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!

Model UN Competition
Posted 01/28/2013 01:22PM

Model UN Competition

On January 18 and 19, students in the Model United Nations club and Mr. Gappa’s 21st Century Global Politics class ventured to Bard College at Simon’s Rock to compete in a Model UN competition. The opening speaker, Bard College economics professor Mohammad Moeini-Feizabadi, spoke about the relationship between governmental and corporate structures.

Participants were then divided into four committee councils: the Security Council, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ring of Ashes, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

  • The Security Council worked on a resolution for peacekeepers across the globe, with particular emphasis on the ongoing war in Syria.
  • The WHO committee collaborated to discuss the issues of HIV/AIDS, the study of communicable disease, the study of non-communicable diseases, the expansion of quality nutrition for all, and the expansion of better maternal and sexual health education.
  • The Ring of Ashes committee consisted of persons of great interest to the United States intelligence community, including“criminals” who try to use their knowledge of biochemical nanotechnology to take over the world and establish a new order.
  • The UNFCCC tried to pool resources together to deal with global warming and climate change as well as discussing the Kyoto protocol.

After a jam-packed two days, Bard Provost Peter Laipson closed the conference with some great remarks. He said, “The lessons of Model UN are the lessons of politics… alliances are everything. We accomplish very little alone [and] sometimes knowledge is important. What you say matters, and how you say it are also important. MUN is valuable [because it] cultivates empathy through others’ feelings, histories are different from our own…you may not agree, but you understand them”. He left the delegates with a sense of meaning for “global empathy”.

Click here to read more about the conference in an article in the Berkshire Eagle. Senior Linda Kim '13 is quoted and said, "You not only research what's happening in other countries, you put yourself in that position."

The Berkshire students did a great job at the conference. Below are the participants as well as those who received awards:

Security Council:

Best Delegate- Addie Bullock ’14 (Russia)
Honorable Mention- Eliza Farley ’13 (Pakistan)

Britt Brown ’13 and John McAllister ’15 (China)
Julia Reger ’13 (Argentina)
Regan Haas ’14 (Togo)
Mark Nordausen ’13 (Azerbaijan)
Rob Fiamengo ’13 (Morocco)

WHO:

Best Delegate- Daniel Beyer ’16 (Red Cross)

William Pang ’15 (JUSCANZ)
Ximena Lascurian ’13 (G77)
Linda Kim ’13 (United Kingdom)

Ring of Ashes:

Outstanding Delegate- Noah Faison ’16 (Gen’l XX)

Thomas Benfield ’13 (Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada)
Jared Shatkin ’13 (Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi)

UNFCCC:

Best Delegate- Kira von Steinberg ’13 (Finland)
Outstanding Delegate- Daud Baz ’13 (Germany)
Honorable Mention- Ana Alvarenga’15 (Brazil)

Craig Alizadeh ’13 (United Arab Emirates)
Jae Seung Lee ’13 (Maldives)
Mohibullah Amin ’13 (China)
Nick Greco ’13 (Philippines)
Ben Key-Comis ’14 (Mexico)
Anna Heissenbuttel ’13 (New Zealand)

-- Britt Brown ‘13

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