On the Lake by Aislen Kelly

Aislen Kelly wanted to bring the visible, day-to-day data collection behind winter limnology research into a stylized pen drawing, almost doodle-esque, form. She incorporated reference pictures that the Dugan Lab had taken while working on the lake alongside several things that just seemed to “fit” as fun embellishments (e.g. the deconstructed snowman, the jumping fish, the plant bursting out of the ice, and the Wisconsin outline above one of the researchers as a lightbulb/idea). Kelly used black ink micron pens on white matte board with some pencil marks left for depth, after drafting pencil sketches on printer paper. The Dugan Lab’s research involves characterizing changes in zooplankton ecosystems in lakes when snow cover is left on the top or removed. Results are used to inform how these species will be impacted by depleting snow cover each season, due to climate change.


Aislen Kelly is a senior at UW-Madison studying Environmental Science and French, with a certificate in engineering for energy sustainability. She’s shown an interest in art from a very young age and always used “Artist” as her go-to response to the oft-repeated question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She’s since compromised to pursue a career in environmental science, but still considers art a fundamental part of her life and continues to incorporate it alongside her professional goals and routines, taking opportunities–such as this one or the Bucky on Parade in 2018–as they come.

ABOUT THE Water Researcher

Ellie Socha is a graduate student in Dr. Hillary Dugan’s lab at UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology. The Dugan lab is interested in how freshwater systems are changing with human impact, especially winter and arctic cycles.

Funded by the Center for Humanities HEX-U Undergraduate Exchange.