Students in LSC writing classes help document history of World Dairy Expo

The dairy industry and the World Dairy Expo are near and dear to Wisconsin’s heart. That’s why six students from writing classes in the Department of Life Sciences Communication were more than happy to help preserve the legacy of the World Dairy Expo by writing sections of a book documenting the event’s history.

image001“The students really approached this work with a lot of enthusiasm, even attending last year’s Expo to get a feel for the experience,” said Corey Geiger, managing editor of Hoard’s Dairyman and co-editor of the book. “I think what prepped them was a strong base of skills for writing about science.”

The World Dairy Expo commemorative history book titled “We Need a Show” highlights the Expo’s beginning, its successes and struggles during its first 50 years, as well as its future. The six LSC students wrote chapters of the book, covering topics such as cattle judging, how technology enhances the Expo, and how youth make lasting memories during their Expo experience. The book is now available at the Hoard’s Dairyman website.

“My story was about youth exhibiting at World Dairy Expo, and I was able to interview young exhibitors that had just started at Expo as well as those who had done it in the past,” said Sydney Endres, a junior studying life sciences communication and dairy science. “My favorite thing about writing the story was hearing the passion for showing cattle come through from each person.”

Out of the 36 writers, six — a little shy of 20% of them — were members of writing classes taught in LSC. Along with Endres, Aisha Liebenow, Carrie Warmka, Dakotah Walker, Erica Tessman, and Leanna Leverich all volunteered their time to help write chapters of the book. The final version of the book reached 214 pages and contains over 200 pictures.

“It was an amazing opportunity to work with key players of the World Dairy Expo and learn the history of the event,” said Walker, a senior studying life sciences communication and animal sciences. “I have been going to World Dairy Expo since my freshmen year of high school, and now as a college senior I have worked the event for the past two years. Putting all of this time and effort into writing this article was a lot of work, but there is no bigger reward than knowing that it will live forever in this book.”

“We Need a Show” was unveiled at this year’s World Dairy Expo, which took place Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 in Madison. Some of the student writers, such as Erica Tessman (back and center) attended the press conference.

The book was unveiled at this year’s World Dairy Expo, which took place Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 in Madison. LSC and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences were happy to help play a role in ensuring the continued success of an event as important to Wisconsin’s heart and economy as the World Dairy Expo.

“The Expo plays a critical role in showcasing the Wisconsin dairy industry to the world, and the book demonstrates the many connections between the world’s largest dairy show and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at UW-Madison,” said Heidi Zoerb, CALS assistant dean for external relations and advancement. “The book project provided student writers a high quality professional experience, something we strive to offer all of our undergraduates.”

LSC was very sad to learn that 2015 LSC graduate Kelsey Olson, who played the largest role in helping write this book as a seventh writer from the department, passed away on Sept. 10, 2015. She will be remembered by students, faculty, and staff for her drive, talent, and embodiment of this department’s mission — sharing a love and passion for science and agriculture with others. Her work on numerous sections of this history book was a shining example of this mission.