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Scholar in the Spotlight

Gus WhiteCourtney Wombles is a senior in the College Scholars Program pursuing a program of study entitled “Biomedical Visualization and Health Literacy.” Accompanied by a Biological Sciences minor, Courtney’s program focuses on the intersections between science and medicine, art and design, and health information and education. By focusing the majority of her coursework in the University of Tennessee’s Biological Sciences department and the School of Art, Courtney studies how art can used as a tool for communicating scientific information.

As both a College Scholar and Haslam Scholar, Courtney has been awarded many opportunities to pursue her unique academic interests. Completing a study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland introduced her to the lasting impacts of the Scottish Enlightenment, especially in the fields of both art and medicine. In Scotland, Courtney collaborated with the University of Edinburgh’s medical illustrator to explore medical art as a tool for health education, while also completing research on ethics in the arts. Courtney also studied in Florence, Italy to investigate the art of the Italian Renaissance. While in Italy, Courtney had the opportunity to study and draw from important works of art, including The Specola’s immense collection of wax models renowned for their historical use in medical education. In addition to her academic pursuits, Courtney is employed by the University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Preston Medical Library,
where she has gained experience conducting literature research in medicine, targeted both for consumers and for medical professionals.

Over the course of her three years in the College Scholars Program, Courtney has also worked closely with faculty mentors Dr. Benjamin Auerbach and Professor Beauvais Lyons to design an individualized curriculum and complete research for her undergraduate honors thesis. Inspired by her studies in the sciences and the arts, as well as a passion for health literacy and education sparked during her time at Preston Medical Library, Courtney is completing research on medical illustrations as a tool for educating those with poor health literacy. In addition to a traditional written thesis on this subject, Courtney aims to create a series of artistic materials on chronic diseases designed to educate those with limited health literacy. Upon graduating from the

College Scholars Program this spring, Courtney plans to pursue a master’s degree in library sciences and/or medical illustration, eventually obtaining a PhD and continuing to pursue her passions for science, art, and health education as a medical librarian and illustrator.

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