Lucy H. Spelman, DVM, DACZM
Veterinarian, Educator, Author
Lucy Spelman

Dr. Lucy Spelman is one of 156 board-certified zoological medicine specialists in the world. She has an undergraduate degree in biology from Brown University and a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of California, Davis. Animals have always been part of her life, and her experiences with them include taking care of giant pandas in China, mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and river otters in Guyana. She has worked as a zoo veterinarian, a zoo director, a wildlife veterinarian, a media consultant, a writer, and an educator. In addition to various scientific articles, she is the author of the "National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia," and co-editor of a book of short stories, "The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes." Dr. Spelman currently practices in Rhode Island and teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2015, she launched Creature Conserve, an online gallery of works by student artists and designers researching and responding to the problems facing animals today.

As Part-time Faculty at RISD, Dr. Spelman has developed five biology-based courses. They are: the Biology of Human-Animal Interactions, Evolutionary Biology, Visualizing the Natural Sciences, Exploring the Art and Science of Biodiversity: Guyana, and Living Systems Lab. She also coordinates the science curriculum within the Liberal Arts division. Her teaching goal is to give students the opportunity to learn the science behind a topic first, and then apply it to their work in the studio. She is especially interested in finding new ways to make scientific information about the ongoing loss of biodiversity more real, understandable, and meaningful.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in biology at Brown University (1985), Dr. Spelman earned her veterinary degree from the University of California at Davis (1990), completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine at Ettinger and Associates in Los Angeles, California, and a three-year residency in Zoological Medicine at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in North Carolina. In 1994, she received her board certification from the American College of Zoological Medicine. She worked for the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo for 9.5 years (1995-2004), first as Associate Veterinarian, and then as Director. She was a media consultant for Discovery Communications in 2005 and then moved to Rwanda where she served as the Field Manager for the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (2006-2009). She returned to the United States to teach at Brown University as Visiting Assistant Professor for a year, and then moved on to RISD in September 2010. She started work at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in January 2011.

More Information:
Creature Conserve
News about RISD courses - teaching art + science of saving species
Brown Daily Herald
RSID News: In The Wild

The Rhino with Glue-on Shoes
National Geographic Animal Encyclopedia