Today@Sam Article

Heritage Magazine: Shaping Tomorrow’s Communicators

June 24, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

By Hunter King


Marissa Baumgartner’s transition from teaching high school English to becoming a Learning Experience Designer Intern at Hewlett-Packard (HP) over the summer is a testament to the power of education and the value of technical communication skills.

Through Sam Houston State University’s Technical Communications master’s program, Baumgartner not only gained the knowledge and expertise needed for her new career but also found a supportive community that guided her every step of the way.

“I felt supported and inspired throughout my journey,” Baumgartner said. “Professors Strubberg and Nardone in particular have helped connect me to opportunities that married my teaching and technology passions.”

During her internship at HP, Baumgartner focused on building trainings, tools and resources to empower HP employees in utilizing customer journey mapping. She learned the importance of seeking feedback with purpose, setting the stage for successful collaboration.

“I will most remember how encouraging HP’s employees were throughout this process,” Baumgartner said. “I felt welcomed to meet anyone and everyone, ask questions and seek out many types of expertise as I worked.”

Baumgartner’s presentation skills were a standout feature of her internship, resulting in a first place win in the business presentations contest.

“I used my technical communication skills to craft a presentation that engaged my audience,” Baumgartner said. “Technical communication encourages writers to make information as clear and concise as possible, and this helped me make the positive outcomes of my project apparent to the judges.”

Drawing from her five-year teaching background and communication work, Baumgartner emphasized the value of active audience engagement.

“My childhood hero is Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter,” Baumgartner said. “If I learned anything from him, it’s that passion and enthusiasm builds momentum in the delivery of information. I channeled my inner Steve Irwin to show the panel of judges that my work not only matters to the company, but to me as a person.”

The Sam Houston Technical Communication program provided Baumgartner with valuable skills that directly applied to her work at HP. Collaborative writing, visual design and adaptability were pivotal in her internship at the company.

“SHSU Tech Comms helped me locate the best defenses for my writing and visual design choices, and communicate them effectively,” Baumgartner said. “Through our program, I learned how to use many design software programs, like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.”

As Baumgartner looks ahead to her future, she is focused on building digital simulations to enhance employee training. Her goal is to instill confidence in high-stakes customer interactions, ultimately improving the way technology is experienced through HP products and services.

“I am so grateful that SHSU has helped me to successfully begin two different careers in two different fields,” Baumgartner said. “My professors build my confidence through their feedback, as well as offer me opportunities to practice my career skills with their guidance before I go and do them in the field.”

Baumgartner excitedly revealed that she was able to start as a full-time Learning Experience Designer on her team in the Customer Experience Organization at HP in January.

To read the full version of Heritage Magazine - Spring 2024, follow this link.

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