Science Education: Linking Science and Society

Department of Teaching and Learning

Program in Science Education


Speakers Bios

Dipak Basu
Co-Founder, Jhumki Basu Foundation

Dipak Basu has spent much of his life employing technology in humanitarian missions worldwide.

In 2001 Dipak founded and served for three years as Executive Director of NetHope, a consortium of the world's largest aid agencies, applying innovative technology solutions for humanitarian operations in poor, disaster-affected and war-torn regions. He currently leads strategic programs at NetHope.

In 2006 Dipak set up the Anudip Foundation, a nonprofit with offices in USA and India. Anudip's mission is to improve the livelihood of the rural poor by creating entrepreneurial and employment opportunities through training in information technology.

From 1995 to 2006, Dipak held senior management positions in Product Management and Professional Services at Cisco Systems, the foremost Internet equipment manufacturing company. His last position at Cisco was Director, Global Center of Expertise. Dipak is considered a pioneer in Voice over IP and Metro Ethernet technologies.

During the 1980s, Dipak founded and served as CEO of network consulting firm, Informatica, and as Vice President at CMC Ltd. While at CMC, he set up INDONET, India's first public computer network. As a consultant, he was instrumental in creation of telecom networks for India's steel, energy and banking sectors.

Dipak began his career as R&D Engineer at Tata Electric Companies in Mumbai. Later, he was associated with Verizon in the US in telecom hardware design and system engineering.

Dipak holds a B.Tech. from IIT Kharagpur and a MSEE from the University of Southern California. He has been a guest lecturer in computer networks at IIT Delhi. He has secured the prestigious Tech Laureate award for IT in Humanity for NetHope in 2004, and received the President's Award from Save the Children. Dipak is a Cisco Leadership Fellow, a Reuters Fellow for Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, and a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers.

Radha Basu
Co-Founder, Jhumki Basu Foundation

Radha Basu has over 30 years experience in executive management. She is widely recognized as a leading woman entrepreneur in technology companies and as a pioneer in the Indian software business. Radha was born and raised in Chennai. She holds a bachelors degree in Electronics & Communications from the University of Madras, a master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the Stanford Executive Management program.

Radha held the position of Chairman & CEO of SupportSoft, a Nasdaq-listed company, from July 1999 to May 2006. She led the company through initial and secondary public offerings in 2000 and 2003, and built it into a worldwide market leader in support automation software. SupportSoft's customers include General Electric, Cisco Systems, Bank of America, Comcast, British Telecom, BellSouth, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, IBM and Bharti Telecom. SupportSoft is today considered a leader in the activation of consumer broadband offerings.

Prior to SupportSoft, Radha spent 20 years at Hewlett Packard with her most recent position being Senior General Manager of the Electronic Business Software Organization, which she grew to a global $1.5 billion business.

Radha joined HP in 1978 as an R&D engineer in HP Laboratories, working in the field of ultrasound imaging. In 1983 she moved to Germany as European Sales & Marketing Manager of diagnostic medical products. In 1985 she set up HP's Sales and R&D operations in India, including the India Software Operation, where she served as Managing Director. In 1989 Radha returned to the US to become General Manager of HP's International Software Organization with responsibility for eight offshore software centers around the world.

Radha has had significant impact on two groups during her career. First is the Indian software industry.  In the mid-1980s she set up HP's software center in Bangalore and the HP-TCS joint venture in Chennai. While today many high-tech companies have software subsidiaries or development groups in India, the HP India software operation with its first satellite data link was truly ground-breaking. Radha has also had strong influence on women in technology as a whole. In addition to blazing a trail for other women executives, she makes an effort to mentor young girls in science and woman professionals in the technology industry.

Radha has won numerous awards including Excelsior Leadership, Top25 Women of the Web, CEO of the Year 2000, Leader of the Millennium, and has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Upside Magazine and Economic Times. She has featured as a guest speaker at Wharton School, MIT Sloan School, Stanford Business School, Santa Clara University, and the Forbes Executive Summit. She is currently serving as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Simmons School of Management and on the boards of Interplast, MIT Global Climate Change Consortium, Center for Science Technology and Society and C.E.O. Women.

After retiring as CEO of SupportSoft, Radha and her husband Dipak created a global social enterprise, the Anudip Foundation. The goal of Anudip is to generate livelihoods for the unemployed and marginalized poor of India through rural centers for development of entrepreneurs and their empowerment with access to markets and capital. It is now a well established social enterprise in economic empowerment of youth and women.

