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!

Where We're Going: Pro Vita Trips Announced and Filling Fast!
Posted 06/26/2014 10:36AM

A Sneak Peek: Pro Vita Excursions, March 2015

Pro Vita is a week-long session where the school community challenges and stretches itself in ways beyond what is offered in the traditional high school curriculum. With over 80 courses and a number of unique excursions, students explore the larger world around them and practice applying the school motto,Pro Vita Non Pro Schola Discimus (Learning--not just for school but for life). Four off-campus excursions will be offered during Pro Vita Week, March 2-7th, 2015.  Students remaining on campus will choose three seminar-style classes from over eighty offerings. Here is an advance look at where our students can go this upcoming year:

Guatemala with Discovercorps, A Peace Corps Program

This ten-day trip will immerse students in Mayan culture by connecting directly with local people.  The trip, while visiting some of Guatemala’s unique archeological and geographic spots, will focus on work in a unique school, run by Mayan teachers, that actively promotes indigenous language and culture. Berkshire students will complete a week-long service project which will include building a new addition to the school, and additionally, they will share their talents in arts and crafts, play sports and games, and teach basic conversational English with the local students.  Students will stay in the town of Quetzaltenangeo and board in a Discovercorps lodge. Approximate cost: $3,400. Limited to 20 students.

Island School: Marine Ecology and Sustainability in the Bahamas


Based on the island of Eleuthera, The Island School engages in the process of inquiry in order to discover sustainable solutions to real world problems. For seven days, students will spend a week at the school working on several projects including restoring natural habitat, tagging and tracking marine life populations, and establishing aquaponic gardens. In addition, students will have an opportunity to snorkel nearby coral reefs, explore the island by foot, and interact with local Bahamian students. The group will live at the Island School, an 18-acre campus. Approximate cost: $1,600  Limited to 12 students.

NOLS Rocky Mountain Backcountry Ski Leadership Trip


Imagine the solitude of a winter night with a sky blanketed in endless stars.  Living and traveling in the winter wild requires leadership and self-awareness skills, and through a seven-day backcountry ski trip in the mountains of the Teton Valley, students will learn from the National Outdoor Leadership School their leadership curriculum, outdoor ethics, and wilderness skills which help every student become the strongest leader he or she can be.  No skiing experience is needed, and the trip will include ski instruction and accommodations for two nights in a wood-heated backcountry yurt. Approximate cost: $2,500  Limited to eight students.

Flying in Florida, Aviation Science


A perennial favorite: students on this trip will attend to a fully credentialed and FAA certified flight school based in Lakeland, Florida.  They will undergo initial flight training for a Private Pilot and will complete approximately 8 to 10 hours of flight training and 15 hours of ground school training during the week. Berkshire students will return from the trip with big smiles along with an experiential understanding of flying an airplane and gained sense of self confidence. No prior experience is needed.  Students will stay at a hotel in Plant City, Florida.  Approximate cost: $3,000  Limited to 10 students.

All of these trips go beyond the normal purview of Berkshire’s curriculum and therefore require students to pay for transportation, lodging, and food costs while off-campus.  These costs are included in the price but may vary depending upon enrollment and other factors.  If a student is interested in a trip but costs are problematic, limited scholarships are available. 

If you are interested and/or have questions, please contact Mrs. Bullock at

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. 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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