Since she was a little girl carrying a sketch pad and a pencil, 2018 IUPUI alumna Jordan Nelsen knew that she wanted to be an artist. As an IUPUI student in the Herron School of Art and Design and the School of Informatics and Computing, Nelsen's artistic tools and techniques evolved to include the use of a stylus instead of a pencil; digital sculpting techniques and 3-D design; and scanning and printing expertise — skills that she has put to use in unique and life-changing ways.
While working toward her bachelor of science degree in media arts and science, Nelsen became involved in facial prosthetic reconstruction research, collaborating for two years with prosthodontic resident Dr. Travis Bellicchi in the School of Dentistry to create facial prostheses for patients who have lost features due to cancer, burns, and congenital disorders. During that time, Nelsen played a critical role in 23 patient cases, including one where she digitally designed a prosthesis in less than 4 hours, which led to an unprecedented device delivery time of less than 24 hours.
"I have always been very interested in both anatomy and art. Finding a niche that satisfies both of those interests while also being able to directly impact people has been a dream come true," Nelsen said. "I've had the opportunity to work on a variety of patient cases, one of them involving the creation of a dental surgical guide that was the first of its kind in dentistry and in the world. I have been truly humbled by the work I've been able to be a part of."
"The level of commitment and professionalism that Jordan demonstrates is outstanding. She is an extraordinary artist," said Dr. Travis Bellicchi. "Still, what makes her truly special is her work ethic. I am so thankful we had the opportunity to work together. I look forward to further collaboration with her," he continued.