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!
Jarrett Mathis '04: MLK Jr. Day 2013
Jarrett Mathis '04 addressed the community on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He was followed by Chris Jiambalvo '13, who received a standing ovation after courageously introducing “Open Up Day” which will take place on Thursday, January 24th.
A New York City native, Jarrett Mathis graduated from Berkshire in 2004. He has always had a deep appreciation for the work and life of Martin Luther King, Jr. , which was first instilled in him by his father. His dedication to service was what led him to start the Diversity Club at Berkshire and to serve on the Student Diversity Affairs Committee that advised student government on diversity issues at Dartmouth. On Sunday evening, he shared his thoughts on leadership and service with the Prefects and the All-School President in a smaller forum.
On Monday morning, Jarrett told the audience about his nonprofit organization Empowering Ourselves which he started by creating an “interactive workshop that would help empower black youth, reduce violence in the inner-city, and get young people to think seriously about the importance of respect for self and others.” He explained his mission to create an awareness and appreciation of King’s work, the obstacles that Dr. King was up against during the Civil Rights era, and how that is still relevant today. He emphasized the continued need for acceptance and service in our day and encouraged students to think about how they can serve in big ways, but also in small ways, every day. He reminded the community of Dr. King's words about service: To serve, “you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
Click here to watch Jarrett's speech.
Tying in with Jarrett’s theme of service and acceptance, Chris Jiambalvo took the stage to introduce a new event at Berkshire, “Open Up Day.” This Thursday, January 24th, the Berkshire community will will honor the idea of “opening up,” in three ways: 1. Dressing as ... Yourself 2. Mixing-it-up in the dining hall and sitting with people whom you don’t know well and 3. Sharing personal struggles and thoughts via message boards.
To underscore his point, Chris shared with the audience some of his own personal struggles, how he has worked to overcome them, and how he copes with adversity today. His heartfelt and moving talk was a fitting tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. and brought the audience to its feet in applause.