Corporate & Institutional Communications / English / Journalism / Media / Research / Uncategorized

Science Communication in the Midwest


The fall semester is in full swing, which means students around the world are hard at work juggling courses, projects and various activities. This week, I had the opportunity to catch up on current happenings at the University of Wisconsin’s department of Life Sciences Communication, or LSC for short.

Fall is in full force on the UW campus. Students are abuzz with enthusiasm about the Wisconsin Badgers, UW’s (American) football team, and trees have turned bright yellow, red and orange. LSC Graduate students are also hard at work on a host of communication issues related to the intersection of science, media and public opinion.

LSC is a unique communications program in the US that focuses on communicating issues related to science, technology, health, and the environment, among other topics. LSC is one of only a small handful of communications programs in the US with a specific focus on science-related issues. In existence for over 100 years, the department formerly known as Agricultural Journalism rebranded itself in recent years to account for the wide range of topics covered by faculty and researchers.

“A change in name to LSC…reflects the extraordinary growth in our field. The study of agricultural sciences has been accompanied by rapid expansion in neighboring life science disciplines such as agricultural biotechnology and nanotechnology, and in associated basic sciences such as biochemistry and bacteriology.  At the same time, the field of communication has embraced marketing communication in addition to journalism, with the result that career opportunities for graduates have broadened.”

As such, LSC has become home to students interested in communicating scientific issues. For example, this semester, graduate students are focusing on research related to a host of issues including hydraulic fracturing, water conservation, nanotechnology and cancer communications. Students receive funding from a variety of sources like the National Science Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences to pursue their research.  Recent articles from LSC researchers have been published in the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, Science, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and Society and Natural Resources.

Additionally, departmental research recently has been covered by major media outlets including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and CNN. Click on the following links to learn more about the University of Wisconsin and the Department of Life Sciences Communication – or schedule a time with me in the CRIL to discuss international opportunities in Wisconsin.