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Rachel Glenn
Excellence Award Winner
Medical Illustration
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Medical Illustration improves lives as a mode of visual communication enhancing medical education and health care around the world.

I am fueled by an eternal fire to constantly learn and progress my knowledge further.


My favorite part of Medical Illustration is taking information about topics that someone has spent years researching and developing, and bringing it to life. To be able to display their findings to the rest of the world in a visual way is an indescribable feeling. Sixty-five percent of humans are visual learners, and even those who consider themselves not most likely have never seen a microscopic organism like a Radiolaria, the three-dimensional shape of an alveolus, or the detachment of a retina. Every time I can take a complex topic and bring it to an audience and see the “ah-hah” moment on their face, be it for understanding or relating, makes it all worth it.


Complex doesn’t have to mean complicated.


Growing comprehension on topics such as medical procedures, diseases, disorders, illnesses, or even basic human functions and anatomy is always eye-opening. But when you can bring that information to those who need it, such as someone undergoing surgery or an at-risk candidate and allow them to fully understand their own body or that which is happening to them, be it positive or negative, bridges the gap between the unknown and reality.


I never want those moments to stop.


My art is an extension of me. Each piece I create not only represents my skills and ability but also exhibits a bit of my artistic soul. I’d like to think that I pour myself into my work, that each brushstroke has a purpose. I originally worked traditionally, enjoying the blend and flexibility of oil paints, but soon discovered the hidden world of digital art. Much of my art in recent years has been focused on a 3D sculpting program and later rendered out. This new change in medium allowed my work and style to grow exponentially.  Here I can create an object in the round digitally and truly get a feel for the size, weight, and structure of my subject matter. This is essential in representing accurate information about medical fields. Taking on a new medium, especially that of the digital world, was exceedingly difficult at first, but as my need to learn more, building skills in other forms of art have helped push my boundaries.


My overall goal in life is to bring about works of art I can share with others, and in doing so creating my own happiness through it.

What is your most memorable

experience at KCAD?

The thirst for knowledge has always been a driving force for me. The want to understand and comprehend the world around me is what put me on the path to become a Medical Illustrator. The individuals I have run into and the opportunities given to me because of this chosen field has led to an abundance of mastery in skills I didn't even know were possible. The moment that truly shaped these abilities was the day I stepped into my first Cadaver Lab.


Through the collaboration between KCAD and Michigan State University, I was able to participate in the extraordinary Willed Bodies Program. This is where I strengthened my understanding of human anatomy, proportions, and cellular make-up, and brought about a whole new level in my artistic prowess. Each day that I left the lab, I felt my cultivated skill set flourish. This only fueled my passion more. I strive to understand the ever-evolving medical and artistic fields and eagerly anticipate the opportunities that unfold before me.

What are your most

notable accomplishments?

  • Consecutive 4 year GPA of 3.95

  • 7 (will be 8) semesters of being recognized on the President's List

  • Worked in conjunction with the Lewis Lab at Harvard University to portray the advancements in 3D bioprinting of human organs

  • Designing and 3D printing detailed and accurate representations of human anatomy

  • Participated and completed a graduate-level Prosection Lab

  • Gained anatomical knowledge through MSU's Gross Anatomy program

  • Receiving recognition:

    • Art Day Scholarship

    • Portfolio Scholarship

    • Dean's Scholarship

    • Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship

    • Kendall Merit Scholarship

  • ​​Exhibitions:

    • 2018 - "Jon McDonald and Friends" held at the Uptown Gallery

    • 2019 - "Treewhispers" International Collaboration held at the Kalamazoo Nature Center

    • 2019 - "Coexistence" held at the (106) Gallery and Studio

  • Recipient of the 2020 Medical Illustration Excellence Award

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