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!
Western Massachusetts District Festival
On January 12, ten Berkshire students participated in the Western Massachusetts District Festival. Seven members of Berkshire School’s chorus (Alyssa Cass ‘14, Julia Hengstmann ‘14, Katie Moffett ‘13, Jordan Greco ‘14, Craig Alizadeh ‘13, Max Miller ‘15, and Hunter Reynolds ‘16) sang in a 200-voice chorus, singing music by Mozart, Charles Ives, and contemporary composers including Lydia Adams and Andrea Ramsey. Violinist Shuvam Chakraborty ’16 and oboist Linda Kim ‘13 were selected to participate in the Festival Orchestra, where they performed Richard Wagner’s The Prelude to Die Meistersinger and the Finale to Felix Mendelssohns’ Reformation Symphony. Flutist Merit Glover ’14 participated in the Festival Concert Band where she performed music by Percy Grainger, Philip Sparke, and the Japanese composer Satoshi Yagisawa.
The journey for the festival began in November, when students auditioned for the opportunity to participate in the festival. The musicians had to perform a prepared composition, scales, and sight-read music and were scored on their audition. Students selected for the festival rehearsed for two weekends, and then put on a concert in the massive University of Massachusetts – Amherst’s Fine Arts. After the concert, the students celebrated the event by dining at the Butterfly in Hadley, MA, accompanied by Mr. Banevicius, Art Department Chair, and music directors Dr. Clive Davis and Dr. Cheng-Chia Wu.