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Aspen Walk

Shawna R Snyder, MA

Biomedical Illustrator & Animator


Growing up on a pig farm in Iowa, I formed a connection with nature by drawing the birds I spotted in the woods. In college at Iowa State University, I was lucky to find the Biological/Pre-Medical Illustration program. There I could pursue technical drawing and learn about science and biology. The love of the outdoors continued to grow through annual camping trips to the Boundary Waters with my teachers and classmates, and internships with some of Iowa State’s best entomologists and biologists.

I was accepted to graduate school but was asked to wait a year to attend – which I happily accepted. In my year off, I studied ornithology, entomology, and took a three-month camping trip to Patagonia, Chile. There I collected rare crane flies, illustrated flora and fauna for National Parks, hiked the Andes mountains, and was introduced to permaculture farming. It was an incredible experience farming in a different hemisphere.

Back in the States, I started my Master Degree with 6 amazing classmates at the Art as Applied to Medicine Department at Johns Hopkins University. In the first year, we studied human anatomy with the incoming medical students and learned a barrage of illustration techniques. The second-year was more independent, and I learned how to manage projects with the help of the incredible staff at Hopkins. It was an intense learning environment, but I’m grateful for the bonds I developed with my fellow students. Living in Baltimore was a very different experience from Iowa, but I still managed to grow plants on my fire escape and get out and hike every now and then.

In March 2020, my ‘content expert’ and husband matched in Emergency Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. So, in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we moved back to the Midwest. In Wisconsin, I work remotely for UWorld Medical, an online student education platform that provides study resources for medical students. There I create rigorously reviewed medical illustrations and 3D animations to teach medical science. I’m lucky to be a part of such a great team. I also have a number of freelance clients who keep me busy.

If you’d like to get in touch, don’t hesitate. I’m especially interested in women’s health and providing educational resources for minorities, the underprivileged, the unheard, and would welcome such opportunities!


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine | 2016 – 2018
Department of Art as Applied to Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Master of Arts in Medical and Biological Illustration
Thesis – Stem Cell Orchestra: interactive didactic animation for cardiac tissue engineering

Iowa State University | 2011 – 2015
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Ames, IA
Bachelor of Arts in Biological/Pre-medical Illustration


UWorld Medical | 2021 – present
Medical Illustrator & Animator
Create still and didactic media for USMLE learning modules. 

Rendia Inc. | 2018 – 2020
Medical Animator
Manage scriptwriter, animation pipeline, check anatomical accuracy, and develop animations from script to final deliverable.

Grayson Lab for Craniofacial & Orthopaedic Tissue Engineering | 2018 – Present
Medical Illustrator

Create schematics for academic presentations, publications, and proposals. 

2020   Medical Illustrator National Center for Outdoor and Adventure Education
2020   Medical Illustrator Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
2019   Medical Illustrator SIGVARIS Compression Therapy
2018   Storyboard Illustrator XVIVO Scientific Animation
2017   Medical Sculptor The Johns Hopkins Medicine Simulation Center

2017   Biological Illustrator National Aquarium in Baltimore
2016   Botanical Illustrator Baltimore City Conservatory
2015   Entomological Illustrator Centro de Investigacion en Ecosistemas de la Patagonia
2015   Entomological Illustrator Iowa State University Insect Collection


  • Rindone, L. Craniofacial Bone-Tissue Engineering: Heparin-Conjugated Decellularized Bone Particles Promote Enhanced Osteogenic Signaling of PDGF-BB to Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in Tissue Engineered Bone Grafts. “Advanced Healthcare Materials” Cover for volume 8, Issue 10, May 23, 2019.


  • Snyder S, Dittmar J, Shaffer K (2017) Stranded in Cape Cod Bay. In: National Aquarium Animal Rescue Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Husbandry Manual, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD.
  • Snyder S, Dittmar J, Shaffer K (2017) Stranded in Cape Cod Bay. In: Level 1 Animal Rescue, Level 1 Sea Turtle Volunteer Training. In: National Aquarium Animal, Baltimore, MD.


  • Gilbert-Honick J., Grayson W., (2019) Vascularized and Innervated Skeletal Muscle Tissue Engineering, Advanced Healthcare Materials, 1900626.
  • Morrissette-McAlmon J., Hawthorne R., Grayson W., Snyder S., (2018) Strategies for Tissue Engineering Vascularized Cardiac Patches to Treat Myocardial Infarctions. Biophysical Regulation of Vascular Differentiation and Assembly, pp. 141-175
  • Madriz R., Courtney G. (2016) The Neotropical tanyderid Araucoderus gloriosus (Diperta, Tanyderidae), with description of the egg, larva and pupa, redescription of adults, and notes on natural history. Zootaxa 4158(3): 325-351


2019 Professional Salon Association of Medical Illustrators, Milwaukee WI
2018 Student Salon Association of Medical Illustrators, Boston MA
2018 Infinite Potentials SciArt Center, New York Hall of Science and Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, New York City NY and Cambridge UK
2018 DOM Research Retreat: Re-engineering Medical Discovery Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD
2017 Surgical Illustration Public Forum Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD
2017 Student Salon Association of Medical Illustrators, Austin TX
2016 The Les & Carol Kirkegaard Orchid Collection The Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Baltimore MD
2015 Boundary Waters Fine Art Exhibition Great Lakes Aquarium, Duluth MN
2014 Boundary Waters Fine Art Exhibition Art on Main, Ames IA
2014 BPMI 20th Anniversary Student Exhibition College of Design, Ames IA
2012 Studies in Creativity College of Design, Ames IA


Creator of professional visualizations.

My work:

  • Helps patients make informed choices about their health
  • Translates biomedical research into publication/grant friendly schematics
  • Teaches juries about complex anatomical relationships
  • Promotes services for clinics, practices, and more



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