Human Anatomy at Colby

Entries Tagged as 'Bi265j'

End of Semester Reflections

February 4th, 2020 · Comments Off on End of Semester Reflections

The January course of Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology is a rigorous, fast-paced look into the inner workings of the human body, but it is also much more. This class and Dr. Klepach are adaptive and reflective. As we learned the anatomy and physiology of various body systems, we learned of the delicate balance which every system within the human body must work to maintain through the various facets of homeostasis. We learned the various physical elements of which we are composed along with what they do and what can go wrong without proper rest and care. It is often joked about that members of the healthcare field are the most unhealthy people, but as I recorded my eating, sleeping, and exercise habits over the course of January, I was ashamed to find how much this applied to me. I rarely eat three meals each days and during the academic year I rarely sleep for 8 hours every night. I had to actively think about eating and sleeping properly over the course of this class, and it required significant effort and self discipline to get 8 hours of sleep each night. Many of us have been trained to place our grades and our education first, but Dr. Klepach helped me see how maintenance of my personal health is important as well, and over the course of this class, I worked to deconstruct this habit and place myself first. It required adaptation and reconsideration of my study methods, but I realized that it is possible to work hard and get good grades while also getting eight hours of sleep every night and exercising regularly. 

On the first day of the class, Dr. Klepach told all of us that our goal for the class was not a grade, it was not to memorize and learn all that there is to know about human anatomy and physiology, our goal for this course was to keep our stress levels low, eat, sleep and exercise right, and learn how to learn the most productive way. As a generally stressed and anxious person, I’ve always felt that a stress level of 4 or 5 out of 5 was part of being a student at Colby pursuing a career in medicine. However, as I adjusted my eating habits and began eating nutritionally appropriate meals at the right times for me and pushing myself to sleep more, I saw my stress levels fall. Throughout the course, I maintained stress levels of 3 out of 5 or below, and my grades only improved over the course of the class. I saw for the first time that flashcards and all nighters were not the MOST effective and productive methods of studying for me, and I was able to work for less time and achieve better results. 

Above all, I would say that my greatest take away from this class was redefining my measurement of success. I was able to see that my success is not dependent upon the grades that I receive and success doesn’t need to be a quantitative measurement at all. Success can be whatever you define it to be, and now I view any form of self improvement as personal success.

Devon O’Connell

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JanPlan 2019

February 3rd, 2019 · Comments Off on JanPlan 2019

This semester we learned a lot of material in a very short amount of time. We were introduced to the body structure and function in a modified fashion which still was a lot of information. However the speed at which we learned this material is very reflective of what medical school will be like which is in the near future for most of us in the class. Coming into the class what I knew about medical school was limited to what I looked up online and had heard from the premed advisor. So needless to say I knew next to nothing. Being exposed to a class that was designed to reflect a medical school class was an amazing opportunity and it taught me a lot about myself.

I was able to learn that I was going to need to be flexible to other learning styles if I wanted to be successful in the future. The same study strategies I had used my entire life were not going to work with the extensive amount of material thrown at me in graduate level classes. If I wanted to do well in the future I was going to need to learn to adapt and find multiple methods in order to succeed. Also I learned a lot about managing stress. Stress is an inevitable part of being a student especially in the higher levels of education. A lot is expected of you and sometimes it is hard to manage these expectations along with a healthy lifestyle. Dr. K’s style

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Meditation: Before the Final

January 31st, 2018 · Comments Off on Meditation: Before the Final

There is difference as well as an intersection between doing well in a class and all related academic pursuits with “enlarging one’s understanding of the world” (thanks Milton Glaser). Classes don’t always give you that sense of enlargement, the sense that you have not yet reached the end of your understanding of yourself or the world. They can provide you with that sense if you let them and if you dig deeper yourself, but I often find that classes are too trivialized and reduced to grades and performance. Think about it—our full-time job is to be students. We literally have no other job but to learn, and this is often minimized and downplayed to how well you did on a test or the final grade for the class. The only thing that a test grade tells you is how well you meet the professor’s expectations, or the department’s expectations, or someone else’s expectations for that particular evaluation in that particular moment in your life, not what you actually know, understand, and wonder about in your free time. Perhaps I am biased too much towards thinking about things because that’s my major; I think and argue for a living. But I think there are kernels of truth to be gleaned, there is some sort of meaning to be created in trying to find that sense of enlargement in a class.

Despite how it may appear, a class is not really about impressing your professor, though this does not give you an excuse not to make an effort. A class is about impressing yourself. Study, read, and make an effort to do well because it fulfills you, not because there is an A at the finish line. (Arguably, this depends on your priorities. I understand you can’t always do things because they fulfill you, but at least try to make something out of the things that don’t.) Sometimes, this means that you won’t do as well as you would have wanted to, so you need to learn to fail gracefully. You gotta get creative and redefine what success means to you. I promise a class will be much better if you find a way to connect with it.

That said, classes won’t teach you everything you need to know to face the “real world” (whatever that means). There is much to learn outside of school, and this is not a slight to Colby. Classes in our college bring us to a starting point so we can make good work. Being a student is easy, smart people are a dime a dozen at an institution like ours. Beyond just smart, Colby can help us start to be excellent at whatever we do, but it’s up to us to take it from there. As Adrienne Rich said, “education is something you claim, not something you get“–education requires a strong personal effort and active initiative. You can learn a great deal from a course like this, but it is up to you to internalize it and incorporate it into your interactions with the world. Rich calls it a sense of responsibility to ourselves:

Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work. It means that you do not treat your body as a commodity with which to purchase superficial intimacy or economic security; for our bodies to be treated as objects, our minds are in mortal danger. It means insisting that those to whom you give your friendship and love are able to respect your mind. […] Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions– predigested books and ideas, weekend encounters guaranteed to change your life, taking “gut” courses instead of ones you know will challenge you, bluffing at school and life instead of doing solid work, marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short, simply to avoid conflict and confrontation. […] It means that we insist on a life of meaningful work, insist that work be as meaningful as love and friendship in our lives. It means, therefore, the courage to be “different”; not to be continuously available to others when we need time for ourselves and our work; to be able to demand of others–parents, friends, roommates, teachers, lovers, husbands, children–that they respect our sense of purpose and our integrity as persons.

