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!
Welcome back under the mountain!
Soggy weather didn’t dampen the mood Friday night, as the band Mama Tried
played bluegrass music while undaunted alums donned their rain boots for a “Taste of the Berkshires” food truck dinner held under the tent on Stewart Pitch. Happily, sunny skies prevailed Saturday, clearing the way for a full schedule of events. On the agenda that morning was the Pancake Breakfast at the Arthur C. Chase Sugar House, the Twiggs Myers Fun Run, and classes taught by Berkshire veterans R.G. Meade and Bill Gulotta as well as newer blood Bebe Bullock ’86 and April Burch. The morning also featured a student panel, remarks from Interim Head of School Pieter Mulder, and an update on the upcoming Head of School search from Trustee David Rondeau ’78. For a slide show from the weekend, CLICK HERE.
Midday, guests gathered in Benson Commons for a delicious barbecue lunch courtesy of Birney Boehland ’78 of Birney’s Foods. The afternoon consisted of hikes all over the mountain, a birds of prey presentation by the Sharon Audubon Society and impromptu frisbee in Buck Valley, of course.
After class cocktails across campus Saturday evening, everyone gathered in Benson Commons for the Alumni Dinner Dance. Twiggs Myers Hon. ’57 led the parade into dinner beginning with the Old Guard, followed by the celebrated 50th Reunion led by Class Agent Ray Garrison ’63 and his wife, Bettie. To kick off the evening, Pieter Mulder recognized the incredible and steadfast service of Norm and Jeanne Merrill who retired after a combined 54 years of service to Berkshire, a tribute met with roars of applause and a standing ovation from the crowd.
A highlight of the evening was David Rondeau ’78 being named winner of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the school confers upon its graduates.
With a long and distinguished career in financial services, David was cited as a dedicated and longtime member of Berkshire’s Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, and several campaign and reunion committees. He was honored for his love for Berkshire students, both past and present, which manifests itself in concrete ways like his developing a mentorship program for young alumni and providing the funding for the complete restoration of Fentress Reading Room in Berkshire Hall.
Also that evening, Jason Rano ’98 was named Berkshire’s Volunteer of the Year. In addition to a career dedicated to public service, Jason’s selflessness extends to Berkshire where he has served as an active and engaged member of Berkshire’s Advisory Board, a class agent since graduation, and the Chair of his 15th Reunion this year.
After dinner, guests headed back to the tent and danced deep into the night to the music of the Audiostars.
The weekend concluded on Sunday with the traditional Service of Remembrance in the art gallery of the new Fine Arts Center, the first-ever event held in this venue. The names of alumni and former faculty and staff who died during the past year were read by Twiggs Myers, and several alumni were eulogized by classmates and family members. The Class of ’93 organized a special memorial to their classmate Rafe Kozaka by planting a paperbark maple tree next to the Arthur C. Chase Sugar House and held a ceremony there in his honor.
Look for more Reunion coverage in the Summer/Fall issue of the Berkshire Bulletin.