Faces of BVIS: Alex Cook

Faces of BVIS is a feature that spotlights our talented second-year students. Meet the amazing Alex Cook!

FacesOfBVIS_Alex Cook-1


Q & A with the Class of 2019

With our summer semester in full swing, and the Association of Medical Illustrator’s Conference right around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to get up close and personal with some of the students in our Biomedical Visualization class of 2019. They have just finished their first full year of coursework and have another year to go, so below are a few questions we asked them on how their BVIS experience has been thus far and looking towards the future, from their research to meeting the new first year class this fall.

How would you describe your first year at BVIS?

Many students come from diverse backgrounds and education, but it seems everyone finds a home here at BVIS. Sarah Quattrocki comments:

“To say that I hit the jackpot would be an understatement. I’ve found an amazing group of people who are all endlessly curious, supportive, and have a unique way of looking at the world that mirrors my own. In college, I was always a touch too analytical for the ‘art kids’ and a little too dreamy and creative for the engineering and business kids that made up the bulk of my friends. In the BVIS family, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that I’ve found a group of people that will continue to impact my life for years to come.”

The first year at BVIS is an exciting one, with multiple new programs and media to learn. Student Casey Garr says:

“My first year at BVIS really solidified that this is exactly the field that I want to be in. I have loved learning new skills, connecting with people who have similar interests, and discovering what specific aspects of this field I would like to pursue.”

What are you most looking forward to for the 2018 AMI conference in Boston?

The Association of Medical Illustrators is a valuable resource for students and professionals alike. For some students, the 2018 conference in Boston, Massachusetts will be their first experience. Alex Cook replies:

“The thing I am looking forward to most about the 2018 AMI conference is the exposure to the professional side of this field. Grad school is a great segway into professional life but getting to see where our in-class knowledge is applied will be really cool. I feel like this conference will be a big source of inspiration for me.”

The conference is also a terrific opportunity for students of all four accredited programs to meet and collaborate. Sarah Quattrocki comments on this, stating:

“I’m excited to meet students from the other graduate programs and share our first-year experiences! I think it’s great that all the schools have slightly different focuses because it means our field is full of people with diverse interests and areas of expertise.”

Describe an aspect of the research process you feel will be challenging yet rewarding.

As the class of 2019 starts their second year at BVIS, the research journey begins. Several students commented on their feelings about the tough, yet rewarding, road ahead. One student, Nicole Ethan, describes:

“Constantly reading papers for my literature review is definitely a challenge but my research, and the animation I will create for my research, will benefit from the time I put into it now.”

Other students will be working with a research population overseas. Casey Garr discusses the challenges of working on an international scale stating:

“For my research, I will be working with a population in Nigeria. It will be challenging – but very interesting – creating health-related visuals for a population that speaks different languages and is of mixed literacy and health literacy levels.”

What is one thing you hope to achieve in your second year at BVIS?

The class of 2019 has multiple goals to achieve within their next year at BVIS, and we asked them to describe a few of them for us. Alex Cook remarks:

“In my second year, I am hoping to really focus on creating things with the intention of showing future employers. We have a lot going on and I think sometimes the extra steps to really polish something up get overlooked. I guess right now, I’m just focusing on learning the exercises and, in the future. I will go back and polish them up. I am also hoping to be on top of research at all times and never be stressed but that is more like a wish than a hope!”

Two years flies by, and our students try to make the most of that time. The next year will be filled with new and exciting experiences. Nicole Ethan says:

“I hope to come out of this program proud of what I have learned and created during my 2 years here and ready to tackle the world.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to the incoming first year class?

With fall approaching fast, BVIS will be welcoming a whole new class of students. This is an exciting time and we asked the second-years to give some advice for the incoming class. Sarah Mientka suggests:

“One piece of advice I would give an incoming first year is make sure you take time to sketch in anatomy lab, it is such a valuable opportunity to sketch anatomy from life. Truthfully it might be the only time you have the opportunity to do this!”

Casey Garr suggests:

“Be open to the different paths that you can take through this program and in this field – you never know what you will like until you are exposed to and experience something new! Also, always save files in multiple places…learned that lesson the hard way.”

We look forward to the months ahead, building new skills and relationships with the incoming class.