– Adrienne Rich, “Claiming an Education

Don’t just be a biology student, or whatever-your-major-may-be student. Be an everything and anything student, a lots of things student. Grow beyond this class. Grow beyond what you thought you were capable of. And at some point during the day, ask yourself “what matters?”

– Amanda Sagasti

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Transcending Impermanence, or Being Alive.

January 27th, 2018 · Comments Off on Transcending Impermanence, or Being Alive.

“Drawing on chalkboards is too much work to be erased,” I overheard one of the bio professors say.

Yes. I mean, you’re not wrong.

But this is joining the toughest of analytical sciences with an ephemeral art form. Both involve inspiration, discovery, tedious hours learning and practicing, but also a refuge from hostility, and ultimately, redemption. Physicist Lisa Randall said it best: both science and art “promise, in their different ways, to help transcend the narrow confines of individual experience and allow us to enter into—and comprehend—the realm of the sublime.”

The fleeting reality that someone is gonna come and sweep all of this away, that the janitors will come in when it’s too late and too early and spray the chalkboards clean before anyone gets here, is not something to condemn, but rather something to embrace and celebrate. The lack of stability of the medium is not meant for longevity, but for impermanence. My drawings may not last long (a few weeks at best, like some of the cells in our bodies), but I find that drawing them is illuminating and inspiring. I’m making something out of nothing, and as always, someone said it better than me:

            “I suddenly realized that you could create life — that you could create life with a pencil and a brown paper bag — and it was truly a miracle in my recollection. Although people are always telling me that memory is just a device to justify your present, it was like I received the stigmata and I suddenly realized that you could spend your life inventing life. And I never stopped since — at five, my course was set. I never deviated, I never stopped aspiring or working in a way that provided the opportunity to make things that, if you did right, moved people.”

— Milton Glaser

For a few hours, I draw things and forget about my own struggles, and if I do my drawings well, they could help other people forget about theirs. There is some sort of creative, temporal glory in drawing on blackboards, kind of like an inside joke. If you get to see my drawings, I hope they make you feel something before they’re gone.


– Amanda Sagasti

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Lauren Shirley: My Experience in BI265j

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: My Experience in BI265j


Anatomy and physiology form the cornerstone of medicine. Without A&P, medicine as a field would fail to exist. Thus, as a premed student, I saw it as my duty to take A&P to give myself a solid background for my other medical interests and the internships I hope to pursue. After working in a cadaver lab for several summers where I completed dissections of many different joints, I imagined that I had a fairly solid background in anatomy. Additionally, my experience as an EMT and the basic anatomy and bodily processes I had learned as part of my training should make this easy. Right?? Boy was I wrong.


The musculoskeletal anatomy that I had mastered in my lab before was approximately two hours of lecture in a month-long class. My imagination had certainly underestimated the breadth of the class and the many different topics that would be covered. While my previous experiences definitely helped me a little, they gave me nowhere near the advantage I imagined.


I was most challenged by the pace of the class. As we conquered a new body system each day, in both its anatomy and its physiology, there was little time to absorb the details of each system. Rather, the class served as an overview of many main components and processes within the body. We covered everything from the skeletal framework of the body to the minute electrical conduction pathways in the heart, and none of it really got half the time it deserved. However, this class did give me a new appreciation of the miracle of the human body and its myriad evolutionary advantages. I cannot even comprehend the different evolutionary events that would have had to occur for it to reach its current state.


Organs we take for granted, such as the eye or ear, give us a plethora of information about the world around us. While I knew the basic function and makeup of these organs before the class, I had no idea about their underlying intricacies. I was fascinated by the different components that makeup our vision. While the rods in our eyes give us “night vision,” it lacks the color and “high definition” quality that cones provide. While these components appear in different densities in different places on the retina, the brain is able to take in all of the information, which synapses through the optical nerve to create a coherent image of our surroundings. It was information such as this that I learned in the class which gave me a new appreciation for the human body and its physiology.


While this class definitely pushed me to learn a maximum of information in a minimum of time, I really ended up enjoying the Anatomy and Physiology class and would highly recommend it to any other students who are considering taking it for Jan Plan in the future. However, my advice to these students would be this: you get out of the class what you put in to it. Your interest and effort is key to your success in and enjoyment of the class.



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Allison O’Connor: My Overall Experience in BI265J

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Allison O’Connor: My Overall Experience in BI265J


This January 2015, I had the opportunity to take Anatomy and Physiology with Dr. Klepach. The human body and the way it functions has always intrigued me, but Anatomy and Physiology was not offered at my high school, so I never had the opportunity to explore this interest in a formal classroom setting. So, the JanPlan A&P class presented me with the perfect opportunity to explore my interests and officially learn about the human body and the reasons behind why it functions the way that it does. This class was even more important, since I am planning to pursue a career in medicine, and I think that basic background knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is imperative for future success in medical school and beyond.


For most of my life I have been pretty confident that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and when I got to Colby I was very certain of the fact that I was going to take the pre-requisites necessary for medical school so that I could go on to med school right after Colby. Over the past few semesters I took many of the pre-med classes along with and EMT course. Classes at Colby were a little bit of a rude awakening for me, and I did not perform as well as I was used to, despite putting in more effort than I had in high school. Because of this my confidence was shaken. This along with a variety of personal setbacks and health issues prompted me to question my decision to pursue a career in medicine. Coming into this JanPlan I felt like I had a lot to figure out regarding my plans for the future. I was very excited for this class because of my aforementioned interest in anatomy and the functioning of the human body, but I was also anxious since this class had a reputation for being incredibly challenging and a lot of work. I found that the rumors about Anatomy and Physiology were true, however I enjoyed every minute of the course and definitely learned way more than I could have ever anticipated-not just about anatomy, but also about myself and the way I learn as well as stress-management techniques. Dr. Klepach created a classroom environment that took the focus off of grades and switched the focus to actually learning the material while maintaining a healthy lifestyle (eating three balanced meals a day, getting eight hours of sleep each night and trying to manage our stress levels). It is often too easy to get caught up in the grades that you get on an exam or to stress about the final grade that you receive in a class and in all of this worrying about the end result you forget to enjoy the learning along the way. I also have always struggled with managing my stress levels and don’t always get as much sleep as I should on a given night. The classroom environment that Dr. K created for A&P this JanPlan really gave me the space to focus on changing my habits and remind myself of how much I love learning when I am not worried about grades.


