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!
Every year, two faculty members receive awards during Commencement weekend. The awards are the Aliis Non Sibi and the Seaver Buck Award and are given to faculty who went above and beyond the requirements of their positions on campus. In addition, four faculty members were honored at end-of-year faculty meetings. They included Michael Bjurlin (Math Department), who won the Puth Family Advising Prize, Dempsey Quinn (Math Department and Kenefick Center) and Dr. April Burch (Advanced Math Science Research) shared the Class of '57 award, while Dory Driscoll (Kenefick Center) won the Kellogg-Silverman-Kontos Award.
Descriptions of the two Commencement awards and Head of School, Pieter Mulder's introductions to this year's winners can be seen here:
The Aliis Non Sibi Award
Selected by the members of the graduating class, the recipient of this award follows the motto "for others, not ourselves." It recognizes a member of the faculty who, through a love of teaching and abiding commitment to enriching the lives of students, embodies the ideals and spirit of an engaged and treasured member of both the faculty and the Berkshire community.
This year’s recipient of the Aliis Non Sibi Award is a dedicated and talented classroom teacher, coach, advisor, and mentor...someone who approaches students in all of these roles with energy, passion, and an endless patience that inspires them to believe fully in themselves and to constantly reimagine their own potential. His standard response when asked by students how he’s doing is, “Best day of my life” and for more than thirty years at Berkshire, he brings this unwavering optimism to all of his work with our students.
The trust he establishes with them is also grounded in his compassionate understanding of their joys and struggles at this important time in their lives…forged by the vivid memories of his own high school experiences. And this kinship is cited by his students, advisees, and players as the reason so many of them are comfortable taking risks and challenging themselves in new ways.
For this thoughtful mentorship of countless Berkshire students, and on behalf of the Class of 2014, I am proud to present this year’s Aliis Non Sibi Award to…Peter Kinne.
The Seaver Buck Faculty Award
The Seaver Buck Faculty Award is the highest honor that Berkshire School confers upon one of its teachers. Named for the founder of Berkshire School, this award recognizes and honors teaching excellence in the classroom and the willingness to assist each student to achieve at his or her highest potential.
This year’s recipient of the Seaver Buck award has been at Berkshire since 1993 and has served the school distinctively and tirelessly as a teacher, coach, RKMP leader, advisor, and dorm parent. He is widely respected by both his Language Department colleagues and the full faculty as an exacting and passionate master teacher, demanding a level of rigor and dedication from his students matched by few. In the eyes of his students, he is tough…said by them with a mixture of respect, admiration, and a grudging acknowledgement that his standards while fair, are always high.
Beyond the classroom, he contributes to our boys’ soccer program, the Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program, as a long-time dorm parent in deWindt, and as a trusted advisor and mentor to students, particularly many of our international students who glean so much from his perspective and ready ear. In all the ways which he serves Berkshire, he is adventurous, spirited, and famous for saying “yes” whenever approached to do more for the school, especially when it means reaching more students.
For the standards of scholarship and effort that he consistently holds for our students and for his commitment to enriching their lives in full, it is my great pleasure to present this year’s Seaver Buck Faculty Award to…Jesus Ibanez.