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Two Berkshire School Students Named Talent Search Semifinalists
01:44PM / Monday, January 25, 2016
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SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Two students at Berkshire School were selected as semifinalists for the INTEL Science Talent Search (STS).

Since 1942, first in partnership with Westinghouse and since 1998 with INTEL, this program has provided a national stage for the country's best and brightest young scientists to present original research to nationally recognized professional scientists. This year, Berkshire produced two of the 13 semifinalists throughout the state of Massachusetts. A total of 23 students were chosen from across New England.

Shuvam Chakraborty, a senior from  Bennington, Vt., and Josiah Tolvo, a senior from Sheffield, were named among the 300 students chosen from 1,750 entrants to the nation’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. As a result of their work, both will receive a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation. Berkshire will receive an additional $2,000.

Dr. April Burch, director of Berkshire’s Advanced Math/Science Research program, said she was "ecstatic" about the honor, even though the two students were not among the 40 finalists chosen to advance in the program.

“Josiah and Shuvam are two extremely devoted and dedicated young scholars. It has been a pleasure to observe their growth over the years and celebrate this success with them. For Berkshire School to have two of the 13 semifinalists from the state of Massachusetts is really something to celebrate,” she said.

Under Dr. Burch’s direction at Berkshire, Tolvo was able to develop a procedure to screen new viruses for the ability to infect bacteria in a complex 3-D matrix. The procedure might ultimately help researchers develop therapies for stubborn microbial diseases such as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and tuberculosis, Dr. Burch said.

Chakraborty, who was mentored by Dr. Shadi Shahedipour-Sandvik at the State University at Albany, developed thermochemical devices aimed at capturing wasted heat, with the goal of turning it into energy. The devices, according to Dr. Burch, could be useful in biosensors such as pacemakers.


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