Anatomy and Physiology was one of the most engaging, interesting and challenging courses that I have taken at Colby thus far, and the course helped me rediscover my awe and amazement toward the human body and reconfirmed for me that I want to pursue a career in medicine. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have spent the month of January learning about the human body, learning about myself and creating habits that will serve me well in the rest of my Colby career and beyond.


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Rachel Bird: Flipped Classroom

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Rachel Bird: Flipped Classroom


When I showed up to the first day of my Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology JanPlan class, the professor, Dr. Klepach, told us that, for the first week (and maybe longer), we wouldn’t be having a typical lecture-style class. Instead, we were expected to watch podcasts of the following day’s lesson and come up with questions to go over with our classmates. Then, during the lecture block, we would be doing activities and having discussions about the material we had reviewed the night before. After lecture, we would go to the lab for 90 minutes to review anatomical structures and study histological slides in preparation for our lab practicals. As a student athlete with two jobs on campus, having an additional hour and a half of podcasts to watch outside of class, in addition to the homework and studying that was already expected of me, was pretty overwhelming. An average day for me started at 5:45am, when I woke up for morning practice, and then I was either at work, class, practice, or reviewing for the next day’s lecture until I crashed in my bed at night. However, as taxing as the first week of JanPlan was for me, the flipped classroom experiment definitely did pay off in some ways.

For one, it allowed my classmates and me to do fun, interactive activities during lecture block, instead of just sitting listening to a professor talk. One day, during a lecture block devoted to neuron firing and cell physiology, we split into groups and acted out the different types of graded and action potentials. Understanding the electrochemical gradient was a lot easier when I could see my classmates passing through a doorway to achieve an even number of students on each side!

Another benefit to the flipped classroom is that I went into class each day feeling far more prepared and ready to learn. In a fast-paced, content-heavy course like Anatomy and Physiology, it definitely helped me to be able to come to lecture already prepared with questions from the lecture. Given that we were trying to fit a full-length college anatomy class into only three and a half weeks of JanPlan, it was really important to be prepared for class and stay on top of the material. The recorded lectures were helpful in this way because if I missed something while taking notes or needed more review on a topic, I could just pause of rewind the video to the section I wanted to watch again. However, the fact that the lectures were recorded meant that I couldn’t raise my hand to ask the professor a question when it occurred to me, and I would need to wait until the next day for clarification, usually when the topic was no longer fresh in my mind.

As interesting as the flipped classroom experiment was, I was glad when the class voted to return to a normal lecture style for the remaining weeks of JanPlan. Not only did a standard lecture structure allow me more time for athletics and my job, I also felt less stressed about trying to find a 90 minute or longer block of time where I could watch the lectures. Luckily, the PDFs of the lecture slides, and all of the podcasts, were still available through the class website, so if I missed something in class I was able to go back after and review. Although I think that a flipped classroom would probably work better during the regular semester, as opposed to JanPlan, which is already hectic, it was definitely an interesting experiment that forced me to work on budgeting my time and planning out my day so that I could fit in all my commitments.

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Alexandria Lucas: Meeting with High School Anatomy Students

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Alexandria Lucas: Meeting with High School Anatomy Students

Alexandria Lucas_237129_assignsubmission_file_ALucasSophMajorPic

In high school, I never had an opportunity similar to this one in which I was able to visit a college science class and interact so directly with the college students and the material they are learning. Not only did they get to come and visit, but they were able to dissect a pig’s heart and we were there to help them do it! I do not know what have been a cooler fieldtrip in high school than this one.

It was very interesting and engaging because as we walked around and took them through the lab exam we had just taken, they could identify some of the anatomy and share knowledge about things we may not have learned because they too were currently in an anatomy class. In addition, it was helpful to be in the teaching role as we described and identified the anatomy on the different models. I think this truly works as a way to understand and learn the material better, and is not often a position that us college students are in. This particular lab test was on the heart, eye, ear, and the brain.


After taking them around our lab exam, we went downstairs to dissect the pigs’ hearts. Each group had their own heart to dissect, and it was both an opportunity for the students to learn about some of the anatomy we had just reviewed as well as to explore whatever pieces of the heart they found intriguing further. Some groups dove right into ripping apart the heart, while others took more reserved action and precise cutting to open the heart.


The purpose of this field trip was initially supposed to be meeting with the students to help them come up with ideas for the Maine Math and Science Alliance Science Fair. Because of our current class, we brainstormed ideas that directly related to anatomy and physiology, such as do different styles of music have an effect on the heart rate, or do different color filters of light effect pupil dilation in similar or varying ways.

Perhaps my favorite part of the day, which was the only unplanned part as it happened, was answering questions the group of students I was showing around had on college science classes, premed requirements, college class schedules, and more. Before I came to Colby, I truly had no idea what college was like, and needless to say I also had no idea how classes, lectures, exams, etc. operated. They were very curious about what a typical day looks like and what is different about high school classes versus college classes, and the two biggest things I shared were that exams make up very large portion of your grade particularly in science class, for very infrequently do you have daily homework assignments that significantly contribute to your grade like in high school. I also shared the much greater need for independent learning and studying in college, for it is your responsibility to make sure you understand the material covered in class during lecture and to study outside of class if you don’t. It was fun to be able to reflect on the time I have had here at Colby so far and share my learning and knowledge with students who will soon be headed off to college themselves.

