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FSU Foundation Opportunity Grant Serves as Heartbeat for Human Anatomy Courses

FSU Foundation Opportunity Grant Serves as Heartbeat for Human Anatomy Courses
FSU students Casey Felker, left, and Kelly Skoczynski examine the jaw on the anatomy model recently purchased by an FSU Foundation Opportunity Grant for use in anatomy classes.

Peering upward from her seat, Hannah Tavik is carefully locating the mylohyoid muscle on her patient’s neck using a metal pointer.

It’s OK if she pokes around or feels for the muscle because this patient is actually a $6,900 anatomically correct model paid for by a FSU Foundation Opportunity Grant.

“Being able to use a real model is helpful because you get to physically touch each model,” Tavik said during her Human Anatomy and Physiology class at Frostburg State University. “You can see where the muscles, nerves and veins lie on the body versus a picture, which is one-dimensional.”

The grant allowed the Department of Biology to purchase a three-quarter-scale muscular anatomy figure complete with internal organs and interchangeable genders. The grant also purchased a deluxe medical-grade disarticulated skeleton. One of the uses of FSU Foundation Opportunity Grants is to allow instructors to fund additional materials and classroom experiences.

About 130 students will use these models each semester across courses from Anatomy 211, Anatomy and Physiology 321 and 322 and Comparative Anatomy 427 and 527, said Dr. Karen Keller, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology.

“It’s a vital part of class,” Keller said. “The students absolutely need the hands-on models to learn this.”

The FSU Foundation previously purchased other models for the Human Anatomy and Physiology lab, Keller added.

Before, students would exclusively rely on pictures and online software to physically identify parts of the body. The software – A.D.A.M. – is a little like the board game Operation, but much more advanced and high-tech.

“The trend now is to go back to hands-on models,” Keller said. “The first thing we do is we learn all the muscles we possibly can on human models. They see them on several models so they recognize they’re not exactly the same, then we do the dissections.”

Keller is thankful Foundation gifts were able to provide the experience to students because she sees the difference in class.

“It makes a huge difference. I can tell by their test scores,” Keller said. “I can tell when students email after they get into a professional school. They say, ‘Thank you for making me learn this. I can do this now.’”

Tavik, a sports and exercise science major from Glen Burnie, said the class will help her with her career goal of being an athletic director of a college.

“I might have to be a personal trainer or coach, and by learning the body, I’ll be able to work my way up to my career,” Tavik said.

To make a gift to the FSU Foundation’s Annual Fund, which supports Opportunity Grants, visit and click on Make a Gift, or call 301-687-4161.


Editors: A video report of this story can be found here:

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589