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June 02, 2011

jQuery

I decided to re-vamp the entire web design for Tom & Joanne The Wedding website. I experimented with different CMS’s (WordPress and Staceyapp), as well as the idea of a static web page. I wasn’t happy with the work that I had created. You know what they say, if you’re not happy, then fix it. I wanted it to be more dynamic and exciting.

That’s where jQuery came to the rescue. I have had little experience with jQuery in the past, but I made it my goal to learn how to use a couple different features before the end of the summer. I used two different jQuery attatchments: one to move between the navigation, and one to create a slideshow of the wedding party.

So here it is. Presenting Tom & Joanne The Wedding (website). Enjoy!

May 18, 2011

TechSmith: Day 1

**Disclaimer: I am a proud employee of TechSmith Corporation, and this blog post is reflective of my personal views. It does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs held by TechSmith Corporation. This is an extension of my personal identity, not the company brand.**

Today was my first day at TechSmith Corporation. I have been hired as the Social Media Intern, working directly with Daniel Foster. I am not 100% sure as to what work I will be doing, but I know that I will be communicating via our social media presence, blogging, and creating analytics.

Immediately upon arrival, I felt welcomed and engaged. I met with Daniel, who gave me a lowdown on the company. Afterwards, he left for a meeting and PR/Evangelist Intern Josh Emington took me on a building/TechSmith tour. We met several people within the Marketing department, as well as in other departments within TechSmith. He explained many of the day to day tasks that he completes, as well as some of the work I would be expected to perform. His friendly demeanor and enthusiasm for TechSmith was a wonderful way to start my life at the company. We had met several times before, in relation to his girlfriend, but had never actually spoken. It was great to know that he is such a powerful leader in the TechSmith community, even just as an intern.

A lot of my time was spent reading a ton of documentation. There was the employee handbook, tons of paperwork, and a giant wiki that was composed of all of the need to know (and not so “need” to know) company information. I took the time to really read instead of skim, trying to absorb everything they threw my way. Following my read through, I had a chance to watch some of the videos on TechSmith’s YouTube channel. It was great to see consumers using the many different products that TechSmith creates to form projects and videos for different audiences.

I feel like I learned a lot in Day 1. The next few days will probably consist of more reading and absorbing information, really becoming familiar with the TechSmith products. Hopefully soon, I’ll become a part of more of the engagement. I can’t wait to get my hands “dirty” (so to speak) with social media.

To think… my job position didn’t really exist three, perhaps even two, years ago. Social media is ever growing and evolving. Who knows how my job requirements with change and develop over the course of my time with TechSmith. I can only assume it will continue in a positive way, as my experience so far has led me to believe.

May 16, 2011

Wedding Bells

I feel like my life is suddenly being surrounded by weddings. In October, my friend Anna Taylor married her boyfriend Jack Kramer at a ceremony in the MSU Alumni Chapel. It was a wonderful wedding, with the reception in a ballroom in the Union. I was so excited to go to my first wedding as a “grown up,” having only gone to my Aunts and Uncles weddings when I was five and eleven, being a member of the bridal party. This time, I sat and watched an interfaith marriage (Jack is Jewish, Anna is Protestant), and they solidified their love through vows.

Joanne and Tom will be married in August, as I spoke of in my last entry. Once again, I’ll be a bridal party member, but it is different as an adult. I have new responsibilities and relationships with the rest of the party.

Yesterday, my father came to visit. He has been dating his girlfriend, Inez, for 18 months. They have spoken about getting married, but haven’t done the official “engagement” yet. He revealed his plans to me at lunch. He is in the process of buying a diamond, as well as a ring setting. We’re all headed to NYC for a weekend in June, for my grandmother’s 80th birthday party. Inez’s birthday is the Sunday of that weekend. The plan is for them to go to a late dinner on Saturday night. Then, he will take her for a horse and buggy ride through Central Park and propose at midnight, on her birthday. It sounds wonderfully romantic, grand, and cheesy… and I’ve never been happier for him. He deserves this. If he’s happy, I’m happy.

With a wedding, naturally comes the aftermath. This means a step mother and four step siblings. One of the children moved to Israel and became ultra orthodox; I highly doubt he will attend the wedding or ever really be a part of my life. However, the others will be a part of family holidays and traditions. Their family will, essentially, become mine and my brother’s family. We are grown up, therefore the living situation is not as much of an issue. Visiting will be strange, but eventually we’ll get used to it. It will become normal. Again, if my father is happy, we’re happy.