Tags: Bi265j · Special Activities

Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Mayra Arroyo: A Healthier and Happier Me


During the 4 weeks of class I learned so much. Not only anatomy, but I also learned a lot about my lifestyle choices and my study habits. Before taking this class, I had never really thought about how the choices I made affected my learning and my health. One clear example is the number of hours I sleep. I was used to sleeping at 12 am or later and snoozing for an hour every morning. After sleeping at 10 or 11 pm every night and waking up 6 or 7 am, I was able to see a difference in my energy levels through out the day. I did not have to take naps during the day and I also did not have to drink coffee to stay awake during the day. This allowed me to be extremely productive and be fully concentrated on what I was doing.

Another example is eating breakfast. I was used to waking up too late and not having enough time to go to breakfast. With my new sleeping habit I was able to go to breakfast every morning. I was the most proud of this new eating habit, not because I started it, but because I was able to continue it the whole month without quitting.

The last lifestyle change I made occurred the last week of class after watching “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”. I started to remove all juice from my meals. I have always known that soda is extremely bad for a person’s health, but I wrongly assumed that juice was not as bad. After watching this video I learned that juice is equally as harmful, and have stopped drinking it. Although I have not been prefect and have had juice, I am much more conscious about drinking water instead of juice at every meal. I also learned from this video that many of the things that we eat today contain fructose, even things that most people would not even think, such as baby formula. This was absolutely shocking and horrifying. I have started to look at the labels of food in hopes to reduce my consumption of fructose. I know these small changes will make a huge difference to health.

This class not only helped me become a healthier individual, but it has helped me become a better student. One way is that I am now a more organized. I have started to make lists in ranking of importance of things I need to accomplish each day. This has not only helped me be more organized, but it has also helped me to prioritize. This was significant for this class, because there was a lot of material. I had to focus on the most important ideas concepts, because it was impossible to study every single topic thoroughly. Although these changes may seem minor, they are not because this is the start I needed in order to become better and healthier student. I plan to continue these new habits during the spring semester and beyond.



Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Ivan Yang: My experience in A&P

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Ivan Yang: My experience in A&P


Even though I am a molecular biology major, I had not taken any biology courses in the fall semester, so my advisor highly recommended me to take a biology course for JanPlan. After checking the course listings for January, I decided on a whim to sign up for the Intro to Human Anatomy and Physiology course. Later that week, I met someone who had taken the course last January. She informed me that if I was to take BI265, I would have to be prepared to learn a lot in a small amount of time. There was a wealth of interesting knowledge to be gained from the course, but, she warned, if I was expecting to cruise through JanPlan, I should drop the course. Not sure if I should take her seriously or not, I laughed it off and didn’t think about her words much after that.



After the first week, I definitely knew that this class was not to be taken lightly. The first week was especially rough because of the flipped lecture setting. Not only did we have to study for daily quizzes and lab exams, but also we had to listen to lecture and lab podcasts for the following day’s lecture and lab sessions. I was completely unprepared, and I was forced to adjust my mentality, my study schedule, and my lifestyle habits. However, while there was a seemingly surreal amount of work involved in the course, the amount of material that I absorbed during the four weeks of JanPlan truly astounded me. In addition, after putting in maximal effort just to learn the basics of human anatomy and physiology, I gained deep respect and admiration for the structure and workings of the human body. I truly came to enjoy the class and the subject, and soon enough I found myself embracing Dr. K’s recommended healthy lifestyle habits.

Beyond learning material through lectures and labs and finding a healthy lifestyle balance between working and resting, I also had many opportunities to do things that I had never done before. For example, for the first time in my life, I had the opportunity to perform a wet dissection of a pig heart. Although I was confused at first due to initial difficulties in matching the neatly-drawn heart schematics in my mind with the real deal in my hands, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of opening the heart with my own hands, placing my fingers through the valves and blood vessels to see where they connected, and seeing how the real tissues and membranes of the heart correlated with the models in our anatomy lab. In fact, I’m sure I would have enjoyed the experience even more if my partner and I had remembered that there were scalpels available for use in the dissection (we had to cut through a very thick ventricular wall with a very small pair of scissors – if you are taking the class and haven’t done the wet dissection yet, REMEMBER that there are scalpels available for use).


In sum, BI265 was a welcome and intellectually stimulating challenge. I absorbed a great deal of anatomy and physiology in the last four weeks, worked with wonderful classmates and a great professor, and learned about myself, my study and lifestyle habits, and stress management. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in thinking and in challenging his/her intellectual limits.


The blood vessel model – my best friend during the weekend before the second lab test.


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Ariel Oppong: A Memorable Aspect of Anatomy and Physiology- ART!

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: A Memorable Aspect of Anatomy and Physiology- ART!

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

During the first week of class we made a trip to the Colby Art Musuem. Since the Art museum opened during the summer of 2013 I had only actually participated in one small tour. I feel like a version of myself enjoys art and objectively recognizes its value but a version of myself that is more present on campus does not really have the time or make the efforts to appreciate art. Thus, I was happy we went.

While we were there we completed a scavenger hunt that required our knowledge of different human muscles to find the art pieces that matched with eight different short stories and descriptions. We were allowed to work together or to work in groups of three or less.


After we completed the scavenger hunt we were asked to find a piece of artwork within the museum and to create our own question/description of the artwork with the central usage of a certain muscle being used by the characters or subjects in the artwork. For my question I decided to make focus on a 1997 piece of artwork called Leader by American artist, Betye Irene Saar. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1926, she has been known to incorporate collage and assemblages into statements of political and social protest.


In this picture, a strong woman is standing and maintaining the trunk of her body in a firm position. This position represents the woman’s strong presence in the family dynamic of families of this ancestry. Because of the importance of her stance as a symbol for other aspects of her womanhood, I decided to focus my piece on a large muscle that helps the main subject hold that stance: the gluteus Maximus.


