Alumni of Oklahoma Christian University quickly rise to the top of their professional healthcare school classes because of the hands-on experience gained in the cadaver lab. Small groups of four to five students, who have met the prerequisite of either Human Anatomy or Human Physiology, dissect an entire cadaver over the course of a semester.
This is very rare for undergraduate students! Many universities strictly limit students to those with a specific major or to observe as graduate students perform the dissection.
"Dissecting a cadaver is like no other dissection," said Assistant Professor of Biology Sara Alcon, Ph.D. "It requires a specific skill set."
A recent makeover of OC's cadaver lab upgrades the already-unique opportunity. The new lab digs are fancy and offer the best dissection experience available.
Alcon describes cadaver dissection as a high stress environment involving many emotions. Students learn to respect the cadaver and each other as they process emotions, develop new skills and acquire academic insights. Along the way, they are developing the professional skills necessary to work within a group and resolve conflict.
"We deploy Christian ethics in the lab," said Alcon. "We treat the cadaver, and each other, as children of God who are created in his image."
One of the first classes in a professional healthcare school is a cadaver class. It could be medical school, dental school, physical therapy or many others. OC's unique cadaver lab is a very tangible way to prepare students for this experience. Eagle alumni are comfortable in the setting, possess the specific skills needed and know how to succeed as a team.
Alcon earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of New Mexico. Her graduate work examined the role of estrogen regulation in fibroblasts involved in breast cancer metastasis.
Beginning with her time at OC as a lab assistant, Alcon has been teaching and working with middle school, high school, and college students in a wide range of settings over the past ten years. A highlight of her time in graduate school was training undergraduate students in the Undergraduate Pipeline Network at UNM. This experience working with summer undergraduate research students provided the opportunity for Alcon to realize how much she enjoyed teaching. She has enjoyed the opportunity afforded by OC to combine her love of science and God in the classroom.
Oklahoma Christian University is a higher learning community transforming lives for Christian faith, scholarship and service with a 14-to-one student teacher ratio. Driven by missions - not just majors, OC believes everyone has an important significance to this world. Located on a 200-acre residential campus, OC is home to ambitious progress and a top quality cadaver lab.