She currently holds the position of managing director at the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) at Santa Clara University. CSTS is a University Center of Distinction, and undertakes three integrative activities: educating students, engaging the public, and exemplifying the realization of social benefit through our flagship Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBITM).The mission is to understand and enable the innovative application of science, and technology for global human benefit. We pursue this mission by linking the practices of scholarship, education, and science and technology innovation, in order to foster conscientious and responsible action on behalf of those most in need. The GSBI is a capacity-building program that provides social entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to develop and execute strategies for achieving at scale. Through the discipline of business planning, the GSBI helps social entrepreneurs to understand the process of early and mass-market adoption in target beneficiary populations as well as the vital role of "business models" in generating the capital for accelerating growth.

Radha and Dipak are avid trekkers and have reached base camps on Mount Everest on the Tibet and Nepal sides. Radha applies this experience of resilience, risk-taking and extreme effort to achieve success in every aspect of her life. 

Mary Brabeck, Ph.D.
Dean, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Mary M. Brabeck, Ph.D., has served as dean of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development since 2003.  A leader in the field of applied psychology with outstanding credentials in research and scholarship, Dean Brabeck serves in significant posts in professional organizations that include the National Society for the Study of Education and the American Psychological Association (APA).  She currently chairs the APA's Board of Education Affairs Task Force on Applications of Psychological Science to Teaching and Learning.  She was previously a professor of counseling and developmental psychology at Boston College and served as dean of the College's Lynch School of Education from 1996-2003.

Dean Brabeck has served on boards and councils for organizations that include the Holmes Partnership, Carnegie Corporation's Teachers for a New Era, and the National Church Leadership Roundtable.  From 2004-2005, she was chair of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Most recently, Dean Brabeck was named an inaugural fellow of the American Educational Research Association in honor of her sustained contributions to research in education.  She is also a fellow of APA, Divisions 7, 35, and 52.

Dean Brabeck's research interests include intellectual and ethical development, gender and culture, values and conceptions of the moral self, human rights education, professional and feminist ethics, and interprofessional collaboration through schools.  She has published more than 90 journal articles and book chapters, and her most recent edited works are Practicing Feminist Ethics in Psychology and Meeting at the Hyphen: Schools-Universities-Professions in Collaboration for Student Achievement and Well Being, 102nd Yearbooks of the National Society for Study in Education, Part II.

Dean Brabeck's numerous awards include the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota, a Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Joseph's University, an APA Presidential Citation, a Service Award from the Boston Higher Education Partnership, and the Kuhmerker Award from the Association for Moral Education.  In 2008, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from St. Cloud University from which she received a master's degree in English education and urban education.  She received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Carlos Dominguez
Senior Vice President, Cisco

Carlos Dominguez is a Senior Vice President in Cisco's Office of the Chairman of the Board and CEO and a technology evangelist, speaking to and motivating audiences worldwide about how technology is changing how we communicate, collaborate, and especially how we work.

In a time when the pace of innovation is astonishing and we all want to communicate fast and in real time, the use of video, social media, and web sharing is changing who gets heard by giving everyone a voice. Dominguez says that video and mobility in particular are driving much of today's innovation, and how we use them at home is finding its way into the workplace to yield cost savings and productivity gains. For example, the Cisco TelePresence high-definition video-conferencing system is used an average of 6,000 times a week at the company and has helped drive down Cisco's travel budget from $750 million to $350 million a year.

See an example of Dominguez in a Cisco TelePresence meeting from New Jersey with high school students who are talking to their peers in Atlanta.    

Dominguez urges his audiences to establish a culture that is adaptable to change and embraces experimentation with technology. Most corporations are struggling with social media such as instant messaging, blogs, gaming, and virtual reality, and some are blocking Facebook and Twitter on the corporate intranet.  He advises companies to take an experimental approach, giving their employees guidelines and encouraging them to use new tools.

Dominguez acts on the knowledge that consumers, and not businesses, now drive the innovation and adoption of new tools and technology. Employees are demanding new ways to communicate at work, and the requirements for these are moving the industry forward. He asks his audiences, "How are you going to attract Gen Yers who have grown up digital if you block the bloodstream to how they communicate?" He also points to advances in business processes that make new technologies possible, such as the power of collaboration tools like Cisco WebEx to find a subject matter expert quickly so people spend time on the information itself instead of searching for it.