The gluteus maximus is the largest and most superficial of the three-gluteal muscles (including the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus). The gluteus maximus is proximally attached to the outer surface of the ilium and is distally attached to the superior and lateral surfaces of the greater trochanter of femur. As the largest and strongest muscle in the body, the gluteus maximus is both important in being responsible for the movement of the hip bone and thigh but in also in creating a shape to the human body and creating the appearance of hips. I really enjoyed learning more about Betye Saar, her work, and her work’s impact on general society. At first our student created scavenger hunt questions were supposed to be consolidated into a new list of synopsis for high school students to look at when they came to visit Colby early the following week. However, due to some logistical issue the students were not able to complete the scavenger hunt. Instead of completing a hunt, the high school students completed a heart dissection with us, The day prior to the students’ arrival on campus we had completed an almost trial run like heart dissections on our own in the lab. I enjoyed learning on my own and then showing the high school students different anatomical parts of the heart because it allowed me to see what aspects of the lessons before I was and was not retaining.



Tags: Bi265j · Special Activities

Lauren Shirley: BI265J and Personal Health

February 24th, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: BI265J and Personal Health


One interesting aspect of BI265j was the emphasis that Dr. Klepach placed on personal health. On the first day of class, we were given sheets to track our sleep, exercise, stress, and eating habits. Initially, I was overwhelmed with the amount of information to absorb and the sheer scope of the class. Suddenly, I was trying to fit 4 hours of class, three hours of lecture online, sufficient exercise, three square meals and at least eight hours of sleep into a day, not to mention the actual studying part of learning for the class!

The first week was a bit rocky for me: trying to learn to use my time efficiently enough to get everything done while not succumbing to mental exhaustion at the amount of information I was trying to absorb was a challenge to say the least. However, switching back to a traditional classroom environment from the flipped environment was a lifesaver! By eliminating two hours of lecture from my homework load, I had sufficient time to study and exercise. I was able to go to the gym almost every day of the week (when I wasn’t fighting a flu).

I really enjoyed having part of the class be about maintaining our own personal health as a means to more effective learning. By placing an emphasis on exercise, I didn’t feel guilty leaving the library to go the gym for a study break. Instead, I embraced this new lifestyle opportunity and learned to play squash, something I had always wanted to do since coming to college, but had never been able to justify the time to do! Interestingly, I noticed that as I exercised more and put more of an emphasis on my own health rather than on numerical success in class, my stress decreased. I can’t say my quiz grades necessarily improved, but I felt like I was better able to absorb the material that was presented to me and was much happier while I was learning.

Also, by tracking my eating, I noticed that when my stress increased, my cravings for unhealthy foods increased as well. While I am not normally a person that eats a lot of baked goods or sugary foods, I definitely wanted them more when I didn’t exercise as much or get as much fresh air. This made me realize the importance of diet as a result of exercise.

Finally, I really enjoyed making sleep a priority during Jan Plan and received around eight hours of sleep every night on average with the exception of nights I was on duty as an EMT.

Thus, this class really taught me that my exercise habits impact both my stress and my diet, and that when I exercised less, other areas of my life would suffer. I was it metaphorically as similar to instructions for putting on an oxygen mask in a plane: Put on your own mask first before you help those around you. By focusing on my own health, effective learning and success will follow. Also, success is not defined just by numbers academically, but by your quality of life in general and how you feel.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Laurel Edington: My Experience in Bi265j

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Laurel Edington: My Experience in Bi265j


This January, I was given the opportunity to take the Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology janplan class. I’m a senior biology major and have finished all of my major requirements so I didn’t need to take this class, but I’m interested in the material and figured that it would be helpful to be at least familiar with human A&P when I’m eventually in medical school.

During the first week of class, I thought that the workload was too much and I considered dropping the class. Throughout this week, Dr. Klepach kept reinforcing that the first week was the hardest and that he really just wanted us to learn how to deal with a heavy workload and learn the material while still eating three meals a day, working out each week, getting eight hours of sleep each night, and keeping our stress level low. At first, I thought this was insane. How was I possibly supposed to learn all of these bones and muscles and not be stressed?! However, throughout the month, I realized that this was possible. The way the class was set up allowed work to be spread out so that we continued to reinforce the material through quizzes and preparing for lecture and class. By doing this, studying for a bigger exam or working on a bigger project ended up not being as stressful or time consuming as I imagined it would be.

The following weeks were still intense but were more manageable. Although we had quizzes before most lectures, another lab practical, a grand rounds presentation, and a few lab assignments left, Dr. Klepach’s advice of studying to learn the material and not for the grade really helped to make the class less daunting. As a premed student, I’m used to focusing only on the grades I receive and my GPA, but this class made me focus on actually knowing the material. Out of all of the classes I’ve taken at Colby, I’ve learned the most in this class. I don’t think this is because of the sheer amount of material thrown at us and if only a little stuck with us, it would be more information than some classes teach in a semester, but rather that I was actually working to learn the information and not just studying so that I could remember the material only in order to do well on the next test.

I highly recommend this class. I think it’s a great class for any premed student, any biology major, as well as any student who is just interested in anatomy and physiology. We were given so many interesting opportunities that no other class really offers. I can’t think of another biology class that performs any sort of dissection, that teaches the important skill of giving a grand rounds presentation, or that has lectures from specialists such as Dr. Zak Nashed and Dr. Peter Millard. During this month, we learned so much and we only just scratched the surface. I found this class so fascinating and wish that it could have been a semester long, or even a year long, course.




Tags: Bi265j

Chris Lee: What I Gained From BI265

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Chris Lee: What I Gained From BI265


This year I decided to sign up for BI265 (Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology) for my Jan Plan course. Going into it, I had no idea what to expect. I knew from my experiences with high school anatomy that it would require a lot of memorization. Given the fact that the class would only last for a month, I also expected the class to move at a very rapid pace. With these thoughts in mind, I walked into the classroom on the first day, ready to begin my second Jan Plan at Colby.


