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Eyes toward the future

High schoolers dissect cow eyes as part of FSU pre-medical program

By Elizabeth Djinis

elizabeth.djinis @heraldtribune.com

SARASOTA — Keara Curry gingerly cuts the brown muscle away from the crystal blue-colored cornea of the eye with a scalpel.

As layers of muscle and fat peel away, she finds the thin, wiry part in the back of the eye, a nerve so small it seems unimaginable that it could be responsible for the entire sight of the cow.

“That’s the optic nerve,” said 14-year-old Curry, a first-year student at Sarasota High School. She nods with recognition.

Curry is one of 18 students with the SSTRIDE program, Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence, a partnership between Florida State University’s College of Medicine and the Sarasota County School District intended to teach lowerincome students interested in science more about the medical field through mentoring and hands-on activities. The program is funded by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation and begins at the eighth-grade level and goes through 12th grade.

“We expose them to everything we possibly can, just because one path

See FUTURE, B7

Sarasota High School freshman Sadie Phillips dissects the eyeball of a cow on Thursday, as assignment that is part of the SSTRIDE program, a partnership between Florida State University’s College of Medicine and the Sarasota County School District. [HERALD-TRIBUNE STAFF PHOTOS / DAN WAGNER]

Sarasota High School ninth-graders, from left, Emily Vuchinich, Keara Curry, Kassie Greenan and Helen Cala dissect the eyeballs of a cow as part of FSU’s Medical outreach program on Thursday.

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