Dominguez has been with Cisco since 1992, spending most of his career with service providers, including cable operators, mobile operators, and content providers. He ran Worldwide Service Provider Operations for three years. He co-leads Cisco's Mexico and Brazil Boards, which oversee new business in those countries, and is fluent in Spanish. He was recently named one of the "Top 50 Hispanic Executives" in the United States by Hispanic Engineering and Information Technology magazine. He gave his keynote speech at Networkers Mexico 2009 in Spanish.

Dominguez speaks on a number of topics, including:

  • The importance of culture, especially one that is adaptable to change
  • Gaming is not just for kids anymore, and its impact on the future of learning
  • Leveraging the virtual world:  What it means for meetings
  • Generation Y:  How to attract and learn from the 20-something-year-olds 
  • Social media:  It's not what you say any more, it's what they say
  • Video & Web 2.0 applications:  How they can lead to better collaboration

See examples of Dominguez speaking:

Before joining Cisco, Dominguez held management positions at Timeplex, Inc. in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and at New Jersey Bell/Bell Atlanticom in Newark, New Jersey.

You can find him on Twitter at and on Cisco's Facebook at

Darlene Damm
Change Manager, Ashoka

Darlene works in operations at Ashoka setting up teams of teams within the organization to pursue opportunities with external partners to innovate joint initiatives. Prior to Ashoka, Darlene launched Asia Society Young Professionals for the Asia Society, helped open an experimental high school in Burma, managed cross-cultural leadership programs for Volunteers in Asia/Stanford University, developed an overseas education program for American teenagers in Vietnam and served as a Fellow with Japan-US Community Education and Exchange, studying public-private partnerships in Japan's newly emerging nonprofit sector. She received her bachelor's degree in History from Stanford University and completed her master's degree in International Affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Helen Dole
Teacher, School for Democracy and Leadership

Dole comes from a long line of teachers, including her grandmother, mother, sister, and brother.  She attendedAmherst College majoring in geology.  In 2004 she joined New York City Teaching Fellows and became one of the founding teachers at School for Democracy and Leadership, a new small public school that is part of a movement in New York City to replace large failing schools and offer students an academically rigorous college preparatory option.  In her time at SDL she has taught several science courses as well as serving as the middle school track and field coach, yearbook editor, 8th grade graduation coordinator, and school testing coordinator.  Currently she is the middle school double dutch coach, middle school science fair coordinator, middle school representative to Educators with Social Responsibility, and 8th grade prom and senior trip coordinator.  She enjoys sharing her passion for the outdoors and the environment with others.

Sara Farley
Chief Operating Officer, Global Knowledge Initiative

Sara E. Farley is the Chief Operating Officer of the Global Knowledge Initiative, a not for profit organization housed in the US National Academy of Sciences, that brokers partnerships between individuals and institutions to solve global challenges in science, technology and innovation ( Sara has been commissioned by national governments (Brazil, Canada, Slovenia, and the UK), and international development and science-related affinity organizations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation, to lead thinking, develop networks, and devise policies to strengthen developing countries' science and technology capacity. Sara began her career as a science and technology strategist at the World Bank. Prior to joining the World Bank, Sara graduated with honors in Science, Technology, and Society from Stanford University's School of Engineering where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. She spent time at the University of Queensland studying and working in chemical engineering. Following her time at Stanford and a stint working for a wireless start-up in Silicon Valley, she was a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellow at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.  Sara also founded Uganda Arts Outreach, Inc. and serves on the Board of Lesole's Dance Project and the Global Alliance for Linkages in Science (GALS).

Karin Hillhouse
Partnerships Director, Ashoka's Changemakers

Before starting at Ashoka in 1997, Karin lived in Colorado and spent several years as a freelance writer, publishing on topics such as literature, art, and architecture, solar energy and historic preservation. In addition to her writing, Karin taught at the University of Colorado Denver and consulted for Colorado Governor Richard Lamm. She was part of the team instrumental in Colorado's winning a national competition to launch the country's principal research center for the development of solar energy and other renewable energy sources. As a senior policy analyst, she was part of the core start-up staff at the Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) and authored a National Science Foundation funded study of the legal and institutional barriers to solar energy development. Karin earned an undergraduate degree from Smith College, a master's degree in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a master's degree in urban planning and community development from the University of Colorado Denver.

