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!

What We're Doing: Celebrating Chinese New Year 2014!
Posted 02/14/2014 11:46AM

“Preparing dumplings during the Chinese New Year has become a cherished tradition in Ms. Xu’s class. Each year we arrive at Ms. Xu’s home to make traditional Chinese treats in celebration of the 15 day holiday. It is during moments like this that I am reminded of why I decided to study Mandarin over five years ago: because studying Chinese requires not only a keen understanding of the language but also an appreciation for Asian culture and tradition. Thanks to Mrs. Xu, my language ability, cultural awareness, and cooking skills have increased.
Noah Faison (2016)

“Making dumplings at Ms. Xu’s house gave me a chance to experience something new, and it allowed me to connect with a culture that is so intricate and has such a rich history and culture. I truly believe it is experiences like this that separate Berkshire from any other school. I have studied Chinese for three years, and I have never done anything like this that has given me a connection to my language studies. Learning a new language is a different type of learning than any other because you are learning more than just how to speak; you are learning the culture, the lifestyle, and how these people on the other side of the world are both different from and similar to us. These experiences really get us excited to go to class, and teach us more than just the language. Thanks for the experience.” Samual Gatsos (2017)

“When we cooked dumplings at Ms. Xu’s house, it was so much fun, especially since it was my first time ever making dumplings. Here's how: put the water around the flour, then stuff on the flour and fold it to create the shape of the dumpling. Next, fold the edges of the flour and stretch the top so that the stuffing will stay inside. It was an amazing experience ……” Terryl Wilson ( 2016)

“Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in China and other Asian countries. During the Chinese New Year, many people gather with their families and cook delicious Chinese food. Our Chinese IV class visited Ms. Xu’s house last Friday to celebrate the New Year Festival. Ms. Xu and my classmates cooked dumplings together to learn how Chinese people celebrate the New Year. It was a great experience learning about culture. By cooking and eating dumplings together, I felt that we are all part of a family. I appreciate Ms. Xu for giving us a good experience.“Kevin Kang 2014

The lesson I have learned from this year’s Chinese New Year celebration is one that will stick with me my whole life.  While we were all at Ms. Xu’s house, gathered around the table making the dumplings we would later eat, I realized that we, as a class, were embodying the true purpose and spirit of Chinese New Year: being with the ones you love.  Our class has been together for a few years now, and we have become close. During the celebration, we all came together to enjoy and observe a holiday that’s meaning is to bring people together over a nice bowl of steaming dumplings (a tradition carried out in the Northern part of China). Kay Humes (2015)

“Eating dumplings in place of textbook reading! Unheard of! Yet in all Chinese classes, Mrs. Xu incorporates hands-on learning and exposure to culture by allowing her students to experience the joyful atmosphere during Chinese New Year, mostly the tradition of eating dumplings and tang yuan. I’m sure to walk away from Mrs. Xu’s house, everyone in my class learned how to fold dumplings beautifully (some more than others), and mastered the art of chopstick use. What better way to fill students minds than by filling their stomachs.“ Catherine Xu (2014)

I really enjoy going to Mrs. Xu’s house to eat dumplings. I also enjoy meeting her husband Mr. Guo, with whom I talked in Chinese. We made a lot of dumplings, both meat and vegetable. I got to brush up on my chopstick skills as well! I had a great time at Xu Laoshi’s house where we celebrated Chinese New Year…...” Shuvam Chakraborty (2016)

“My experience at Mrs. Xu’s was very interesting. I perfected my dumpling-making skills so that I became the best in the class!  My dumplings looked almost exactly like Xu Laoshi’s through hard work and practice. I also loved meeting Xu Laoshi’s husband. He was very nice and I liked practicing my Chinese with him. I learned so much about the art of making dumplings, I can’t wait to show all my friends my new skills. I had an amazing time eating and making the dumplings.”  Anne McGraw (2017)

“I found the experience very enjoyable and I love this new experience. It also opened my eyes to the speaking style of Chinese people (Mr. Guo, Xu Laoshi’s husband) which was very enjoyable to me. I very much enjoyed speaking to someone in an actual real world situation, and it made me want to learn Chinese even more. “Gavin Bigall (2017)

 “The experience of cooking dumplings and learning Chinese culture at Ms. Xu’s house has proven to be an invaluable one. Not only did I learn about how to behave in traditional Chinese culture, I also learned how to eat with chopsticks and create a traditional Chinese delicacy. I believe these experiences will help me going forward in my pursuit to master the language and culture of China. “ Vaughan Kavanaugh (2016)

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