An elective anatomy class at Rosary Academy in Fullerton met the 21st century with the acquisition of a new $85,000 Anatomage Table, an advanced digital anatomy visualization system allowing detailed examination of any part of the human body on its glass imaging surface.
Seniors at the all-girls Diocese of Orange Catholic high school gathered 10 at time around the table during a recent science class. They viewed a 3D image of a young man with eyes closed as anatomy teacher Maggie Lanctot demonstrated the table’s amazing capabilities.
ROSARY ACADEMY TEACHER MAGGIE LANCTOT EXPLAINS THE ANATOMAGE TABLE TO HER STUDENTS DURING CLASS ON AUG. 29, 2022. PHOTO BY SPENCER GRANT/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Using the table’s touch screen controls, the body can be turned to any desired angle to be viewed in three dimensions. Subsequent commands allow viewing of cross sections of the body. Other commands show organs, muscles, bones – anything anyone might want to see in a human body without the need for hands-on anatomical dissection.
“This is something they’ve never done before,” explained teacher Maggie Lanctot about her students. “This is totally new.”
A GENEROUS DONATION
A portion of an unrestricted $1.1 million gift — the largest in the school’s history — from Virgil Birgen, made the Anatomage purchase possible. His daughters and granddaughters attended the school.
“Our father was so proud of the excellent education and formation we all received at Rosary,” said daughter Kathleen McDonald. “He believed that Rosary and the Sisters of St. Joseph who were the school’s first administrators, played an important role in shaping our lives. He wanted to see young women today share in the same experience.”
ROSARY ACADEMY STUDENT KAILEY LUGO USES TOUCH SCREEN COMMANDS ON HER SCHOOL’S ANATOMAGE TABLE DURING CLASS ON MONDAY, AUG. 29, 2022. PHOTO BY SPENCER GRANT/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
Birgen’s gift not only benefits the science department but also the Academy’s Pathways program. The application-only academic plan allows students access to advanced level coursework, shadow/ internship opportunities, assignment to a faculty mentor and specialized recognition upon completing the program. Pathways fields include STEM in computer science, engineering and medical. Law and sports medicine Pathways are also available.
“Research shows that – compared to coed peers – girl’s school graduates are more likely to consider careers in the STEM fields,” said Head of School Dr. Shawna Pautsch. “The purchase of the Anatomage Table gives our students rare access to technology that is being adapted by many of the world’s leading medical schools and institutions.”
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Rosary Assistant Principal of Academics Dr. Richard Yoon. “The students love it. It’s essentially doing a pre-med program or even pre-vet since they have animal dissection available. Being able to see every layer for a human or animal from its skin and blood vessels down to the core, it’s an amazing tool.”
Yoon said students who are accepted into the Pathways program have opportunities to take on internships at St. Jude or Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Last year students had the opportunity to observe an actual birth.
“Students would have the opportunity to shadow doctors – it’s not like just candy-striping,” added Yoon. “It lets them learn more about the field they want to be in.”
Students are enthusiastic about the program. Senior Eliana Guillen said she plans to study pre-med at Brown University.
“The table really helps us to understand how the human body works,” she said. “It will be a good foundation to take anatomy now before entering college.”
Fellow senior Morgan Brkich, who wants to become a nurse, appreciates the learning opportunity the Anatomage Table affords.
“We can actually see and zoom in and focus more in-depth, she said. “I’m a hands-on learner, so it’s good for me.”
Junior Briana Reyes plans to be an orthopedic physician’s assistant one day.
“Using the table, you can see deeper into the body and interact with it,” said Reyes. “Everyone is enjoying having the real thing in front of them instead of papers and textbooks.”