PHOENIX - Without a doubt, the sights and smells are unique.
"When I was first starting off, I really didn't like it," said Tiffany Hansen, a Grand Canyon University senior now applying for medical school. But in a matter of "days," she said, the seriousness of her work kicked in and, as a sophomore, Hansen was learning anatomy by dissecting human bodies.
"I knew from that day on it was going be in the lab a lot because it was so exciting," she said.
GCU allows undergraduate students, even freshman, to work, learn and conduct research in its cadaver lab. The school has 18 cadavers acquired through the National Body Donor Program in St. Louis.
"It's a rarity for students to have an opportunity to learn their anatomy at the depth that we're teaching it here," said Faculty Dissection Lead Michael Bodeen, adding most dissection labs are only open to graduate-level students and beyond.
"[Undergraduates] are learning how to think clinically at the same time they're discovering anatomy," he said, giving them "confidence" as they begin applications for further medical-related education.
Bodeen said up to 300 students pass through the cadaver labs each week. They are an essential part of GCU's science programs, he said. Other schools use computer or plastic models instead of bodies.
GCU also hosts high school workshops throughout the year in its labs.