Two Berkshire Students Named Intel Semifinalists
Posted 01/06/2016 04:00PM

Updated Jan. 20: 40 students were selected as Intel Finalists. Click here to read about them.

Original story

Two students at Berkshire School have been selected as semifinalists for the Intel Science Talent Search (STS).

Shuvam Chakraborty ’16 and Josiah Tolvo ’16 were named Wednesday among the 300 students chosen from 1,750 entrants to the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. As a result of their work, both will receive a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation. Berkshire will receive an additional $2,000. 

“I am ecstatic about today's announcement,” said Dr. April Burch, director of Berkshire’s Advanced Math-Science Research program.

“Josiah and Shuvam are two extremely devoted and dedicated young scholars. It has been a pleasure to observe their growth over the years and celebrate this success with them. For Berkshire School to have two of the 13 semi-finalists from the state of Massachusetts is really something to celebrate,” she added.

This year, Berkshire produced two of the 13 semifinalists throughout the state of Massachusetts. A total of 23 students were chosen from across New England.
Under Dr. Burch’s direction at Berkshire, Tolvo was able to develop a procedure to screen new viruses for the ability to infect bacteria in a complex 3-D matrix. The procedure might ultimately help researchers develop therapies for stubborn microbial diseases such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and tuberculosis, Dr. Burch said.

Chakraborty, who was mentored by Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik at the State University at Albany, developed thermochemical devices aimed at capturing wasted heat, with the goal of turning it into energy. The devices, according to Dr. Burch, could be useful in biosensors such as pacemakers.
Previous winners of the competition include Nobel Prize recipients, chief executives, university professors and award-winning scientists. On January 20, Intel will select 40 finalists. Each finalist will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete for more than $1 million in awards.
Since 2010, seven students from Berkshire School have been selected as Intel semifinalists.