Story

Erina He
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Alumna (2016), MSc, Biomedical Communications

I have lived in China, Japan, Canada, and the US. I completed my BSc in Neuroscience and Physiology at the University of California - San Diego. For a long time, I thought of going into a medical profession, but I was reluctant to give up my passion for drawing. I was excited to come to the University of Toronto where Biomedical Communications (BMC) allowed me to pursue both of my interests.

The most important aspect of visual communication is being able to use all the resources available to me; I wanted to be on the frontier of new visualization methods. I found that of all the medical illustration programs in North America, BMC at U of T had the most emphasis on current technology and research. From their webpage, I found the past students’ work to be so innovative, creative—it was absolutely incredible. When I was applying for graduate school, I had my heart set solely on this program.

The most remarkable feature in this program is how passionate everyone is; I am surrounded by talented people who want to succeed and want me to succeed. Although students come from diverse backgrounds, we all share the same interests. BMC is such a specialized and close-knit department that I feel comfortable reaching out to anyone for their expertise on a topic. Being able to reach our faculty has been the most helpful aspect in this experience. We are often assigned topics that we don't have background in, but there is always someone who can point us in the right direction.

In March, I attended a student conference in Georgia where I got to see what other medical illustration programs are like, and what their students are doing. There were also student and staff presentations on various topics in the field. This exciting experience gave me a better idea of what the profession is like, and who I might be working with in the future.

My research takes on an interactive way to explain misconceptions about molecular interactions. After graduation, I would like to work as a professional medical illustrator and/or a user interface designer. I hope to work with companies that emphasize student education, patient education, and environmental awareness. On the side, I plan to freelance and hopefully find something that lets me travel.

If you are a self-driven, creative person who is passionate about science, technology, and art, then this is the program for you! In BMC, as in most graduate programs, you get out of the program what you put into it. We sometimes work with people who have never heard of us, and they are just blown away with what we can do with their research or topic. There is so much to learn in this two-year program that you have to be proactive to get the most out of it.

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