TPC Alumni, Manufacturing/Industry
By Kayla Konway
Brette Christe is an alum of Ferris State University’s Technical and Professional Communication Program. Before completing her bachelor’s degree at Ferris, she attended Grand Rapids Community College where she earned an associate’s degree.
Brette was inspired to become a journalist in her high school years by a teacher who encouraged her to develop her writing skills. Under her teacher’s guidance, Brette wrote for her school’s newspaper and contributed to the school’s yearly literary book.
Through her years at Grand Rapids Community College, Brette started realizing she liked designing page layouts, writing, and editing but was not comfortable asking people questions. She knew this was something every journalist needed to be able to do.
After realizing her difficulties with interviewing, Brette spoke to her advisor; he recommended technical writing. Her advisor told her that technical writing would allow her do all of the tasks she liked to do, without the less comfortable part of interviewing.
Brette said that technical writing “seemed to be the perfect fit!”
When Brette got to Ferris, she met with her advisor, Sandy Balkema. Brette said that Sandy was a great role model and was the one to introduce her to the field of technical writing. Sandy helped Brette meet professionals from the “writing community,” which she was soon to become a part of.
While a student at Ferris, Brette took part in an internship at JR Automation Technologies in Holland, Michigan, where she is currently employed. After completing her internship and graduating from FSU, she landed a contract at Perrigo Pharmaceuticals in Holland, Michigan, as a validation writer.
She also worked as a contract writer through Prima Communications in Kalamazoo, Michigan. When her contract work ended with Prima, she had quite a hard time finding a permanent writing job that she wanted. She went to work in Configurations Management at a circuit board manufacturing company. Brette was able to use her writing skills at Configurations, but she still continued to look for work as a technical writer.
Eventually, Brette heard that JR Automation was looking for a technical writer; she instantly applied and is working there today.
Brette said that the struggles she’s had to face in the field of technical writing is “fighting the ‘no one reads the manual’ mindset some people have.”
Brette also added that her goal as a writer is “to provide the value of effective technical communication.” So, her suggestion is to read the manual!