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!
A perennial favorite amongst students and faculty alike, Berkshire has celebrated the school motto, Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus,
with a week dedicated to a hybrid of advanced, college-level seminars
combined with experiential hands-on courses. Faculty share passions
outside their normal expertise and students are challenged by courses
far beyond the purview of the traditional high-school curriculum.
While the week is generally centered on faculty-led courses, several
Berkshire alumni and local community members have found the time to
volunteer their knowledge of and passion for a subject for the week.
Pro Vita 2011 will feature some well-known and highly regarded courses from previous years. Bill Gulotta’s The Other Side of the Badge returns after a brief hiatus. Poker and Power, Chaos Theory, Food for Thought, and South African Literature all return as well. These are complemented by a wide array of new faculty offerings including a math course focused on Lewis Carroll’s novel Alice in Wonderland, an improvisational comedy course, an analysis of the Mayan calendar and its dire prediction for 2012, and a philosophy course on zombies.
Several alumni and parents have volunteered to share their expertise for the week. David Soliday '70 will lead a course on commercial photography. Romi Palladino, mother of Lexi Palladino '11, will offer a class on mysticism and professional musician Haydn Cole will share his knowledge about songwriting.
Pro Vita week will also feature three off campus excursions. Sixteen students are heading to China with Ms. Xu and Mr. Nielsen for a ten day tour. Nine students will be travelling to New Orleans with Mr. Clary and Ms. Loose-Brown to witness first-hand the impact of Hurricane Katrina and discuss social justice issues. Ms. Splawn and Mr. Quilty plan to lead a group to southern New Jersey for a weeklong Habitat for Humanity project.
Evening events include form-bonding activities, a guest lecture series featuring mountaineer Jake Norton and radio drama A Prairie Home Companion's special effects guru Fred Newman, and an a capella festival to open the week.
The Pro Vita catologue will be released in early January. To find out more about the program or to see photos from previous years, please visit the Pro Vita website by clicking here.