The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) division at Harford Community College has purchased an anatomage table, a technologically advanced visualization and virtual dissection tool for anatomy and physiology education which has been shown to increase student learning gains. The acquisition was made with a significant donation from alumnus Robert Pyle, according to a news release.
“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Pyle for his gift towards the purchase of the anatomage table,” said STEM Dean Pamela Pape-Lindstrom. “The table will bring an innovative approach to instruction and increase student engagement and student learning in our anatomy and physiology courses.”
An anatomage table is a 3D interactive dissection table that allows students to virtually explore human bodies in a way once only accessible through cadaver dissection. By swiping the table, anatomical features are revealed in vivid detail.
The Pyle family has been longtime donors to the school. In 2003, the Pyle family legacy provided financial support to students at Harford, beginning with the creation of the Aberdeen High School Class of 1951 endowment by Robert’s father, LeJeune Pyle. The endowed funds provided scholarships to Harford students who are graduates of Aberdeen High School, have financial need, are enrolled full-time and possess a 3.00+ cumulative GPA.
Robert Pyle became involved with the management of the endowment as his father grew older, according to a news release. As he saw firsthand the positive impact scholarships were providing, Robert decided to give back to the institution that helped prepare him for his future.
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Rob Pyle wanted to establish his own endowed fund at HCC, so established the Pyle Family STEM Endowment in March. The funds are designated for the use of the Harford Community College STEM Division as determined by the dean of the program.
Robert attended HCC in the 1980s. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University.
In 1987, he moved to Boulder, Colorado, to work in a NOAA laboratory as a computer programmer researching climate change. He decided to change careers and attended the University of Colorado to earn an master’s in finance. In 1996, Robert started Diversified Asset Management, Inc., a wealth management firm in Boulder, Colorado.
“I have always been interested in STEM activities since high school,” said Robert in a news release. “Both of my sons are STEM majors in college, and so funding for STEM initiatives at Harford was a perfect fit for our entire family.”
In addition to the endowment, he went to Dean Pape-Lindstrom to find out what else besides scholarships would enhance STEM programs, said Denise Dregier, executive director of the Harford Community College Foundation.
The dean identified the anatomage table as being on her wish list to enhance anatomy and physiology teaching, Dreiger said. In the past, plastic models were used by students to learn parts of the body, Dreiger said. The new digital anatomage table provides a more realistic view of the human body and takes the place of using cadavers in teaching anatomy, Dreiger said.
Robert and Mary Ann Pyle visited the HCC campus on Sept. 23 for an in-person demonstration of the anatomage table. During the visit, Dean Pape-Lindstrom coordinated a tour of Aberdeen Hall, and Theresa Felder, president of Harford Community College, thanked the Pyles for their generous gift that assisted in purchasing the table.