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!

AHR Profile: Unyimeabasi Udoh '13
Posted 09/20/2012 09:00AM

Advanced Humanities Research Profile

Unyimeabasi Udoh '13: Le Corbusier

For the past year, I've spent much of my time with Le Corbusier. Even though the architect died some forty years before I was born, Berkshire's Advanced Humanities Research (AHR) program has helped me to understand both his work and his mind.
Coming from a family of academics, I'd thought I knew what to expect when it came to extensive research. I foresaw tedium and an intimate association with MLA formatting in my near future, and I was somewhat less than thrilled at the prospect of undergoing the pain myself. After all, I'd seen my father spend hours detailing the finer points of varying translations of the word "lord" and been on a fair number of futile library expeditions in search of an ancient, obscure manuscript. For a long time, research was equated in my mind with torture.
That all changed the first day of the then-brand new AHR class. With Mr. Clary, I wasn't just collecting data -- I was learning how to think, analyze, and learn. Suddenly I could interpret interpretations and apply multiple theoretical and critical outlooks to the same point. As I tell every under-former who asks me about the course, I feel like I'm learning everything about everything. I dreaded the time when I would have to choose my research focus, not because of the increased workload, but because I wouldn't be able to study all of my new favorite things simultaneously.
It was hard for me to settle on one topic. I knew that I loved architecture, but studying buildings felt too literal. I wanted to know about the people behind the spaces that surround us, finding it fascinating that we live in concrete poetry and large-scale art. On a purely aesthetic whim I chose Modernism, and narrowed my focus to Le Corbusier because of the prolificness and significance of his work and the complexity of his personality. Since beginning my research, I've corresponded with experts in the field and gained their advice on the further direction of my project. I see connections that, before, I wouldn't have known could exist at all. AHR has expanded my mind in more ways than I could have imagined.
Now, I see research as less of a labyrinth and more of a kaleidoscope made of evidence and opinion. I look forward to each new phase in my quest, knowing that the more I know the more I'll want to learn; I'm excited to see where my work will take me and thrilled that I was offered this amazing opportunity--before I had to sit down and write my doctoral thesis.
Berkshire School

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