Fourth-year University of Toronto biology student Athitthan Lena never thought a college would let him handle a heart.
“When I woke up today I didn’t think I would be holding and examining the inside of a human heart,” Lena said during a tour of Humber College’s science facilities on Sept. 20.
He was shocked at the level of hands-on learning experience Humber students get.
Science enthusiasts crowded the hallways of the Health Science building at the college’s North campus during a tour of its unique facilities in celebration of Science Literacy Week, a nationwide celebration between Sept. 18 and 24.
The tour showcased the physics and anatomy labs, which allowed students, guests and faculty an opportunity to be up close and personal with the human body.
Humber’s human lab tour was led by Ronald Stewart, program coordinator for the Bioscience Division, and head lab technician Geoffrey Collins. The college opened thee labs two years ago and is the only publicly funded college that houses cadavers.
All the cadavers are donated to the college and reside there for an average length of about a year, Collins said.
“We have great respect for the bodies we get to work on and it’s quite an emotional experience returning them to their families,” he said.
“Wet labs” are also unique to Humber, providing an opportunity for students to perform experiments on real physiological systems according to the colleges’ website.
The college is extremely proud of the anatomy and physics labs, because the facilities sets Humber apart from other Ontario schools, Stewart said.
“I feel our students’ learning is greatly enhanced by our excellent resources,” he said.
The lab tours were just a small part of the 800 events happening across Canada in celebration of science literacy. This three-year-old, week-long celebration provides open access to many different areas of science for everyone.
“The week is a fantastic idea to push for the importance of educating younger kids on the world of science,” Lena said. “It is important to teach the cold hard facts in this world of false information being put out there.”
The future of science is in good hands, Stewart said.
“I really feel Humber is leading the way in post-secondary Health Sciences education with our outstanding facilities and the offering of new programs,’ he said.