Skip to main content

Experts from UW–Madison are available to discuss COVID-19

May 13, 2020

Numerous experts from the University of Wisconsin–Madison are available to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and provide tips and information to help people navigate the challenges to their daily lives.


Rebekah Pare, executive director of UW–Madison’s Letters & Science Career Initiative and Career Services, is available to discuss the job market for graduates in the era of COVID-19. She can comment on internship and job placement, career preparation and return on investment in higher education, career preparation for college students, and liberal arts education and career readiness.



Ryan Poe-Gavlinski, an expert on domestic violence and legal services for victims of crimes, can talk about the rise of domestic violence during coronavirus quarantine. She can discuss current trends facing victims/survivors, possible aftermath of the pandemic and the effect it could have on victims/survivors, issues facing children and youth, and the current experience of victims and survivors.



Tessa Conroy, assistant professor and extension economic development specialist with the UW–Madison Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, can discuss regional economic impacts, as well as challenges and opportunities, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her academic focus is rural areas, looking at regional drivers of job growth; the dynamics of business and industry; entrepreneurship; childcare; broadband; and the age profile of communities.

“Business closures impact workers and their families directly as they deal with the loss of employment and its associated costs, but also the community at large,” says Conroy. “With growing numbers of people out of work, we expect a decline in household spending which, in turn, has a negative impact on other local (and non-local) businesses. For local governments the decline in business and household earnings can mean lower tax revenue and affect the provision of services.”

Contact:, (608) 265 4327, website:


Marianne Smukowski, outreach program manager for the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR), is well-versed in assisting dairy manufacturing facilities with food safety plans, performing third party audits for dairy plants, and serving as a regulatory liaison for dairy manufacturers. Currently, dairy plants are struggling with manufacturing and distribution of their products, employee well-being, and financial loss. Smukowski is available to discuss and answer the kinds of questions she would address with dairy plant owners/managers:

  • What is the best way to control and maintain social distancing in the plant?
  • What is the proper use of face masks?
  • Should on-site temperature checks be performed?
  • What happens when an employee — or a family member of an employee — tests positive for coronavirus?
  • How do dairy plant supervisors communicate with workers when information is very fluid and employees are already saturated with information?

The CDR has assembled a set of resources to assist Wisconsin dairy manufacturers on the CDR website at

Contact:, (608) 265-6346


The current dairy market situation — with reduced demand for dairy products — has caused excess product to build up at some dairy processing plants. To deal with this situation, some dairy farmers have been instructed to cut the amount of milk they ship to plants. To do so, they are disposing of extra product, including by feeding excess milk to calves, heifers and lactating cows, or in some cases dumping milk into manure lagoons or spreading it on fields. There are also ways to dial back milk production, including reducing milking frequency, drying-off earlier, adjusting diets, and culling a little more aggressively. Oftentimes a combination of two or three strategies is needed, notes Victor Cabrera, professor and extension dairy farm management specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Dairy Science. Cabrera helped develop decision support tools, available at, to help farmers quantify the impacts of the various management strategies they can adopt.

“Any action taken today to reduce production needs to be taken with care and analyzed systematically so that farmers will be in a position to take full advantage of future market opportunities when the market bounces back,” says Cabrera.

Contact:, (608) 265-8506, Twitter: @vecabrera. Cabrera is fluent in English and Spanish.

More experts can be found at and in these tip sheets from:

April 28

April 14

April 3

March 27

March 23

March 17

March 12