Suzanne Edmonds: Teacher, Artist, and Philanthropist Combined
Although Suzanne Edmonds has taught anatomy and physiology and medical terminology for the Flagstaff campus of CollegeAmerica since 2005, her accomplishments extend far beyond the classroom. Thankfully, others are willing to brag about her accomplishments more than she is, or we wouldn’t have learned more.
Through her career she’s been able to combine her love of science and art along with her creative pursuits of horseback riding and classic car restoration. These might not seem related but Suzanne sees similar skill sets in each area. “My mother was a gifted artist, and I grew up in an area of biological diversity. Both use skills of observation and communication.” She also grew up riding horses which allowed her to hone her observational skills about the natural world.
While attending University of the Pacific, her advisor helped her structure her love of art into her curriculum. With her advisor she designed a 4-year major in Interdisciplinary Studies: Biology/Art. “I was accepted into the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, which is the oldest program of its kind in the world.” She received her MA there in 1985.
From there Suzanne has become a freelance medical illustrator since 1992, specializing in orthopedics and surgical illustration. She tackles illustrations for medical atlases, textbooks, and journal articles, and has taught everything from medical courses to art and anatomy courses. After all, she knows students “need to master the knowledge of anatomy to go in to their careers,” but she hopes to encourage beauty and wonder for the human structure. “Anatomy is more than a learned bunch of words, it is a living source of constant inspiration and beauty. When I see that appreciation, then I feel the next level of understanding has been reached.”
When she’s not in class or drawing, Suzanne likes to visit her roots by restoring classic cars and by participating as a board member for the horse rescue group Forever Morgans. Her entire family—husband and son—contributes to the cars. “We really weren’t planning on getting into the car restoration quite as deeply as we did. I just wanted to get my car back.” Her first car was a 1965 Rambler Ambassador Cross Country that sat unstarted after she went away for graduate school until 2009. It had deteriorated so much they had to dismantle and rebuild it. “We didn’t know what we were doing, but we discovered we could figure out how to do an awful lot,” Suzanne explains about the process. It took two years, but now the car has won several awards and was featured in Hemmings Classic Car magazine. “I still get cramps in my cheeks from smiling whenever I drive my car, and I drive it frequently.”
When not restoring four wheels, she can be found protecting four legs at Forever Morgans—the largest Morgan horse rescue in the world. Suzanne, who also owns her own Morgan horses, says “I enjoy horses’ natures.” In the beginning, she connected with a group of people who wanted a way to protect the horses during the recession. Many people simply could no longer afford their horses, and these animals became subject to being shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. “At first, I was simply a member of the group, then became a member of the board, and now I’ve helped oversee the growth of Forever Morgans into a 501c3 equine rescue.”
From animals to machine, Suzanne’s many talents, hobbies, and interests help her bring a unique perspective to the classroom at CollegeAmerica. “In my six years of working with Suzanne, I have observed her incredible artistic talent, passion for teaching, and her loyalty in helping our students be successful in the classroom, on their externship, and in their career. She’s a dedicated and superior instructor, and we’re so fortunate to have her in Flagstaff,” shares Flagstaff Campus Director for CollegeAmerica Suzanne Scales. She’s so happy with her colleague of the same name, Scales nominated Edmonds for this interview.
Likewise, Suzanne Edmonds loves teaching. “Every day, when I walk through the doors of the school, I am honored to have students like them to teach. I know how hard many of them work. I know they have kids and homes and jobs, and many drive a very long way every day. When it comes to having drive and dedication to their education and futures, I will put my students up against any students, from any school, anywhere.” Can you ask for more than that from an instructor? Suzanne Edmonds: we’re lucky to have her.
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