Students from four Knox County high schools got a chance to learn about the human body in recent months – and that opportunity will be expanded in the spring.
The KCS Department of Career Technical Education partnered with Lincoln Memorial University during the fall semester to offer a dual enrollment anatomy course that included work with donor bodies in laboratories on the university’s Cogdill Road campus.
The pilot program was launched this fall with nearly 30 students from Bearden, Farragut and Karns high schools and Hardin Valley Academy. Participating students went to Farragut High for lectures on Mondays and Wednesdays, and on Fridays worked with donor bodies. While some activities were moved to virtual instruction during the semester, students were able to study the donors’ musculature, spinal cords and brains during in-person lab sessions.
Mary Tasket, a senior at Bearden High School, said she plans to study biomedical engineering and possibly move into pre-med studies, and had previously taken an anatomy course at BHS. But she said the previous class used a textbook to study the material, and didn’t provide the same depth.
“It makes so much more sense compared to just looking at a diagram, actually seeing it and how everything fits together,” Tasket said. “It just makes more sense and everything clicks.”
During the spring semester, the opportunity will be expanded to include all KCS high schools. Participating students will attend the Monday and Wednesday classes virtually, and visit LMU’s West Knoxville campus on Fridays for lab sessions. All classes are held from 7:30 to 9 a.m.
The deadline to enroll is 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. Students who are interested should contact Lindsay Haywood, LMU director of enrollment services, by sending an email here.
Holly Kelly, who teaches anatomy and physiology at Farragut High School, helped coordinate the class during the fall semester, and said it has been beneficial for students who are interested in medical school or another health sciences career, such as physical therapy.
In particular, Kelly said the opportunity to work with donors has been a strong draw for students: “The ‘aha moments’ really come to life when they get to the lab,” she said, adding that students have been very respectful and appreciative.
The class also provides a chance to get a head start on college credits, with participating students getting undergraduate credit if they choose to enroll at LMU. The class is free, although there will be a cost for one or two books and students must purchase vinyl gloves. Scrubs are also recommended, although not required, and can be purchased from Lambert’s Health Care at a 30% discount.
Jody Goins, vice president and dean for enrollment and student affairs at LMU, said the university is planning to build out a Health Science Institute that would offer multiple dual enrollment opportunities.
The broader goal, he said, is to provide students with career paths and increase their socio-economic mobility, which is especially important as the pandemic has taken an economic toll.
“We were talking about offering it free of charge before the onset of COVID-19,” Goins said of the planned institute. “But obviously with the onset of COVID-19, that just cemented our stance to provide this service.”