|One of the hallmarks of education at Providence College is engaged learning—hands-on experiences that bring students beyond the traditional classroom setting to explore learning through collaborative research with faculty members, internship opportunities, study abroad, and unique laboratory assignments.
Thanks to the generosity of Dr. Herbert Brennan ’89SCE and Roderick H. ’80 and Lisa M. Lichtenfels, newly-minted PC graduate Allison M. White ’11 and several classmates enjoyed a hands-on opportunity most biology undergraduate majors can only dream about—exploring human anatomy by dissecting a cadaver.
“I never thought I’d be able to have this type of experience in undergraduate school,” remarks White, who was a student laboratory assistant to Dr. David B. Baier, assistant professor of biology and instructor of the human anatomy course.
“When you are able to see everything firsthand, you really understand how intricate and complex the human body is,” she says. “I’m able to see everything that I’ve only previously learned about in textbooks. Every time I work on a dissection, I see something new and exciting.”
“In the textbook,” Baier explains, “everything is two dimensional.”
Throughout the semester, Baier impressed upon students that respect for the human cadaver was paramount. As they carefully dissected tissue and other parts of the body, he urged them to be mindful that “the individual remains an individual as much as possible.”
||Supporting PC’s commitment to academic excellence
Brennan, a strong believer in developing health profession-related initiatives at PC, contributed to the cost of the renovations necessary
to store the cadaver and facilitate dissection. His gift was matched by
the Lichtenfels, who have two sons at PC, Benjamin P. ’13 and Carl J.
With their support, Baier obtained a female human cadaver, a dissection
table, and appropriate surgical lighting from the Anatomical Gift
Program at Brown University, where he earned his doctoral degree. He
hopes to permanently obtain a second table and autopsy tools that had to
be borrowed for this inaugural class.
The new laboratory
opportunities in anatomy, as well as in stem cell research, point not
only to the strength of the biology program at PC, but also to a
College-wide commitment to increased student research and engagement,
says Dr. Sheila Adamus Liotta, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences
and an associate professor of chemistry.
Liotta also notes that in
2008, PC joined the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), which
supports and promotes high-quality, undergraduate student-faculty
collaborative research and scholarship.
“Students coming to Providence College for the liberal arts do not have
to choose between attending a smaller, mission-driven, supportive
institution and having first-rate, hands-on experiences,” she points
out. “They can do both right here at PC.”