On the first day, Dr. Klepach told us that one of his goals in the course was to teach us to maintain healthy lifestyles, despite the rigorous nature of his class. According to him, this would be an important lesson to learn, especially for those of us who entered the health professions field. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially while taking a course like BI265 at first seemed impossible. We were exposed to a lot of information each class and it was not uncommon for us to have quizzes the day after we were introduced to new material. During the first week, I spent nearly all my time outside of class in the library going over lecture notes and stressing over whether or not I had studied enough. I wondered how it was possible to fit in time for sleep, activities outside class, and three meals a day without stressing out. As it turned out, it was possible to achieve all three of these things and succeed in the class. All it took was some self-reflection and time management.


Self-reflection is an all-around good skill to have. It lets you evaluate where you are in the process of trying to accomplish something and lets you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie. In my case, self-reflection let me see a major weakness in my approach toward the class: my study habits. Usually, my approach to studying would be to re-read my notes until the information sank into my head. For a Jan Plan course, this is inefficient because time is very limited. After an unsuccessful performance on the first lab exam, I sat down and thought about how I was studying. I concluded that I needed to implement a more active style of learning. For instance, when studying the different parts of the eye, heart, and ear, I looked at anatomical models of these organs in addition to looking at the diagrams in my notes. Our lab exams asked us to identify structures on anatomical models, which was why it was more beneficial to study the models in conjunction with diagrams. Being able to self-reflect on my performance in the course helped me make the necessary changes to how I approached the material and improve my performance.


In addition to self-reflection, time management was another important skill that helped me get through BI265. In order to fit in time for sleep and other activities outside of class, I had to stay focused and be more efficient when it came time to work. Doing this allowed me to be productive while allowing for more time to enjoy myself outside of class. A technique I used to help with time management was setting up an organized schedule. Through this method, I was able to see when I could devote time to study, keep track of deadlines, and plan ahead. I attribute my decrease in stress levels to an improvement in my time management skills. Being more organized helped me get more done sooner so that I was not left with an overwhelming amount of work in the wake of an imminent deadline (which is very stressful situation). While I learned a lot about the cardiovascular, skeletal, digestive, and other body systems in BI265, I also learned the importance of self-reflection and time management. I have no doubt that these two skills will be beneficial to me for the rest of my college career and ultimately the rest of my life.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Chris Lee: Dissecting a Sheep Heart

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Chris Lee: Dissecting a Sheep Heart


I cut the plastic bag open and was immediately hit with a strong odor. Inside the bag was a sheep’s heart, sitting in a pool of preservative chemicals. Immediately after taking the heart out, I went over to the sink to rinse off the chemicals. I could tell that this was going to be a messy lab. Still, I was excited to do a sheep heart dissection because it was an opportunity for me to see a real heart. For about a week, I had been studying diagrams and models of hearts, but not a real version of the organ itself. The anatomical models we used were helpful in learning where structures of the heart are located, but nothing beats seeing the real thing.

After washing the heart, my lab partner and I located its apex (tip) and figured out where the left and right sides were. It was immediately apparent that not all the structures were intact which was unfortunate (both the inferior and superior vena cava had been cut off). However, we discovered a well-preserved depression known as the foramen ovalis behind the right ventricle that had not been damaged in the preservation process of the heart. The foramen ovalis marks the former sport of the foramen ovale, a hole in the pig fetus’s that helps with blood circulation. After the pig’s birth, the hole is sealed, leaving behind the foramen ovalis.


Next, we started cutting the heart open. Cutting through the walls of the heart was difficult. The heart’s function, to pump blood throughout the body, requires it to be a tough, durable organ and I was reminded of this as my lab partner and I tried to cut through its walls. Pulling apart an incision on the right side revealed a small chamber with a hole in its lower end covered by three flaps. This was the tricuspid valve, the covering between the hole connecting the right ventricle and right atrium. I stuck my fingers through the valve, pushing my way past the three flaps into the larger space known as the right ventricle and felt around. Brushing against my fingers were the stringy cordae tendinae that connected the flaps of the tricuspid valves to the papillary muscles.

Over on the left side of the heart, we saw structures such as the left atrium, bicuspid valve, and the left ventricle. While making a cut on the left side of the heart, I immediately noticed how much thicker the muscular walls were on this side. Something that occurred to me during this dissection that I never really thought about before was how the heart’s form fit its function. Its thick, muscular walls (particularly on the left side) gave it the necessary power to pump blood to different parts of the body. The cordae tendinae, though somewhat thin and stringy, still felt strong and durable, which was necessary for them to be able to keep the bicuspid and tricuspid valves shut. Even the layout of the heart itself is essential to its function. It contains four chambers linked by a straightforward path that enables deoxygenated blood to enter, get pumped to the lungs to pick up oxygen, return, and then get pumped to other parts of the body. The sheep’s heart dissection was definitely my favorite activity from anatomy class. I enjoyed the hands-on aspect of it and being able to explore the layout and structure of a real heart.



Tags: Bi265j · Lab

Ariel Oppong: Flipped Lectures Were a Plus for Me

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: Flipped Lectures Were a Plus for Me

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

I am pre med and am also interested in public health especially decreasing health disparities. With these future career goals in mind taking a class such as Anatomy and Physiology could be a beneficial course choice. For the field of medicine Anatomy and Physiology is not a pre-requisite, however once a student matriculates into a medical program he or she will have to take anatomy and physiology to graduate. Thus, taking the course now could be advantageous to my schooling in the future.


A lot of past students warned me earlier that this course was very hard and time consuming, but I was still unsure if I might need it in the future so I decided to give it a chance. The first couple days were rough to say the least. We had three quizzes and a lab exam within the first week. Class was almost four hours long from 9-1pm on most days. We had lecture first and then lab for the first week and then lab first and then lecture after for the last three weeks. We were asked to sleep for 8 hours a night, to eat a balacnced diet and to try to exercise as well as complete the class at an optimal level. Prof. Klepach thought it was very much feasible but by requiring that we follow the lifestyle and do well in school what he was really encouraging was for us to find a way to study more effectively, learn better time management skills, and take our well –being seriously. For the most part I was able to exercise more regularly and eat three balanced meals but I still felt stressed and was not able to get eight hours of sleep every night.


