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!
From left: Julia Cohan, Brian Sullivan, Donald Anselmi, Della Schleunes, Brandi Dahari, Tim Lance, Christine Fitzgerald, John West, Jackie O'Rourke and Devon O'Rourke '02
Ten new faculty members join our ranks this year, bringing a wealth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm. Three of these ten, Della Schleunes, Jackie and Devon O'Rourke '02, are returning after other experiences and will be already familiar to many. Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Bill Clough is excited about the contributions this group is sure to make. "This year's new teachers bring a quiet confidence to our community. While they all possess unique talents--some we know well as three are returning to Berkshire--they are, as a group, deeply committed to teaching, firmly grounded in their values, and uniquely positive in spirit. In some ways, it feels like they have been here forever."
Donald Anselmi (Spanish)
Donald graduated from Middlebury College in 2004 with a B.A. in Spanish and History, and is currently pursuing his masters in Spanish from there, as well. As an undergrad, Donald was a member of the Varsity Swim Team. Previously, he worked at Robert Louis Stevenson School and Indian Mountain School. In addition to teaching Spanish, Donald will be an adjunct dorm parent in Eipper, work with the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program and coach Lacrosse.
Julia Cohan (KCL)
Julia graduated from Williams College in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology, where she was the captain of the Track & Field team. She will work with students in the Kenefick Center for Learning and SAT Tutoring Program and coach Volleyball, Basketball and Track & Field. She lives in Spurr.
Brandi Dahari (Ceramics/Studio Art)
Brandi graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1998 with a B.A. in Art, and from the University of Florida in 2002 with a Master of Arts. Previously, she worked at the University of Florida, the Barringer Academic Center in North Carolina, the Darrow School and in Gifu, Japan. She will teach Ceramics and Studio Art. She lives in Lenox with her husband, David, and two young boys, Gabriel and Benjamim.
Christine Fitzgerald (Math)
Christine graduated from Colby College in 2009, with a B.A. in Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude. Additional academic accolades accrued there include Mu Sigma Rho (National Statistics Honor Society), Dean’s List, and the Hayslett Book Award in Statistics. She was also a member of the Colby Varsity Softball team. Last year, she was an faculty intern at Phillips Exeter Academy. At Berkshire, she will teach Math, live in Godman, and coach Soccer and Softball.
Tim Lance (Math)
Tim graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1997 with a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in Physics. He earned his M.A. in Mathmatics from Indiana University in 1999, and his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of New York at Albany in 2006. Previously, he taught at Indiana University, Dutchess Community College, SUNY Albany, and Francis Marion University. At Berkshire, Tim will teach Math and work extensively with the Advanced Math/Science Research classes and the Math Team. He lives in Upper Cottage with his wife, Kelly, and young son, Jackson.
Della Schleunes (Dance)
Della earned her AA in French from Finch College in 1975 and her M.A. in Dance from the University of California at Long Beach in 2004. In addition to many years teaching and working as a professional dancer in studios across the country, Della has also taught at Marlborough School in Los Angeles and Berkshire School. She was also a former member of the Kansas City Ballet. Della will teach dance at Berkshire and lives in Becket with her husband, Kurt.
Brian Sullivan (Economics, KCL)
Brian graduated from Brown University in 2000 with a B.A. in Economics and Organizational Behavioral Management. At Brown, he participated on the Football and Track & Field teams, where he earned All-Ivy commendation. Previously, he worked at Merrill Lynch, Charter Oak Financial, Boston Collegiate Charter School and Millbury Memorial High School. At Berkshire, he will teach Economics and work in the Kenefick Center for Learning and live in Buck. He will coach Football and Track & Field.
Devon O’Rourke ’02 (Science)
Devon graduated from Williams College in 2006 with a B.A. in Biology and Neuroscience, and a M.A.T. in Secondary Education from Boston University in 2010. At Williams, he was the captain of the Men's Ice Hockey team. Previously, he taught at Berkshire School, Newton South High School and Kings Academy (Jordan). Devon will teach Science and work with the Advanced Math/Science Research classes, and coach Hockey and Lacrosse. Devon lives in Godman with his wife, Jackie.
Jackie O’Rourke (English, KCL)
Jackie graduated from Williams College in 2007 with a B.A. in English, and a M.A.T. in Secondary Education from Boston University in 2010. At Williams, she was a member of the Women's Hockey team. Previously, she worked at Berkshire School and King's Academy (Jordan). Jackie will teach English, and work in the SAT Tutoring Program and Student Life Office. She will coach Field Hockey and Hockey and serve as House Head in Godman. She lives with her husband, Devon.
John West (History)
John graduated from Middlebury College in 2004 with a B.A. in Political Science. He was the captain of his college's Lacrosse team, and earned All-New England and All-NESCAC commendation. Previously, he worked at John Hancock, New Canaan High School and Trinity-Pawling School. At Berkshire, John will teach History and coach Football, Basketball and Lacrosse. He lives in Eipper.