. He adapted quickly to the demands of leading a team and working with product management to complete the goals defined in each sprint.

Mark recommended the Trello software that we used to track our Agile development efforts. We found that Trello was extremely intuitive and substantially decreased the time required to manage our sprint work.

Mark also demonstrated an impressive ability to communicate with each of his team members and show empathy and direction as appropriate.

The STC Arizona Chapter is grateful for Mark's service and dedication. We know he would be asset in any organization.

Scrum Master

Dominique Dixon

DominiqueI graduated high school in 2010 and will be graduating from Arizona State University in 2020, exactly 10 years later. Educational history includes 3 associates degrees in math, business, and liberal arts, a real estate certification, and now my BA in Technical Communications and a minor is Organizational Leadership.

Along the way I have learned many skills like software development and project management.If I had to describe myself in one word, I would say I am awesome. I strive to be a woman of many talents and skills. My end goal is to be an angel investor and to be the female version of Warren Buffett but for small businesses. When I am not learning new things, I love to cook, play pool, and I am a Spartan Racer.

Project Management Comments for Dominque Dixon

Dominique served as a scrum master and website contributor. Along with providing website design recommendations, Dominique helped us determine and complete sections of the website that needed emphasis in the areas of content and search engine optimization (SEO).

Dominique is extremely knowledgeable in content and website strategies, and we would recommend her for any position that fits her talents and qualifications.

Agile Team Members

Andrea Ausmus

Coming soon...

Angel Martinez

Angel MartinezWorking on the website redesign project for the STC Arizona Chapter provided valuable insight in building technical and networking skills. I was fortunate to assist STC on their website redesign project.

As a undergraduate from Arizona State University in Technical Communications (User Experience), the STC gave me hands-on experience in communicating with group settings, Agile processes, team-building exercises, and insight in advanced technical products and knowledge in the technical industry.

My professional life is better because of the opportunity given to me by STC.

Thank you, STC!

Breanna Fitzgerald

Coming soon...

Christine Forni

My name's Christine and I'm a lover of cars, cats, coffee, and color (specifically pink but that doesn't start with a "c"). I’m an Arizona native, born and raised, although I definitely want to travel and experience living in many places. I’m incredibly passionate about UX design and content writing.

My first go at college I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, then went back a year later for Technical Communications and User Experience. Now I have the desire to help create human-centered design and content, and improve user awareness across all levels of the development process.

I came into this project through ASU as a student volunteer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Agile methodology and working on all aspects of a large site redesign, including user research, content writing, designing, and site testing. I hope the new site serves the STC’s Arizona Chapter and its users well.

Project Management Comments for Christine Forni

Christine served as our primary website developer and usability/user experience (UX) specialist. She provided valuable insight regarding our page design and site structure. Christine also developed and disseminated our persona-based usability exercise.

In WordPress, she exhibited exceptional talents in backend code development, installed and tested many of our website feature plug-ins, and customized many of the pages and templates.

Christine would be an asset to any company, and we highly recommend her for any position that fits her talents and qualifications.

Danna Cardenas

Coming soon...

Emily Vollmer

Emily's HeadshotI’m from beautiful shoreline Connecticut, and while I’ve lived elsewhere for brief periods, I always find my way back. I work as a veterinary receptionist and am earning my Bachelor of Science in Technical Communications from Arizona State University’s online program (I graduate in February 2020!). It was through ASU that I heard of this site redesign project!

I was previously in school for Marine Biology, but after two and a half years of study realized I was still terrified of the ocean. After taking a year to work and reevaluate, I decided to return to school with two stipulations, that my degree had to be 1. writing-related and 2. a Bachelor of Science. Tech comm was the way to go, and I’ve loved my coursework ever since!

Going into this project, I had no idea what I was doing. I had only two tech comm courses under my belt when we started and was unsure what I could contribute. However, this project has not only been a fantastic learning experience, but it has also been an absolute joy to be a part of. I’m excited to continue working with STC in the future!

Product Management Comments for Emily Vollmer

Without hesitation, Emily volunteered to serve as our Agile team secretary and managed our meeting history by recording our meeting minutes and inserting her own (and greatly appreciated) style and commentary. She then promptly posted the minutes on our Slack site for the other team members to use.

Emily was instrumental in designing our new logo and helped with many of our project decisions. She created and updated several pages on the website, including our Officers page.

Her ideas, enthusiasm, and demeanor were enlightening and elevating. Emily was a wonderful team member and contributor, and we highly recommend Emily for any position that fits her talents and qualifications.

Johnathan Best

Johnathan BestI retired from the U.S. Navy in 2014 and enrolled at Arizona State University in the Fall of 2015. Obtaining a formal education has always been important to me and was one of the primary reasons I joined the military back in 1994. I was not expecting to make a career out of military service, but I did and along the way I managed to make time to take a college course here and there which allowed me to complete my undergraduate degree in three years (May of 2018), majoring in Communication. When retirement approached, I knew that I wanted a complete life change to explore new opportunities and experiences, so I packed up and relocated to Arizona, a choice that I do not regret in the slightest 5 years later (well, I do regret the summer heat).

Majoring in Communication seemed like a natural fit and allowed me to really examine my prior experiences working in large, diverse organizations. I knew early on in my undergraduate studies that stopping after the completion of my undergraduate degree would not be enough to satisfy me, so I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Technical Communication from ASU.

I have a wide array of interests and hobbies from building my own desktop computers to learning how to paint on canvas with oil and acrylic paints this past summer. During all those deployments to other parts of the world the things I missed the most were the simple everyday activities – cycling, camping and hiking, or just going to the movies. It is my intention to make up for that lost time in this new phase of my life and this also applies to education. If there is a project or internship opportunity available and I can balance it with my academic workload I am always open to new experiences. My hope as a student and emerging Technical Communicator is to specialize my skill sets and to one day enter a UX (User Experience) related field after I complete the program. I am also considering the idea of pursuing a doctorate.

Since becoming a member of the STC this year, one of the first opportunities that came along was the opportunity to contribute to the STC website redesign project. Learning to use Slack, Trello, and WordPress in an Agile Team Development structure was an amazing experience and the teams were comprised of some very talented individuals with an arsenal of skill sets. It was great to meet new people from all over the country and I have already had the opportunity to apply some of the concepts I learned during this project to one of my class projects.

Having spent a considerable amount of time in my previous leadership positions developing and creating detailed mentorship programs, I was only too happy to have the opportunity to establish/re-establish a formal mentorship program for the STC. One of my biggest disappointments during my undergraduate experiences was that I never encountered a formal mentorship program. Having a mentor offers many benefits and the right mentor can make all the difference in the world to a student trying to enter a new field or a professional that wishes to change fields or simply learn additional skills. My hope is that the talented and experienced professionals that I have met in the STC will provide a network for students like myself to pursue their professional goals as we transition from students to professionals.

Product Management Comments for Johnathan Best

Johnathan's interest in developing the mentorship program was evident and extremely helpful throughout the project. Johnathan immediately joined STC and informed the chapter that he would like to provide insight and recommendations that would help to develop the program.

Before adding the content and signup forms for mentors and mentees, Johnathan contacted technical communication professors at Arizona State University to solicit ideas and advice that would help us understand what we needed to provide to both mentors and mentees who were interested in our mentorship program.

Johnathan has exhibited ownership and pride as a contributor to our mentorship program and all aspects of the website project. We have no doubt that he will convey that same professionalism wherever he lands as a technical communicator. We highly recommend Johnathan for any position afforded to him.

Katherine Hannan

Kathy HannanI was in my first class when I came across an email asking for students with or without experience to work on the STC website redesign project.  I had never worked on a website before but wanted the experience and signed up. I have learned more than I ever would have just from attending classes.  The connections made, such as working on this redesign project accentuate why STC is the way to go to advance in the field of Tech Comm. I joined the STC AZ chapter, it is such a great opportunity!

I am located in Phoenix, AZ, where I have lived for the last 24 years. I was born in Louisiana and grew up in Texas and have always lived in a southern state.  I raised my two daughters here in AZ.  It was the resolute encouragement of my older daughter and the “dead-end” feeling of my job that had me return to college to pursue this Master of Science in Tech Comm degree, through ASU online. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Justice Administration degree, with a Pre-Law minor from ASU in 2001.

I live with my wife, Cori and two dogs, Oreo and Jethro.  When I have time, I repurpose old cabinets doors or wood usually torn out of remodel projects.  I love going to the park with the dogs, hiking, playing the piano, and glamping.  Glamping is camping with the comforts of a trailer, which I try to do between each class.  I am attending school, with no breaks.  I had a long enough break.