My lack of sleep was probably at first due to the fact that we were operating on a flipped lecture style. In flipped lecture the students and I would watch videos of pre-taped lectures and pre-taped lab lectures prior to class. Then the class would be operated with the assumption that we had done our part and had done the pre-work. During class we would complete group exercises including an overview of questions we individually came to class with. Afterwards Prof. Klepach would give us group quizzes and reviews. I found out that I really like flipped lectures. As someone that does not really learn very well by auditory means I was really happy to be provided with the pre-taped lectures because it provided me with the option to play back things that I might not have caught the first time. Moreover, the flipped lecture style allowed me to reinforce what I knew or did not know with the in class group quizzes and daily individual quizzes.


I plan to try to integrate some of the components of flipped lectures into my spring semester. I am already a junior but it seems like there are some study techniques that I have to start implementing on a daily basis. For an example I am going to try to spend more of my evenings prepping for the upcoming class instead of reviewing material that I had previously put off.

Tags: Bi265j

Ariel Oppong: What is the Best Way to Study?

February 23rd, 2015 · Comments Off on Ariel Oppong: What is the Best Way to Study?

Ariel Oppong_237134_assignsubmission_file_colby id possible pic

For Intro Into Anatomy and Physiology we had to complete both lectures and a laboratory component. For the lab part we were provided with at least an hour and a half to review the components of various models and structures displayed around the microbiology laboratory. During the first week I was excited to see the models and to see how much I remembered from the Anatomy and Physiology class I took my junior year in high school (about four years ago). The first day I realized that what I had retained from my past Anatomy and Physiology class was more broad physiology than college- level anatomy details. We had our first lab exam on day four of the class. I was shocked to find out we would have an exam so early but I do not think that it really hit me until the first Tuesday night. That night I actually came to terms with the fact that I only had one more night before the exam. Panic definitely was a feeing that immediately surfaced. I had never taken a pervious class with Prof. Klepach and I did not know how he tested so I was really worried.


Nonetheless, I had to start studying something or I was going to feel defeated before I even started. My fried Jay and I really focused our studying on the various parts of the human skull. We spent about two hours in total on that skull and we were pretty good after numerous quizzes and checks with the professor. The only issue is that by spending so much time on the skull we really did not get to study the other models as in depth. Even in the moment, I knew I was taking a risk by focusing on that body part for so long. I was just hopping that at least five or so questions would come from that region so I could reap the benefits of my studying. Haha I guess I was hopeful. My Wednesday a lot of people were over the amount of work. I think we lost about 7 people in the first week. But I was intent on finishing the class.


But was I studying appropriately? I really was not sure. In addition, I finished the previous semester pretty late, December 22nd , so when JanPlan January 5th, I was only home for around 10 days and I was pretty tired of school already. Was I putting in the appropriate amount of time? On average I was studying for at least four hours a night if you included watching the videos or podcasts for the next class, still it felt like that was the bare minimum. My first practical was really supposed to show me where my study skills were improving, okay at or lacking.


Whoa was the first lab practical hard! I did not actually study even close to the amount I needed to study in order to do well. Slacking off would be an understatement. I did poorly on the exam and the answers I got right were mainly give –away or identifications that I probably could have made even as a high school student. Disappointment was my main feeling during and after the exam. I just felt like with an exam like the lab practical- your performance is in direct correlation with your study skills. All the answers are predetermined and you just have to recognize the anatomy and regurgitate the medical terminology.


Basically my first lab practical taught me a hard lesson about slacking off plus it motivated me to try new methods and lastly it gave me a starting place that was so low that for my second exam I had no where to go but up.


Tags: Bi265j · Lab

Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 1

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 1


This JanPlan gave me many unique opportunities, and I learned so much about the human body in so many different ways beyond just classroom lectures. We spent hours in lab studying models, histology slides, real bones, and a real pig heart. We went on “field trips” to the art museum, where we identified different anatomical features in pieces of art, and to the athletic center, where we learned about our own heart rates, respiration, and metabolism. We completed a Grand Rounds project, which is where medical professionals present a patient’s issues and treatment for the purpose of educating medical students as well as other doctors. We were given the opportunity to work with high schoolers interested in the sciences during a mentoring session where we were taught them a little bit about what we were studying in class and helped them plan out science fair project ideas.

Some of my favorite learning experiences organized by Dr. Klepach was bringing in different speakers who talked to us about what they do in their day to day lives and the issues they seek to fix. The first speaker was Dr. Zak Nashed, a radiologist who specializes in peripheral artery disease. PAD is a circulation problem where arteries that supply blood to the extremities get clogged by the hardening of arteries, often times leading to a stroke or a heart attack. It can cause damage to the endothelial lining of the arteries, an increased permeability and adhesion of molecules, and if it goes untreated there could be a complete obstruction. One treatment option is medical management, where the risk factors could be modified (by exercising, losing weight, or stopping smoking) or a pharmacologic intervention could be used to regulate hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, or diabetes. Another treatment option, which Dr. Nashed specializes in, is interventional radiology through endovascular techniques. These are minimally invasive procedures where medical professionals use image guided tools to perform balloon angioplasty and place stents to open up narrowed arteries due to plaque build up. The third and most extreme treatment option is to perform a bypass graft or an amputation.

The other speaker who came to talk to us was Dr. Peter Millard who is an epidemiologist, someone who studies causes and patterns of diseases in different populations. He talked to us about his work with diseases in Africa, making the interesting point that where he worked in Mozambique is about the same distance from Liberia as it is from New York, but in reality New York is a lot closer because there is more traffic between the two places. He explained that geographic proximity is different from travel patterns and the way disease spreads has a lot more to do with traffic than geographic proximity. He also talked about the prevalence of HIV across different parts of Africa, and possible correlation between these rates of HIV and circumcision. Another interesting aspect of epidemiology he talked about was the importance of disease prevention on economic and social levels.

