Brittany Bennett took a fascinating path into medical illustration through PAFA's coordinated BFA program with the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1929, the coordinated Bachelor of Fine Arts program has paired PAFA's renowned fine arts studio training with an Ivy League liberal arts education at Penn.
"I knew very early on that I wanted to pursue scientific illustration. The coordinated degree program was a great fit for me because it allowed me to develop my technical drawing and painting skills at PAFA while also taking biology and chemistry courses at Penn. With my biology minor, I am at an advantage for applying to jobs, internships, and graduate programs in scientific illustration because not only can I draw — but I can understand the science of what I’m drawing. I was surprised by how much my studio practice was inspired by my academic studies. The major work of my final year at PAFA ended up being deeply informed by anatomy, historical medicine, medical imaging, gender studies, and religious iconography — all topics that I explored in my various classes at Penn.
"The flexibility of the coordinated degree program is its greatest advantage; I essentially tailored my own curriculum. And with plenty of Penn courses offered in the night and evening, scheduling around my daytime Pafa classes was easy. There’s even a shuttle between the two campuses. Access to Penn’s “perks," such as the transportation services, libraries, labs, and online resources has been very helpful. In fact, as I worked on anatomical illustrations in my studio, I often referenced a digital interactive anatomical model that Penn has as an online resource.
"It's rigorous, there’s no denying that. However, with the rigor comes a top-notch education, great opportunities, a diverse community, and maybe even the inspiration for your next magnum opus."