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!

Aviation Science Takes Off
Posted 05/03/2011 02:58PM

Aviation Science tours Bradley

Students in the Aviation Science program went on a field trip to Bradley International Airport recently.  In class, among many aspects of aviation, students learn about Air Traffic Control: how it works and how pilots interact daily with controllers all over the country.  This was a great opportunity to actually visit an air traffic control facility at a busy airport to see controllers in action from right behind their chairs.  Our visit included both a tour of the tower at Bradley to see ground and clearance delivery operations, and TRACON (Radar Approach Control) to see controllers working aircraft anywhere within Bradley's airspace, an approximate 50 to 100 mile radius below 10,000 feet.  It was a darkened room with several controllers each responsible for a "sector" and communicating with several airplanes in transit through their airspace.  As student pilots, the Berkshire students were able to get the required security clearance to be able to observe these operations first hand.  All of the controllers we met were friendly and helpful in explaining their work to us and answering our many questions.  And no... we didn't ask if they had been doing any sleeping on the job lately.

After the tower and TRACON visits we crossed over to the other side of the field to TACAIR - one of the two executive terminals on the field at Bradley.  Several corporate jets are hangared there and we were fortunate to be able to go inside and explore both the cabin and cockpit of a Bomardier Challenger Jet; the one we toured was valued at $14 million and is the younger brother to one of their production models that sells for a around $50 million.  The students saw a lot of possibilities for their futures as pilots and/or owners of airplanes like this!  We also saw the area at TACAIR where UConn teams board their charters for away games; the area is adorned with UConn insignias and memorabilia. 

Theo Friedman ’11 appreciated the potential for a real world application for his Berkshire course work. “The trip to Bradley was a great opportunity.  It was a privilege to learn and see how a control tower and radar facilities work. The insight into how the aviation world works was an inspiration and motivated me to continue with my studies.” 

-- Michael Lee, Aviation Science teacher

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

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