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!
Lincoln: Past and Present
This past weekend, members of my U.S History class headed to the Great Barrington TriPlex to see “Lincoln.” Based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography Team of Rivals, the film captures Abraham Lincoln, our nation’s 16th president, in the final four months of his life as he desperately tries to pass the 13th amendment to abolish slavery, all the while directing the close of the Civil War.
“The movie shows how he had to deal with a Cabinet that didn’t really trust him, a House of Representatives that disrespected him, and, above all, an unstable wife and a troubling son, which only made the audience care more deeply about this most extraordinary man, and even more about his cause,” said Esther Chen ’13.
The timing of the release of the film matched perfectly with our conclusion of a unit on the Civil War, allowing students to augment their understanding of Lincoln’s motives and actions beyond the classroom. “My prior knowledge of the Civil War helped me understand the movie fully,” said Hadley Laskowski ’13. “Likewise, seeing the movie helped me truly picture some of those historical events.” All in all, the movie brought a new perspective for the politics of the time and an appreciation for Abraham Lincoln. As Luis Echeverria ‘13 noted, “Lincoln was magnificent.”
-- Heidi Woodworth, History teacher