Professional Writing Major Finds Niche Working for STEM Company
Maddison “Maddy” Hamaker ’21 had two internships with the Voith Group, which led to a full-time job that she’ll begin upon graduation from York College of Pennsylvania.
Maddison “Maddy” Hamaker ’21 was gearing up for her junior year at York College of Pennsylvania when her advisor asked her what kind of internship she might like to pursue. “I had no idea,” the Professional Writing major confessed.
When her advisor, Emily Cope, sent her a list of possible opportunities, Hamaker doubted herself. What stood out on the list was a position for a Technical Editor intern with Voith Group, which is known for its three divisions: Voith Hydro, Voith Paper, and Voith Turbo.
“I saw the position, and I thought, ‘I’m not smart enough for that kind of job,’” Hamaker says. “It felt like I had no business writing for an engineering company.” With the guidance of Cope, Hamaker decided to take a chance and apply. After all, she says, an internship is supposed to be a learning opportunity.
Smarter than she thinks
Hamaker was accepted for the position and jumped into working with engineers to gather information, organize it, and send it to clients in the form of Operation and Maintenance Manuals. That experience led to a second internship, where she was a Document Control Analyst, giving her more responsibility to work directly with clients and be a part of a sub team on the Engineering Team, called Engineering Document Support.
She soon discovered she had been nervous for no reason. Everyone at Voith was incredibly welcoming, Hamaker says, and she learned that writing is a skill set that’s needed in a variety of fields and specialties.
“They understood and appreciated everything that I did,” she says. “That alone helped me become more confident in myself. It was nice to know that I was appreciated. If I did make a mistake, it was a learning experience, and everyone was there for me and made sure that I was doing well and on the right track.”
Hamaker’s supervisor and manager at Voith started talking to her about staying on long-term. With the end of her college education nearing, she was happy to accept a position as a Document Control Analyst I, which she’ll begin a week after graduation.
Touting the writing program
Hamaker doesn’t think those who pursue writing get enough credit for the skill sets they bring to the table. “There’s a lot of value that students and graduates in this field can bring to any industry,” she says. “We don’t celebrate that enough. We forget to highlight that it’s a skill many industries want in their employees.”
Most of all, Hamaker’s experience as a writer with a STEM company has boosted her confidence. She remembers as a first-year student crying with her advisor because she felt she’d done poorly on a paper or a test. Now, she says, “I’m like, ‘This is bomb. This is a good piece of writing. I did an amazing job.’”
That confidence has not only helped Hamaker secure her first step in a writing career at Voith, but it’s seeped into other areas of her life. She sees herself as the confident, accomplished woman she is.