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!
Pieter Mulder named Interim Head of School
SHEFFIELD, MASS. – Berkshire School, Sheffield, Mass., today announced the resignation of Michael J. Maher as head of school effective today. Pieter M. Mulder has been appointed interim head of school.
In a memo to the Berkshire School community, Mr. Maher indicated he decided to resign for personal reasons. He has served as Berkshire’s head of school for nine years, during which time the school doubled its admission numbers and nearly tripled the endowment that fuels the school’s mission. Under his leadership, the school developed a leading research program in math and science, made significant investments in renewable energy and environmental sustainability, and introduced many of Berkshire’s signature academic programs. Mr. Maher also directed several major construction and renovation projects, such as the complete restoration of the school’s main academic building, Berkshire Hall, and the construction of the Jackman L. Stewart Athletic Center, the Bellas/Dixon Math and Science Center, and the Berkshire Fine Arts Center which will open this fall.
“Michael has overseen a proud and distinguished period in Berkshire School’s history,” said Stephen P. Norman, chair of Berkshire’s board of trustees. “We are grateful for Michael’s extraordinary years of service and for his steadfast devotion to providing enriching educational opportunities for our students. We wish Michael great success in his future endeavors.”
With nearly 25 years of experience in education, Pieter Mulder has been at Berkshire since 2005 as a member of the senior administrative team. He joined the school as the Dean of Academic Affairs where he directed the revitalization of Berkshire’s academic program and led the collective effort of department chairs and the faculty to establish Berkshire’s standing as a premier secondary school. After five years in that role, he was appointed Director of College Counseling, overseeing a college counseling program in which the percentage of Berkshire graduates earning acceptances to the most selective colleges and universities increased to nearly 90%.
Mr. Norman added, “Pieter Mulder’s demonstrated record of accomplishment, unwavering commitment, and deep knowledge of Berkshire make him the right choice to lead the school. Berkshire has never been stronger, and under Pieter’s leadership, it will continue to offer an exceptional education for talented students of great character.”
To read a letter from Pieter, click here.