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!

Sabin Prize Presentations
Posted 04/24/2012 04:20PM

The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize

Business Proposal Presentation Night and Awards Ceremony: Thursday, April 26

What is it?
Andrew Sabin Family Foundation
The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize is an initiative created with the generous support of the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation to educate and expose Berkshire students enrolled in Advanced Economics to entrepreneurship and sustainability.

The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize will be awarded to the best business plan for a financially feasible product, service, project or program that can also contribute to living in more sustainable communities. Additionally, the prize competition provides quality feedback from professionals, collaboration with the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, and opportunities for participants to meet with guest speakers from the business and environmental worlds.

The Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize seeks to:

  • Introduce students to the essentials of writing a business plan;
  • Provide a real-world platform to practice public speaking and presenting;
  • Promote the entrepreneurial spirit; 
  • Stimulate creativity and critical thinking as it applies to the area of sustainable living;
  • Reward effective collaboration in the construction and promotion of a coherent and sustainable business plan.

What are the business plans?

The Dorm Store:  Jack Nash, Phuong Le, George Zucker and Pat Feeley
The Dorm Store is a system of services that is used to ensure a more fluid and less stressful move-in day for students attending a residential school such as a college or boarding school.  Students will be able to digitally design their dorm rooms using an application on their computers or smart phones. Furthermore, they will be able to select the products and their locations all online. Once the list of items and the design of the room has been submitted, the Dorm Store staff will then set up your room and have it completely installed by the time the student moves in. The Dorm Store gives the students the ability to focus on what is most important when arriving at school, which is saying good-bye to their parents and becoming acclimated to their new social environments.

Power Plant: Chris Utz, Santiago Lens, Hayden Provost and Stephen Bell
Power Plant is a green energy product that, presented in an esthetic and decorative way, generates sufficient energy from solar panels attached to its artificial leaves to charge a USB powered device. Modeled after Bonsai trees, Power Plant has the potential to take on many shapes and forms, such as a windowsill decoration in the form of flowers or a dashboard decoration in the form of a small tree. Power Plant is unique because of many factors, but most importantly the flexibility of the charging unit along with the mobility of USB charged devices leads to the potential to utilize Power Plant literally anywhere there is access to sunlight.  Given the rising consciousness of consumers when it comes to ecological and environmental impacts, there is a niche in the market for consumers that want a decorative good that can be functional and visually appealing at the same time.

The Electromagnetic Lawnmower Engine: Gordon Bogardus, Hung Hoang, Scott McLinden and Kelsey West
The Electromagnetic Lawnmower is going to produce electromagnetic engines and then sell them to lawn mower manufacturers. The key innovation in this engine is the use of an electromagnet, a permanent magnet, or a magnetically susceptible element as a pistol. Thus, the electricity used for the mower would be created via a pollution-free, cost-effective mechanism. Not only that, but the engine would retain the same power that rivals the conventional electric and gas-powered mowers. Most importantly, the engine can endure longer than an hour, a typical duration for an average use, and can self-recharge with a simple manual kick start at the magnet. Overall, there is a huge demand for environmentally friendly lawn care equipment and the electromagnetic lawn mower engine will be able to meet that demand.

Wok Bowl: Brian Ferrell, Hank Hoover and Nathaniel Wells
Wok Bowl is a “fast-casual” restaurant that provides an Asian bowl-style meal that is quick, efficient, tasty, health-conscious, and environmentally friendly. The fast-food industry has grown at a consistent rate for the past 30 years, with Asian food being one of the fastest growing segments. Wok Bowl restaurants will use an efficient assembly line service method with limited menu options, but enough for variety and a number of combinations. Consequently, we will reduce our costs while still providing the customization that is demanded by our consumers. Using ingredients that come from local, organic, and sustainable farms, we will be able to provide a quality restaurant experience that is good for the consumer, as well as the environment.

Who are the judges?

