Anthony's Experience

Graduate Program: M.S. Technical and Professional Communication

Why did you choose UW-Stout?
I chose Stout for this particular program, but indirectly, because of the value I received from my undergraduate studies at Stout 30 years ago in Industrial Technology/Technical Communication. I was confident that if this program had the same spirit of my undergraduate program, I would get applied, hands-on instruction that I could use toward my profession (college instruction) right away.

Looking back at your first semester of graduate school, what your favorite part?
Good question. I’d have to say my favorite part was gaining the confidence that I could actually go back to school after so long, hold my own and do well. I didn’t know what the time commitment would be and I was concerned that I might not be able to handle this. However, all my instructors were flexible when I needed them to be. My program director and fellow classmates were a favorite part of the program too.

Was graduate school anything like you imagined it would be when you first started?
No. But I was happy it wasn’t. I imagined that grad school would be much more intensive in research and theory, and wouldn’t take into account (and allow me to leverage off) what I’ve learned in the 30 years of professional experience I have gained. I was concerned it wouldn’t be very practical. I was wrong, thankfully. I loved having the courses draw out stories about my professional experiences in the workforce, use them in assignments, and also share them with classmates. Some of my younger classmates marveled about some of the professional situations I’ve been through and the lack of technology (relative to today) that I had available to me. The courses also helped me draw a deeper context of understanding about the work I have done professionally.

What was the biggest surprise about graduate school?

The biggest surprise was that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I started out thinking that getting a graduate degree was just a “grin and bear it” two-year slog I had to do, like so many others said it would be. But I’ve always loved to learn new things, so being back in school ended up being surprisingly enjoyable for me. The program courses had me going back to trace the origins of Greek rhetoric and investigate traditional typography. Conversely, I was able to use some of the latest cutting-edge interactive technologies, created a blog, and learned how to design a usability study. For a person who likes to learn new things, graduate school was wonderful.

How has your program shaped your life and career goals?
I was hoping I’d be able to teach technical communication at the college level and I couldn’t have done so without having a master’s degree. That was my goal. Immediately after I graduated, an opportunity to teach Technical Communication arose and I was given the teaching assignment. I think in no small part, my success in being hired had to do with the courses in this program and the fact that this program was 100% online. I teach this program completely online and I believe my dean took into account that I had just gone through a two-year online program and could bring to the course my exposure to the latest in online-based instructional technology and techniques. I’m applying these techniques that I learned and my students are learning and pleased with how their educational experience is going. They’ve told me so, which is gratifying. I went from being an online student to an online instructor in a matter of weeks.

What is one piece of advice that you wish you had received before starting graduate school?
Although it didn’t apply so much to me because I had the time to put into graduate studies and I knew exactly what I would gain from completing my program (the ability to teach), my advice to anyone considering graduate school is that they need to have the time, commitment and perseverance to complete the program. Having a vision of what I would gain by having a graduate degree helped immensely. Without this, the pressures of life’s day-to-day realities can challenge one’s commitment.

How would you describe the UW-Stout campus?
I wasn’t on campus for this program, but I’ve never forgotten the feeling of being on campus as an undergraduate. Stout is a special place and in a way, it was in my heart as a part of my studies and helped me stay committed to graduating. I succeeded as an undergraduate and I couldn’t “not” succeed as a graduate student. I came to meet with my program director twice during my program. Her presence and guidance and being on campus again strengthened my resolve to graduate.

Anyone who is considering embarking on a graduate program at Stout should strongly consider visiting the school and taking a tour. They will hear the bells ringing in Bowman Hall, feel the tradition of learning at Stout and hopefully, embrace the spirit of James Huff Stout’s mission in founding the school to strengthen their own resolve to succeed.

 

Anthony Aveni

Anthony Aveni

"Anyone who is considering embarking on a graduate program at Stout should strongly consider visiting the school and taking a tour. They will hear the bells ringing in Bowman Hall, feel the tradition of learning at Stout and hopefully, embrace the spirit of James Huff Stout's mission in founding the school to strengthen their own resolve to succeed."