SEPTEMBER 18, 2009

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A Closer Look

For a scientist, having the right microscope is a necessity.“One of the major components of lab science is the microscope,
but not all microscopes are created equal,” said Bruce Stewart, Murray State College professor of biological sciences and
chair of the department of science and mathematics.

With this in mind, the Ardmore Higher Education Center board of trustees funded the purchase of 24 new Compound Brightfield Microscopes with Digital Cameras. “We wanted these this fall and to not let any more time go by,” AHEC director Steven Mills said.

The microscopes will be used for laboratory work in biology classes and human anatomy classes. “We have a big body of students that need these (prerequisites),” Mills said.

In addition to students taking biology as a required basic course, many students from AHEC need to take human anatomy
courses before studying nursing and other health related fields at East Central University or Murray State College.

Lab work is a vital part of these courses.“Students are required to know and recognize microscopic anatomy. Before, the
only option was to return to the lab, which is difficult for students commuting to school,” Stewart said.

The new microscopes connect to laptop computers. Students can capture the image from the slides and save them to a jump drive to view and study later.

“It will improve retention of critical information,” Stewart said. In addition, the new microscope for the instructor has a
higher quality image and can project an image onto a screen so that all students can see it without having to take
individual turns looking through the microscope.

“It’s greater efficiency of instruction,” Stewart said. The microscopes bring new possibilities for student work.“We might
want to develop our own laboratory notebook, since they can take pictures of things in the lab. We are also hoping to
implement research with our faculty. These would certainly add to that,” Stewart said.

Few schools in the state have these types of microscopes. The main MSC campus in Tishomingo does not have them.“This is a gem in science education for the Ardmore Higher Education Center. I thank Dr. Mills for having an open ear to what might improve the labs,” Stewart said.

Mills said the microscopes were needed. “We want your college experience to be as good as any college campus in the state, maybe even better.” Mills said. And the right microscope brings them one step closer to achieving that goal.