Margaret Honey, Ph.D.
CEO and President, New York Hall of Science

Dr. Honey was named President and CEO of the New York Hall of Science in November 2008. Previously, she served as Vice President of the Education Development Center and Director of EDC's Center for Children and Technology.  Her doctoral studies in developmental psychology at Columbia University led to early involvement in the notable public television series "The Voyage of the Mimi", and to continuing work using digital technologies to support children's learning across the disciplines of science, mathematics, engineering and technology.  Dr. Honey has led numerous innovative and successful education efforts involving the use of digital media, including nationally recognized reform work in the Union City, NJ school district. Dr. Honey has shared what she's learned before Congress, state legislatures, and federal panels, and through numerous articles, chapters, and books.

Sue Kirsch
Associate Professor, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Susan Kirch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning.  Professor Kirch is a science educator and a biologist. Her research includes: investigations of teaching and learning science in urban elementary schools and studies of teacher learning in the areas of science and inclusion. Kirch has participated in a variety of initiatives designed to bring teachers, K-12 students, educational researchers and scientists together to study access to science and the nature of scientific inquiry and she has published chapters and articles on school funding, inclusion, feminist pedagogy, co-teaching, and discourse in elementary school classrooms in journals such as Science Education, School Science and Mathematics, Cultural Studies of Science Education, and the Journal of Science Teacher Education among others.  Dr. Kirch currently studies how elementary school children learn the nature of scientific evidence through activities that feature contemporary questions and issues in science (The Scientific Thinker Project: Teaching and Learning the Nature of Scientific Evidence in Elementary School is funded by the NSF).

In addition to her research program Dr. Kirch has taught courses for undergraduate and graduate (MA, MS, and Ph.D.) students including: biology, immunology, neurobiology, life science for teachers, environmental literature, research issues in science, math and technology education, and general science curriculum and instruction courses.

Dr. Kirch began her career as a molecular and cellular biologist and has published research papers in Science,  Development,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal among others.  She received a bachelor's degree with honors in biochemistry from Mount Holyoke College in 1989 and completed her doctorate in cellular and developmental biology at Harvard University in 1996.  Dr. Kirch first became interested in the science education of teachers and young people when she participated as a scientist in the classroom with the UCSF Science and Health Education Partnership from 1998-2001 when she was an NIH post-doctoral scholar and HHMI fellow studying the development of the nervous system at the University of California, San Francisco.

Donya Locke
Former Student of Jhumki Basu

Lee M.E. Morin, M.D., Ph.D. (Captain, USN)
NASA Astronaut

After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1974, Morin worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the laboratory now known as the Media Lab. Morin matriculated at New York University School of Medicine in 1974, received a Master of Science in Biochemistry in 1978, an M.D. in 1981, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in 1982. He then completed two years of residency training in General Surgery at the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and at the Montefiore Hospital Medical Center in New York City.

 In 1982, Morin received a Direct Commission in the Naval Reserve. In 1983, he entered active duty and attended the Naval Undersea Medical Institute in Groton, Connecticut. He was designated as an Undersea Medical Officer in 1983. He joined the crew of the USS HENRY M. JACKSON (SSBN-730) Precommissioning Unit at the Electric Boat Company Shipyards in Groton. He remained aboard as Medical Officer for both Blue and Gold crews until 1985 when the ship arrived at its home port in Bangor, Washington. During his tour aboard the USS HENRY M. JACKSON, Morin qualified as Diving Medical Officer, and also received his "Dolphins" as a qualified Submarine Medical Officer.

 Morin then entered Flight Surgeon training at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) in Pensacola, Florida. He received his "Wings of Gold" as a Naval Flight Surgeon in 1986, and remained on the staff at NAMI as Flight Surgeon/Diving Medal Officer until 1989. While at NAMI, he received his Masters of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He then left active duty and entered private practice in occupational medicine in Jacksonville, Florida. He remained in the Naval Reserve, and drilled with the United State Marine Corps with the Third Force Reconnaissance Company in Mobile, Alabama.

 In August 1990, he was recalled to active duty during Operation Desert Shield, when he was assigned to Branch Clinic, Naval Air Station Pensacola as a Flight Surgeon. Morin volunteered to reenter active duty, and was assigned to Administrative Support Unit, Bahrain, as Diving Medical Officer/Flight Surgeon during Operation Desert Storm and during the post-war build-down period.

 In 1992, Morin rejoined the staff at NAMI, initially as Special Projects Officer. He was named the Director of Warfare Specialty Programs when NAMI became Naval Aerospace and Operational Medical Institute (NAOMI). In 1995, Morin entered the Residency in Aerospace Medicine at the Naval Aerospace and Operational Medical Institute. He completed the residency in 1996.

 Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Morin reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist. Initially assigned technical duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, followed by the Astronaut Office Advanced Vehicles Branch, and ISS training tasks in the Shuttle Operations Branch of the Astronaut Office. Morin served on the EVA crew of STS-110 (2002) and has logged over 259 hours in space, including over 14 EVA hours. After STS-110, he was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Health, Space, and Science with the Department of State, Washington D.C. After this tour, he returned to the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center. He is currently assigned to the Exploration Branch, where he is working on the cockpit of NASA's newest spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle.

The STS-110 Atlantis (April 8-19, 2002) was the 13th Shuttle mission to visit the International Space Station. Mission milestones included: the delivery and installation of the SO (S-Zero) Truss; the first time the station's robotic arm was used to maneuver spacewalkers around the station; and the first time that all of a shuttle crew's spacewalks were based from the station's Quest Airlock. Morin performed 2 EVAs totaling 14 hours and 9 minutes. The crew prepared the station for future spacewalks and spent a week in joint operations with the station's Expedition-4 crew. Mission duration was 10 days, 19 hours and 42 minutes.

Shael Polakow-Suransky
Interim Chief Accountability Officer, Department of Education

Mr. Polakow-Suransky has compiled a long record of raising student achievement in the New York City public schools during the last 15 years. He is currently the Department's Deputy Chief Schools Officer, helping to oversee the work of the School Support Organizations and Integrated Service Centers. He began his career as a math and social studies teacher. In 2001, he became the founding principal of Bronx International High School, which has served as a model for the development of many of the City's new small schools. He has also served as a Leadership Academy facilitator, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for the Office of New Schools, and the Chief Academic Officer for Empowerment Schools, which he helped build into the Department's largest School Support Organization.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky holds a bachelor's degree in education and urban studies from Brown University and a master's degree in educational leadership from the Bank Street College of Education. He recently graduated from the Broad Superintendents Academy.

John Sexton
President, New York University

John Sexton, the fifteenth President of New York University, also is the Benjamin Butler Professor of Law and NYU Law School's Dean Emeritus, having served as Dean for 14 years. He joined the Law School's faculty in 1981, was named the School's Dean in 1988, and was designated the University's President in 2001.

President Sexton is Chair of the Independent Colleges and Universities of New York, Chair of the New York Academy of Sciences, and Vice Chair of the American Council on Education. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of both the Association of American University Presidents and the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served as the Chairman of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2003-2006) and Chair of the Federal Reserve Systems Council of Chairs (2006). He served as a Board Member for the National Association of Securities Dealers (1996-1998), and was Founding Chair of the Board of NASD Dispute Resolution (2000-2002). He also serves on the Boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Institute of International Education and the Association for a Better New York. While Dean of the Law School he was President of the Association of American Law Schools.

President Sexton received a B.A. in History (1963) from Fordham College; an M.A. in Comparative Religion (1965) and a Ph.D. in History of American Religion (1978) Fordham University; and a J.D. magna cum laude (1979) from Harvard Law School.

He is an author of the nationâ€TMs leading casebook on Civil Procedure. He also is the author of Redefining the Supreme Court's Role: A Theory of Managing the Federal Court System (a treatment of the Supreme Court's case selection process) in addition to several other books, numerous chapters, articles and Supreme Court briefs.

He holds honorary degrees from Fordham University, Saint Francis College; Saint John's University, University of Rochester and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. The student editors of NYU's Annual Survey of American Law dedicated their Volume 60 in his honor. He was named by Emory University "Outstanding High School Debate Coach of the Last 50 Years" for work he did from 1960-1975. He has been honored at the Harvard Law Review Annual Banquet, and has been named "Alumnus of the Year" both at Fordham and at his high school, Brooklyn Prep. In July 2008 he was named a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, the national order of the Legion of Honor of France.

Before coming to NYU, President Sexton served as Law Clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the United States Supreme Court (1980-1981), and to Judges David Bazelon and Harold Leventhal of the United States Court of Appeals (1979-1980). For ten years (1983-1993), he served as Special Master Supervising Pretrial Proceedings in the Love Canal Litigation. From 1966 - 1975, he was a Professor of Religion at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, where he was Department Chair from 1970-1975.

Edna Tan
Student, College of Education at Michigan State University

Edna Tan is an Assistant Professor in Science Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Drawing from critical theories, her research interests focus on the teaching and learning of science in urban schools and minority girls' science education.