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CCCC Laser students learn about the eye

Click to enlarge,  Central Carolina Community College students dissect a sheep eye. For more information about the CCCC Laser & Photonics Technology program, contact Gary Beasley at the CCCC Harnett Main Campus at (910) 814-8828 or by email at gbeasley@cccc.edu.

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Central Carolina Community College students dissect a sheep eye. For more information about the CCCC ... (more)

05.20.2019College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

LILLINGTON - Emma Belcher, Central Carolina Community College Harnett County Biology Instructor, recently led the Laser and Photonics students in a dissection of a sheep eye.

Dissections certainly aren't part of the standard Laser and Photonics Technology curriculum at CCCC. The Associate Degree program combines courses in electronics, math, and the science behind transmitting light to help students prepare for work as technicians in industries as diverse as medicine and manufacturing.

Three years ago, a medical laser company, recruiting Laser students for field service engineering positions, asked Gary Beasley, CCCC Lead Laser Instructor, if he would implement some type of anatomy lab to the Laser curriculum. After giving it some thought, Beasley said, "I told him we could add something about eyes because we already study eye safety in the Laser classes."

It didn't take long to make it happen. Beasley reached out to Emma Belcher, his colleague teaching Biology, who agreed to put together an hour-long lecture and lab on parts of the eye and the impact of lasers. Now, thanks to Belcher's willingness to give of her time to help another department, this has become an annual event. This is the fourth annual Laser student sheep eye dissection lab.

Belcher begins with a large model of the eye, removing each part and discussing its function, before opening the floor for questions.

"It was a very inquisitive group," Belcher said.

The presentation ended with a video about the dissection process and students carefully opening sheep eyes to examine the parts they had just discussed.

"We study parts of the eye and the impact lasers can have on it, but students never have a chance to actually see it," Beasley said. "Getting to see what a cornea, lens, and retina look like, and to understand how thin and delicate the retina really is, gives everyone a wider perspective on the damage a laser could do."

"This was so successful because a lot of students learn better with a hands-on activity -- having a model to take apart and a real eye to dissect -- instead of just looking at a diagram in the textbook," said Belcher. "This really gets them engaged."

Dr. Jon Matthews, CCCC Harnett County Provost, said, "I'm proud of our faculty for creating opportunities like these for their students. While it's not highly unusual here at CCCC, I sincerely appreciate that faculty from completely different departments were willing to work together to develop a unique lab experience that will better prepare our students for the jobs that they will seek after graduation. It says a lot about Mr. Beasley, Ms. Belcher, and the culture of collegiality here at Harnett Main Campus."

For more information about the CCCC Laser & Photonics Technology program, contact Gary Beasley at the CCCC Harnett Campus at (910) 814-8828 or by email at gbeasley@cccc.edu.

For more information on Central Carolina Community College, visit the website www.cccc.edu.