SUZANNE VLAMIS

“Photography is my passport to life,” says Suzanne Vlamis, who has dedicated more than five decades to the craft. She fell in love with the opportunities photography presented to explore the world, and has focused on both natural subjects such as landscapes and wildlife to man-made subjects such as architecture and cultural events. Ms. Vlamis is currently pursuing her passions as the owner and director of Suzanne Vlamis Photography, an environmental photography company. She has also lent her services as a science and health researcher to Dr. Joy C. Zagoren, PhD, since 1999.​Recently, Ms. Vlamis turned the work she’s been doing into her first book, “Africa Endangered,” published in 2017. She hopes her efforts will promote the appreciation, awareness and

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HUIJIE ZHAO

As a young artist, Huijie Zhao, also known as Jessie, has made a distinguished name for herself in the world of art. She has drawn her inspiration from her father, Hongbin Zhao, a renowned artist in China, and has painted alongside him since she was a young girl. On her way to an exemplary career, Ms. Zhao earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Monash University in Australia in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts from RMIT University, also in Australia, in 2003.​Degrees in hand, Ms. Zhao quickly propelled herself forward into her career. She is a freelance artist in Warrandyte South, a suburb of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, the art director of HZ International Fine Arts in the United

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SANDI PILLSBURY GREDZENS

“Nature is the channel through which my life flows,” says Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens. A practicing artist for more than 40 years and an art educator for more than 30 years, she is committed to capturing the world around her and sharing it with others. She specializes in realistic impressionism paintings, and feels that her art gives viewers a sense of peace and serenity. Her preferred mediums are oil, acrylic, alkyd and sometimes watercolor. Her paintings feature subjects like Lake Superior landscapes, flowers on Minnesota’s north shore, rocks underwater, waterfalls, night scenes, California and Christmas.​​Ms. Pillsbury first became interested in art as a child when her parents gifted her a paint set, her first ever. Pursuing her newfound passion, she earned

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CAROLYN L. MCKEE-FREESE

For 24 years, Carolyn Lee McKee-Freese served the public school system with honor, devotion and skill. Having the opportunity to teach was a dream come true, as she loves sharing knowledge with others. She prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Education from North Illinois University in 1969 and by becoming a certified teacher in Illinois. The degrees propelled Ms. McKee-Freese to become an art teacher at Simmons Junior High School immediately following graduation, where she stayed for three years.  After that, she worked as a substitute teacher at Moose Heart School for a year and as an art teacher at Yorkville District High School for 20 years.​Although Ms. McKee-Freese has since left the public sector, she remains

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Diana Suttenfield

DIANA SUTTENFIELD

“Inspiration comes from the land, but the subject is light.” These are the words that have guided Diana Suttenfield over her 40-year career as a professional artist. She has spent decades observing the light falling on her surroundings, and has mastered the ability to portray its effects through her preferred mediums, oils, acrylics and pastels. Her work generally focuses on the regional landscape of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, and she is proud to say that it has come to be accepted on its own merit. Ms. Suttenfield is celebrated for her paintings and intricate drawings in West Virginia, which have frequently been exhibited in regional shows. Additionally, the State Department selects one or two of her paintings each year

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NATALIA KHVOST-VOSTRIKOVA

“Art is not a thing, it is a way.” For internationally-acclaimed artist Natalia Khvost-Vostrikova, this quote by Elbert Hubbard rings especially true. Born in Russia to Serg I. Khvostionkov and Maya Jacob Khvostinokova, she has spent her entire life pursuing her passion for the field. She has followed it where it has led her; to galleries in London, Italy, the United States and beyond; to exhibitions and performances; and to presentations and lectures. More than just a means to make a living, art has defined and shaped who she is today. One of the highlights of Ms. Khvost-Vostrikova’s career was participating in the Biennale International Firenze in Italy. She was also proud to exhibit her piece, “Out of Blindness,” at

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JANET HEINICKE

Growing up during the Great Depression, Janet Heinicke, EdD, was encouraged by her mother to be sensitive to her environment and to view the world carefully. Her mother was a welfare worker and when she went to check up on homes, Dr. Heinicke would stay in the car, drawing and observing. Art became her passion, and she dreamed of a career in the exclusive field. She worked hard to make that dream a reality and finally, in 1952, it paid off. After graduating from Wittenberg University with a Bachelor of Science, she landed a job as the supervisor of elementary art at Goshen Community Schools in Indiana. Dr. Heinicke was thrilled, as the position enabled her to share her love

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JANE K. HENCE

An esteemed member of the architectural design community, Jane K. Hence continues to thrive at the head of JKH Design, which she has owned since 1989. She is responsible for designing more than 55 buildings, renovations and additions in New England over the course of her career thus far, as well as co-designing more than 40 buildings in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Ms. Hence has also served as a freelance interior designer since 1982, and garnered experience as a designer and consulting associate for Michael McKinley & Associates, LLC, in Stonington, Connecticut, from 1993 to 2001. She is proud of her experiences, as each has allowed her to showcase her artistic abilities while helping clients see their dreams materialize right

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KIMBERLY RAE CARLSON

Driven by her desire to make a difference in the world, Kimberly Rae Carlson decided to focus on a particularly vulnerable group: animals. She was inspired to become a veterinary surgeon after volunteering with the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago. She saw a lot of bad cases of abuse and neglect, and knew she had to do more to help. Dr. Carlson proceeded to obtain a DVM from the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001 and a diploma from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2008. She also garnered hands-on experience as a surgical resident at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and as a surgeon at Veterinary Surgical Centers Delta. Today, Dr. Carlson works at North

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VIVIAN M. CLINE

Achieving excellence early on as valedictorian of her eighth-grade class, Vivian M. Cline attended an attorney assistance program through the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). After graduating from high school and college, she held a number of minor jobs, including as a paralegal for the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) in North Hollywood, California, from 1976 to 1978, before serving as general counsel for Raymond Schuller, which is where Ms. Cline’s true interest in legal work began. Raymond Schuller was a good mentor and planted a seed in her. After receiving a certificate from the program at UCLA, she relocated from Los Angeles and got a position at Smith International in Newport Beach, California, in its legal department in

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