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!
Clark Art Institute Field Trip
A select group of Berkshire’s intermediate, advanced, and AP studio artists made a recent visit to two of the many excellent Berkshire art venues, The Clark Art Institute and the Williams College Museum of Art.
The intention of the trip was to expose these talented young artists to a wide variety of art from different time periods and genres. One driving factor for the timing of the trip was a special exhibit by artist El Anatsui, one of the premier modern African artists.
His work is “upcycled art,” artwork made from discarded materials and products that he collects and re-creates into impressive large-scale installations. It was a perfect way to connect our “green campus thinking” with what we are learning about modern methods of art-making.
El Anatsui builds large, wall-sized sculptural weavings and carpets of tiny modules made from beer bottle caps and aluminum wrappers. His re-working of the material is a commentary on the introduction of alcohol to Africa by European influences and it’s involvement in the slave trading cycle. “Anatsui sends a message through his art that says: be patient, dedicated, creative and fearless, “ Regina Ambe’13. Sean Taillefer '12 adds, “I thought that El Anatsui's work was amazing. Just thinking about how tedious it had to be to cut and sew those huge sheets of metal together gave me a new definition of commitment. It was so interesting how all that little detail flows together in a huge sculpture.”
Click here to view the press release on the El Anatsui exhibit.
Other students were particularly drawn to parts of the permanent collections at The Clark or WCMA. Johanna Nilsson’12 noted, “I thought that the “Degas ballerina, aged fourteen” sculpture was most inspiring. I loved how it was made in a rough and edgy way. It was less vulnerable and fine, but beautiful in the more playful way." Sissi Wang’13 felt, “the video game Limbo was especially intriguing because it shows how art can be interactive in many ways. I learned that visual art (which is usually still) can extend through time and have a story line."
Click here to view more photos from the day.
The trip ended with lunch from the legendary Pappa Charlie’s deli in Williamstown. Upcoming events in studio art include a special in-class visit from an admissions representative at MassArt (Massachusetts College of Art and Design) on October 27th, and a private studio tour and workshop with artist Debi Pendell on November 13th in North Adams, MA.
-- Linda D'Arco, Studio Art teacher