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As an aspiring nuclear engineer/doctor/astronomer in kindergarten, I was interested primarily in science. My scope broadened that first year of education as a result of mandatory writing hour; my very first piece of writing was a rousing tale about a horse who traveled to Czechoslovakia to begin a singing career. Since then, I have received positive feedback from teachers about my writing ability and have reconsidered career options.

Preparation for my professional career in writing began in high school when my journalism professor encouraged me to apply for a position on our school newspaper, the Pius XI Scope. I was accepted as a news writer and enjoyed the opportunity to interview much of the faculty and staff in the school. At the beginning of my senior year I was nominated for a position as the front page news editor. This opportunity allowed me to further develop my copy-editing skills and also my interest in professional writing.

As a cross-disciplinary student at UW-Madison, I was able to enroll in a variety of courses, allowing me to tailor my education to my precise interests. The various science classes, including Genetics, Zoology, and Psychology complemented my English major and I discovered a new interest in Linguistics. During a meeting with my English advisor, I learned about the Technical Communications Certificate in the Engineering Professional Development (EPD) Department which was geared primarily for engineers, but also had english majors looking to gain experience in technical writing. I applied and was accepted into this program. Completing the certificate was truly a unique opportunity; I was in the minority of students enrolled in the program as a non-engineer. It was often a challenge dealing with the engineering jargon and interacting with those who had entirely different backgrounds, but the EPD courses became an invaluable addition to my liberal arts background.

At an internship fair early in 2003, I met a representative from the Wisconsin Technology Network, a Madison-based online science and technology news portal. During this internship, I interviewed professionals in high-technology fields and wrote a variety of stories about venture capital, biotechnology, and scientific advances.

I received experience creating and editing software documentation in the Technical Communication courses I completed for my certificate; I completed a course in Software Documentation and User Manuals in which I worked as a team to revise and edit the manual for Sonic Foundry's Mediasite Live system. The other technical courses I completed, including Technical Communications, Technical Editing, and Web Design, have refined my ability to clearly and concisely convey technical information.

My position as a writing tutor for the Private Residence Halls at UW-Madison helped me to further develop my editing skills. Assisting other students in refining course papers was a rewarding experience for me; I often made appointments with the UW-Madison Writing Center to have my own papers reviewed and this position gave me the opportunity to help others. I gained additional experience editing brochures, interviewing, and writing stories with my internship at the UW-Madison's College of Letters and Science and School of Human Ecology Career Services.

My current position as a technical writer at Foley & Lardner wonderfully complements the education I received. I have written a variety of technical documents about Foley's ClientSuite extranet and instructional manuals about the BlackBerry PDAs the Firm is deploying to its attorneys. I am also responsible for updating information on the Technology Department's intranet and using Macromedia Dreamweaver to create department newsletters. It is truly rewarding to be able to apply the knowledge I received in my courses and internships to the first full-time job position in my field.

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