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!
Sean Taillefer '12: Artist of the Week
Berkshire art student Sean Taillefer ’12 was selected this summer to participate in a ground-breaking new program at world-renowned museum Mass MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, MA.
Taillefer, a senior from Pittsfield, MA, has studied in the studio art program since his arrival here. This year he is enrolled in the Advanced Placement Studio Art program, where he is working to fulfill the requirements of a portfolio based specifically in two-dimensional design. He is applying to art schools for college next year, admires “Banksy” and consistently brings exciting news from the art world outside of school into the studios on campus.
“Teenspace” was initiated last May when area art students applied to a new program at the museum that would enlist them to study visual arts and creative thinking with artist Samuel Rowlett in preparation for their own large scale exhibit in downtown North Adams, just steps from the museum. The exhibit was part of a program that the museum calls “DownStreet Art,” and the high school participants found themselves preparing their own collaborative work of art amidst a series of professional artists doing much the same thing. Sean says it was inspiring to be working in such close proximity to professional artists. “We talked to each other. You could just walk next door and see what famous artists were doing with their own spaces.”
Sean says, “the project developed they way that I think about art making; it helped me internalize the process. “We talked a lot about our own art with Mr. Rowlett. Sometimes I didn’t like what he had to say, but he helped me to think of my work from other people’s viewpoints. We were making a public work, so that was important.” When asked what his favorite parts of the project were, Sean said, “learning to collaborate with other artists, becoming comfortable with each person’s contribution to the whole, and getting paid to make art!”
Click here for Mass MoCA’s promotional site for the “Teenspace” project. One of Sean’s drawings is the featured work in the masthead.
-- Linda D'Arco, Studio Art teacher