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!
Mrs. Maher has played many roles on Berkshire's campus. As she transitions to her newest, Associate Head, she was nice enough to sit down and talk a little bit about her teaching and her time here.
Read what she has to say here:
I grew up in Wilmington, DE and went to Tatnall School for PK-9th grade and then attended St. Andrew's School which is a boarding school in Middletown, DE. I loved every minute of my experience there and adored the faculty who gave so much of themselves to all of us. I spent hours with my advisor, teachers, and coaches and felt a part of their family and a part of the St. Andrew's family. They were tremendous mentors and friends, and they have continued to be throughout my life.
I knew when I graduated that I wanted to teach and participate actively in school life. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College as a Spanish major, I started teaching Spanish at The Taft School, living in the dorm, coaching, advising students and participating in as many aspects of school life as possible. I loved it all, and especially enjoyed the unstructured time with students talking through the ins and outs of their busy lives.
I earned a Masters in Spanish through NYU at the Universidad de Salamanca over several summers, and started to increase my role in Admissions and coach lacrosse. I was fortunate to have truly extraordinary mentors at Taft who took sincere interest in my professional and personal growth. I learned so much over my 17 years at Taft that it is hard to articulate it all... ultimately, I learned that teaching is about fostering a sense of self and sense of purpose in students, and that patience and a sense of humor are essential!!
Coming to Berkshire has been a powerful, rewarding experience in countless ways. Building meaningful relationships with my students, advisees, players, colleagues, current and prospective parents, alumni and friends of the School has been a complete joy. I feel lucky to do what I do, and I feel honestly blessed to do it here.
I am excited and honored to assume the role of Associate Head of School and look forward to serving the school in this way. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to continue to provide an enriching experience for our students, as well as a rewarding, meaningful life for the faculty and staff who work so hard on behalf of our students.