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!

English News: A Taste of India
Posted 05/15/2013 08:38AM

English News: A Taste of India

Instead of discussing their homework for Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake, about the Indian immigrant experience in the U.S., students in D Period Advanced English IV got a literal taste of India last Saturday.   

Suzanne Mazzarelli, mother of Arwen Neski ’15, treated the class to an early-morning feast of chicken masala, dal and rice, naan, and chai.  She also told them a story about the gods Shiva and Ganesh, to explain Hindu concepts of success and wisdom.  Ms. Mazzarelli, a social worker and registered yoga teacher, is the mind/body program coordinator at Mountainside Treatment Center in Canaan, CT. 

Aromas that filled Berkshire Hall from Room 209 lured another class visitor, Mr. Wil Smith, Dean of Community & Multicultural Affairs. 

"An engaging, unique, and delicious experience." Aaron Fang ’15

“With a strong background in yoga teaching, Suzanne brought a sense of peace when she came to our class.  She immersed us with knowledge of Indian culture through her food and stories.  First the waft of the Indian food, then the taste of the food helped me imagine scenes from The Namesake better and gave me a deeper appreciation for the book and Indian culture. I loved the food so much that I was inspired to write down the names of the dishes to hopefully make when I go home."   Alyssa Cass ’15

"Since one of the main topics in The Namesake is culture, it was really valuable to get to experience a little piece of it ourselves to understand the main characters better. There are multiple times in the book where the narrator talks about the traditional Indian food, and many of the students had never tried it before. Suzanne also told us a short story about the spiritual figures of India, and although it wasn't directly related to the book, it still had a powerful message. It was a perfect example of our mission statement."  Renee Dreher ’15

We are all grateful to Ms. Mazzarelli for sharing her enthusiasm for the Indian culture and delicious food with our class.

-- Linda Bellizzi, English teacher

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