Bruzzini Using Grant to Aid City Teachers


ST. LOUIS — A Maryville University faculty member has received one of seven outreach grants awarded nationally by the American Association of Anatomists (AAA). The $3,000 matching grant will allow Kristen Bruzzini, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology, to teach innovative ways of anatomy instruction to eight St. Louis City high school science teachers and 16 City high school students.

“This program will provide eight high school teachers with an opportunity to use instructional resources not available to them in a traditional high school environment,” Bruzzini remarked. “These teachers will incorporate inquiry-based learning into the classroom as a means of engaging 16 students to take an active role in the learning environment.” Teachers will be chosen through an application process.

Bruzzini, recipient of a 2007 AAA Young Faculty Award, will provide this instruction during a two-week program in Summer 2008. The eight teachers will attend the first week with the students joining them for the second week. Each teacher will be allowed to select two students to participate in the program but students outside the area also will be invited to apply. “Today’s students, unlike we and our parents, engage in a learning environment that is much more visual,” Bruzzini said. “In this computer age, students today are much more successful in their learning when it involves seeing and/or touching what is being studied, asking questions about what is being examined and making thoughtful observations about what they see.”

The program’s first week will provide teachers with an “intense” orientation to anatomy, Bruzzini said. Lectures will cover the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal and urinary systems while lab classes using models, computers and dissection of cadavers will reinforce each lecture’s lessons. “Teachers will work in small groups with my assistance in designing lesson plans for the students’ experience the following week,” she said. “They will organize work-stations for the students to explore human anatomy hands-on.”

In the second week, the 16 students selected for the program will receive mini-lectures given by the teachers on a variety of anatomical topics. Then, they will proceed to the Gross Anatomy Lab, where they will learn by using prosected cadavers, bones, models and computer programs. “My goal is to provide an opportunity for teachers and students to discover the internal features and functions of the human body in an environment that is conducive to active learning,” Bruzzini said. “By investigating the anatomical sciences using cadavers, we are introducing the next generation to our love of anatomical science. Their active participation will engage them in the sciences. At the very least, they will learn a hands-on respect for life and the human body.”

Rachel Yablonowitz, meetings manager for the American Association of Anatomists, said the organization awards grants based on several criteria, including the proposal’s visibility and scientific impact, quality of participants, and potential value to the AAA.

Maryville University is a private institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,422 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers. Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.