Science Education: Linking Science and Society

Department of Teaching and Learning

Program in Science Education


Speaker's Bios

Jane Goodall
Ph.D., DBE, Primatologist and Conservationist

Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, began her landmark study of chimpanzees in Tanzania in June 1960, under the mentorship of famed anthropologist and paleontologist Dr. Louis Leakey.  Her work at the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve became the foundation of future primatological research and redefined the relationship between humans and animals.

In 1977, Dr. Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI).  Today JGI is a global organization supporting the research at Gombe in addition to many other programs for research, education, community development and conservation programs.

Dr. Goodall travels an average of 300 days per year speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees and other environmental concerns, and about her reasons for hope that humankind will solve the problems facing our planet.

In 2002, Dr. Goodall was invested by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a UN Messenger of Peace, and she was reappointed in 2007 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.  Other honors include the Medal of Tanzania, the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal, Japan's prestigious Kyoto Prize and the UNESCO 60th Anniversary Medal.  In 2001, Dr. Goodall received the Gandhi/King Award for Nonviolence and, in 203, the Franklin Institute's Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life and Science and Spain's coveted Prince of Asturias Award.  In February 2004, Dr. Goodall was awarded England's highest honor, Dame of the British Empire, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, and in February 2006, she received France's highest honor, the Legion of Honor.

Shael Polakow-Suransky
Chief Academic Officer, NYC Department of Education

Shael Polakow-Suransky was recently named the New York City Department of Education's Chief Academic Officer, overseeing all of the school system's instructional work and related policy issues. Previously, in his role as Deputy Chancellor for Performance and Accountability, he led the Department's efforts to provide instructional support around the Common Core State Standards, tools to accelerate student learning, professional development for teachers, and the data used to evaluate school quality and improve student performance. Shael has worked in the New York City public schools since 1994, when he started his career as a teacher of mathematics and social studies. In 2001 he became the founding principal of Bronx International High School, a highly successful school for students who are recent immigrants to the United States. He has worked in several roles at the NYC Department of Education focused on building instructional capacity for teachers and principals, having served as a Leadership Academy facilitator, Deputy CEO for the Office of New Schools, and Chief Academic Officer for Empowerment Schools. Shael 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 is a graduate of 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.

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.

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.