Students, faculty collaborate with colleagues in Ireland

Tech students and faculty recently visited the University of Limerick in Ireland to participate in the newly established “Technical Communication and E-Learning Research Day Colloquium.” 

VISTA logoThe event marks a collaboration between faculty and students in Louisiana Tech’s Technical Communication and Visual Integration of Science Through Art (VISTA) programs and faculty and students in the Technical Communication and Instructional Design at the University of Limerick.  The goal of the event was for students and faculty to present current research projects and discuss areas for future collaboration between the two universities.

Student participants from Tech included Jade Noble, Cinthia Rincon, Sarah Ilgenfritz, and Jessica Trinh who presented different perspectives on “Using Visualization to Overcome Language Barriers, Communicate Complex Concepts and Connect to Local and Global Communities.”  Tech faculty presenters included Nicholas Bustamante (Professor of Studio Arts), who delivered a keynote talk on “Visual Integration of Science Through Art: The Art and Practice of Visual Communication” and Kirk St.Amant (Professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair in Technical Communication), who discussed “Fundamentals of Usability and Design for International Health and Medical Contexts.”

The Colloquium marks the completion of a year-long collaboration in which students and faculty from Tech collaborated with colleagues in Ireland on projects in technical communication and visual communication.  The objective was to provide students with unique learning experiences where they could participate in international activities while remaining on the Tech campus. 

Known as “working globally, contributing locally,” such projects allow students to apply concepts from their Tech classes in the greater global economy.  Doing so helps students understand how to work for different international organizations while remaining in Louisiana and contributing to their local communities.

Such experiences provide students with opportunities to participate in projects involving organizations from around the world.  

“The experience I have gained through this program has been extremely beneficial and has allowed me to advance my skills in digital painting, collaborate with a variety of clients and build connections across the world,” Trinh said.

“I learned how to set a standard of professionalism and develop my communication skills,” Rincon added. “Ultimately having these standards has made me a more confident artist, designer and business person. I am grateful to the university for this opportunity.” 

The project also expands educational approaches and opportunities in important ways.  

“These types of unparalleled educational experiences give Louisiana Tech student’s opportunities to work with regional and international clients, develop a variety of communication skill sets, and begin building their resume all while completing a undergraduate degree,” Bustamante said.

The project also allows the University’s reputation to continue to grow internationally.

“Tech is gaining a reputation as a university on the cutting edge of international research partnerships and as innovators in higher education and international communication,” St.Amant said. “Through collaborations such as the Colloquium, Tech is further establishing itself as a major participant in the global economy – an institution that approaches international opportunities with a focus on connecting them to benefitting the local community.”

Later this spring, participants from Tech and from the University of Limerick will plan the next round of collaborations and will explore new educational and research partnerships that can benefit a growing number of Tech students and faculty.