I am determined to enter the Tech Comm field and use my craft and education to write and edit for my livelihood and enjoyment.  I look forward to continuing education, networking and professional opportunities through the STC.  I am elated to have had a part in working on the redesign of this awesome website.

Project Management Comments for Katherine Hannan

Katherine shared in providing the content for our professional persona sections. She is a talented writer and took great pride in delivering quality content for our chapter, our team, and our targeted persona audiences. Katherine joined the STC Arizona Chapter shortly after joining the project.

Katherine also accepted the task of developing our taxonomy structure, which included assigning tags and categories for most of the pages on our website. This exercise is very similar to indexing, and she did an outstanding job.

We highly recommend Katherine for any position that fits her talents and qualifications.

Mary Browning

I am originally from southern West Virginia, and I have lived at the foothills of Tennessee’s beautiful Great Smoky Mountains since 2006. I graduated from Arizona State University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication; I also took several Graphic Information Technology courses during my time there, and my primary academic interests were web development/authoring and visual communication.

I am currently working as a product data entry specialist in the e-commerce department of a local restaurant supply company, which I enjoy. I plan to officially begin a career in web development and design soon, and I’d also like to attend grad school someday for either English or something related to web/graphic design.

I learned of this project during my final semester at ASU, and I applied as soon as I read the email I received about it. I’m glad I joined because it has been a rewarding experience. This is actually the first real-world project I’ve worked on, and it has been exciting to learn so much more about web development than I already knew. I entered this project knowing very little about WordPress, but now I can’t wait to use it again to hopefully build sites for future clients.

I especially enjoyed experimenting with and learning about assorted plug-ins within WordPress for functions such as tagging, social media presence, and job postings. Another highlight of this project for me was having the opportunity to choose several stock photos to help various pages communicate a message. Additionally, I’ve greatly enjoyed working with such a talented and dedicated team of students and professionals. This was truly a collaborative project with excellent organization and leadership.

Other than my academics and career, I am also interested in the arts, nature/animals, and history. I spend several hours a day listening to music (1960s/1970s rock and folk are my favorites), and I have a special interest in reading poetry. I am slowly but surely working on a correspondence course in photography, and I plan to teach myself guitar, painting, and macramé relatively soon.

Project Management Comments for Mary Browning

Mary was an outstanding team member and extremely instrumental in many aspects of the project. She exhibited an admirable level of professionalism and dependability throughout the project.

Mary's contributions included providing most of the content in the professional career-building section of the website, which included bibliographical references on each page. She also led the effort to evaluate and upload the images on most of the website pages.

In WordPress, Mary installed and tested some of the plugins used in uploading and viewing job listings. She also analyzed and updated pages for SEO.

Mary's contribution's were important in completing the project. We highly recommend Mary for any position that interests her.

Our Plan

We analyzed, planned, and built the site together, step by step. Some of the things we covered included:

  • Identifying our stakeholders. Who will use the site?
  • Creating user personas and scenarios. What are the backgrounds of our stakeholders, and what would they need from the website? We created personas for the following audience types:
    • Technical communication/user experience (UX) students
    • Technical communication/UX educators
    • Technical communication/UX professionals
    • Employers/hiring managers
    • STC officers/chapter members

Here's one of our persona examples:

Student Persona

Student Persona

  • Setting website feature and content goals. What features and content did we need to include in the website to meet the needs of our audience?
  • Conducting UX analyses (including a card sorting exercise). We discussed our UX results in our planning and development sessions.
  • Building the site in WordPress. We used WordPress as our website application, and all participants assisted in developing the site as administrators.
  • Testing the site for browser compatibility and responsive design. We made sure our theme and features work in all major browsers and device types.

Project Management

To complete the project on time, we:

  • Worked as scrum teams to complete our user stories in five monthly sprints (April 1–August 31).
  • Held weekly standups (using Zoom webinar software, conference calls, etc.) to discuss our progress and goals.
  • Collaborated and helped each other complete our tasks so we could put the site online by August 31.

We used the following tools to manage the project:

Slack

We used Slack to manage our group and team communications:

Slack

Slack Application

Agile Methodology and Trello Software

We used Agile methodology to manage our project in Trello software:

Trello Software

Trello Agile Board

 

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Upcoming Events
  1. Happy Hour – Scottsdale Beer Company

    September 26 @ 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm MST
  2. Chapter Management Advisory Council Meeting

    October 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm MST
  3. East Valley Happy Hour

    October 24 @ 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm MST