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!

Pro Vita 2013: Excursions Announced
Posted 10/15/2012 10:05AM

Pro Vita 2013 Excursions Announced

Though Pro Vita 2013 is still four months away, Director Jasper Turner is already building anticipation for what promises to be another stellar session. At a recent School Meeting, four off-campus excursions were announced. These trips will take place during Pro Vita Week, February 25 - March 2, 2013.  Students not participating in one of these five trips will choose three seminar-style classes from over eighty classes offered to study at Berkshire for the week. A full slate of evening offerings complement this signature program.

Click here to learn more about Pro Vita Winter Session and view last year's class descriptions.


Details about these trips is provided below:

 

Hiking Katahdin (2/24-3/1) - $350

Lead faculty member: Nathaniel Blaus nblauss@berkshireschool.org

Katahdin –‘The Greatest Mountain” in the local Abenaki language - in Maine’s Baxter State Park is one of the most spectacular and challenging peaks in the Eastern United States.  Famous as the Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and as one of Thoreau’s haunts during his journey in The Maine Woods, we’ll spend the week traveling through real back country, meeting the challenges of hard work and cold, as well as pushing our own comfort level.  The chance to see the stars in one of the darkest corners of New England in winter, as well as the spectacular view from the summit – reportedly the home of a huge eagle-winged wind god – should make those challenges well worth the effort.  This trip is a chance for students to push themselves to do things they’ve never done before in an effort to see and experience a place they would never otherwise get the chance to visit.

 

The Island School, Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas (2/25-3/4) - $1,650

Lead faculty member: Jasper Turner jturner@berkshireschool.org

Founded in 1998, the Island School is dedicated to immersing students in marine ecology and sustainability through experiential education.  Students will spend a week at the school working on several projects including restoring natural habitat, tagging and tracking local marine life populations, and establishing aquaponic gardens.  All programs will be run by Island School faculty and staff.  Current scientific projects include Conch stock assessment, ocean pH level changes due to climate change, mangrove creek restoration and management, and reporting data for a larger study of coastal and habitat conservation.  In addition, students will have an opportunity to snorkel at nearby coral reefs, explore the island by foot, and interact with local Bahamian students.  The fee includes transportation TO the Bahamas, all meals, and lodging.

 

Global Citizenship in a Monkey Sanctuary – Pura Vida, Pro Vita! (2/25-3/4) - $2000

Lead faculty member: Jackie O’Rourke jorourke@berkshireschool.org

Students will travel to Nosara, Costa Rica, to explore the native culture, habitat, ecological practices, and education system. The trip will revolve around a small monkey sanctuary as well as interacting with local residents in and around the town of Nosara. We would be working closely each day with the SIBU Sanctuary (http://www.sibujungalows.com/sibu_sanctuary.html). The group will be assisted throughout the trip by Jack Goff (father of Berkshire faculty member Jackie O’Rourke) and Steve and Vicki Coan of SIBU. There can be no contact with the monkeys until we have been in the country for 4 days to protect wildlife from disease. The group will meet each evening to recap the events of the day and prepare for the following day. Students will have some time each morning, should they choose to get up early, for swimming, surfing, beach walks, etc., before the daily breakfast at the hotel. We will also strive to be on-hand most afternoons to assist with turtle hatchings in the event that any nests hatch while we are in Nosara, as there is a tradition in the town of heading to the beach to protect hatchlings from the sun and vultures as they move from their nests to the water.

 

Flight Training in Florida (2/24 – 3/2) - $3000

Lead faculty member: Michael Lee mlee@berkshireschool.org

The students on this trip will be going to a fully credentialed and FAA certified flight school based in Lakeland, Florida.  They will undergo initial flight training for Private Pilot and will complete approximately 8 to 10 hours of flight training and 15 hours of ground school training during the week. The group will be accompanied and supervised by Michael Lee (Program Coordinator and Teacher of Berkshire's Aviation Science Program, Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, and father of 3 Berkshire alums) and Peggy Loeffler (Chief Flight Instructor from Great Barrington Airport).  The fee includes travel TO Florida, flight training, accommodation, and most meals. 

 

Click here to see the Pro Vita 2013 Excursions Slideshow, shown at the recent meeting when these trips were announced.

To express interest in one of these trips, please email the lead faculty member.  Please be aware of tryout schedules for spring activities (the week of Pro Vita) and winter-varsity team end-of-season tournaments.  In addition, AP courses will meet during the week of Pro Vita.  None of these events preclude a student's participation but he/she should speak with his/her coach/teacher before enrolling in the course.  A more detailed itinerary will be provided to interested students and families.

Berkshire School

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

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