Although birds were a focal point for Megan as a child, she eventually went on to enroll as a botany student at Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, where she worked with scientists as both a researcher and illustrator. She was inspired to share her interest in the sciences with others through her favorite form of communication: art. When some of the illustrations that she created at Humboldt were published in a scientific journal, Megan’s self-realization that she could use her illustration skills to provide an educational service motivated her to pursue a career in science illustration. After graduation she enrolled in the Science Illustration Program at California State University, Monterey Bay, where many of her illustrations focused on plants and birds, and where she developed a love for both grebes and scratch board technique.
Megan’s experience working with scientists helped her understand the value of asking incisive questions, doing thorough research, and ensuring scientific accuracy.
Megan’s preferred illustration technique is pen-and-ink. As a Bartels Science Illustrator, Megan created several infographics and pen-and-ink illustrations for Living Bird. Her illustrations for How Do Birds Survive the Winter? in the Winter, 2019, issue were described as “gorgeous” and greatly enhanced the article. She also created an illustration of jays for a mug used as a membership premium and an illustration for the Lab’s 2018 holiday card. Megan had the opportunity to enhance her teaching skills through joining the Cornell undergraduate course The Art and Science of Birds, and regularly offered formal and informal art workshops for the staff and student community at the Lab.