Photo: Class of 2022, from L-to-R, Kate Davis, Sarah Sutton, Colin Stirt, Kirstyn Smart, Clara Oh, Elayna Miller, Allen Hagan, Corynne Gamboa, and Kelly Frankel.

We're delighted to announce the graduation of the Class of 2022. As seen in the accompanying photo, the Class of 2022 is, L=to-R: Kate Davis, Sarah Sutton, Colin Stirt, Kirstyn Smart, Clara Oh, Elayna Miller, Allen Hagan, Corynne Gamboa, and Kelly Frankel.. They each have successfully completed the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Medical Illustration (MSMI). Congratulations to this outstanding group of bright, talented and ambitious young professional medical illustrators!

Photo of Peter Naktin and Amanda Behr.

Graduate Research Day (GRD) at Augusta University showcases the research performed by graduate students, including those in our accredited Medical Illustration Graduate Program. In the GRD awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 19th, Peter Naktin (’23) received a singular honor. Please join us in congratulating Peter on winning the Octavia Garlington Award for Instructional Design – Poster. He received the award for his scientific poster entitled, “Effective Instructions for At-Home Sleep Apnea Testing: Brochure Design for Patient Education.” The poster summarizes his exploration of patient education during the production of a brochure designed for patients with sleep apnea. In the abstract, Peter says:

“Patients seeking a diagnosis for sleep apnea seek expert care from Augusta University’s Sleep Center, where they are encouraged to use a portable, self-deployed home sleep testing monitor. Correct use of this monitor presents physicians with enough data to make a reliable diagnosis. Unfortunately, existing manufacturer instructional materials are not satisfactory; several patients a week do not successfully apply the test. These patients often pay more and delay appropriate treatment for their sleep apnea through repeat testing and more expensive in-lab polysomnography tests in some instances. The Sleep center sought to develop more effective educational materials to help patients avoid common mistakes when deploying the test, thereby reducing the incidence of failed attempts. For reluctant patients, difficulty during this initial stage may have a dampening effect on treatment compliance down the line. Therefore, materials also included concepts clarifying long-term cardiovascular health risks as a result of untreated sleep apnea. The resulting 8-page, map fold brochure provided step-by-step home testing instructions and clarified the severity of sleep apnea to Sleep Center patients. The reading level and demographics of the target audience were considered. Medical illustration techniques were used in the design, color choices, and illustrations. Reviewers felt that the resulting materials were legible, visually engaging, and adhered to a logical flow of instruction.”

Assoc. Professor Amanda Behr was Peter’s advisor on this project. Congratulations, Peter!

Photo: Research award recipients Clara Oh and Elayna Miller.

Clara Oh (Class of ‘22) and Elayna Miller (Class of ‘22) have received awards from the Vesalius Trust.

Clara Oh received the prestigious Joyce McGill Scholarship. This is the penultimate honor from the Vesalius Trust. The award is for her proposed master’s project, “An Interactive Module to Enhance Understanding of Tests That Diagnose for Myocarditis.” Clara is working with content advisors Asst. Prof. Amanda Barrett, MD, Prof. Richard Cameron, PhD, Prof. Wael AlJaroudi, MD, and Asso. Prof. Amanda Behr, MA. Clara is from California and earned her undergraduate degree from the Univ. of California San Diego. Clara is a legacy student, her parents are Steve Oh (Class of ‘91) and Myriam Kirkman Oh (Class of ‘91).

Elayna is one of only five Vesalian Scholars and received a research grant for her master’s project, “Cholecystectomy Simulation Model.” This soft tissue surgical simulator is designed for training surgical residents here at MCG and beyond. Elayna is working with content advisor Asst. Prof. Bao-Ling Adam, PhD, and major advisor Assoc. Prof. Amanda Behr, MA. Elayna is from Ohio and earned her undergraduate degree at the Columbus College of Art & Design.

Please join us in congratulating these exceptionally bright and talented young medical illustrators!

Founded in 1988, the Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences and fosters the study, research, and practice in visual communication of health information at all levels. From childhood through the practice of medicine and cutting-edge research, learning from quality imagery is increasingly important in today’s high energy digital world.

Thanks to the generosity of family,  friends, students and alumni, the Octavia Garlington Medical Illustration Fund has been established with the Augusta University Foundation. Gifts to this endowed fund exclusively benefit the students in the Medical Illustration Graduate Program. For information about giving, please contact Sarah Akins at

Click here for the full story about Octavia Garlington and this new endowed memorial fund.

Photo of Clara Oh at the computer.

Thanks to our award-winning students, the Medical Illustration Graduate Program was recently in the news. Clara Oh (Class of 2022) and many of our students were featured in a beautifully produced story by Zayna Haliburton on WRDW Channel 12 here in Augusta. 

