She has also contributed to an innovative project with IU School of Dentistry at IUPUI as one of two digital designers on the team that's helping to design realistic features for people living with a range of disfigurements due to cancers, congenital disorders, traumas, and burns. So far, she has worked on 16 of the team's patient cases.
While enrolled in a 3D printing and digital prototyping class at SOIC, she met Dr. Travis Bellicchi, the project's team leader and a fourth-year maxillofacial prosthodontics resident in the IU School of Dentistry.
"I was working on sculpting characters and creatures with the entertainment industry in mind while he was working on using the same programs for dentistry," says Nelsen. "When we started chatting, we discussed a possible collaboration using my skill set."
Working on Dr. Bellicchi's team was a transformative experience, opening her eyes to the powerful application of visual media in medical fields. Nelsen explains, "I discovered a unique way to help people that I hadn't previously considered."
After graduation, Nelsen plans to continue applying her creative skills to improve people's quality of life. "Being able to help patients throughout the past two years of my academic career has been life changing," she reflects. "I can't imagine my future without this work."