LSC capstone creates campaigns to promote recycling in dorms

Here at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, many hopeful graduates must fulfill a capstone requirement. From engineering to education, capstone courses are a culmination and application of everything students have learned during their college careers. For Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) undergraduates, one of their capstones offers the chance to develop a marketing communication campaign for a real-world nonprofit client working in a science, health, or environmental area.


The client for this year’s LSC 515 class was Residents for Environmental Sustainability (RES), a new organization started through the Office of Sustainability aimed at increasing student awareness and involvement in sustainability.

LSC 515: Public Information Campaigns and Programs focuses on marketing strategies: how to research a problem and target audience, decide which communication methods to use, and evaluate the effectiveness of an implemented strategy. Not only does the course allow students to apply the strategic communication knowledge they’ve gained over their academic careers, but it also comes with the chance to see their final product actually put to use by a client. This semester, LSC’s newest faculty member, assistant professor Neil Stenhouse, is teaching the course. Continue reading

Announcing the winners of the first “My LSC” contest

The Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) is happy to announce the winners of its first “My LSC” contest. Molly Sequin earned first place, Travis Senn second place, and Olivia Riedel third.

The My LSC contest started this semester as a way for students to tell their story about the people, places, experiences, and memories that have shaped their time in the department. Students could submit entries in the form of a blog, photographs, or video. Submissions needed to speak to their time here and beyond, such as what LSC means to them, why they chose it as their major, what they want to do with their LSC degree, and more.

To reward their hard work, the top three winners will receive multiple prizes. The top three students will receive $500, $300, and $200, respectively. Their work will also be showcased on the LSC website and social media channels, as well as displayed on the first floor of Hiram Smith Hall. Anyone is invited to stop by and view the students’ work. Continue reading

Agri-marketing team brings home national championship

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) marketing team brought home the national championship on Thursday, April 14. The students also earned $5,500 in scholarships, out of a total $9,000 up for grabs among the 30 universities present at the competition, as well as a John Deere Award.

IMG_1885 (1)

The winning NAMA marketing team from left to right: Jordan Gaal, Erica Ballmer, Jaime Sawle, Kate Griswold, Sarah Fletcher Botham (NAMA advisor), Brandon Maly, Mariah Martin, Sydney Endres and Savannah Waller.

LSC is the UW–Madison NAMA student chapter’s department sponsor and one of LSC’s faculty members has advised the chapter since it was created in 1980. Faculty associate Sarah Botham is the current faculty advisor of the chapter and marketing team. The last time the NAMA chapter took first place was in 1996, under LSC’s Tom Schomisch, who retired in 2004 and sadly passed away last year.

“The students very much deserve this honor,” Botham said. “I really had a feeling that this year’s product and presentation were really extraordinary, and it’s great to see the students’ hard work pay off.” Continue reading

Spring 2016 Colloquium still delivering exciting lineup

Mark your calendars: The LSC colloquium is once again bringing an exciting lineup of speakers for students and faculty alike. Attendees of the colloquium will hear from experts in risk, science communication, health communication, science and technology studies, science policy, and new information technologies, among other interesting areas.

The colloquium will take place each Wednesday from 12:05 to 1 p.m. in 137 Hiram Smith Hall. This semester the colloquium was organized by LSC chair Dominique Brossard. Check out the list of speakers below. All faculty, staff, and students are welcome to attend. You can click each speakers’ name for more information about them. Follow @UW_LSC or #uwlsc700 on Twitter for live tweets from the talks  Most importantly, after each speaker, a link by their names will take you to a video of their talk.  Continue reading

Alumni profile: Signe Brewster’s LSC education leads to writing career in Silicon Valley

Whether it’s artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robots, 3-D printing, drones, or space, Signe Brewster’s got it covered. This 2012 graduate of the Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC) puts what she learned during her undergrad to use every day as a freelance science and technology journalist in San Francisco, CA.

LHC cavern

During her internship in Switzerland at CERN, Brewster got to tour the facilities that house the particle collider and particle accelerator.

While getting her Bachelor of Science in LSC, Brewster took a slew of classes that covered science writing, photography, marketing, communication theory, and risk communication. Along the way she picked up skills and theories she now applies to every word of her writing. After graduation, she traveled to Switzerland to intern at CERN for six months, writing about physics. She then found herself in a fellowship at WIRED, putting her on the west coast. From there she was a staff writer at Gigaom, before becoming a full-time freelancer in the summer of 2015.

