Odelia Cheng grew up in Dallas, Texas where she developed a love for drawing, painting, and later biology. She attended Carnegie Mellon University, pursuing an interdisciplinary degree, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Art in biological sciences and art. There, she was introduced to the field of scientific and medical illustration and immediately knew it was a perfect fit because of her love for both biology and art (and because of the common critique she received about her art being very literal). Along the way, she had many mentors who supported her interest in the field, including a scientific illustrator at Carnegie Museum of Natural History with whom she interned with. She increasingly began to use her art as a medium for communicating biological concepts and became passionate about bridging communication barriers and creating comprehensive medical visuals that could help others take agency over their own health. After graduating, she worked as a research technician for a couple years, creating illustrations for lab publications and helping with research in hiPSC’s and germ cell biology.
She is excited to start her journey at the UIC BVIS program and master storytelling and problem-solving skills to make scientific information more accessible. She hopes to explore various visualization techniques such as illustration, animation, and possibly immersive media to expand her toolbox and teach others about biology.