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!
This Thursday, the entire fourth form (along with thirty theater students) were treated to something truly special: rather than attend afternoon classes, we all filed into the newly renovated Allen Theatre, wherein the traveling troupe from Lenox’s prestigious Shakespeare & Company performed Macbeth, a text that all sophomores had just completed reading. With compelling period costumes, atmospheric lighting, an evocative set, and truly admirable performances from all of the professional actors, the production quickly transported the entire audience into one of Shakespeare’s darkest, most harrowing worlds. We all watched rapt as ambition, deceit, and phantasmagoric prophecies propelled the rapid rise and bloody downfall of a once noble man. After the 90 minute play was completed, actors visited with students in an educational forum to field questions, offer insights about their characters as well as the play’s themes, and discuss the complexities of taking the show on the road.
To see a slideshow of images from the performance, click here.
The Berkshire English department has a perennial commitment to teaching Shakespeare in the classroom as a literary text; however, the department equally believes that plays are meant to be performed, and that seeing Shakespeare’s language in performance enhances understanding and enjoyment. As such, we are glad for our partnership with the Berkshire School Theater department and with Shakespeare & Company—one more instance of the school’s taking advantage of the significant cultural resources in our area.
-- Evan Clary, English Department Chair