A passion for nutrition, health, and communication led Paige Miller to the Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC). A 2014 Bachelor of Science graduate of LSC, she brings the skill sets and theories she picked up in LSC to her position as a digital communications specialist for Legato Healthcare Marketing near Green Bay, Wis. LSC sat down with Miller to ask her about how she uses her education and why her time with LSC is so valuable to her.
Question: Can you describe what your current position entails and explain how a UW–Madison and LSC education has been useful to you?
Miller: As a digital communications specialist at Legato Healthcare Marketing, I work with our clients—mostly rural hospitals and specialty clinics—on developing digital marketing strategies. I get to work with our account teams to align digital strategies with overall marketing goals, and I work with our creative team to ensure our digital content follows best practices. I’ve worked on everything from brand awareness campaigns for hospitals to promoting new primary care clinics and specialty service lines like urology, orthopedics and gastroenterology. Most of my projects involve keyword research, content creation, social strategy, SEO/SEM and analytics. I have a huge role in website redesigns; my job is to create the structure and navigation for sites and make sure the content is optimized for search. So I build the sitemaps and make sure the design will be easy to use for people visiting the site. My favorite projects to work on are content marketing plans that promote health and wellness and encourage audiences to take an active role in their health.
I learned a lot of these practical skills in LSC but I also learned a lot about how people interpret and understand scientific information in my theory classes, which has been very helpful as well. I liked that in LSC, we got to choose what we wanted to research and write about for most of our projects. So, I customized them to learn more about the field I wanted to be in—health communications.
Q: Why do you think an LSC degree is valuable?
Miller: I think it really comes down to the combination of theory and practice. A lot of my classes made a huge impact on my career path. There were a lot of professors who were researchers or teachers, but also had experience in the real world that they brought to the classroom. I think it makes me a more well-rounded employee for Legato. I know what it’s like to be a senior in college and feel that time ticking away when you’re about to graduate, but the toolbox and network LSC gave me has been very valuable.
Q: Were there any concepts or skills in particular that you learned in LSC classes that you still use today?
Miller: I still use a lot of the practical skills I learned in LSC on a regular basis—like market research, risk communication, science writing, campaign development, social media strategy, website design, etc. Then I think about the theories we explored in my classes which continue to inspire me to work and make a difference in the healthcare industry.
What I learned in LSC gave me numerous opportunities even while I was still on campus. I was recommended by the department for a student job as the marketing intern for the Department of Dairy Science. That position helped me practice so much of what I’d learned and develop skills that were key to getting my first job.
Q: How did you get interested in health communications?
Miller: So I actually became a vegetarian the year before I went to college. Because of that choice I started reading a lot about health and nutrition. I thought about being a dietician but then decided against it.
I realized that what I wanted to do was health communications, such as writing about health and working to help people live healthy lifestyles. That’s what really led me to LSC, and the program was the perfect combination of tools to get me where I wanted to go.
Q: What’s one of your favorite LSC memories?
Miller: I have many great memories from LSC, but two memories stand out to me. First, I made a lot of great friends freshman year while in an information radio class. Staying up late together finishing our sound editing projects really brought us together. I still consider all of them my very best friends. Another favorite memory was the theory class called Science, Media and Society. I would always leave his lectures just mind blown.
And the building LSC is housed in, Hiram Smith Hall, has a lot of character and is just beautiful to spend time in. I feel like LSC is just such a little gem on campus.