For the first time in chapter history, STC-Phoenix won the Pacesetter award! The award was given for our participation in the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF) in 2011.
What is the Pacesetter award?
STC’s Community Pacesetter Award recognizes the successful implementation of innovative community operations. STC offers the Pacesetter Award because the Society values the improvement of community operationS, and especially when beneficial innovation can be shared with other communities so that they can enjoy similar benefits.
What did we do to win it?
For well over 10 years, our chapter has had the unique distinction of participating in a day-long event judging research papers that accompany student’s science and engineering projects at AZSEF. In 2011, we took advantage of current technology to improve the chapter’s judging process and to encourage higher-quality student entries for the STC award.
We improved the judging process by putting the initial screening online instead of having to judge a large number of papers in a limited timeframe.
Miachelle Depiano, our AzSEF chairperson, recruited a Drupal programmer Russell Keppner, to duplicate the judging process online so that it could be easily accessed and implemented virtually. Miachelle tested the process, provided guidelines to judges, and monitored the process, keeping in contact with online judges continuously throughout the process.
Being able to do the initial screening online allowed more chapter members to participate in the judging process and also improved the quality of judging. Judges now had more time to do the initial screening, had fewer papers to judge the day of the event, and could interact more with the students during the final round of judging.
We encouraged higher quality entries by giving students a more appealing way to learn how to write a research paper.
Robbie Proulx, one of our chapter members, created a 30-minute tutorial (using Captivate) on how to write a strong research paper. This was a valuable addition that not only gave students tips on how to better compete for the award but also was a subtle introduction to the research paper as a form of technical communication. A side benefit of having the tutorial link on the AZSEF website is that it is a concrete example of technical communication at its best that will be available for years to come.
Our thanks to Miachelle, Robbie, and Russell for taking this event to the next level!