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!
"The Apprentice" at Berkshire
Four groups of competitive digital art students recently squared off in a graphic design challenge. Their mission was to take something mundane, your standard airline boarding pass, and give it greater functionality and aesthetic value. The teams were charged with designing every aspect of their tickets. They developed their own airlines with distinct brand identities, built logos, selected fonts based on both readability and design, and planned and implemented creative layouts. The project ended with a presentation to a panel of faculty judges, selected for their experiences in the field of design and their knowledge of air travel.
“I think it made us think out of the box, because it wasn't just the boarding pass we had to present but also ourselves, while 'representing" the airline,'" said Allie Brazo ’14. “I liked presenting in front of a panel, but at times it was really hard, because we had to make sure we were prepared for everything. At one point we said that our airline was eco-friendly, and one of the judges asked us how, so we were completely stumped and had to come up with something on the spot.”
Chelsea Preston ’12 also enjoyed the opportunity to work collaboratively with her classmates. “We had a large group of girls so we thought it would be best to split up into two groups, one working on the boarding pass and the other working on our presentation. Although we split up the group, everyone contributed to the overall project with ideas and opinions. Our group worked really well together and we finished the project with a day to spare.”
In the end, the all-female team of Eliza Farley '13, Francesca Ghi '14, Olivia Mason '13, Jeanne Morin '13, Chelsea Preston '12, and Katherine Sweeney '12 took first place in the challenge, Berkshire’s own annual installation of “The Apprentice.”
-- Linda D'Arco, Digital Art teacher