Leadership in Medicine students sample the arts with ceramics class

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Pre-med students on campus for summer classes recently got their hands dirty when they tried out a pottery class in the Ceramics Studio.


Except this wasn’t an ordinary pottery class. Instead of making typical ceramics projects, such as bowls and cups, the future physicians spent the majority of their time molding vital organs - brains, lungs and hearts - out of potter’s clay.

“For students who are so formulaic and technical, this is a great way to teach them about the arts and have them use the right side of their brains,” said Carole Weisse, director of Health Professions, which oversees the College’s Leadership in Medicine program. Weisse taught the pottery class alongside ceramics instructor Nancy Niefield.

Weisse wanted to teach her students that being a doctor means dealing with challenges which can also happen in pottery. “There’s going to be frustration; there’s going to be failure,” she said.

The students, Aleena Paul ’12, Ajay Major ’12 and Mark Chaskes ’12, were able to take their love of science and turn it into a work of art.

Major made a brain with a hole inside, allowing you to see bright colors on the inside. He calls the piece “to fruition,” and said it represents the brief euphoria that the brain feels when you have an idea come to fruition.

When students were working on their organs out of clay, they were also journaling and reflecting on what it means to have successes and failures in medicine.

Pieces from Weisse and the students can be viewed in the first floor display case in the Reamer Campus Center.