Johnela Adolphus glanced at a drawing in a lab manual, then went back to work on an anatomical specimen she and a partner were dissecting.
It is work she must complete before her second year of medical training, and the Grenadian considers herself lucky.
A month ago, it seemed as if her first year of school would be swept away, when Hurricane Ivan scored a direct hit on Grenada, shutting down most of St. George's University.
But thanks to the help of two colleges on Long Island, N.Y., she and about 650 other students -- a mixture of Caribbean nationals and U.S. citizens, plus handfuls of students from other parts of the world -- have been allowed to continue their fall semester medical studies on Long Island.
"It's exciting, and it's scary," Adolphus said about trading tiny, isolated Grenada for modern, busy Long Island. "In Grenada, it's so laid back. Here is totally different -- concrete, lots of concrete."
St. George's officials, working largely from the university's U.S. headquarters in Bay Shore, Long Island, rushed to transplant a teaching program for 650 students from Grenada to New York.
Officials at the SUNY College at Old Westbury made space for more than 400 students in seven dormitories abandoned two years ago when the school opened new housing.
In the meantime, officials at nearby New York Institute of Technology got together to provide lecture halls and laboratory space for the displaced students.
They also had to get together everything from temporary housing for faculty members to emergency student visas, to purchasing scalpels, examination gloves and other equipment.
Slowly, students are working out the kinks in what all acknowledge is a makeshift system. The dorm rooms, which had not been used in two years, needed scrubbing, students said. Wireless Internet service -- which students pay for and depend on for e-mail, contact with school administrators and access to research -- is riddled with dead spots on Old Westbury's 600-acre campus.
Many of the students who grew up in the Caribbean -- where temperatures average 80 degrees year round -- were unprepared for temperatures that have dipped into the low 40s.
The students are here because the Sept. 7 hurricane, packing winds approaching 140 mph, flattened houses, tore down power lines and ripped up trees, including nutmeg plants that large numbers of Grenadians depend on for income. At least 39 people were killed, and half of the island's 100,000 residents were left homeless.
The devastation forced several Grenadian students to decide whether to stay home to help rebuild or to leave for Long Island to continue their studies.
For a while, Adolphus considered staying behind to help relatives get back on their feet. But family members encouraged her to stay in school. Her mother, a retired schoolteacher, borrowed money to pay about $3,000 in air fare and other unexpected costs associated with the move to Long Island.
Although the storm mostly spared the St. George's campus, many buildings are being used as temporary housing for Red Cross emergency workers and troops called in to curb looting.
Classes for about 200 undergraduates were able to resume there, but St. George's officials turned to institutions in the United States to provide facilities for about 1,200 of its graduate and professional students, said Bob Ryan, associate dean for enrollment services.
In addition to the students studying on Long Island, 550 St. George's medical and veterinary students are studying in borrowed space at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., and at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
Charlene Smith, associate dean of planning at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, a division of the New York Institute of Technology, said St. George's officials agreed to pay an estimated $250,000 to $300,000 in extra costs her institution will incur to accommodate the visiting program.
Adolphus said she hopes her time here will broaden her professional horizons.
"Actually, I've been hoping I'll get to see a hospital here," she said. "The one back home is a lot smaller."