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The Path to Success: Sandra Teal Wyatt, Document Architect

By Aichatou Diagne

When trying to install a sound card device onto a computer, have you ever gotten frustrated with the instructions? If so, you're not alone. It seems that many people get aggravated by instructions, but what many don't realize is that every instruction is made by a person. Sandra Wyatt is presently a document architect for Sealed Air Corporation and knows firsthand the frustration of coping with tedious, badly written commands.

Climb to the top

After Wyatt graduated from WCU, she became a computer trainer and wrote her own documentation. In 1988, Wyatt became a technical writer for a software company. A year later, Wyatt climbed her way up to becoming the company's sole training writer. Wyatt wrote all of the technical and functional training guides herself. She also created training guides consisting of product documentation, additional case studies, and configuration information.

In 2005, Wyatt left her position with the company and started a new contract with Sealed Air Corporation. She felt it was a major turning point. "I was fortunate enough to land the job," she recalls. It"s one of the most rewarding positions I've ever held, and I have a large degree of creative control." In the four years Wyatt has been working with Sealed Air Corporation, she has designed templates for Requests for Proposals (RFPs), written procedural guides and training documentation, designed specialty databases, created in-house brochures, and redesigned Sealed Air Corporation's corporate intranet.

The benefits and creative and technical training

Wyatt owes much of her success to WCU's English department. "Elizabeth Addision's Business Writing course helped prepare me for writing descriptions, my journalism courses taught me how to write a good lead, and even my poetry courses with Kathryn Stripling Byer helped me shape my use of language."

Because Wyatt's occupation is project based, she doesn't have a typical work day. People depend on her explanations to accomplish tasks thoroughly and precisely. On days when she punches her time card, "About the only thing that's constant is that I'm always against a deadline."

Looking back

The most important lesson that Wyatt learned came from WCU:"Life has no CNTL+ALT+DELETE, so you have to do your best now, because that's the only time you'll get a chance to do it."

These profiles were created by the Karen Greenstone's English 303 class (spring 2009)
and edited for the web by Mary Adams's English 303 class (summer 2009).

Students in Mary Adams's English 303 class (fall 2009) wrote additional profiles.