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!
Foreign Language Film Festival
Red carpets, paparazzi, and award-winning movies are normally found in Hollywood, but on February 21st, the Academy Awards came to Berkshire. The first annual Foreign Language Film Festival took over the Great Room in Berkshire Hall as students and faculty viewed the short movies created by the language students. These projects allow the students to flex their creative muscle, work collaboratively, and practice their conversational skills in the target language. Students worked tirelessly over the last several weeks writing scripts, practicing their lines, filming, and finally editing their movies. The nominated short films featured subtitles, which enabled the enthusiastic audience to comprehend the dialogue. The quality of storytelling, acting, and special effects kept the audience amused for just over an hour. Meanwhile, the five judges, Dr. Merrill, Mr. Joassaint, Ms. Skoglund, Mr. Splawn, and Ms. Xu, gave each entertaining film a critical eye in order to select their pick for best short skit and commercial. By the end of the evening, the audience had witnessed the beginning of a wonderful Berkshire tradition of showcasing many students’ outstanding talent and creativity in the study of foreign language. Ideas are already percolating for 2014. The Oscar winners will be announced on Saturday, March 30th.
Click here to view two of the short films that were screened that night.
-- Jen Anderson, Spanish teacher and Director of the Center for Global Initiatives