Bellevue College Library Displays Student-Made Skeletons

As of Thursday, Oct. 19, the Bellevue College (BC) library is displaying human skeletal models made by professor Reza Forough’s anatomy and physiology students. There are several models, all located on the first floor of the library near the entrance. A few of the models even have names such as “Bone Jangles” and “Genius,” among others.

This isn’t the first time anatomy models have been displayed on BC’s campus. Dr. Forough shared that he has previously collaborated with the RISE Learning Institute to display anatomical models, but the display wasn’t skeletons. Instead, the previous display was of other organs, including the heart and lungs.

When asked why he had chosen to organize a display, Dr. Forough said that “[he] just wanted to see other people see it.” He further explained that his primary goal was to expand the general public’s knowledge of anatomy: “To me, that’s also important, that not only students of anatomy-physiology, but a broader audience benefit from viewing the display.”

“I was talking to an individual,” Dr. Forough recalled. “[He] had broken a femur… and wanted to know where it is. He knew it was in his leg, but he wanted to see on the model, you know, where the breakage happened.” To Dr. Forough, that encounter was a sign that the displays were doing what he wanted them to do.

However, the display is only part of the equation. The models themselves are also important to Dr. Forough’s vision.

“The idea is not actually a new idea,” he admitted. He continued to explain that the idea was originally developed by elementary, middle and high school teachers to accommodate tight budgets and a need for innovative teaching techniques. “[The idea] came to me because of several reasons,” Dr. Forough said. “I noticed that when students interact together with one another, they not only cultivate this sense of cooperation… but also, they come up with very creative ideas. In fact, for me, even, I go there, [and] some of the models in this display that I see, I couldn’t do it myself.”

BC students had the opportunity to vote on their favorite skeleton. Voting closed on Thursday, Oct. 26 at 11:30 a.m., and the winner is scheduled to be announced this week.

Dr. Forough hopes to use the voting itself as an additional learning experience for his students. “It’s a self-reflection,” he explained. “In your professional life, [the] same thing happens. You submit a grant, and it doesn’t get funded, versus another grant, and you’re wondering why the other grant got funded but not yours… It’s probably because the people who voted, [the] committee that decides, ‘this grant is better,’ just thought like [the voters]. …They saw aspects of [the winner] that weren’t present in others. So it’s a self-reflection to see [those] aspects.”

While the voting may be over, the skeletons will still be on display until Nov. 1, when they will be reclaimed by Dr. Forough’s students for part two of the project: adding skeletal muscles to the models. If you want to see the skeletons before they’re taken down, you can do so at the BC Library.