Heidi Lasher-Oakes was originally trained in sculpture and taught art at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 1997-2000. She has been challenged by a multi-system neurological illness, one of the first symptoms of which was vision loss. She now retains about 30% of her vision. She received training in Braille and Orientationa and Mobility from the National Federation for the Blind in 2002.
Lasher-Oakes has a longstanding interest in connections between science and art, and made science-related artwork before the start of her vision loss. The visual diary she maintained in the early years of vision loss helped with her diagnosis, and she has also created a series of sculptures that are concerned with vision in different ways. Lasher-Oakes has gone on to study biology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she received her M.A. in 2008.