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!
Art history is back at Berkshire after a prolonged absence and the class is taking a slightly different twist on this comprehensive discipline. Instead of a chronological “art in the dark” approach to the material, this new course is being taught in two separate semester-long courses that explore material thematically. October’s theme has been “Sacred Image/Sacred Space” where students have studied major world religions through not only two-dimensional representations, but also through the architecture of their respective quintessential houses of worship.
Today, led by Michael Cassin, the director of the Center for Education and Visual Arts at the Clark, students engaged in a dialogue to interpret and decode various works of religious art on display at the institute’s new exhibit, Sacred and Profane: Four Hundred Years of Religious and Mythological Painting. These young art historians continued to gain a deeper appreciation for the importance of visual acuity in a world laden with images.
Just down the street from the Clark, Thompson Memorial Chapel afforded students the opportunity to investigate architectural terminology that they had only previously experienced on screen. Completed in 1904, Thompson Chapel serves as a non-denominational space on the Williams College campus. Today, it served as a classroom for our students who were literally able to reach out and touch what had previously appeared as just definitions and diagrams.
Much was accomplished in these few short hours, and, after this hands-on experience, students certainly left with a personal understanding of that connection between sacred images and the spaces created for worship.