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!
Eli Merritt has excited the Berkshire community with his large-scale, funky assemblage sculptures for the last several years. Last year, as a junior, he participated in the Advanced Placement 3D Design portfolio program, received several Scholastic Art Awards for his work in sculpture, and was the recipient of the Margaret Beattie Prize for excellence in art. On inspiration, Eli says, “I get a lot of inspiration from my parents, both working artists who always put me and my siblings needs ahead of their own artistic ambitions. I make all my work with them in mind and always give everything I make back to them.“
In a few short weeks, he’ll open his first solo show in a professional gallery. From October 26th to the 31st, Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY will host its first ever one-man show by a high school student. Eli is honored to be the featured artist. Omi International was informed of Eli’s work from a connection who saw it on the website Eli put together as part of his college search process. His work was selected because it is unusual, significant in size and form, and aesthetically stirring.
As a result of Omi’s interest in Eli’s work, his collection of sculptures (works that he made in his AP year at Berkshire, along with several pieces he built on his own during the summer) is currently under review for possible inclusion in a winter show in Milan, Italy. Eli is the only high school student whose work is being considered for this exhibition. He is the only entrant without a history as a practicing/professional artist.
Despite all of these exciting activities happening outside of school, Eli remains committed to contributing to Berkshire. This fall he designed his own course of study in bronze casting and permanent outdoor sculpture. His course is loaded with the same challenges a professional working sculptor faces. He’ll be planning, writing proposals, fund-raising, building maquettes (smaller versions of his sculpture), learning skills first hand at a foundry in upstate New York, creating his own molds and, finally, casting a bronze sculpture from them. He plans to give this sculpture to Berkshire as a permanent gift.