Natalie Aguilar, anaplastologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, never imagined she would have a career in creating prosthetics for people who have lost facial features to cancer or congenital defects. She planned to do special effects in the theater or movies, but when she saw a documentary about a gunshot victim who received a new nose, she was hooked.

One of only 50 or 60 people across the country specializing in the field of facial prosthetics, she’s using her art to change lives. She credits her ability to make incredibly realistic prosthetics to her time spent in the painting and sculpture studios at KCAI. Her art training allows her to see colors and be able to match skin tone correctly.

“Most artists think their career will be in the studio or gallery, but you need to broaden your horizons and realize that artists are needed everywhere.”