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!

Bears Enjoy Post-Season Success
Posted 05/21/2014 11:00AM


The softball team finished the regular season undefeated at 9-0 and traveled to play NEPSAC Class B No. 1 seed Kingswood Oxford on May 17 in a semifinal match-up. The Bears managed to strikeout only once against a dominant Kingwood Oxford pitcher, but their hits were outmatched by a strong Wyvern offense.  Jamie Ersnt ’15 went 3-4 with a triple and played solid defense in centerfield including a beautiful catch against the fence.  Despite the strong bats of her opponents, Krissy Govertsen ’15 remained poised on the mound all day, striking out three without walking any batters.  She also helped out her team offensively, going 2-4 at the plate. 

“The season was one to remember for the Bears, and the talent and leadership of those graduating will be missed.  Thanks to all who supported us and cheered us on this season,” coach Christine Fitzgerald said.


The baseball team entered the WNEPBL playoffs with a 12-3 record, including five consecutive wins. The Bears faced Wilbraham & Monson Academy on May 17 in a semifinal game, defeating the Titans 13-8 in a thrilling contest. 

Berkshire pulled ahead in the first inning, but Wilbraham came storming back in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead.  The Bears tied it in the fourth and then took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth.  The Bears defense had a tough inning and let Wilbraham back into the game.  The Titans tied the game up and the teams went into the seventh inning tied 6-6.

Bryan Gerstenfeld '14 started the inning with an infield single and Stephen DePietto’15, who had three hits on the day, singled to make it first and second.  Brian Rodriguez '14 laid down a great bunt and everyone was safe.  Spencer Cookson '15 battled and hit a tweener to score Gerstenfeld.  Alden Boldt '14 followed with a two RBI single.  The Bears added a couple more runs on Isiah Nunez's ‘14 triple to the wall.  WIll Aldam '14 pitched a complete game to earn the win and lead the Bears to the championship game against Salisbury.

On May 18, Berkshire fell to Salisbury in the WNEPBL Championship 17-0.


Girls' crew traveled to Worcester, Mass on May 24 to compete at the NEIRA Regatta. This annual championship race comes at a tricky time in the Berkshire calendar, as it requires the team to leave campus just a couple of hours after graduation.  Only the first boat qualified for this year's event, so Coach MacKenzie was joined by Sophie "Lyons" Perekslis '14, Annette "Ginger" Key '16, Arwen "Madam President" Neski '15, Renee "Ahh-spen" Dreher '15, and 2014 Most Valuable Player Olivia "2" Good '15.  After a brief practice row down the course on Friday evening, the girls enjoyed a hilarious dinner at Olive Garden, then settled in for a good night's rest.  
Saturday dawned cloudy and a bit chilly, with a light but steady tailwind blowing down the course.  The girls lined up in their heat with #1 seed overall Deerfield, Groton, St. Mark's, Nobles, and frequent foe Taft.  After a slow start, the girls climbed back into the race, passing Taft and coming almost even with St. Mark's, challenging for the fourth and final qualifying spot for the afternoon finals.  Despite a strong push in the last 250 meters, the girls came up half a second short, taking fifth place just behind St. Mark's.  It was a disappointing end to an otherwise tremendously successful season.  
As the crew loaded the boat back on the trailer and folded up the tent, the time came to say goodbye and good luck to Sophie.  A key factor in the rise of girls' crew at Berkshire over the past four years, she is now a proud Berkshire graduate, headed for Mt. Holyoke in the fall. Laughs were shared and tears were shed, and as the bus rolled westward into the sunset all eyes were turned toward the future, looking for ways to race stronger at next year's regatta.  Until then, thanks to all the parents and friends for your support during the season, and we'll see you next year!


The girls’ tennis squad entered post-season play with an impressive 10-1 record and defeated Westminster 5-0 in the NEPSAC Class B semifinals on May 17.

In the championship match on May 18, Berkshire faced a strong Kingswood Oxford team, and fell 6-3. KO played superior doubles and although all three matches contained some exciting play, great points and were actually quite close once Berkshire adjusted to the tempo and strong play of their opponents, the Bears were still down 0-3 going into singles after doubles play finished.  

Berkshire regrouped and fought hard at every singles position, coming away with points at #2, #3 and #6.  

“It was exciting to play for a championship and it was a great match, fun to watch,” said coach Andrew Bogardus. “The loss was tough to take but this year's team has been just that, a team.  So they responded well as a team and made the most of our last van trip of the season.”

The boys’ tennis team was defeated 4-0 in the NEPSAC Class B quarterfinals by top-seed Brunswick School on May 17. 


The boys and girls track and field teams competed at the NEPSTA Div. II New Championships held at Tabor Academy on May 17.

Another Kushania ‘15 set a Berkshire School record on his way to winning the 400M with a time of 48.94. Terryl Wilson ’16 finished sixth in the 400M race and helped lead the Bears to a fifth place finish in the 4X100 Relay, along with Lavante Wiggins ’14, Djetry Joseph ’15 and Kushania.

The girls’ team enjoyed some strong individual performances on their way to finishing fifth out of 13 teams. The 4x100 Relay team of Kristalyn Baisden ‘15, Paige Rabb ‘16, Samone DeFreese ‘16 and Keunna Dill ’14 finished third with a time of 50.59.

Dill placed second in the triple jump and crossed the finish line third in the 100M race, with a time of 12:65. Rabb came in second place in the 300M hurdles and third place in the 400M race. DeFreese finished third in the Javelin, while teammate Hannah Cooke ‘14 finished fifth. Olivia Silverman ’15 placed fifth in both the 100M and 300M hurdles, and sixth in the high jump. Sarah Kinney ’15 placed fourth in the 1500M and 3000M races.

Information for this report was gathered from coaches and other press coverage.

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

Berkshire School is a co-ed, New England college preparatory boarding and day school offering a rigorous academic course of study in the northeast United States. Our campus, located in Massachusetts, has state-of-the-art academic, artistic and athletic facilities on a stunning 400-acre campus in the Berkshires.

Berkshire School received 5 out of 5 stars from over 3 Google reviews.

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