Advanced Math/Science Research Update
by Dr. April Burch, Director of the AMSR program
January 15, 2013
Since our last update, Berkshire School hosted student researchers from Belmont Hill, and all-boys prep school outside of Boston, for a 1-day mini-symposium on Student Biomedical Research. The goal was to foster collaboration, communication and community outreach with our students. AMSR students Liza Bernstein '13, Sissi Wang '13, Lars Robinson '13, Elsie Guevara '13, Ernest Yue '13, and Nate MacKenzie '14, gave short talks about their work in the new Bellas/Dixon Math and Science lecture hall. The talks were followed up by break-out sessions where Belmont Hill students described their research projects and students discussed commonalities between the projects and future goals.
The second semester of AMSR started with some terrific news. The AMSR program was awarded a grant from The Chinchester Dupont Foundation for the purchase of an EVOS fluorescence microscope. This piece of equipment will expand the types of experiments and analyses that can be done by AMSR students this and future years. The microscope should arrive shortly, and Dr. Burch has invited everyone to stop in for a look next time they are on campus.
One new, exciting project that is underway in the winter season of AMSR in the afternoons is being spearheaded by Elif Kesaf '14. Elif is from Turkey and seeks to identify novel viruses of non-pathogenic strains of Legionella bacterium from travertines in Pamukkale. In collaboration with Dr. Sunny Shin at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, she will be working to isolate viruses of this bacterium with the hope of identifying new agents to combat Legionnaires' disease caused by a pathogenic form of Legionella.
Look for more news from Dr. Burch in the next issue!
On February 18, eight Berkshire students went to Harvard University to
take part in the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) annual TEAMS
competition and ranked third out of fifteen 11/12 Level teams in Massachusetts for
Part One (multiple choices) of the competition, only 2 points less than the
first place winner Arlington School. Part Two (essays) is still being scored.
The overall result will come out in April.
The eight members of the Berkshire JETS Team are Penny Ni ’12, Seyoon Lee ’12, Sherry Zhu ’12, Jae Seung Lee ’13, Sissi Wang ’13, Sam Cabot ’13, Soo Jang Choi ’13 and Ji Won Ryoo ’14, coached by math teachers Laura Soden and Kate Garbutt.
The JETS TEAMS is an annual national high school competition giving students the opportunity to apply their math and science knowledge to solve real-life engineering problems. This year's theme was “Smarter Energy, Cleaner Planet" and the eight students worked collaboratively in two parts of the competition, each lasting 90 minutes. Part 1: Eighty multiple-choice questions, requiring team members to apply math and science knowledge to novel situations. Part 2: Eight tasks to be answered in a short essay format, challenging students to work as professional engineers with creative ideas to explain and solve everyday world problems related to the theme.
It was the first time that Berkshire students have taken part in this competition. The experience not only helped the eight students to increase their practical knowledge of engineering but also gave them great joy to work as a team.
-- Penny Ni '12