Meet Madelyn: Hasler Lab’s Summer Science Communication Intern

by Madelyn Anderson – “Water child.” That’s what my parents called me growing up in the land of 10,000 lakes, where they often found me exploring our local creeks, rivers, and waterfalls. The actual name they gave me is Madelyn Anderson and I am a rising senior at UW-Madison studying Life Sciences Communication and Environmental Studies

My majors provide an outlet for things I’ve been doing my whole life. As a child I collected bugs, took photos of trees, wrote poems for the water and so on. The earth brought me phenomenal joy, and I wanted to share it with everyone. 

A person in a dark jack hugs a pine tree
Madelyn embracing nature. Courtesy: Madelyn Anderson

My passion only grew as I did, until I was faced with my first environmental issue: a contaminated water supply. Rural Minnesota gets much of its water from wells, and the one in my town was full of manganese and high levels of other dangerous chemicals.  

I watched community members struggle to understand what was happening, buy plastic water bottles in bulk, and grow increasingly concerned. Now a high school student, I realized I could transform my interests into science communication and spur people to action. After reading many research articles, I hosted an event to raise awareness about water quality and repurpose plastic bottles for use in a community garden. 

Ever since then, it’s been my mission to help protect our planet. As a college freshman I interned with the Wisconsin Energy Institute, where I watched researchers turn plant material into biofuel. That summer,I lived and worked at UW-Madison’s Kemp Natural Resources Station, where every day was a new adventure. I helped resident researchers survey birds, core trees, and track deer.

This past year, I was an education assistant for Wisconsin Sea Grant, where I returned to my aquatic roots and taught others about the wonders of the Great Lakes. 

When I saw the posting to serve as a science communication intern for the Center for Limnology this summer, I applied immediately. My past experiences were guiding me. I knew I was meant to continue telling the story of water. 

Even though I have just begun this next journey, Hasler lab has been nothing short of welcoming and I know this position will be instrumental in my long term career goal of water stewardship. I don’t know where the waves will take me, but I can guarantee I’ll go with my camera, my pen, and my wonder for the world.