Photo by  Michael Holahan/Augusta University

Photo of Octavia Garlington.
Emerita Professor Octavia Garlington (Class of 1961) died peacefully on the afternoon of August 26th at her home in Evans, GA. Octavia, “Tavie” to her friends, was born April 26th, 1927, in the Republic of Panama. She and her family—her parents, brother and sister—lived in the Panama Canal Zone until she left for college in 1945 after graduating from Balboa High School.

In 1949, Octavia received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Octavia went on to study library science in the School of Graduate Studies at Emory University, in Atlanta. In 1951, she enrolled in education courses at the University of South Carolina. In 1954, she accepted a position at Agnes Scott College in the Biology Department and later worked as Assistant to the Dean of Students. While at Agnes Scott, Octavia found time to study art history and take several studio classes. In 1957 and ’58, she took studio art courses at the Atlanta Art Institute. Then she became aware of the field of medical illustration.

She arrived in Augusta in 1958 and matriculated as a member of the Class of 1961 in the Medical Illustration Graduate Program at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). After receiving her Master of Science in Medical Illustration, Octavia became an instructor in the program, eventually moving up the ranks to full Professor. She served briefly as Chief of Art Services, Division of Biomedical Communications at MCG, as well as Acting Program Director of the academic program for a time. In 1968, she helped to design the faculty regalia for MCG, and in 1984 she designed the official flag for the university. Octavia retired from daily teaching responsibilities in 1990. As Emerita Professor she participated in special seminars on the history of medical illustration and in the development of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program.

She was active in her professional organization, the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI), and was a Professional member since 1964. Octavia served on the AMI’s Board of Governors for twenty years and held the offices of Vice Chair, Vice President, and Corresponding Secretary. She also served as the Chair of numerous important committees. In 1988, she was elected a Fellow of the AMI in recognition of her dedicated service to the profession.

During her long and distinguished career Octavia received many awards and honors. She received the AMI’s Outstanding Service Award twice, and in 2001 she received the AMI’s Brödel Award for Excellence in Education. In 1990, she received the Ranice W. Crosby Distinguished Achievement Award from the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2000, Octavia received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award for Outstanding Citizenship from Converse College. At MCG (now Augusta University), she was elected to Alpha Eta, the honor society in the allied health sciences. Octavia received the Outstanding Faculty Award in Allied Health Sciences at MCG, and in 2004 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Allied Health Sciences Alumni Association. She twice received the Distinguished Service Award from the MCG Faculty Organization. In 2018, the Dept. of Medical Illustration recognized her many contributions to the Medical Illustration Graduate Program and profession by naming an award in her honor, the Octavia Garlington Award for Instructional Design/Poster.

After retirement in 1990, she volunteered with the Augusta Genealogy Society as a librarian and served on numerous committees. Despite all these honors and awards she was most proud of the successes of her many students.

Octavia now rests alongside her parents and siblings. She was interred in the family plot in Rosemont Cemetery, Newberry, SC, on Saturday, September 11th.

Memorial gifts may be directed to the Octavia Garlington Medical Illustration Fund in the Augusta University Foundation. You may mail your gift to:

Octavia Garlington Medical Illustration Fund
Augusta University Foundation
Attn: Sarah Akins
1120 15th St, AD 1104
Augusta, GA 30912


Invitation to white coat ceremony on August 28, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. in Pavilion 3, room 1106, 1471 Laney-Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA.

The Admissions Committee for the Medical Illustration Graduate Program has updated the requirements for the Applicant Digital Portfolio. In brief, five (5) figure drawings are now required, the portfolio must be built using the downloadable PowerPoint template, and all portfolios are to be submitted digitally online. For full details, instructions, and examples of portfolio content from successful applicants, please visit the MIGP Applicant Digital Portfolio of Artwork section of the Admissions

For questions about these new requirements or about the application requirements and admission process, please email Program Director Bill Andrews.

Drawing of a hairy nevus, by Octavia Garlington, 1961.

As part of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of our first graduate, we will have an Alumni Exhibit. Also known as a salon, the exhibit will feature outstanding examples of medical illustration and animation created by our graduates over the last seven decades. Alumni are especially encourage to submit their rendition of the Hairy Nevus and their student self-portrait.  If you are an alum and would like to enter the salon, please complete the Exhibit Entry Form by Monday, August 16th and email it to or send by surface mail to:
Dept. of Medical Illustration
1120 15th St., CJ-1101
Augusta, GA 30912-0300.

