If I could give one piece of advice to any student considering studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, it would be to explore the Life Sciences Communication (LSC) major. LSC focuses on both applied and theoretical communication issues. I started my education as a Biology major and began studying in a research lab in the Department of Neurological Surgery. A few journal publications and several chemistry courses later, I decided biological research wasn’t my long-term goal. An LSC course introduced me to the field of science communication and I quickly found my new career path and passion.
Here are the top five reasons I would recommend that any student explore a major in Life Sciences Communication based on my LSC experience:
- The opportunity to grow alongside your peers. The Life Sciences Communication major offers the chance to experience a research-1 institution education at a school of 42,000 students in a small classroom setting. The students I began class with in “Introduction to Science Writing” are the same students I will work with to complete my senior capstone. There’s no doubt, these classroom relationships will follow into the professional world and this network will be an incredible benefit.
- Interactions with international research leaders, professionals, and experts. I learned science journalism writing from Ron Seely, an award-winning reporter. I developed marketing and branding skills with Sarah Botham, an entrepreneur and business owner. Don Stanley, a well-known digital marketing coach and speaker, helped me develop a strong online presence. Neil Stenhouse offered me the chance to experience communication and public opinion research first-hand. I gained insight into the world of politicized science from Dietram Scheufele – a leading expert on public opinion. Sheila Reaves introduced me to a field I didn’t even know existed, neuro-aesthetics and vision science in design. I’ve had many conversations about science communication with Dominique Brossard, a world-renowned researcher and the department chair. These educators and researchers have been more than professors and teachers, they have been mentors.
- Experiences outside of the classroom. LSC provided me with the skills I needed to complete a communications internship with the Wisconsin Area Health Education Centers. With this organization, I traveled to Washington D.C. and spoke with senators and representatives. This coming summer I will be working with Post Consumer Brands in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a corporate communications intern. Every year I also have the amazing opportunity to build a three-year marketing plan with 30 other LSC students through the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) student chapter. We also participate in a national competition and this past year we took first place.
- A beautiful building and second home on campus. Hiram Smith Hall is home to the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Formerly the Dairy Science building, it has now been renovated into a beautiful space with accessible computer labs, state-of-the-art technology, and cozy student lounges. Some of my best campus memories are hanging out with friends in the lounge after class or spending late nights on a marketing project in the computer lab.
- Extensive alumni network and job opportunities. LSC has no shortage of successful alumni. More than once, I’ve met a professional and we have instantly connected because of our shared undergraduate major. With the skills, I’ve gained and the network I’ve built as a Life Sciences Communication student, I could not be more excited to being applying for full-time jobs. I can’t think of many other peers in other areas of study that can be this confident they chose the right major and this excited for their future.
Featured image from lsc.wisc.edu.