In the end, love is in the air. Weddings will come and pass, but it’s the new level of relationship created that matters the most. I wish the best for all three of these couples and hope that they never have broken hearts.

May 12, 2011

Tom & Joanne Meet Custom Content Types

We meet again, Custom Content Types. I know you thought we were finished when WRA410 Advanced Web Authoring was completed, but little did you know I would need to use you again. Please try to cooperate and function appropriately.

Today’s Goal: Complete a custom content type that successfully organizing different members of the wedding party for Thomas Czech and Joanne Tanase. Why, you ask? I am in charge of creating the wedding website for this wonderful couple, and the goal is to complete it by May 30th.

Here’s a little background information: I’ve known Joanne since January of 2003. We both enrolled in French, and immediately associated each other (and our newest found friend, Freda Zhuo) as the “smart” kids. There were 10 people in the first semester of our French career, and believe me when I say, no one else actually cared to learn the language. Our trio became a team for every project and group assignment, with the exception of French games in class. We were separated, and told to lead three different teams. Otherwise, we were inseperable.

Eight and a half years later, our trio is now in very different places. Freda attends the University of Pennsylvania for a business degree. I am enrolled in Professional Writing, actively seeking out web design work and social media. Joanne is receiving a degree in Human Biology, also at Michigan State, marrying the man who she’s been inseparable from since 2007. It’s incredible what time does to people. It feels like just yesterday, the three of us were making ridiculous French videos about the weather, with bloopers we intentionally filmed after the fact (causing video projects to be removed as a project option). I am now a member of her bridal party and was asked in March to create a wedding website (coming soon). With school, work, and a million side projects,it became the last thing that I cared about. Now, I realize, it’s time to get going.

I purchased the domain and hosting (a lovely wedding present) and installed WordPress. The bride has made one request: create a database where people can make song requests. Hopefully, what I create will be aesthetically pleasing as well as fully functional. Updates coming as soon as there is something to update about.

 

May 08, 2011

Senior Portfolios

It’s amazing to think that in one year, I’ll be graduating. I can’t believe I’ve already been at Michigan State for three years, and all of the things I’ve experienced. Last week, I watched (some of) the Professional Writing seniors present their final portfolios, which they will put on their resumes to show the awesome work they’ve created. There are so many blog entries, graphic designs, websites, and various other pieces demonstrating how well PW has prepared them for the real world. I’m in awe. I’ll miss them every day that they’re gone, and hope that we will work together again soon.

Some of the best portfolios come from my friends:

Laurel Sutherland is searching for a job in communications/pr/graphic design. She had PW as a secondary major, with her primary major as the Residential College of Arts and Humanities (RCAH). We were interns together at WRAC in the fall of 2010.

Hannah Ettema is looking for a job in communications management, with travel and nature as her interests.

Joel Heckaman has had copious experiences with project management, organizing several events with local music. He was the head honcho for Jamming for Japan.

Devon Barrett is currently writing a romance novel and will be heading to the Denver Publishing Institute in July. She also actively maintains a blog.

There are so many more fantastic seniors. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give a link to a list of portfolios soon.

April 28, 2011

Work in the WC

I work in the Michigan State Writing Center for about 13 hours every week. In this time, I generally see about 8 or 9 different clients (in earlier weeks I see fewer, during finals week I can see upwards of 15). I enjoy working with students from so many different backgrounds, and helping them achieve better writing skills.

At the Writing Center, our goal is not to improve a single paper; it’s to improve the writing skills of our clients, who therefore improve their own papers.

Today, I met with a girl about a research paper on problems with prison release in the US. She was very insightful. Although the paper was not yet complete, she explained about the difficulties of bringing ex-prisoners back into the world and re-emerging them back into society. Some states have created programs to try and help this re-emergence, such as half way houses. Others just impose stringent laws that prohibit prisoners from participating in jobs that require licensing and make it difficult for them to receive housing. It’s no wonder that felons without a strong support system outside of prison sometimes re-offend, and go back to a place of free housing on tax payer dime.

She explained two of her own ideas to help solve this problem, with an educated and well supported documentation. I talked about transitioning between paragraphs and making sure that all of her cited evidence is supported by her own ideas. In the end, the consultation took less than 40 minutes, a rarity for hour long consultations. She made notes as we continued through her paper that marked where she should improve her transitions. It was like watching a writer evolve over years of school training.

As she got up to leave, she said, “Thank you so much. I felt like last time I came here, my problems were fixed but not explained. This was much more helpful.”

I’m glad to know that even though she came in with a paper with well thought out ideas and structure, I still could help her become a better writer.