My Interdisciplinary Studies Contract

Medical Illustration Trysten Bewersdorf. My program is the study of medical illustration. To put it simply, it is illustrating the body for educational, and documentation purposes. A combination of fine arts and biological studies, this form of art is used in a variety of ways including medical books, pharmaceutical promotion, and legal cases for medical explanations. The program combines sciences like Biological and chemistry studies with fine arts programs like life and figure drawing, color design, and graphic design. Growing up I was surrounded by art and anatomy, which was introduced to me by my late father. His profession was taxidermy, the art of preserving the pelt of an animal to immortalize its wild beauty. I understood at a young age the cruel reality of mortality and was curious as to what keeps us alive. My father taught me the mechanisms inside the body that keeps us alive, and I only wanted to know more. My father was also one of the best taxidermists in the state of New York because of his artistic abilities. He was a classic dyslexic, and had trouble reading and calculating numbers, so I learned from him that art was a universal language that many could understand without having to cross the language barrier. I continued to study anatomy and marine biology in my high school career, and I only found myself wanting to know more. Throughout my classes I illustrated many different study guides for my teachers and classmates and found it easier to understand than reading and trying to visualize where things were. I found my abilities in art had excelled without any art classes and found it to be a natural talent, and considered a degree in the arts. I continued to do art in high school but found I wanted more than abstract designs and still life drawings. I started to learn about peculiar artists like Henry Vandyke Carter, and Frank Netter, both were medical illustrators. One had illustrated Greys Anatomy, and the other is the father of modern medical illustration. I read many books on both and was fascinated by their experiences and found myself wanting to have some experiences of my own. I originally came to Plymouth State University to pursue another of my life’s devotions, music. However I found myself feeling constricted by the lack of creativity, and found much more joy in my art courses. I gave up music as a profession and use it only for a hobby so I could switch my focus onto medical illustration. I found it difficult to put my desired major into action, as there are currently no programs that focus on illustration and little to no practice of medically related drawing aside from a little basic knowledge in my figure in value class. I had spoken with many different professors about medical illustration and all had little to no understanding of what I was talking about. I met with Dr. Zher to discuss my frustration in choosing a major, and he recommended a degree in interdisciplinary studies. My strange program is one of fascination to many of my current and former professors and all encourage me to pursue a degree in medical illustration. As far as my courses go, I researched the few graduate schools that offer medical illustration degrees, and looked at the prerequisites required for acceptance. I also looked at the undergraduate programs at schools that offered medical illustration as a degree. The association of medical illustrators suggested some courses on their website as well. All were very similar in course requirements. After meeting with my advisors and other teachers in the art programs, I compiled a list of courses that would suffice as a medical illustration degree according to the programs of study I had researched. The prerequisites for the graduate program in medical illustration are listed in two different categories, art & science. For the science aspect of my program the following courses include: General chemistry, Vertebrate anatomy and physiology, and two courses in human anatomy & physiology. For the art portion of my program the requirements are as follows: Drawing, Life drawing, painting, graphic design, color theory or color design, and digital media. I have fulfilled the drawing, figure drawing, and color theory requirements with the following courses: AR1120, Drawing: Objects, Interior, and Landscapes, AR2520, Figure in Value, and AR1045, Art Foundations 2D. To fulfill the remainder of the requirements I have added the following courses to my contract: AG2350, Graphic Design 1, which counts towards my TECO requirement, and AG3530, History of Graphic design, which completes the WRCO requirements. For the completion of my color media requirements I have included AG3010, Painting: Theory and Process, and to complete the digital media requirement I have included AG3050, Digital Multimedia Design. The most rewarding part of my program would be the scientific studies, which is the next half of my program. I have fulfilled half of my biological sciences with BI2110, Human Anatomy & Physiology 1, and BI2130, Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory 1. The bulk of my contract consists of mostly science courses. The requirement of chemistry takes a few credits to complete, and the courses required are as follows: CH2000, Introduction to General Chemistry, CH2335, General Chemistry 1, and CH2335, General Chemistry 2. All of which will be taken over the last two semesters of my senior year. Though it is a heavy course load, I am determined and excited to complete these courses. To complete the Physiology or Vertebrate Anatomy, I will complete the second portion of A&P2: BI2120, Human Anatomy & Physiology 2, and BI2140, Human Anatomy & Physiology Laboratory 2. I am very excited to complete my Cell Biology requirement by taking a class with Dr. Prince, BI4100, Cell Structure and Function. This completes my contract for my interdisciplinary studies major. However, there are some prerequisites for the above courses that fit outside of my contracts 52 credits, but are still equally as important to take. The additional eleven credits will be taken to further my understanding and skill set for my future occupation. AG2330, An Introduction to Graphic Design, to get ready for graphic design 1. AR3040, Painting: Figure in Context will help prepare my portfolio for future graduate studies. I have also been informed by my previous A&P1 professor and current biological studies advisor to take BI2040, Vertebrate Zoology due to the courses incorporation of art in the sciences. Medical illustration itself is an incorporation of many different disciplines. My program incorporates four different majors courses offered here at PSU. Majors such as Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Biological Studies, and Chemistry help to make up my desired major. Medical illustration is an interdisciplinary study by nature. I could not complete my degree unless it was through Interdisciplinary Studies. I plan one day to change the textbooks medical students use for basic studies such as Anatomy and Physiology, and other basic Biological studies. I plan to illustrate injuries for athletes so they can plan accordingly in their training to prevent such injuries. I plan to make medical issues easier for patients to understand on a scientific scale that gives them hope, and understanding for their future medical journey. I find that the human body is explained in such a way that the average person has difficulty understanding their own body, and I want to change the way the world sees health and human sciences. I want to change the tedious task of being a healthy individual, and this program will give me what I need in order to do so.
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5 thoughts on “My Interdisciplinary Studies Contract”

  1. Terrific! Maybe make the course titles BOLD when you submit to the Council, and double check that you cover every course that is in your contract (and no others, except as you do here by adding them in the supplemental section). Well done!

  2. Hi Trysten,

    I really loved reading about your IDS program. It is very well written, and you really showed why you want to major in medical illustration, which is such a huge part of this. I am a peer advisor at the IDS office, and I’ve worked the open houses PSU has. Last week, I actually had a high school student come up to me wanting to do this exact thing. It sounds like such a cool profession, and maybe its growing!

  3. Trysten,
    I absolutely love the sound of your Interdisciplinary Program! I find it really inspiring that you carried on your father’s passions. I didn’t know a lot about medical illustration until I read about what you want to do with it. I have always seen medical illustrations in textbooks and I’ve always thought how much time and patience goes into each illustration. I am an oil painter and I feel like medical illustration uses a lot more technical skills and accuracy. Keep up the great work and best of luck with your illustrations!

  4. I am blown away by your program! Of course I always knew this was a profession because the drawings in my medical books had to come from someone, but it is inspiring to read about your journey into this incredibly cool field. You truly combine the world of art and science and that is amazing to me as I believe science can truly be an art. I am so excited to be able to read your writing on these topics as well as watch your work unfold as you finish your degree! Job well done.

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