The Phillips 66 Technical Communications Program in ChBE at Georgia Tech provides students with the communication skills they need to be successful in the 21st century workplace. Having an in-house communications program that supplements the required Freshman Composition program at Tech allows a greater focus on industry-specific communication practices and standards.
Since 2002, Jacqueline Mohalley Snedeker has directed the ChBE Technical Communications Program and has expanded its scope to include both undergraduate and graduate students. One key aspect of the program is its integration of communication instruction into the core ChBE curriculum. Rather than simply teaching a stand-alone communications course, Ms. Snedeker collaborates with other ChBE faculty to incorporate instruction on written, oral, and visual communication, as well as critical thinking, into required courses. She teaches 190+ students per year and assesses over 150 reports and posters and 120 presentations each semester. She also provides instruction on technical communication in courses such as CETL 2000 CBE, which is required for undergraduate course assistants, and ChBE 4535: Chemical Product Design. Ms. Snedeker also assists students with graduate school essays, fellowship applications, and resumés and cover letters.
The goals of the ChBE Technical Communications Program are for students to:
- understand the importance of communication in “real-world” chemical and biomolecular engineering,
- gain familiarity with the discourse of the field,
- target documents and presentations to the appropriate audience,
- organize documents in a clear, concise, and logical fashion,
- solve problems and make a persuasive case through critical thinking, and
- effectively revise their own writing.
- Unit Operations Lab (ChBE 4200/4210)
Skills taught include how to write technical documents such as lab reports and posters, how to create an effective oral presentation, and how to think critically about experimental results. These skills are taught through workshops and lectures, individual writing conferences, and evaluation of technical lab reports, posters, and oral presentations.
- Chemical Product Design (ChBE 4535)
Skills taught include audience analysis, organization of written documents, translating technical material for non-technical audiences, and proper referencing style for technical reports. These skills are taught through two interactive guest lectures with in-class writing activities and discussion.
- Introduction to Research (ChBE 8001)
Ms. Snedeker gives two lectures on effective communication skills in the introductory course required for 1st year ChBE graduate students. The importance of communication skills for engineers is emphasized through these lectures. Specific skills taught include how to plan, organize, and revise a technical paper or presentation.
- Review of job materials, fellowship applications, and graduate school essays
Ms. Snedeker is available for review of resumés and cover letters, as well as fellowship applications (such as the NSF GFRP and NSDEG) and graduate school essays.