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!
This summer, for the fourth year in a row, I joined a group of fellow college counselors on a week-long bike tour of colleges. The group consists of counselors from many parts of the U.S.: New England, California, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, and more, and we represent both private and public schools as well as independent counselors. Previous trips have taken me to southern California, North Carolina, and Michigan/Indiana/Illinois. This summer's trip began at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs, NY, and wended its way north through Vermont, ending up back in New York in Plattsburgh. All in all, we rode about 200 miles in five days, with plenty of stops for snacks along the way. The group of 18 travels with no support vehicle, so we load up the panniers and take only what we can carry on our own bikes. Many of the colleges we visit provide a bed for the night or a meal for us, and all facilitate campus tours and meetings with admissions officers. It is a great, if unconventional, way to get a feel for a group of schools, to do some riding in lovely parts of the country, and to reconnect with friends in the counseling community.
Our trip this year included small private colleges such as Skidmore, Middlebury, St. Michael's, and Green Mountain, as well as public universities like Castleton State, University of Vermont, and SUNY Plattsburgh. It was great to visit (or re-visit) these schools, see their facilities in person, and connect with the admissions officers who will be reviewing our students' applications. Plans for next year are already in the works, and will likely involve visiting schools in Ohio.
See Mr. MacKenzie's slideshow here.