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February Good News at TMCC: Part 1

radiology student practicing using a phantom
Rebecca A. Eckland

Radiology Technology Program Purchases New Phantom

Recently, the TMCC Radiology Program added a new element to the laboratory part of the program: a phantom named “Pixie.” Pixie, which was purchased thanks to a Perkins Grant from a manufacturer in Germany, contains a real human skeleton as well as outlines of a larynx, lung, heart and kidneys. “The phantom or radiology training simulator allows radiology students to practice taking x-rays on a ‘real’ size patient. This allows practice before they go to a clinical site and image real patients,” said Interim Radiology Program Director Rori Wilkis.
 
Wilkis explained that the presence of real human bones enables them to be seen on an x-ray image. “Bone has an effective atomic number of 13.8, which allows it to be seen well on x-ray images. We use the phantom in our energized x-ray laboratory starting in the first semester of the five-semester program,” she said. 
 
Pixie’s size and shape, which mimics the human form, also grants students a more authentic experience in positioning a human body under the imaging equipment. “We have a very old phantom that has been with the program for many years,” explained Wilkis. “She’s very heavy… and she also doesn’t have a connected head.” The program also has phantoms focused on specific areas of the human body, including knee, foot, elbow and skulls.
 
Pixie has been quickly integrated into the laboratory sessions in the Radiology program, under safe cleaning and social distancing precautions. Despite the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic, students in the program are showing remarkable resilience. “I’m amazed by our students… we’ve been teaching our students through Zoom and socially distanced in-person labs,” Wilkis said. “We’ve been lucky to partner with local hospitals that have encouraged and allowed our students to continue their clinical studies.”
 
Pixie, though, is adding the rich experience of this longstanding TMCC program that focuses on teaching students anatomy and positioning as well as physics, radiation safety, radiation biology, pathology, patient care, and the operation of imaging equipment. “We’re a program that truly takes pride in training essential frontline workers,” said Wilkis. “Our graduates are in almost every imagining center in the Reno/Sparks area.”

TMCC Named Host for 2021 Climate Pursuit

Starting Feb. 24, 2021, Truckee Meadows Community College is one of seven host institutions for the 2021 Second Nature Climate Pursuit, a year-long event that will replace the leadership conference Second Nature held in previous years. As a host institution, TMCC will host a virtual conference as a part of the “Pursuit”, which is a series of milestone check-in points throughout 2021 focused on learning, planning, acting and leading on equity and climate on college and university campuses, in our community and across society and economy. The event is 100% virtual. 

As a host institution, TMCC joins a supportive community of peers to learn and act together. In return, there will be expanded access to the event for TMCC students and members of the TMCC Sustainability Champions Committee.  The first live event happens Feb. 24-26, and will feature TMCC President Dr. Karin Hilgersom as a presenter. 

Second Nature is a Boston-based NGO committee to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education. This is accomplished by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, scale campus climate initiatives, and create innovative climate solutions. Second Nature aims to align, amplify and bridge the sector’s efforts with other global leaders to advance urgent climate priorities.

In 2018, TMCC received a Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature for its excellence in Student Preparedness and recognized the college’s efforts to create educational opportunities in and outside the classroom to prepare students for climate change, the new green economy and partnership which have created experiential learning opportunities that link our campus to the community. Most recently, TMCC was named a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Post Secondary Sustainability Awardee.

Since 2019, President Hilgersom has been a member of the Second Nature Steering Committee. Led by presidents and chancellors from colleges and universities, the Climate Leadership Steering Committee is the chief advisory body of the Climate Leadership Network and assists in the facilitation fo the sector’s knowledge and practical expertise to accelerate global climate action, rapidly reduce carbon pollution, and increase institutional and community resilience to climate hazards.

By acting as a host institution, TMCC again joins a larger conversation about sustainability, green initiatives and how to prepare students and our community for leading on equity, education and climate change through higher education.