Event Review: Chapter Technical Communication Competition Awards Celebration and Chapter Recognitions

The annual Technical Communication Competition Awards Celebration and chapter volunteer recognitions event is the highlight of the STC Washington, DC-Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's events calendar. This year's event was a standout dinner event, combining outstanding food and hospitality, a great speaker, and awards.

On April 18th, the WDCB chapter held its annual awards celebration at Il Positano Ristorante in Bethesda. Il Positano provided impeccable hospitality, delectable Italian food, sumptuous desserts, plenty of wine, and space for competition awardees to display their work. The writing team from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, who won the 2017-18 competition's Best of Show for Defining Innovations: A History of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, discussed their book, the years of effort that went into its creation, and how it was created. The book is an outstanding technical achievement.

Wendy Wagner-Smith from the U.S. Dept. of Treasury wowed with her keynote about how technical communicators are all plain language warriors. Her talk inspired everybody in the room to go forth and use plain language in their professional lives.

The dinner provided a great opportunity for competition awardees to display and discuss their respective works, including challenges faced and overcome. Attendees discussed job opportunities, career paths, new software, caught up with friends, or made new friends. The students from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology impressed everyone with their knowledge and poise, and with their journal, Teknos, which won an award in the chapter's technical communication competition.

The evening concluded with the WDCB chapter giving out its chapter awards in recognition of volunteer services, including the President's Award to Ugur Akinci for his meritorious contributions to STC and the WDCB chapter.

It was a great night, and we hope to see you at next year's WDCB Technical Communication Competition Awards Celebration in 2019.

Photo of some winners and attendees at the awards celebration
Winners and attendees at the awards celebration

It’s Not Too Late to Enter the WDCB Competition by 27 November!

You still have time.

The extended deadline to enter the WDCB 2017 Technical Communication Competition is 7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday, 27 November 2017. For information, rules, and entry forms, go to https://competition.stcwdc.org/

Graphic of the 2017 Technical Communication Competition award badges for BOS and Winner.

If you’ve ever driven across the West, you’re familiar with the signs that say "Last gas station for 300 miles. Fill up now." The Washington, DC-Baltimore Chapter’s competition is the last STC competition you can enter this year. The five other STC U.S. chapter / regional competitions had earlier deadlines and are either completed or finishing up.

Get recognition for your hard work and useful feedback from the judges. Enter today.

Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You can be a student or a professional. You may enter work as an individual or on behalf of a colleague or member of your department.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

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The Joy of Judging in the 2017-2018 Technical Communication Competition

We are Looking for Competition Judges!

medium image of Chesapeake Bay and Mid Atlantic states
Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic States
Photo credit: NASA/USGS/Landsat

Judge Applications are now being accepted. We will accept judge applications through 30 November 2017.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help. See the Competition website for

  • Call for Judges
  • Judge Application form
  • Schedule for Judges
  • Competition Categories

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter's 2017 Technical Communication Competition. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here's a brief summary of what's in store.

The Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was announced on 12 September. More announcements about the competition have appeared in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. The competition is coming together but we can not hold it successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. We recruit judges from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. Membership in STC is not a requirement.

Judges Training

The deadline for entries is 27 November 2017. Between 27 November and 30 November, entries are logged and team judging assignments are made for each competition category. The entries are sorted into packages for each team on 1 December for the Entries Pick-Up and Judges' Training meeting.

On Saturday, 2 December, the judges assemble to receive their judging materials, entries, and instructions. They meet the other members of their judging team, get training from experienced judges on how to evaluate an entry, and have their questions answered.

Judging Teams and Consensus Judging

Over the next five weeks, judges read and examine their assigned entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, reports, training materials, journals, brochures, marketing and PR materials, magazines, help systems, websites, user support materials, and more. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations in the judging forms, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal. They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

On Saturday, 13 January 2018, the judging teams meet to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award based on specified criteria. Entries are not judged against each other. Some entries stand out as award winners; others elicit debate. The judges relish the opportunity to compare notes on design, presentation of information, layout, and overall quality of an entry. When a judging team reaches a consensus about an entry, they assign an award level and nominate one or more of their Distinguished Technical Communication awardees for consideration as the Best of Show. The Best of Show judging team then selects the Best of Show and the Best Student Entry. Veteran and new judges leave the Consensus Meeting with a sense of a job well done. They have judged the work of their peers and shared their passion for excellence in communication. Many are eager to do it all over again in future years.

Thank you!

For questions, contact the competition manager, Tavia Record, at email hidden; JavaScript is required.