LSC partners with Urban Canid Project for interdisciplinary research

Story by Ysabella Bhagroo. Ysabella is an undergraduate student majoring in LSC and the Department of Life Sciences Communication’s 2017-18 Lenore Landry Scholar.

A fox wanders through a city street in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the UW Urban Canid Project.

A fox wanders through a city street in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo: UW Urban Canid Project.

As Wisconsin’s red fox and coyote populations grow, Madison is seeing an increasing number of these urban canids establishing their homes closer to campus. Recently, LSC chair Dominique Brossard, associate professor Bret Shaw, and faculty associate Don Stanley teamed up with the UW-Madison Urban Canid Project, a project that investigates the way canids are living in Madison and how we coexist with them.

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LSC joins Planet Forward consortium

In 2018, the University of Wisconsin-Madison joined the Planet Forward consortium, a network of around 20 universities from across the U.S. dedicated to helping up-and-coming storytellers share stories of environmental and sustainability innovations.

Planet Forward is a project of the Center for Innovative Media at George Washington University and was launched in 2009 by Frank Sesno, former CNN correspondent and director of George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

The Department of Life Sciences Communication spearheaded the effort to bring the project to UW-Madison.

“Planet Forward is a new storytelling outlet for LSC that rewards our students in their passion for the environment and creative new ideas in sustainability,” said LSC professor and director of undergraduate studies Shiela Reaves.

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Science and social media course cuts across disciplines

Science and Social Media. Einstein writes equations and social media icons on chalkboard

The internet is transforming the relationship between science and society. Open-access peer-reviewed journals, scientific blogs and online scientific communities have made science more accessible than ever. At the same time, the ease of online searching and ubiquity of social media has fostered the spread of misinformation and pseudoscience. As a result, social media literacy is increasingly important within the sphere of science.

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John Fett, professor emeritus of life sciences communication, dies at 85

The following is a press release published by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences that has been adapted and republished here.

John Fett, a professor emeritus and former chairman of the Department of Life Sciences Communication who shaped the department’s course for more than three decades, on Jan. 30, 2018. He was 85.
John Fett

Born on May 7, 1932 in Plymouth, Wis., he earned a trifecta of degrees from UW–Madison: a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism (now Life Sciences Communication) in 1961, a M.S. in Agricultural Journalism in 1962 and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication in 1967. He was hired as an instructor at the university in 1962 and joined the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Journalism as a professor in 1967.

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Spring semester greets students with spectrum of opportunities

Hiram Smith Hall has been quiet over winter recess and LSC is excited to welcome students back for the spring semester. We hope our students have returned to campus feeling restored and invigorated.

This semester will be the first for some LSC students, and the last for many of our seniors. But for all, the new semester brings a host of opportunities.

LSC Students wait for a class in Hiram Smith Hall's Sumner Student Lounge.

LSC Students wait for a class in Hiram Smith Hall’s Sumner Student Lounge.

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LSC’s science communication colloquium featured an exciting line-up

The Spring 2018 Life Sciences Communication colloquium brought acclaimed speakers from near and far. Over the course of the semester, attendees of the colloquium heard from experts in science communication, science policy, sustainability marketing, media sociology, and other interesting areas.

We’ve published videos of the talks below in case you missed them. Continue reading

Brossard appointed to climate change advisory committee

University of Wisconsin-Madison Life Sciences Communication professor and chair Dominique Brossard has been appointed to an advisory committee that will oversee the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s newly announced Climate Communications Initiative (CCI).

LSC chair Dominique Brossard

LSC chair Dominique Brossard – Photo: Kyle Cassidy

“The National Academies have a vast library of authoritative information to help everyone from savvy citizens to responsible decision makers understand, prepare, and respond to climate change,” said Marcia McNutt, president of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.  “This initiative facilitates access to that storehouse to help protect the many sectors of human investment from unnecessary surprises.”

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LSC offers popular science writing course this spring

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.

Hand writes Science Writing with Life Sciences Communication pen

“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.

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Alumni profile: Laura Strugnell gives a voice to the next generation of agricultural research

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 (known as CIMMYT for its Spanish name Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo).

A Madison native, Strugnell hadn’t planned on getting 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.

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