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Bailey College of Science and Mathematics

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New Human Anatomy Club to Merge Science and Art: "The human body is so interesting and unique”

By Angelina Benyamin Rodriguez

            A new student club has been launched to allow students to explore topics in anatomy through an artistic lens. The Creative Anatomy Club (CAC) is open to students of any major, hoping to foster collaboration at the intersection of health and art.

           “A huge goal for me at this point is making it an inclusive space where everyone can come and enjoy it. They don't have to necessarily want to be a doctor or to be interested in the nitty-gritty of biology, but the human body is so interesting and unique, and I think everyone can benefit from a better understanding of how our bodies work,” said Emma Mason, third-year kinesiology major and president of the CAC from Mission Viejo, California

Mason had already completed the available human anatomy courses and was itching for more ways to explore the subject when she came to biological sciences Professor Dr. Michael Jones asking if there were any anatomy clubs she could join. He suggested that Mason start one.

“I include an anatomical art image at the start of most of my lectures to try to promote this idea that maybe you would like to be a medical illustrator someday to show you what's possible,” said Jones.

           The club will allow students to engage creatively with anatomy through drawings and artwork while also inviting guest speakers to talk about the relationship between health and art.

           Renderings could include a close-up of shoulder ligaments or photography that showcases the human form in creative ways. One example of medical illustration that Jones likes to share is an aerial image in which a large group of people pose, huddling together to form a visual representation of the human brain. Art and design can promote healing, including how the color of a hospital walls affects patients; all is up for consideration.

           “I don't think we're focused on any medium of art. I don't know that we're even entirely focused on art,” Jones said. “I think we are truly being creative.” In response to those who question how the two will establish this relationship between science and the arts, Jones argues that it already is. Many high-level medical campuses, including Stanford University, are already offering anatomical art classes.

           “It was the first time I felt super connected with what I was learning and what I wanted to do, and it just opened up all these different passions and interests for me,” said Mason about her experience in the lab.

           The Human Anatomy Lab houses many courses including: the Learn by Doing Lab, Advanced Human Gross Anatomy, and the Senior Research Project.

           In the Learn by Doing Lab, students get to lead anatomy lessons for high school students using human cadaver specimens. They must be able to work with peers to explain complex ideas and fulfill the roles of student and teacher at the same time. Here, Mason discovered that she had an interest in and even a “knack for teaching,” she said.


           The Advanced Human Gross Anatomy Lab is a summer elective course where students will perform a whole-body human cadaver dissection.

           “I felt so much more connected with what I was studying,” said Mason. “I got to explore those curiosities right then and there, not just reading about it and seeing pictures and rewriting my notes. This is right here in front of me.”

           At the same time, a large part of these courses is the collaboration aspect.

           “You’re building relationships, you're building confidence, you're gaining true work-life skills in collaboration and teamwork and leadership and self-efficacy,” said Jones.

           All these skills developed in the labs, both technical and social, are something they hope to expand on within the CAC.


           Cal Poly students interested in joining the club may visit Cal Poly Now at Students interested in enrolling in courses in the HAL lab, go to

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