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!
Model United Nations Conference
-- Britt Brown '13
Students in Berkshire’s Model United Nations club (MUN) joined their peers in Mr. Gappa's 21st Century Global Politics class at the two-day Model United Nations Conference (MUNC) at Bard College at Simons Rock recently. "This is a terrific conference for us because it gives students who are new to Model U.N. a relatively comfortable place to start participating in all aspects of Model U.N., including research and debate," said Ms. McGovern, faculty advisor to the club. Berkshire students participated in General Assembly, African Union, and Crisis Committee simulations.
Students in the General Assembly talked about the issues surrounding the Gaza Strip, land in the Middle East that is surrounded by Egypt, Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea. The particpants aimed to resolve human rights issues in a peaceful way through negotiations that would end with a final proposal that would specifically address Hamas, a militant group that took control of the Gaza Strip.
Students in the African Union addressed the problem of terrorism and infringement on human rights in Somalia. The conflict in Somalia had worsened since 2007, and al-Shabaab, a terrorist group, continued to carry out kidnappings and threatened to bomb missions in Kenya. In January 2007, the African Union Peace and Security Council sent African observers into Somalia to gather evidence, but not all observations were completed. The Council sought a progressive solution through negotiation, but faced doubts about the Union’s commitment to ending the conflict.
Students on the Crisis Committee ran a simulation of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 when the United States and the Soviet Union were on the verge of nuclear war after the Soviets placed nuclear warheads and military bases on Cuba, ninety miles from the coast of Florida. The committee was split up into two groups, the Americans and Soviets, and was charged with establishing a treaty that would end this conflict peacefully, as well as establish rules for future nuclear disarmament.
Click here to view a slideshow of images from the conference.
It was an exciting and fun experience for Berkshire students. "The conference went phenomenally,” said Matt Steiner ’12. “I am very proud of Berkshire's strong showing. We hope to take this momentum forward as we head to Chicago at the beginning of February." Next week, members of the Model U.N. Club will represent Greece at another conference, Model United Nations of the University of Chicago. “With more participants this year, this conference added better opportunities for discussion and procedural practice, which is important to our MUN club members as they develop skills for our larger upcoming conference,” added Ms. McGovern.
Berkshire students represented the school well, especially for the large number of students with no prior experience. "At least half of the students were new to Model UN, and they threw themselves into the experience,” said Mr. Gappa. “I thought our kids did a great job representing Berkshire School."
A number of Berkshire students were honored for their strong performance at the conference:
In the General Assembly committee--Social and Humanitarian:
Matt Steiner '12 (representing China),
Liza Bernstein '13 (representing Greece)
Christiena Auguste '14 (representing Japan)
Jae Seung Lee '13 (representing Yemen)
Dan Staker '12 (representing Saudi Arabia)
In the African Union Peace and Security Conference:
Addie Bullock '14 (representing Kenya)
Olivia Morrow '12 (representing Mali)
Stefan Nembard '12 (representing Ethiopia)
In the Cuban Missile Crisis:
USSR: Best Delegate
Eliza Farley '13 (as Rodion Malinosky)
USSR: Honorable Mention
Lewiz Xie '13 (as Anatoly Dobrynin)
Charlotte Parsons '12 (as Anastas Mikoyan)
USA: Best Delegate
Britt Brown '13 (as Dean Rusk)
USA: Outstanding Delegate
Elif Kasef '14 (as Robert McNamara)