Steinhardt Convenes “Sci-Ed Innovators” to Honor Late Faculty Member Jhumki Basu

Of the many passions that motivated Jhumki Basu, associate professor of science education at NYU Steinhardt, making science fun and engaging for low-income and minority youth was her life’s mission. Basu died of metastatic breast cancer in 2008 at age 31, but left behind a legacy of advocating for quality science education for all children.

In honor of her work, NYU Steinhardt and her parents, Dipak and Radha Basu, organized a conference for “Sci-Ed Innovators” in January at the Kimmel Center for University Life.

Bringing together educators, students, business leaders policymakers, technologists, and science enthusiasts, the three-hour program launched a series of unique collaborations among public and private sector entities committed to improving the quality of science education in public schools. The Jhumki Basu Foundation, established by Basu’s parents, is working with organizations such as the New York Hall of Science, an interactive science museum, and Ashoka, a global association of social entrepreneurs, to develop innovative science curricula.

In addition, the Steinhardt School is working to raise grant money to fund a science education and research and development institute in Basu’s name. The proposed institute will offer state-of-the-art facilities in a site where science teaching strategies can be imagined, developed, researched, and disseminated to teachers throughout our global society.

Following remarks by NYU president John Sexton (above) on the importance of educating the next generation of scientists and by NASA astronaut and NYU alumnus Lee Morin (MS ’78; MD ’81; Ph.D. ’82), participants at the conference were treated to a science expo featuring more than a dozen science projects from New York City public schools. More than fifty middle school students demonstrated their projects on robotics, complex machinery, nutrition, water quality, and public health.

  • Watch a video recap of the conference: