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!
Eager Fifth Formers gathered in the Great Room Wednesday night to celebrate the conclusion of the I-Cubed portion of junior English. Individualized Interdisciplinary Investigation (I-Cubed) is the culmination of the Fifth Form English curriculum that surveys various genres that reflect the American identity, dream and experience. Each student proposes a topic to investigate, research, and explore, then produces an interdisciplinary (print, audio, and visual) PowerPoint presentation to share with his or her classmates. Each teacher then selects a top production for inclusion in I-Cubed Night.
On this Wednesday in mid- May, we were treated to the history of The Grateful Dead and a careful look into the cultural and educational value of the Slinky. The complex issues of Medicating Children and Child Nutrition made us uncomfortable, while we could compare the rigors of Navy SEAL Training to the love fest of Woodstock. The very historical connection of Classic Rock and the Vietnam War preceded a scan of Comics and American Identity. And we concluded with a discourse about New Jersey – beyond stereotypes.
I-Cubed offers a rich opportunity for students to challenge their imaginations as well as create singular works that enlighten all fifth formers and those of us fortunate enough to work with them.
-- Dary Dunham, English Teacher