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!
The days on campus were getting shorter, the nights longer and the temperatures lower. Students and faculty alike shuffled between classes and buildings avoiding the slippery stairs, snowy walkways and the harsh chill of mid-February. The announcement on Saturday February 8th changed everything: our own Bebe Bullock ’86 raised the spirits of everyone on campus with three words: LAST BEAR STANDING. Allen Theater erupted in cheers. Green vs. Gray inspired us all, and the gloom of February lifted.
Last Bear Standing? What was Last Bear Standing, many of the new faces on campus asked one another. Modeled off the game assassin, students and faculty that wished to participate entered their name into a website which then gave all entrants a target. How to eliminate your target? Nothing less than a big Bear Hug.
The rules? No hugging during classes, meeting times, the dining hall or if a person was within arms-length of another player. Once the game kicked off at 12pm on Monday, campus was mayhem. Students could be spotted in between periods sprinting full-speed through 1½ feet of snow in Buck Valley to avoid a Bear Hug. Well thought out plans of attack were put into place and sneak attacks were constantly plotted between friends. But who to trust? One story emerged of a student hiding out in a bush outside Godman (in the snow and cold) for 25 minutes just to eliminate a target who was successfully executed.
Students and faculty alike took the intensity of the game to the next level – hence the game was renamed by our own Devon O’Rourke ’02 to The Hugger Games – a source of constant paranoia about being alone and getting eliminated.
Once eliminated, each player was prompted to report to the website and describe either the trump or what each person dreaded, the elimination.
Here are a few of those entries:
To hug, or not to hug, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous ambushes foiled,
Or to let down your guard against Osito,
And by walking alone end them? To be hugged- - to lose- -
No more; and by lose, to say we end
The heart ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That Last Bear Standing is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished.
"On my trek back from Math class back to my dorm, Godman, Will Aldam popped out of a bush and gave the biggest bear hug of all time. Props to you, Will."
“My arms were a little short for the hug, but with the help of isiah and chud I made it happen #bodycount”
"Told him I had candy in my van. He bought it. Hugged him instead. He never received any candy."
"Well, there she was, all nice and everything, just like Britt can be and we talked and danced around the room. FINALLY, she left. The door slammed, and I went back to making tea. Then, Chelsea Leeds yelled Mrs. McGovern, "she's back. Watch Out!" Too late, she had me cornered in the kitchen, so I gave it one last try and tossed the water I had in my hand at her. I was done for. She's crafty that Britt. I guess if anyone were going to get me, I am glad it was Britt."
The Hugger Games lasted a little over one week and lightened the dark days of February with spirit, competition and life.
Congratulations to Mike O’Brian who had the most Hugs for students, while Mr. Anselmi racked up the points for faculty!
Before it all ended, a faculty alliance emerged and left the campus stunned by its public announcement that: “District 4 lives together and dies together. We have chosen to eat the berries. May the odds be ever in your favor next year for the Hugger Games. #District4forever”
And that's how it went down, Under the Mountain. See you next year!