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!

Advanced Economics: DIY Business Plans
Posted 02/14/2013 02:30PM

Adv. Economics News

On February 5, Mr. Skoglund’s Adv. Economics class was in for a treat: David Splawn, older brother of Dean of Academics Clay Splawn, lectured the class on marketing, advertising, and the fundamentals of a successful business plan.  David Splawn is a co-partner in Splawn & Ward, which helps banks and other business clients develop plans for sustainable growth using a "scientific, analytical approach to sales and marketing." Mr. Splawn received his undergraduate and Business degrees from the University of Alabama and started Splawn & Ward in 1997.

After sharing stories about Clay Splawn's "heavy metal college days,” David Splawn spoke of the importance of Supply&Demand (yes, he insisted they be considered as a single concept); the “4 P’s” of marketing: product, price, promotion, and placement; and pro-formas, how the business will make money. He posed to the class questions like “What am I selling?  How should I price the good relative to my competitor?  How do I communicate my advantage? What is the best way to distribute the goods?”

Students in Mr. Skoglund’s class are divided into five groups and each is charged with developing a plan for an entrepreneurial business. Like last year, each group will present their proposal to a panel of judges on April 26 in hopes of winning the Sabin Prize. 

Click here to learn more about each group's proposed business. 

"What the students learned from David Splawn's presentation is directly related to what we have been learning in class about business plans and market research,” said Mr. Skoglund.  “However, the most enjoyable part for me was to see the students actually engage with a person who is working in the business world and have the opportunity to ask questions and receive relevant feedback regarding their own business plans."

"It was my pleasure to listen to Mr. Splawn's presentation,” Michelle Jung '14 said. “Through his lecture, I learned that business requires not only a great idea but also the skill to implement the idea efficiently."

This Friday, students will have the opportunity to augment their practical knowledge further. The Adv. Economics group will travel to Yale University to sit in on a MBA class about crafting a business plan, and will participate in a Q&A session with a current Yale student entrepreneur. 

-- Britt Brown '13

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