Science Hill students get hands-on with human organs

Two Science Hill students examine one of the many human organs that were on display just before winter break in a Science Hill Health Science Class. Photo by Collin Brooks

Science Hill students in the Career and Technical Education Health Science cluster received the unique experience of getting to touch and view human organs when the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine’s “Anatomy on Wheels” program stopped by the high school.

There were mixed reactions when students started touching organs. The opportunity, however, provided a bit of inspiration for those Science Hill students who might be interested in pursuing a profession in healthcare. The first-year ETSU medical students started the class with a presentation to describe the different organs students would see and how they function. The students then had the opportunity to put their hands on a heart with aorta attached, two lungs, stomach, liver with gallbladder, spleen and two kidneys.

ETSU first-year medical student AJ Bethurum said that he was excited there were a lot of students interested in the medical field.

“To have the opportunity to come and talk with kids and give them this opportunity to either further their interest in medicine, or discover an interest, has been really impactful,” he said. “When you speak with someone, and they say they are interested in business or construction, then you put a human heart in their hands, and their eyes light up. They’ve discovered something that they’ve never been exposed to.”

Science Hill junior Marli Cevallos Makofsky said she felt very fortunate to have this experience while still in high school.

“Before this class, I’d never seen an organ in real life,” Cevallos Makofsky said. “I’ve seen them online or in books, but I’ve never been able to touch an organ and be able to experience what you might be seeing if you’re going into the medical field. So, it’s pretty cool to be able to be hands-on and ask questions.”

Science Hill freshman Kate Carter said that she hopes to become a pediatrician one day, so this experience was an exciting opportunity to hear the medical students explain how organs work and feel and see the different parts.

“A lot of the time, it’s really hard to visualize the organs and what they look like just from pictures. But this way, we can see what they do and see how amazing our human body is,” Carter said. “It’s amazing to see how intricate the human body is, and to physically touch organs is a really amazing experience.”

First-year ETSU medical student Fiona Whitaker spoke with Science Hill students and noted that the opportunity to participate in a Certified Nursing Assistance program at her high school helped her define her path to becoming a doctor. Science Hill also has a CNA program.

“That is really where I figured out that I wanted to be a doctor because, before that point, I was looking at other health care fields. Having my CNA and being able to have that experience and see all of the different physicians and day-to-day lives helped me determine that being a physician is something that I want to do.”

The Science Hill health science teachers were excited to provide students with this opportunity.

“By participating in this unique encounter, our classes can meet the standards required by the State of Tennessee, which include career exploration and the study of body systems and their functions,” Science Hill Health Science teacher Kristine Taylor said. “It allows the students to talk with medical students and hear about their varying educational and professional paths that led them to medical school. They are also given the unique experience of applying classroom knowledge in a hands-on environment.”

Classes offered in the health science field at Science Hill include medical therapeutics, health science education, medical terminology, dental science, CNA program, and a pharmacology program. For more information about the Health Science programs at Science Hill please visit


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