His office doesn’t look like what you may expect of a college professor. From the Lego collection to action figures and even his five-pound ball of silly putty.

“Bring some laughter and joy to my life. One of the things I do is I watch a lot of cartoons, I tend to read a lot of comic books, I pretty much see any action movie,” Dr. Aaron Ament said.

As the biology lab instructor and cadaver lab supervisor at Minot State, as well as having an intense history as a medical doctor, Dr. Ament has plenty of reason to balance out the serious with play. He said teaching his students how to decompress is just as important as learning about the body.

“To be able to talk about it is much healthier than basically bottling it up. I just try, basically, to bring out in the class that this is a safe place to kind of talk about things where basically nothing is off-limits,” Ament said.

He said he loves that the school gives students hands on experiences instead of just textbooks.

“The ability to feel what a tendon feels like, what a liver feels like, what a brain feels like,” Ament said. “The current male cadaver has cancer and you can even feel the difference in the texture of the cancer versus the normal tissue. So not possible with pictures in a book or models.”

Ament said he also connects with his students by sharing real-life experiences his family has gone through, but that also helps him heal from hard times.

“My wife miscarried, I can kind of walk them through not only what that was like for our family and for her but also it allows me to kind of decompress because that was a very difficult thing for us but to talk about also beings a little healing inside of me too,” Ament said.

Each school year, Minot State gets two cadavers that they use for the entire year to learn about the body.