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!

Independent Study Night
Posted 05/23/2012 02:35PM

Independent Study Night

Nineteen students and their faculty mentors welcomed the Berkshire community to the Berkshire Hall atrium on Thursday, May 17 to see the results of the Independent Study projects for 2011-2012.

Click here to view a slideshow from the night.

“It was my pleasure to share my passion for music with Berkshire community. At the end of the day, I was bit tired but proud of myself.” Michelle Jung ’14 Advanced Music Theory

Independent Study Night 2012“Lots of kids came to talk with me. Some of them had a history test coming up that included the Battle of Midway, so I got to explain it several times. They seemed to understand better when they could see my model of the battle plan.” Charles Yorke ’13 World War II: Pacific Theater

“I was surprised to see so many parents—and I was really happy that lots of students came by to talk with me about my project.” Charlotte Weill ’13 Fashion History and Design

“Through my project, I had a great insight to the Berkshire community in terms of international students’ social aspects. Most of the people were interested in it—and I corrected their prejudices, probably, in terms of race or nationality.” Jae Seung Lee ’13 Ethnic Enclaves in Multicultural United States

"You start an independent study as a student endeavoring to master an non-traditional subject, and then you become a spokesperson while sharing it with the rest of the community. In my case, I discussed the capabilities of the Dixon Observatory. Reflecting back, my ability to be an adequate speaker on the subject originated from my many nights stargazing. If carried out with effort, an independent study provides another life role for you to try out. Two roles. One class. Independent Studies." Sam Cabot '13 Advanced Astro-Imaging

Displays included

  • a screenplay adapted from an 1890 stage play by Maurice Maeterlinck (Nik Rhodes ’12 and Lasse Krause ’12)
  • sketches of fashion designs inspired by famous designers, and garments created from thrift-store finds (Charlotte Weil ’13)
  • posters and research papers (Korean Education: Bradley Keum ’12; Zebra Mussel Biology: Hayden Provost ’12; Advanced Spanish Literature: Akash Bharwani ’12)
  • Images from space captured through the telescope at the Dixon Observatory (Sam Cabot ’13)
  • “Human English-to-French translators” (Simon Jia ’12 and Juan Escobar ’13)
  • Sketchbook and photos of the process for creating a large Bear Mascot sculpture (Eli Merritt ’12)
  • Charts and analysis of the multicultural community at Berkshire (Jae Seung Lee ’13)
  • Lesson plans based on cognitive abilities, instructional materials, and photos of Undermountain Child Care students (Taylor Sorensen ’13)
  • Three-dimensional Battle plan for WW II Battle of Midway Island (Charles Yorke ’13)
  • Poster explanation of Music Theory curriculum and voluminous notebooks displaying theory notation exercises (Michelle Jung ’14)
  • Photos and written interviews with chefs at Berkshire and beyond (Ximena Lascurain ’13)
  • Equipment, posters, and interactive taping station to demonstrate aspects of Athletic Training (Kelly Dempsey ’12, Alex English ’12, Kelsey West ’12)
  • An array of items—hard hats, architectural renderings, roster of “The Construction Family,” building materials, sketches—related to the architecture and engineering of the new Math/Science building and upcoming renovation of Berkshire Hall for the arts (Tom Harrigan ’12)

Click here to learn more about the Independent Study program at Berkshire. Students who are interested in pursuing an Independent Study Project, in addition to their regular scheduled courses, in 2012-2013 may email Linda Bellizzi, director of the program, at

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 in the northeast United States. 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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