Recent LSC graduate brings knowledge and skills to new Wisconsin startup

Undergraduate alumna of the Department of Life Sciences Communication leave campus with strong theoretical knowledge, valuable communication skills, and lasting connections.  That was certainly the case for LSC graduate Megan Madsen, BS 2011.

While a LSC undergraduate student, Madsen interned at IceCube Neutrino Observatory.  She was also involved in the UW-Madison National Agri-Marketing Association chapter (NAMA) and the NAMA marketing team.  While a part of the NAMA marketing team Madsen worked alongside fellow students to create and present a comprehensive marketing plan for a product not yet introduced to the market. LSC Faculty Associate Sarah Botham serves as the NAMA faculty advisor, and it was during this time that Madsen and Botham formed a strong mentor relationship.

After graduating Madsen continued to use her science communication skills at IceCube, where she worked full-time as a community and education coordinator for over four years. During that time, Madsen further developed the skills and knowledge she gained at LSC and continued to nurture the relationships she made while a student at UW-Madison.

LSC grad Megan Madsen and LSC Faculty Associate Sarah Botham

LSC grad Megan Madsen and LSC Faculty Associate Sarah Botham

When it came time for a new challenge, Madsen reached out to Botham for professional guidance.  Botham, who is an entrepreneur as well as a writer, consultant and educator, had the perfect opportunity.  She had recently started a new business – WiscoBoxes™ – a themed gift box company that features only and all Wisconsin products in boxes with themes such as a badger box, a baby box, a chocolate and wine box, and others. Madsen is now the brand manager for WiscoBoxes where she is at work designing a company website, conducting market research and developing product guidelines for the company.

“During my time at LSC I was able to learn outside the classroom through NAMA and my capstone course – LSC 640: Case Studies in the Communication of Science and Technology with senior lecturer Tom Still – which helped me marry my education and research background with real-world applications.  That was something I felt really helped me prepare for my first position and WiscoBoxes.  I don’t think I would have been as comfortable starting out if I didn’t have those experiences.”

While her new role isn’t as science focused as her work at IceCube that doesn’t mean she doesn’t use her science communication skills.  According to Madsen, the concepts she uses in sharing complex science topics with the public are the same skills she uses in visualizing projections or sharing market research data. Furthermore, the exposure to agriculture communications and marketing through Madsen had through NAMA will help her communicate and build relationships with the Wisconsin producers whose products will be featured in WiscoBoxes.

“I honestly don’t think I would have pursued this new business with as much enthusiasm and vigor if I hadn’t had Megan on board to help me bring this idea to life. She has all the skills a position like this requires,” said Botham. “She has really strong communication skills, she is able to tap into the creative side of her personality for written and visual communications, she is a really strong designer, and she is extremely detail oriented. These skills perfectly balance my own, since I tend to be more big picture focused.”

LSC wishes them both success in this new endeavor!