Anne Sutherland Fuchs
Ms. Fuchs received her Bachelor of Arts in French literature from New York University. She has been a successful leader in the magazine business that has included positions as publisher of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Redbook, Cuisine, Victoria, and Woman’s Day. She has successfully launched several others including Elle, Marie Claire and O, the Oprah Magazine. She has also served as global CEO of Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg – an upscale auction house; she now serves as Group President of a new Division of JCPenney, Growth Brands Divison – which developed and launched two digital retail stores targeting gifting and men’s fashion.  She serves (and has served since 2002) as Chair of the New York City Commission on Women’s Issues and is on the boards of Gartner, Pitney Bowes, Falconhead Capital, and on the Board of Trustees at Berkshire School. Her son, Nicky, is a Sixth Former at Berkshire.

Bryan Garcia
Mr. Garcia currently serves as President and CEO of the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, a position he has held since 2011. Among the initiatives he oversees are incentive programs to support the installation of clean energy systems at residential and commercial sites, an incentive program to support development of new clean energy technologies, and the award winning Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program.  Previously, Mr. Garcia was program director for the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. At Yale, he led efforts to develop a leading global program responsible for preparing environmental leaders for business and society. Mr. Garcia also co-founded Earth Markets, a Connecticut company that helps to accelerate the deployment of clean and efficient energy technology in homes and businesses. Additionally, Mr. Garcia has served as chairman of the Connecticut Green Building Council, a board member of SmartPower and the Clean Energy Finance Center, and an advisory committee member of the Clean Energy States Alliance, The Climate Group and the Connecticut Hedge Fund Association.  Early in his career, Mr. Garcia was a Peace Corps Volunteer specializing in NGO capacity building and environmental education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political economy of natural resources from U.C. Berkeley, masters degrees in public administration and business administration from New York University, and a master of environmental management degree from Yale University.

Andy Sabin
Mr. Sabin does more than simply provide financial support to hundreds of organizations. He is actively engaged with community and environmental programs around the world. He spearheaded the building of a community recreation center in East Hampton, NY. As an extension of his life long fascination with reptiles and amphibians and dedication to environmental education, he founded the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, and he continues to lead nature walks for the institution. Mr. Sabin also participated in an expedition to Papua, New Guinea, that resulted in the discovery of a new species of frog that is named for him: Aphantophryne sabini.  Mr. Sabin has served for several years on the environmental law advisory boards at Columbia Law School and UCLA School of Law, relationships that began through his role as treasurer of The Evan Frankel Foundation, which made grants of more than $17 million during its 15-year existence. Mr. Sabin is also proud to be a member of the board of visitors of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas since 2005.  In 2007, to provide more professional support for his philanthropy and involve his family in charitable giving, he established the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation.  Mr. Sabin’s passions are his family, the environment, bicycling and fishing. Mr. Sabin’s son, Sam, is a junior at Berkshire currently enjoying an SYA experience in Italy. We look forward to Sam’s return to campus next fall.

Mike Sesko
Mr. Sesko developed an interest for sustainable agriculture while covering the Natural and Organic food sector on JP Morgan's equity research team. His subsequent work with Noble Environmental Power, a U.S.-based wind developer, and Climate Focus, a carbon finance advisory group based in D.C., furthered his understanding of how to build and finance innovative environmental projects. Mr. Sesko holds an MBA from Yale's School of Management and a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies as well as a BA from Colby College. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Encendia Biochar, a company that won the 2011 Sabin Environmental Venture Prize at Yale University.

Presentation Agenda: Thursday, April 26

7:00 PM: Welcome and Introductions

7:05 PM: The Electromagnetic Lawnmower Engine (Kelsey West, Gordon Bogardus, Hung Hoang, and Scott McLinden) with Q&A

7:25 PM: Wok Bowl (Hank Hoover, Brian Ferrell, and Nathaniel Wells) with Q&A

7:45 PM: Break

7:55 PM: Power Plant (Chris Utz, Hayden Provost, Santiago Lens, and Stephen Bell) with Q&A

8:15 PM: The Dorm Store (Jack Nash, Phuong Le, George Zucker, and Pat Feeley) with Q&A

8:35 PM: Break / Judges Deliberation

8:55 PM: Awarding of the Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

Berkshire School is a co-ed, New England college preparatory boarding and day school offering a rigorous academic course of study. Our campus, located in Massachusetts, has state-of-the-art academic, artistic and athletic facilities on a stunning 400-acre campus in the Berkshires.

Berkshire School received 5 out of 5 stars from over 3 Google reviews.

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