“I write about emerging hardware, which is anything that’s on the fringe, and I think about if it’s going to be a viable technology that can impact the world,” said Brewster, who originally hails from Minneapolis, MN. “LSC really prepared me to write about these topics. In my professional life, everyone does a double take when they hear that there is a degree that combines science and writing.” Continue reading

LSC at the top of national rankings for research

The Department of Life Sciences Communication sits at the top of the most recent rankings released by Academic Analytics comparing national communication and media studies programs. LSC ranks among the top 10 departments for articles per faculty member, citations per faculty member, and number of awards per faculty member, as well as in the top 20 for percentage of faculty with a book publication — all despite being one of the smaller departments nationally.

research“Although we are not a big department, these data continue to show we are one of the elite national research programs, complementing our teaching and outreach functions,” said LSC chair Dominique Brossard. “It is great to see rankings like this and know our hard work and expertise are paying off.” Continue reading

Life On the Air: An Interview With Larry Meiller

In 1967, Larry Meiller was in his final semester of college to graduate as a meat and animal sciences major when he decided to take a radio class in the Department of Agricultural Journalism, now known as the Department of Life Sciences Communication (LSC). That class would set him on a path to becoming one of the most well-known voices on Wisconsin Public Radio and a distinguished professor in LSC.

Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Radio.

Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Radio.

Meiller’s radio career has spanned nearly five decades, and he continues to host a 90-minute morning talk show called The Larry Meiller Show every weekday, bringing environmental, agricultural and human interest stories to his many listeners. When not hosting his show, he can be found performing numerous faculty duties in LSC, including teaching LSC 360: Information Radio. The class helps students learn how to become masters of audio themselves. “The cool thing with the radio class is I think I can do a better job teaching since I do the radio show every day, and I can share that with my students,” Meiller said. Continue reading

Two faculty serve on new NAS committees on science communication and literacy

The Department of Life Sciences Communication is continuing its strong involvement in the National Academy of Sciences as chair Dominique Brossard and professor Dietram Scheufele have each been asked by the National Research Council to serve on new committees. Brossard is on a committee exploring “Science Literacy and Public Perception of Science,” while Scheufele is vice-chairing “The Science of Science Communication: A Research Agenda” with former AAAS CEO Alan Leshner.

Dominique Brossard-2146

Dominique Brossard, LSC Chair

“Science Literacy and Public Perception of Science” will analyze data about science and health literacy and also how, or if, they are linked to public support of scientific issues. It will formulate a final report on the state of science literacy research and also identify research holes where more work needs to be done. Continue reading

Junior Sarah Krier brings Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic to youth camp

Sarah Krier, a junior majoring in life sciences communication and environmental studies, had already spent two seasons as a camp counselor in Hudson. But this past summer she wanted to do something deeper: impart the teachings of Aldo Leopold to young people.


LSC and environmental studies junior Sarah Krier teaches students about the work of Aldo Leopold at YMCA Camp DayCroix.

In particular she wanted to draw from a recent massive open online course (MOOC), “The Land Ethic Reclaimed: Aldo Leopold, Perceptive Hunting, and Conservation,” featuring wildlife ecology professor Tim Van Deelen.

“I never fully appreciated the outdoors until my dad took me hunting when I was 12. For the first time I felt that nature is a community I’m a part of,” says Krier. While hunting was not on the camp’s agenda, the course’s overarching concepts certainly could be: “I wanted every child to be able to form a personal connection with the outdoors.” Continue reading

Advanced classes help students explore risk communication and internships

What do the country’s largest forestry research and development laboratory, a company working to improve infection prevention, and another that uses breath-analyzing technology to advance point-of-care diagnostics all have in common? They each utilized the skills of seniors in two of the most advanced undergraduate classes in the Department of Life Sciences Communication this semester.

Students in LSC 640: Case Studies in the Communication of Science and Technology, one of the department’s capstone courses, each secure an internship that allows them to bring together the many theories and skills they’ve learned during their undergraduate experience. Many seniors also take another high-level class called LSC 625: Risk Communication, where they learn the complexities of how to talk about risk in the context of other knowledge they’ve gained in LSC.


LSC celebrated its December 2015 graduates with a small reception. Many of the students who graduated took LSC 640 and LSC 625 during their last semester. These advanced classes help students bring together everything they’ve learned in their previous semesters.

“[LSC 640] is a hands-on component that complements their course work over their LSC careers,” said Tom Still, the LSC senior lecturer who teaches the class. “The goal is to provide an internship experience that gives students a glimpse at how their skills can apply to the real world.” Continue reading