Jacqueline Ruiz '16

Photo of Jacqueline Ruiz '16


  • Art major from Albers, Illinois
  • Pursuing career in medical illustration
  • Internship with Sacred Line in Kansas City, Missouri
  • President of the Art Club
  • Recorded album of original songs
  • Original artwork featured in “Varsity Art XIX,” an Art Saint Louis Exhibition

Whoever said you can’t have the best of both worlds? As a talented artist with a passion for the medical sciences, senior Jacqueline Ruiz ’16 discovered she didn’t have to choose between her different academic pursuits. Instead, she found her own professional niche through a unique internship opportunity in the cutting-edge field of medical tattooing.

With two physician parents, Jacqueline explains she “was never a foreigner to white coats and medicine.” Her childhood memories include listening to stories of surgeries told over dinner and using crayons to color in her father’s old black and white copy of Grey’s Anatomy.

It only seemed right that Jacqueline would one day turn her strong background and interest in medicine into a career. After taking courses in pharmacy school and working as a pharmacy intern in a hospital, she found it wasn’t what she expected.

“I wanted to help people; I didn’t want to fight with insurance companies,” she said. “I remember balking at the 300-400 person classes at pharmacy school just thinking ‘How can we learn how to interact with and treat patients when the class dynamic is so sterile and farm-like?’ There was no personal relationship or individualism, so I left my job at the hospital and pharmacy school.”

Jacqueline came to McKendree for the smaller, more intimate class sizes, and it was here that she rekindled her love of art.


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“Art was a nice hobby, but I never imagined a future with it as my profession. It wasn’t until my professor pulled me aside and asked me to do an anatomy illustration that it finally clicked that I could use all my medical knowledge and artistic talent together.”


Jacqueline Ruiz '16By networking with others, Jacqueline stumbled across Sacred Line, a studio specializing in corrective medical tattooing services. She’s now participating in a two-year internship with the studio, learning how to perform scar camouflage and areola pigmentation for breast cancer patients with mastectomies. “I’ve always had a fascination with tattoos,” she said. “It’s a personal art that moves with the body, trapped within the skin. Until Sacred Line, I never realized the field of medical tattooing existed, but I’m glad to be a part of it.” When she finishes her internship, she will have completed 50 supervised procedures and logged 300 hours with the studio.

As for her future beyond McKendree, Jacqueline is currently applying for graduate school in medical illustration. Her career sights are set on illustrating for a textbook company, working on prosthetics, working at a university, or tattooing in a physician’s office. Wherever her future takes her, she’ll never forget the moment one art professor opened her eyes to the unique path where her talents and passions combine.

Learn more about McKendree University and the Art program.


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