SREYASHI JHUMKI BASU, PhD
(1977 – 2008)
2008 RESEARCH FELLOW
Steinhardt School of Culture,
and Human Development
New York University
Dr. Jhumki Basu came from long line of science innovators. Her grandfather was the first open-heart surgeon in India and her parents, both electrical engineers, helped develop ultrasound technology and establish India’s first communication satellites. Jhumki's family background was the source of her commitment to explore how “engagement in science can be a source of personal and community empowerment.”
As a science teacher in a diverse range of schools, Jhumki witnessed firsthand how access to science is mediated by the level of privilege into which a person is born. Her research was partly inspired by her teaching experience of low-income, minority students in New York City. She found that when students had access to science opportunities, “they developed skills that enhanced their own career options and began investigating and creating technologies that tackled issues of global concern.” Jhumki’s career was focused on increasing equity in science education, “such that under-served students have opportunities to develop a rigorous understanding of science, which they can use to affect change in their lives and the world.”
The purpose of Jhumki’s research was to understand the ways in which teachers pursue democratic science pedagogy, a method of teaching that allows students to express ideas and interests in the classroom so that they feel respected, valued and more engaged, while simultaneously developing an expertise in science. “I am particularly concerned with whether teacher efforts with democratic science pedagogy lead students to become experts in particular scientific topics, to participate more actively in science class and to consider careers in science.”
As part of the project, Jhumki hoped to develop a variety of tools for teachers, including a package of resources that an administrator might use to better understand what a science teacher needs to be successful in pursuing democratic science pedagogy; a guide with practical examples of how science teachers of different backgrounds and identities develop democratic practices in their classrooms; and a blog and series of viral videos where teachers and students could share their ideas and discuss how to influence student learning and engagement in school science.
Awards and Recognitions
AERA 2007 Division K Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award; NASA Educator Astronaut Semi-Finalist (2004); Stanford University Sandy Dornbusch Award for Excellence in Research (1998)
- Basu, S.J. & Calabrese Barton, A. (2007). How do urban minority youth develop a sustained interest in science? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(3), 466-487.
- Basu, S.J. (2008, in press). How Students Design and Enact Physics Lessons: Five Immigrant Caribbean Youth and the Cultivation of Student Voice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(8).
- Basu, S.J., Calabrese Barton, A., Locke, D. and Clairmont, N. (Online Publication, June 2008). Developing a framework for critical physics agency through case study. Accepted in Cultural Studies in Science Education.