Summer Institute Brings Jhumki Basu’s Vision for Science Education to Teachers

In 2008, Jhumki Basu, an associate professor of science education, died of metastatic breast cancer. At 31, her career had just begun. Her academic training and her passion had come together to form a life’s mission: to make science relevant and engaging for all urban youth.

In July, the Jhumki Basu Foundation launched the Sci Ed Innovators Summer Institute as a way bring Jhumki’s vision into New York City’s public schools. The four-day Institute brought together 26 fellows – 6th to 12th grade science teachers — for interactive workshops and field trips to study Jhumki’s framework of democratic science teaching. It is a philosophy whose principles include allowing students a voice in their own education, a choice about what they are learning and the tools to become critical thinkers and follow their own scientific inquiry.

The Institute is a gift from Radha and Dipak Basu, Jhumki’s parents, who saw their daughter as a beacon for social justice in science education and want to a chance give her life’s work to the communities that will be enriched by it.

“It is bittersweet being here,” said Jhumki’s mother, Radha. who attended the sessions. “As I look at each one of the fellows, I see my daughter’s energy and debate and feedback. It is like having many Jhumkis – many changemakers.”

How can science engage minority youth? Watch this video of Jhumki Basu discuss her philosophy of science education.

Join the Facebook group, In Memory of Jhumki Basu .