Photo: Our first graduate, Robert C. Benassi, with Professor O.A. Parkes. The year is 1950.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the granting of the first Master of Science in Medical Illustration (MSMI) degree to Robert C. Benassi, in 1951. In the photo above, Benassi is on the left and Prof. O.A. Parkes is at right.

We will celebrate this landmark anniversary live and in-person during AU's annual Alumni Weekend 2021. This year Alumni Weekend will be held October 22 - 24. Our celebration will include historical presentations, continuing education activities, exhibitions, and social events.

If you are an alumni of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program and would like to present a paper or give a demo, please complete the Call for Papers and return it to by Monday, August 16.

If you would like to attend our 70th Anniversary Celebration & O.A. Parkes Symposium, please complete the Registration Form and return it to or to:
Dept. of Medical Illustration
1120 15th St., CJ-1101
Augusta, GA, 30912-0300.

Photo: The Class of 2021 in their white coats.

Photo: The Class of 2021 posing outdoors.

We're delighted to announce the graduation of the Class of 2021. Shown in the bottom photo: standing L-to-R are Annie White-Canale, Max Perim, Andrea Lacy,  Linden Pederson, Kristin Piciacchia, and Jordan Thornton; and kneeling L-to-R are Mason Goth, Madison Christian,  and Anekay Kelly. They each have successfully completed the requirements for the degree Master of Science in Medical Illustration (MSMI). Congratulations to this outstanding group of bright, talented and resilient young professional medical illustrators!

Photo: Linden Pederson

Congratulations to Linden Pederson (Class ’21) for receiving a Research Grant from the Vesalius Trust!

Linden received this research grant to assist with her Master’s Project, entitled “Interactive Apple iBook Based on Obstetrical Management of Dystocia in the Cow.” For this project, Linden is working with Robyn Ellerbrock, DVM, PhD, and James Moore, DVM, PhD, at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, in Athens. Adjunct Asst. Professor Brad Gilleland, MSMI, CMI, (Class ’02) is serving as Technical Advisor on the project, and Prof. Bill Andrews, MA, CMI, FAMI is serving as linden’s Major Advisor.

Art: Fetal Calf
Linden’s Master’s Project involves training veterinary students about how best to deal with dystocia. In her project proposal, Linden said, “Dystocia is a delayed or difficult parturition commonly due to a fetal abnormality such as maldispostion where the head or a limb is bent at an unusual angle. Obstetrical management of dystocia in the cow is challenging to teach due to difficulty visualizing the fetal abnormalities and appropriate manual manipulations needed, mostly because the corrective procedures take place within the animal’s reproductive tract where no one can see them. This impacts a veterinary student’s ability to understand the necessary steps to resolve the problem and deliver the calf safely. Dystocia is the most important factor impacting fetal survival and cost of reproductive conditions due to the high potential of death for both the fetus and cow. This suggests a necessity in the proper training of veterinary students in the treatment of this condition. The teaching material currently used at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary medicine is textual, with few images or illustrations of equine anatomy, which although similar to bovine anatomy, propounds differences in procedure. The purpose of this project is to combine illustrations, animations, and 3D models in an interactive iBook and virtual reality simulation that will improve veterinary students’ ability to visualize the anatomy and spatial relationships. This will enable them to better appreciate the medical intervention they need to take and improve the clinical outcome of reproductive emergencies in cows evaluated by these students.” 

The Vesalius Trust is a public foundation (501c3) supporting research and education in visual communications in the health sciences. More information about the Vesalius Trust can be found at


 Photo of Andrea Lacy

Please join us in congratulating Andrea Lacy (Class ’21) on her induction into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Andrea came to us from Columbus, IN. She earned a BS in Biology degree, with a minor in Illustration, from Indiana Wesleyan University.

PKP is the premiere international honor society in higher education. Among graduate students who have completed at least one full year of study, only the top 10% academically are eligible for membership in this century-old community of scholars and professionals. The PKP motto is “Let the love of learning rule humanity.” The mission of the Society is: “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

Congratulations, Andrea, on this well-deserved recognition of your academic efforts and achievements! You are a true credit to the Medical Illustration Graduate Program, the College of Allied Health Sciences, and The Graduate School at Augusta University.

Illustration of COVID-19 coronavirus.
It's early April 2020 and you could easily say that Alissa Eckert (Class ‘06) is the most famous medical illustrator in the world. Not only has her iconic image of the coronavirus captured the world’s imagination, but the media’s hunger for any COVID-19-related news has made her a celebrity. Click on the following link to read more about Alissa and the "Image Seen Round the World" in the December AU Alumni Magazine.

