With so many complex current issues such as climate change, vaccination and gene editing that have not only scientific and technical dimensions, but also ethical and social implications, it has never been more important to communicate about science effectively.
This Spring, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication’s popular course LSC 560: Scientific Writing will teach graduate students in scientific fields to do just that. In the course, LSC senior lecturer and award-winning journalist Ron Seely will share over 20 years of expertise as a science and environmental reporter working for the Wisconsin State Journal and as a freelancer to help students bring clarity and simplicity to complex scientific subjects.
“LSC 560 gives graduate students a professional understanding of how to effectively communicate science and research findings to the public. It helps any scientist or science writer who needs to understand how and why their messages must change along with the audience they address, whether it’s scientific, lay or governmental,” says LSC professor and director of undergraduate studies Shiela Reaves.
In Spring 2017, Laura Strugnell (B.S. ’17) tapped the mail icon on her phone and found an email sent to the Life Sciences Communication (LSC) undergraduate student listserv. Strugnell was searching for a job, and the email advertised a communications position in Texcoco, Mexico at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (know as CIMMYT for its Spanish name Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo).
A Madison native, Strugnell hadn’t planned to get a job outside the U.S. However, she had taken a variety of agriculture classes and worked in a horticulture lab while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so she knew about CIMMYT’s global reputation. The more she thought about it, the more convinced she became that working at CIMMYT could be a prime opportunity to put her LSC education to work.
The following story was written by Brian Mattmiller of the Morgridge Institute for Research. It has been adapted and republished here.
LSC professor Dietram Scheufele leads a panel and LSC chair Dominique Brossard serves as a panelist at an international workshop on genome editing security.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication participated in an international workshop this month on the intersection of genome editing technology and national security.
The Oct. 11-13 conference, based in Hanover, Germany, assembled a global group of bioethics and government experts to address security questions on gene editing as they relate to human health, agriculture and the potential to genetically alter species. Experts from the United States and across Europe, China and India explored ideas for harmonizing gene editing policies across national borders.
Story by Ysabella Bhagroo. Ysabella is an undergraduate student majoring in LSC and the Department of Life Sciences Communication 2017-18 Lenore Landry Scholar.
It’s the stuff of science fiction – artificially whitening clouds, injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere, seeding the oceans with iron – all to reverse the escalating consequences of climate change.
With changing global weather patterns, including five hurricanes within the past month, Dominique Brossard, chair of the Life Sciences Communication Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes the time to discuss solutions is now.
LSC chair Dominique Brossard
According to a recent Stanford study, if we want to reduce global temperature by 2 degrees Celsius, we need to significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels within the next 2 or 3 decades. To do this, experts are turning to climate engineering, or “geoengineering,” for answers.
Over the summer, LSC students had fun applying their science communication education as interns in professional settings across the country. Here we highlight a few examples of LSC’s many summer interns.
Riley Steinbrenner holding a crayfish for her internship at Trout Lake Station
Senior Riley Steinbrenner traveled to Boulder Junction, Wisconsin this summer to intern at the University of Wisconsin Center for Limnology’s Trout Lake Station. She worked on the center’s social media strategy, helped organize station events, and created content for a section of the Center for Limnology’s blog, Off the Reel.
“One of my inspirations for Off the Reel was from what I learned about photography and communicating science with narrative in my LSC courses: Storytelling paired with visuals can increase narrative transport, which helps readers understand and enjoy learning about complex scientific research! I also got a chance to use the graphic-design principles I learned from LSC,” says Steinbrenner.
As the fall semester begins, we are excited to welcome to Hiram Smith Hall new and returning students from across the state and across the world.
In the next fifteen weeks, LSC students will explore the theory and practice of subjects at the forefront of science communication. Some students will create multimedia projects and design original websites. Other students will produce professional-grade audio projects and work on manuscripts that may be published in academic journals.
LSC students pose in front of Hiram Smith Hall during the first week of the Fall 2017 semester
This semester, it is also LSC’s pleasure to welcome a new lecturer to our faculty. Jenne Meyer is the Vice President of Brand for the healthcare company ERDMAN and serves on the Board of Directors of the companies BizStarts, BrightLife Innovations, and Jouze. This semester, she will bring her business experience to the classroom to teach LSC270: Communication in Life Sciences Industries and LSC 435: Integrated Marketing Communication.