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Office of Science Outreach

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This course is full, you are however still able to be added to a waitlist by  emailing Jeanne Benink at

Thinking Like A Surgeon

Are you curious how scientists identify bacteria that cannot be seen by the naked eye? Ever wonder why beaches close in the summer due to high bacteria levels and how this is decided? Curious about the microbes that are present in your food? Do you just want a better understanding of the living world we cannot see? Are you interested in a career in the health fields? Is a college course in microbiology in your future?

Were you always fascinated by how a surgeon would repair a damaged heart valve, fix a torn ligament or put together a broken clavicle? Are you interested in a career in health care? Did you always want to look inside a human body? If so, this workshop is the right place for you. During the week we'll tackle some of these tasks and learn how surgeons prepare for their profession. We'll explore the human body by using an amazing tool - a virtual cadaver! This "cadaver" will help us plan a heart valve repair, a hip replacement surgery and even a separation of conjoined twins. Then we are going to explore the process of removing a virtual breast tumor starting from the process of biopsy and studying the cells under the microscope, to the virtual surgery. We'll even visit the School of Nursing at Edgewood College to learn about recovery from surgery using the simulated patients used to teach the nursing students. We'll also explore some common types of bone fractures and learn how to identify them using real patient’s X-rays.

At the end of the week we use a pig heart, a sheep brain and kidney to learn some direct dissection techniques, stitch an artificial heart valve and find the proper location for a kidney transplant. 

This active and fascinating workshop is geared for student grades 10-13. For their safety, closed toe shoes and comfortable clothing are mandatory during dissection.


The Workshop will be held in the Sonderegger Science Center on the Edgewood College Campus. The science center is a K-16 building that serves science students of all ages. 1000 Edgewood College drive, Madison, WI

Time and dates

June 25-29 1:00 pm-4:00 pm

Entering Grades 10-13 in the fall of 2018

Camp Leader

Dr. Donika Rakacolli

Leader Bio

Dr. Rakacolli has taught Anatomy and Physiology to college students for 15 years. She has a Ph. D in Endocrinology from the University of Bologna, Italy. One of Dr. Rakacolli’s favorite spots in Bologna is the beautiful anatomical theatre that was built in 1637 to teach medical students.


$300 This includes registration, all materials and a simple snack.