Ellen Clark

Credentials: Office of the Registrar, UW-Madison

Position title: Communications Specialist

Major: Life Sciences Communication

Certificate: Digital Studies & Entrepreneurship

Graduation Date: May 2016


How did you end up at the Office of the Registrar?

After graduating from UW-Madison in 2016, I started my career working two part-time jobs for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). I was a communications specialist both for the Division of Forestry as a whole, and Urban Forestry more specifically. After two years, I transitioned to working solely for the Urban Forestry unit for a year. There I was able to develop my skills and help build a foundation for future communications work and planning. After three years with the DNR, I joined the Office of the Registrar as their communications specialist and have been working here since.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Each day looks a little different for me, but it centers around completing various requests for a host of communications methods. I am responsible for updating and maintaining the office’s website, editing and creating email communications, developing and editing KnowledgeBase help documentation, performing various design tasks as needed, internal strategic reporting, and much more. In addition, I am also responsible for analyzing our current communication methods and planning and proposing improvements to them to increase efficiency and effectiveness in reaching our audiences.

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

Since I graduated, I have worked solely in the public sector, and in each role I have often been the only person responsible for the communications efforts. Because of that, my job duties vary widely, and frequently I am called upon to provide graphic design, print design, and web editing support. All of these skills were honed through the completion of my digital studies certificate. Specifically, in my work with the DNR Urban Forestry program I created conference materials used across the state, including banners and print publications. In my work with the Office of the Registrar I have been tasked to create various infographics that have been used in cross-campus presentations and work to propose web redesign efforts to improve usability and accessibility.

Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class?

I really enjoyed Library and Information Studies 351: Introduction to Digital Information. I enjoyed how it differed from many of my communications courses, in that much of the content was cause and effect centered and straight forward. The content from this course was extremely helpful in marketing myself to future employers, namely my knowledge of HTML, CSS, and databases. Since graduating, I have continued to expand my knowledge of the subject matter presented in this course and have recently presented at a national conference on the topic of digital accessibility.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Try and familiarize yourself with the resources the university provides and ask your advisor lots of questions. It wasn’t until I started working for the university that I realized everything that is available to students, not just in the way of educational assistance, but health programs, organizations, and more. I have also come to realize that I totally under-used my advisor. The resources and knowledge of those individuals is a lot farther reaching than I ever understood.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career so far?

I have two! The first is that I was published in a state and national publication, National Resources Magazine and Rotary International, for work I did at the DNR. The other is that I recently presented at a national conference, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers on the topic of digital accessibility.