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Home » Discover Rackham » Alumni Spotlight: Bridget Rafferty

Bridget toured the newly renovated School of Public Health space last fall through a different lens than most returning alums: that of prospective student. “My graduate education at Michigan was amazing. I had opportunities that opened my eyes to all of the things I could do with my life. The cross-discipline education I received was one of my best experiences on campus. I took classes in the School of Art & Design, the Medical School, and the School of Public Health. These combined experiences have shaped my career into one that is changing regularly.” The faculty support she received as a Master’s student made all the difference in her Michigan experience. “Meetings with faculty across many disciplines helped me to narrow and define my thesis research and to decide the avenues I wanted to pursue post-graduation. The sage advice I received from them has stuck with me as I navigate in my career.”

Outer structure of the human ear by Bridget Rafferty
Outer structure of the human ear by Bridget Rafferty.

At U-M, Bridget studied Medical Illustration with a focus on Public Health. She is using her M.F.A. degree as a Fine Arts instructor at a private Middle School and High School just outside Seattle, WA, and also works as a freelance medical illustrator and graphic designer.

Bridget combines art and science in most aspects of her life. “I travel both as a tourist and to work in the developing world. In the years since I’ve graduated, I’ve traveled throughout Europe, spending time in different cultures and finding as much art as I possibly can to ogle, from Michelangelo to GaudÍ; I’ve worked in Latin America in medical clinics as a translator and health educator; and I accompanied a group of my students to Uganda to set up computer labs in schools and train teachers and students to use them.”

When asked what she would do differently if she were back in graduate school again, she is quick to exclaim, “Stay longer and soak up more information!” That may be one reason she’s come back to campus for a tour of the public health facilities. “The health education component really interests me. I started with some coursework and a thesis, but my primary focus was on the artistic aspects of biomedical illustration. I’m thinking about coming back to finish the medical and public health aspect of my degree.”

Her advice to current graduate students is, “Don't get locked in after graduate school – expect that your career might flex and flux and not be exactly what you studied and that's ok. Take advantage of the alumni events wherever you live and network with fellow Michigan grads, who are supportive and great resources. Your Michigan diploma is an amazing piece of paper that tells people you are well-prepared.”