Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Samardzich

Aaron Samardzich graduated from DePaul in 2010 with a BA in English and minors in Interactive Media and Professional Writing. WRD’s Professional Writing minor allows students in any major to take courses in writing, editing, style, rhetoric, and more to prepare for writing in a range of professional settings. In May 2012, Aaron also earned an MS in Technical Communication and Information Design from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Since June 2009, Aaron has been working as a technical writing contractor for Thomson Reuters in Chicago. While completing his degrees, Aaron also worked as a tutor for DePaul and IIT’s Writing Centers. His latest project and passion is working to establish Aspire Brewing, a microbrewery he co-founded in 2011 with brewing partner Jon Reimer.

What is a typical  day “on the job” for you?

As a technical writing contractor for Thomson Reuters, I work in an office setting and complete projects that usually consist of writing, editing, formatting, and updating documentation for financial software applications.

Once I receive a task or project, I communicate with software developers and subject matter experts (SMEs) to confirm what needs to be created or changed. I then write or edit the documentation according to our company’s style specifications and  receive feedback from developers and SMEs, making the necessary changes before the documentation is published on our company’s website.

How have your studies at DePaul influenced what you’re doing now?

From literary analysis to philosophical inquiries to human-computer interaction, my journey through DePaul’s academic curriculum was not in the least bit ordinary. As an English major and Professional Writing minor, I was able to strengthen my writing skills through a variety of lenses and to also learn how workplace writing differs from academic writing.

My Interactive Media minor taught me technical skills, such as designing in Photoshop and coding in Flash Actionscript, and also how to design and improve websites for better user experience.

Through these disciplines, I have combined my interests in writing and technology, while also learning how these subjects can coexist in a professional setting. More than anything, however, my studies at DePaul help me think critically and analyze whatever I’m doing, whether it be a piece of text, an oral argument, a marketing strategy, or an everyday situation.

What was  the most helpful  course that you took in the Professional Writing minor?

WRD 395: Writing Center Theory and Pedagogy taught me how to conduct writing tutorials and work with students across the curriculum. More importantly, this course showed me how writing can be interactive, not just personal. I encourage students to apply to work in DePaul’s University Center for Writing-based Learning. Not only will they put into practice the writing skills they have developed throughout their lives, but they will also help fellow students become better writers and show them how important effective writing strategies can be.

What advice would  you give  a WRD student who would like one day to do work similar to yours?

My advice for WRD students is to take a variety of courses. I spend most of my time researching, communicating with software developers and fellow writers, and thinking of strategies and ways to improve documentation. Take courses that allow you to think critically about a variety of topics (like philosophy, religion, and politics) and to communicate verbally and through writing. This will help you not only professionally, but also in any task or problem you encounter throughout your life.

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