Undergraduates apply LSC skills and theories to excel at summer internships

Lots of LSC undergraduates had very exciting summers, interning everywhere from a UW-Madison Center for Limnology field station to a weather station in Chicago.

Undergraduate classes in LSC give students the theoretical base and skills to work in many areas of science communication. For example, senior Morgan Strauss was a marketing intern for Didion Milling in Johnson Creek and Cambria, WI.

Morgan Strauss

Morgan Strauss

“I’ve been able to learn a lot about numerous communication methods in LSC and have been able to improve my writing and oral communication skills immensely, which was especially helpful for all the blog posts and press releases I wrote,” Strauss said. “LSC has also expanded my knowledge of social media marketing, web design, and print/electronic design, which was relevant to a lot of projects at Didion.”

Classes in LSC teach undergraduates skills such as video editing, advertising, marketing, social media, public information campaigns, writing, and web design, among others. In tandem with these skills, students learn the theoretical basis behind science communication issues and how they can be overcome through coursework like risk communication and the social effects of technologies.

“We are always encouraging our students to apply the skills and important communication theories they’ve learned in our classes to the real world,” said Shiela Reaves, LSC professor and director of undergraduate studies. “I think that some of the energy and enthusiasm of our LSC majors in their internships also comes from our instructors who are passionate about what they teach.”

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Zach Nelson

Back in Madison, senior Zach Nelson worked at WKOW 27 News. He utilized skills such as video editing, camera work, social media and personal communication skills to succeed at such a large news organization.

“The coolest thing I’ve done so far is I went out to shoot my first solo piece and it was a press conference for the new Wisconsin endangered species license plate,” Nelson said. “There was a live eagle there that was really fun to shoot.”

It’s common for LSC students to double major and blend coursework in genetics or wildlife ecology with their LSC classes. LSC and atmospheric and oceanic sciences senior Jessica Gartzke is no different.

Jessica Gartzke

Jessica Gartzke

Gartzke interned at WGN TV as a weather intern for Tom Skilling in Chicago. Skilling is a well-known meteorologist and also a graduate of UW-Madison.

“Like any weather nerd, the neatest part of my job is when severe weather hits,” she said. “In the weather center everyone is running around, calling the National Weather Service, monitoring the radar, and collecting videos and pictures. I’m often called upon to look some statistic up quickly or research this or that. One time, my arm was on live TV! It’s basically famous. Maybe next time I can get my other arm on…”

Junior AnnaKay Kruger took an adventurous internship to work in communications and outreach at the Center for Limnology’s Trout Lake Field Station in Boulder Junction, WI. There she managed a blog about the science happening at the field station.

AnnaKay Kruger

AnnaKay Kruger

She enjoyed the abundant wildlife she came across, such as bears, bobcats, eagles, luna moths, crayfish, and bullfrogs.

“There was plenty to keep a writer entertained,” she said. “LSC has taught me how to consolidate a lot of complicated information into an engaging and understandable format, an invaluable skill in the realm of scientific communication.”

Brandon Maly

Brandon Maly

Students are able to pursue their interests in a wide range of fields that LSC is involved in. For Brandon Maly, that was writing about agriculture. He interned at Farm Journal in Mexico, MO as the first student in a new partnership with the organization and its CEO Andy Weber.

“LSC has just given me the opportunity to experience writing for a well-established magazine,” Maly said. “It really helped boost my confidence and helps me feel as if I can succeed no matter what.”