Member experiences from the AMI2014 Conference at the Mayo Clinic


... from Audrey Gifford

Pursuing Your Passion: A Lesson Learned at the 2014 AMI Conference

This year I attended my first AMI Conference at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Finding your way from being a student to an employed professional can be a vulnerable time. It is easy to be intimidated rather than inspired by the accomplishments of everyone around you. Andrew Cawrse's presentation during the very first session (Launch!) helped ground me for taking in the numerous speakers to come. He spoke of success coming from pursuing your passion by, a) doing something you love, b) working with mentors, c) exercising "perfect practice," and d) changing your environment.

So as I viewed amazing work while walking around the Salon, as I listened to sessions from people in all part of their careers, students to retirees, and as I caught up with old classmates and professors and met new soon-to-be familiar faces, I didn't worry that as a recent graduate I haven't reached my career goals yet. I know that I'm on my way to success because I'm doing something I love. I've gained mentors I trust and count on and practice my work with as much perfection as I can muster. The AMI conference reminded me why I am excited to be a medical illustrator and that success will come, it just takes time!

Andrew Cawrse

image © Ted Kucklick


... from Megan E. B. Foldenauer, PhD, CMI

Having attended a little more than a decade's-worth of AMI meetings, I knew that the Rochester meeting would have the comforting familiarity of faces and highlights (e.g., the salon, award's night, alumni dinners) but would also have unexpected, and hopefully inspiring, content. The depth and breadth of the latter, however, blew me away at this year's meeting.

With the new TED talk-inspired format, we attendees were able to stay together as a group and didn't miss a thing—a welcome change from this illustrator's perspective!

The central focus of the meeting was 'stories,' and, as I expected, I heard from fellow illustrators, friends, and colleagues-stories of their careers, challenges, and projects. But then! Two of my favorite artists from my explorations online, both of whom exist in the periphery of our profession—Danny Quirk and Lisa Nilsson—were in front of me, explaining their processes and adding insight from their unique perspectives. Andrew Cawrse, an animator whose work I was familiar with was there, making Z-Brush® less intimidating and inspiring me with his engaging style and thought-provoking story.

Further, I did not anticipate absorbing information that directly relates to a current challenge I'm facing in my new position at the University of Michigan—combining social media, visualization, and scientific content! The speakers of "Session 7: Perceive" implored me to question how I represent my data sets and the impact my choices have on patients. Lastly, an unexpected emotional moment hearing from the "other side"—Christopher Moir, MD—and the importance that his medical illustration collaborators made in the separation of conjoined twins. Affirming!

Excited, I brought all I had learned back to Ann Arbor. How could I incorporate all of this into my position; how would it inspire me in the year(s) to come? How can I step up more and serve the AMI to create more experiences like these for future attendees?

Copious thanks to the Association for a stellar 2014 meeting!


Lisa Nilsson

 image © Lisa Nilsson