In the Advanced Math/Science Research course (AMSR), students use the excellent foundation of knowledge acquired in the regular Berkshire curriculum as a springboard for beyond-the-curriculum projects in areas of cutting edge research and other fields seldom open to high school students.
Because of the incredible facilities and research expertise on campus at Berkshire School, we are in a unique position to offer both on-campus and off-campus research experiences for students.
- On-campus projects include the Phage Hunters program where students search for novel viruses from environmental samples as well as independent projects organized by off-site mentors but conducted in the AMSR research laboratory. More about the Phage Hunters program can be found here and here. On-campus projects range from cancer studies using the simple S. cerevisiae (yeast) system to studies with nematode C. elegans will provide students with experience in molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, and structural biology.
- Off-campus opportunities for students, where students are placed in laboratories off-campus, are truly individualized and tailored to student’s research interest. Students can also work with mentors remotely via the internet. Current off-campus opportunities with a faculty member at the College of Nanoscale Sciences and Engineering include nanofabrication and chemical engineering, protein function with a professor at the Wadsworth Center, structural biology with a professor Penn State College of Medicine, and Social Robotics with a professor at Union College.
In the AMSR course, students learn how to conduct the “business” of doing research in the real world at their placements and on campus. The AMSR course is modeled after a handful of such courses around the country but Berkshire School is the first independent school to house an on-campus research lab supervised by a resident scientist, Dr. April Burch.
In both the on-campus and off-campus program, students work intensively with a mentor who is a professional research scientist and write a research paper in scientific journal format. They then present the results of their year’s research using PowerPoint presentations and posters to the members of the Math and Science Departments and others in the Berkshire community.
This is the sixth year for AMSR at Berkshire with twenty students participating. For a list of the student projects and mentors for the 2012-13 class year, click here.
Optional competitions are made available to the students, and optional trips to out-of-town and out-of-state science events occur regularly. Many of the students enter the INTEL Science Talent Search, the nation's oldest and most prestigious competition for pre-college students in the nation. In the past three years, four Berkshire students have been selected as INTEL Semifinalists. To read more about these students, click here. Some students have the opportunity to obtain patents on their work, or become authors or co-authors of technical publications and may present their work at national conferences.