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!
Pro Vita 2012 Preview
A perennial favorite of students and faculty alike, Pro Vita Winter Session 2012 will take place February 27 - March 3. Berkshire carves a week out of the traditional academic calendar to celebrate a component of our mission, “fostering an enduring love for learning", drawn from the School motto, Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus, Not Just for School but for Life. Representatives from different Berkshire constituencies, including parents, alumni, faculty, and even students, share their passions and knowledge in a hybrid of advanced, college-level seminars, combined with experiential hands-on courses. Subjects covered extend beyond the traditional high school curriculum and include neuroscience, robotics, design theory, mathematical history, literary analysis of Harry Potter, and Android application development. Last year, over 90 different courses were offered.
Click here to view the 2011 Pro Vita catalog.
Pro Vita 2012 will feature some well-known and highly regarded courses from previous years including The Other Side of the Badge, Food for Thought, and Learning through Play. These are complemented by a wide array of new offerings: an engineering course, a personal finance course, an analysis of Afghani culture including a Skype conversation with a current Afghan governor, and a philosophy course on Plato’s Republic, among others.
Evening events will include student performances at our annual Jazz Café, evening guest lectures by environmental activist Marion Stoddart and Oscar-nominated actor Chris Sarandon, and our bi-annual International Night. Stoddart's Work of 1000 documentary examines the impact of one individual’s drive to inspire change when pollution caused by multinational corporations spoils a river in her hometown. Sarandon, a native of a rural coal mining town in West Virginia, will share his experience of growing up in his father’s café and leaving home to become an actor. With nearly 20% of our students from a foreign country, International Day is an opportunity for our American students to explore the history and cultures of countries represented by our diverse student body.
Some students will spend Pro Vita Winter Session off-campus on one of four excursions. Students will be traveling down the East Coast to hike and perform trail maintenance on portions of the Appalachian Trail. Another group will fly south to flight school in Winter Haven, Florida where they’ll learn to pilot a plane and undergo a rigorous ground school training program. Almost a dozen students will head to Montana’s Ruby Valley to work as ranch-hands and to contemplate the environmental and economic issues facing the Northwest. A small group will travel to Mali to work closely with Peace Corps volunteers and experience life in a remote village.
The Pro Vita 2012 catalog will be published early next week. To learn more about Pro Vita Winter Session, click here.