Having these speakers come in to talk with us was an integral part of my learning experience in the Anatomy and Physiology class because it opened my eyes to all the various aspects that the sciences, biology in particular, encompass. Having both parents working in the medical field has always fostered an interest in a profession in the medical field, but I have never had a concrete idea of what I specifically would like to do. These opportunities of having two very different speakers come talk to us made me more aware of the various directions my degree in biology can take me and interested in looking into different careers that I would have never thought about before.


Tags: Bi265j · Guest Speakers

Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 2

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Arianne Thomas: My JanPlan Experience – pt. 2


Going into my first JanPlan two years ago I didn’t know what to expect. The only thing I had known about it that it was a time to step out of your comfort zone, take a different class, and explore other aspects of learning. I signed up for the Catholic Church and Hollywood class that year because it fulfilled two distribution requirements. I thought that the class would be a breeze. Not only did I hear from upperclassmen that it was an easy class, I was also raised in the Catholic Church and went to a Catholic school for most my life, and therefore had to take church history and other religious classes throughout my high school experience. Turns out, the class was easy. The class met three times a week, and every single day we watched a movie, the hardest part of the class being keeping my eyes open for three hours in the dark room. There were three relatively short essay assignments and there was no final.

My sophomore year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone. I took the African Music class being not at all musically inclined other than my experience with the recorder in the third grade. Since the class fulfilled the art distribution requirement, and I’m even less artistically inclined, I figured I would manage. A normal class day consisted of singing, drumming, and dancing. There were no assessments other than a few performances at a local church and during the Martin Luther King Day celebration.

I knew this year would be different when I signed up for Anatomy and Physiology. My mom, a retired flight nurse in the Air Force, recalled taking full semesters of both Anatomy and Physiology while in college. She was surprised that we could fit in all the information in just one month, recalling specific parts and functions of the human body that she was required to know. I knew it would be a lot of hard work, but I was prepared to dedicate my month to working hard. Going over the syllabus on the first day, I was a little bit overwhelmed with the amount of material, quizzes, and projects we were going to accomplish during the month. Dr. Klepach also warned us that people often get C’s and D’s on the quizzes and tests, which was worrisome as my grades and my GPA are always a primary concern. On top of it all, our professor wanted us to keep logs of our eating, exercising, and sleeping habits and to monitor our stress levels. Within the first few days of the class, I was completely overwhelmed by all the work and studying I had to do and called my mom for some support, only to hear her say “I told you so.” It was a matter of days until about a third of the class switched into a different class. The first week proved to be the hardest, listening to two hour long lectures and taking detailed notes on top of studying for a few quizzes and a lab test. It was really encouraging to hear Dr. K’s words of praise after the class average on our first lab test was 40%, well above the average of last year’s class. Although the subsequent weeks lightened up and my personal scores improved, the most important lesson I learned was balancing my life. Previously, when I got swamped with school work, I would often cut out exercising or a full night’s sleep to catch up with work. Dr. K stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and this transformed me to be a better student. It not only forced me to stay on top of my work, but also kept me healthy during the time of the year when many people get sick. This aspect of the class was crucial in showing me that a healthy, balanced lifestyle can be achievable even with a rigorous school schedule, which is something I believe many college students tend to forget.


Tags: Bi265j · Human Health

Lauren Shirley: Cardiology: Getting to the heart of the matter

February 22nd, 2015 · Comments Off on Lauren Shirley: Cardiology: Getting to the heart of the matter


One of the highlights of my experience in BI265j was the cardiac section and in particular, the heart dissections we got to do. I had a fairly solid understanding of the heart coming into the class from my EMT training. I knew that the blood came into the heart through the vena cava entered the right atrium passed through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle, was pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries to receive oxygen and then returned to the heart through the pulmonary veins into the left atrium then through the mitral valve to the left ventricle and out to the ret of the body through the aorta. What my EMT training had failed to teach me, however, was the beauty of this process, which is almost artful in its simplicity and elegance. This class gave me a greater appreciation of the elegance of the heart and the mechanisms behind its continuous beating. I was fascinated by the spread of electrical signal and its motion through the myocardium. The depolarization starting at the sinoatrial node, which spreads to the atrioventricular node then through the bundle of His and out to the Purkinje fibers is a highly linear path, simple yet powerful. While the lecture on the heart and studying plastic models in lab fascinated me, it was the opportunity to dissect the heart that truly solidified by understanding of it.


We dissected preserved cow hearts. Initially, I was impressed by the thickness of the muscle in the heart walls. It took quite a bit of work with a scalpel and scissors in order to get down into the different chambers of the heart. The sheer thickness of the walls and the work it took to get through them spoke to the sheer power of the heart as a muscle and the strength needed to supply a large body, such as a cow, with blood. Once inside the heart, I was fascinated by the sheer strength of the chordae tendinae, the fibers that keep backflow from occurring in the tricuspid and mitral valves. Despite pulling on these relatively thin cords, they didn’t tear! This further illustrated the necessary strength of the heart to me and the great pressure and quantity of blood that it pumps.


While it was really exciting to get to see a real life illustration of the models we had studies (that wasn’t color coded), it was even better to have a chance to share our newfound knowledge of the heart with the high school students who visited. I felt that teaching them what I knew solidified it in my mind. However, it was also exciting to see the “next generation” of young science students and how fascinated they were with the human body and its functions. I felt that my enthusiasm for cardiac function was almost contagious as I eagerly showed them how to dissect ad encouraged them to explore and understand the heart in front of them.





Long story short, this class got me pumped for cardiac anatomy and physiology and a possible career in cardiology. Ironically, I love the heart!

Tags: Bi265j · Lab · Special Activities