COVID-19 Image

The Dept. of Medical Illustration is pleased to announce that several of our talented alumni—and alumni-owned companies—have recently received high honors for their brilliant work. Amazing illustrations, animations, interactive media and sculptures were on display in the Professional Salon held online this Fall by the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI). Celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year, the AMI is the preeminent international professional society in this field.  Click on the following link for the full story about our Award-winning Alumni (PDF).

Photo of William C. "Kip" Carter

The Dept. of Medical Illustration is delighted to announce that William C. “Kip” Carter is the 2020 recipient of the Robert C. Benassi Outstanding Alumni Award. Kip is a member of the Class of ‘82.

There’s an old adage that says, “if you need something done, find a busy person.” Kip is that busy person, he gets things done. And whatever he does, he gives it 100%. Kip is dedicated to the profession, committed to the craft, and driven by the pursuit of excellence. In describing his talents as a medical illustrator, Charles Boyter stated, “His skills are second to none.” The Medical Illustration Graduate Program, and the profession, are indeed better and stronger for his involvement.

Click the following link for the full story about Kip Carter and the Robert C. Benassi Outstanding Alumni Award (PDF).

Photo of William B. Westwood.
Dean Mitchell Watsky, PhD and The Graduate School are pleased to announce that William B. Westwood is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award. Bill is a 1972 graduate of our Medical Illustration Graduate Program. The award is sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement.

In his remarks, Watsky said, “In addition to being an exceptionally accomplished medical artist, he is a renowned leader in his profession. He is a well-respected teacher, mentor and advisor on business issues and artists’ rights. Bill is a dedicated alumnus and supporter of our Dept. of Medical Illustration, serving as an Asst. Adjunct Professor and as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Graduate Program. Through his professional work and service, Mr. Westwood has embodied the values and vision of The Graduate School. I am delighted that we can recognize him through this Distinguished Alumni Award.”

Click the following link for full story about Bill Westwood and the Distinguished Alumni Award (PDF).

Photo: The Medical illustration Class of 2020, standing, left to right are Ryan Reed, Katharine Thompson, Megan Ward, Amanda Manowski, Keri Jones, Anna DeMario, Benjamin Brown, Victoria Rogers and Weston DeWolff.
The Dept. of Medical Illustration and the Medical Illustration Graduate Program are delighted to announce the bright and talented graduates of the Class of 2020—
Benjamin Brown
Anna DeMario
Weston DeWolff
Keri Jones
Amanda Manowski
Victoria Rogers
Katharine Thompson
Megan Ward

Flyer: Announcement of 2020 Masters's Showcase in Medical Illustration.
Each spring the graduating class of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program premiere their completed Masters' Projects at the Masters' Showcase. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year's Showcase was conducted online.

Each Spring, our students select two of their finest artworks for exhibition. Usually, the artwork would be premiered in the annual Student Scientific & Medical Illustration Exhibition held at the Lamar Dodd School of Art on the University of Georgia, Athens. Following this 2-week show, the exhibition moves to the Robert B. Greenblatt MD Library on the health sciences campus of Augusta University for a 6-week engagement. To cap the tour, the medical illustration portion of the exhibit moves to the Dean’s Gallery in The Graduate School, where it is on display for 7 months. But this is not a typical year—presented as an online gallery for the first time are the curated works of the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.

Artwork: The Covid-19 virus by alissa Eckert and Dan Higgins.Alissa Eckert (Class of ’06) works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta. Alissa is the amazing medical illustrator who along with Dan Higgins created the now-iconic image of Covid-19. Read about Alissa and this amazing image in "The Image Seen Round the World" by Eric Johnson for the Jagwire.

Photo: Katharine Thompson and Keri Jones, Class of 2020, named Vesalian Scholars of the Vesalius Trust.The Dept. of Medical Illustration is pleased to announce that seniors Katharine Thompson and Keri Jones have been recognized as Vesalian Scholars by the Vesalius Trust and will receive scholarships.

Katharine has been named as a Vesalian Scholar for her Masters Project, entitled “An Interactive Learning Module to Teach Chest Examination.” MCG faculty Dr. Elena Wood is Katharine’s content advisor and Prof. Bill Andrews is Major Advisor on her project.

Keri has been named as a Vesalian Scholar for her Masters Project, titled “An Interactive iBook on Type II and III Hypersensitivity.” DCG faculty Dr. Zoya Kurago is Keri’s content advisor and Assoc. Professor Mike Jensen is her Major Advisor.

The Vesalius Trust is the leading public foundation supporting research and education in visual communication in the health sciences. Further information about the VT can be viewed at

All of our seniors deserve recognition for independently undertaking complex Masters Projects which creatively address and solve a real communication or educational issue in health care. We are especially delighted that Katharine and Keri have been recognized by the Vesalius Trust for their singular efforts. Congratulations Katharine & Keri!