Q & A with Lindsay Jensen
What is your role here on campus?
My fancy title is “Director of Anatomy Labs” and “Instructor of Anatomy.”
How long have you worked at St. Scholastica?
As an instructor I’ve worked here for three years. I also TA’d anatomy for about two years. So technically I’m in my fifth year of employment, but realistically I’m in my third year here.
What did you do before you were in the anatomy lab?
Before coming here, I was teaching at Colorado College in Colorado Springs for a year and a half on the block plan. Before that, I was getting my masters in Clinical Anatomy at Creighton University in Omaha. And before that, I was here getting my undergrad. I’m originally from the Twin Cities in the northwest suburbs. I love it here — having a big natural lake and not man-made reservoirs — but I miss it in Colorado. I could literally walk out of my apartment and it was Pikes Peak and the Front Range. It was unbelievable. I miss the mountains a lot.
What is the block plan?
The block plan is for students that take one class for eighteen days. That’s all they take. For them, the Intro to Anatomy class was every day from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.. It’s intense. You have to have a very specific personality and subset of skills to be able to do it. There are things it is great for and there are things, in my opinion, it is not so great for. It’s really overwhelming as an instructor being fresh out of grad school; I can’t imagine being a student trying to take it all in. I’m somebody that needs information to sink in; I need time. So I would not learn well on the block plan although I survived teaching it.
Why did you decide to work in Colorado and how long did you live there?
I lived there just under two years. I’m hoping I might be going back over Spring Break. I haven’t decided yet, but I am going somewhere! What made me decide to go out to Colorado and teach was that one of the faculty at Creighton sent an email asking if anyone in our program was interested in teaching out there. I had no leads on a job out from my Masters and the timing seemed perfect, so I showed some interest, was interviewed by the faculty member, and started teaching block six on my birthday. Spring semester includes blocks five through eight out there.
What inspired you to pursue your role here?
My story is a little “wanky” compared to some, but I wanted to be a physical therapist since I was 17. That’s why I came here for my undergrad. I got into PT school and I just wasn’t passionate about it. I didn’t like coming to school, which, as you can imagine, is pretty strange for me. I did a lot of soul searching; I knew I liked the Anatomy part about PT and I knew I was good at it from TA’ing. At the time the program was a “three-plus-three,” so you did three years of undergraduate work and three years of graduate work. So your fourth year you were getting your undergrad scholarships but you were doing PT school grad level work, saving you a year of tuition. I choose to voluntarily withdraw and went back to undergrad to finish my bachelor’s degree in health sciences and apply to a bunch of Ph.D. and M.S. in anatomy programs and settled in on Creighton. How I got this job was that one of the students I TA’d for back in the day for Anatomy was looking at the job boards and she contacted me and said “It looks like Doc. C is retiring. You should apply.” Otherwise I would have had no idea this job was open. I replaced my boss which is really weird.
What drew you back to work at CSS?
I had Scholastica in the back of my mind, and I had been looking every now and again, as one of the PT faculty, when I came back, mentioned to me to “keep my eyes open because it looks like we might be starting a PA program and we’re gonna need someone to be running the labs….” Every now and again I would check the job board and then I just spaced out on it.
What extra activities are you involved in on campus?
I’m working on a second Masters in Education here at Scholastica- very slowly. I’m taking “Culturally Responsive Instruction” right now with Amy Burgstrom. I really like it, and I’m learning a lot. When you go and teach in a college setting you’re a content knowledge expert on whatever you got your higher degree in. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to teach well. I just wanted to learn some more skills or learn what I’m doing: “the fancy education knowledge term for it.” I’m doing that, but I also like to bake and I like to crochet. Cake decorating is my newest creative thing. I just made a really cute school bus cake for one of my Cottage Mate’s daughters from Ireland. Her daughter just turned two and is really big on school busses so I just told her I would make that cake. I hadn’t done one in a long time so it was fun and tasty. I also watch a lot Netflix and do a lot of walking with my dog; he’s pretty cute. His name is Watson he has a lot of energy. Watson is an adorable black lab. I bring him in sometimes when I’m doing desk work but that isn’t often.
What is your favorite part about the campus/your role here?
The stories from other students and other people I work with. There’s always something new in the lab, like the people that we get in. A lot of monotony teaching the same lab ten or twelve times but the different people are what makes it exciting and keeps you going. It’s really fascinating, each lab section and the people in it really can make or break how you teach or how much you enjoy teaching each particular session. So that and the memorial service I put on is my favorite thing. It’s a lot of work, but the feedback I get is almost all positive and it just really helps to bring things full circle and brings things into context for folks. At least that’s my goal. When I interviewed here that was the big thing I plugged for because we haven’t done that in the past. It just fits so well with our mission here at the college. The University of Minnesota has a big memorial service and they invite the donor bodies families and around 1,000 people show up. They rent out Northrop Auditorium down in the Cities and it’s unbelieveable. The problem is — and I would love to just rent a van and take a group of students — it’s at 7 o’clock on a Tuesday which is the day I usually teach three labs. Logistically it’s tricky which is why I have a separate service. But it’s really cool! They put up pictures of all the people who donated that were submitted. When I went in 2014 there were 242 pictures that were up; I counted. It was really cool, and I met students at the school who do tributes like poetry or interpretive dance or music. All the families got a succulent plant with a handwritten thank you note from an anatomy student. We don’t have any murals or statues in dedication to the donor bodies here, but my first year I tried really hard to have a tree planted as a symbolic thing, but it got held up and people got all twisted up about it and it never ended up happening. It would be nice to do something, but it costs a little bit of money so trying to figure out the budget is hard. I really would like something physical that is prominent on campus but trying to work with the right parties to make it happen is a little more tricky than I thought it would be.
Where is your favorite place to eat in Duluth?
I’m not going to lie; I am a big sucker for a good steak, so Texas Roadhouse is good. In terms of a more “Duluthian” cuisine, I’m a big fan of the Duluth Grill. I’ve gone to New Scenic Cafe which expensive but delicious. I love to eat — no question about that. My go-to on Tuesdays is Papa Murphy’s. They have a $10 special for any large pizza. You can also ask for, what I call, “Orphan Pizzas” which is when people order pizzas and don’t pick them up so they will give you more of a discount if you are willing to be flexible with whatever toppings they come with.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I sing in the women’s choir. I also work with Campus Ministry or VITA on Alternative Break Experiences, co-leading them. This past year I solo-led the trip to Los Angeles over winter break which was a lot of fun. A lot of work on my end was making sure we got on the right buses and stuff, but it was worth it. I have more anatomy stories from the trip which is great. Those are the two big things on campus. There’s a knitting and crocheting club I need to look into joining on campus. I wanted to start one when I was an undergrad but I never did. I just finished making a scarf that I bought the yarn for back in Colorado, so that should give you some context, but it’s really soft and warm. I also made a baby blanket that was fun; it started in the corner and worked its way out.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the student body?
Everyone is welcome to come to the Donor Body Memorial Service at the end of April. It’s Thursday, April 27 at 4:00 p.m. in the Benedictine Commons.