Outreach & Diversity

Biology Department Public Outreach

Members of the Biology Department regularly take part in outreach efforts that increase public awareness and understanding of science and engage in science education outside of the traditional classroom setting. In addition, faculty and students volunteer their time to provide science and math education or tutoring to under-served K-12 students.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program
(SURP) New York University’s Department of Biology and Center for Genomics and Systems Biology offer a summer program for undergraduates with career interests in biological research. This 10-week program places students in laboratories of NYU faculty based on their background preparation and areas of interest. Research areas include, but are not limited to: cell and developmental biology, genomics and systems biology, computational biology, microbiomes and infectious diseases, and ecology and evolutionary biology.

Stuyvesant High School Summer Research Program
Each summer faculty in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology host Stuyvesant High School students in their labs to complete research projects. Many of these students use their projects to enter the Intel STS, the nation's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Read about our Intel finalists and semifinalists here.

Saturday Science
The New York University Department of Teaching and Learning runs Saturday Science, a series of free seminars for high school science teachers and other science educators. Active researchers discuss current topics in science that teachers can bring back to their classrooms. A number of Biology Department faculty participate in this seminar series.

NYU-CTY is a one-day outreach event in collaboration with the national Center for Talented Youth (CTY) program at John Hopkins University. Approximately 80-100 participants, including both K-12 students and parents from all over the country attend workshops in the NYU Biology Department. The overall goals of these workshops are 1) to encourage more high school students to consider careers in science 2) to expose students and their parents to cutting-edge research techniques 3) to instruct them on topics in the fields of epigenetics and genomics, and 4) to improve public awareness and knowledge about the research that takes place in our institution. Organizers have included Professors Patrick Eichenberger, Fei Li, and Christine Vogel.

Ines Pieres of the Purugganan Lab volunteers for PlantingScience, a learning community where scientists provide online mentorship to student teams as they design and complete their own experiments. She mentors team “Cool Name” from High Technology High School who are investigating the relationship between soil density and plant growth. 

Public Science Education Programs
Biology Department faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers volunteer for organizations and participate in a number of events aimed at educating the public about science, including: the Evolution of Food Workshop at the American Museum of Natural History, NOGN (Neuroscience Outreach Group at NYU), and the BioBus.

Some of our graduate students provide free science and math tutoring through Top Honors and The Door.

Our labs serve to enrich science education for students from local schools who come for field trips and our faculty and students also visit schools to give guest lectures. Our faculty and graduate students have donated lab space and served as mentors in science competitions such as the DNA Barcoding Competition and iGEM.

Encouraging Diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

Early access to high-quality STEM educational experiences and training, and exposure to real-life role models influence children’s interest in STEM careers. The Department of Biology is dedicated to increasing diversity in STEM fields. Our faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers contribute their efforts to a number of formal and informal programs that aim to provide early opportunities for children, particularly those from under-served schools, to develop an interest in biology and other STEM disciplines.

Several Biology Department faculty and their lab members serve as mentors in NYU Poly's ARISE (Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering) program. ARISE provides a summer research experience in various STEM fields for NYC high school students who otherwise do not have access to a rigorous STEM education. The students spend three weeks taking college-level coursework on scientific method followed by four weeks of hands-on research in a lab, and finish the program by presenting their work at a poster session.  

Justin Blau has been organizing a 1 day visit to the Biology Department each May to raise awareness of research as a career possibility for students from the University of Houston-Downtown. UHD is considered one of the most ethnically diverse liberal arts institutions in the southwest. Students hear talks from faculty, tour the labs, and discuss life in academia with current PhD students over lunch.

Edo Kussell brings groups of middle school students from the Explore Charter School in Flatbush, Brooklyn to visit NYU Biology twice per year. Students get hands-on lab tours of three different labs and meet graduate students in each lab. Topics are usually linked with their current school curriculum.

The NYAS afterschool STEM program focuses on getting hands on experimental experience to children in under-served public schools.  Andres Mansisdor (Andreas Hochwagen’s lab) mentored a group of students at Tompkins Square Middle School.

Max Kramer and Alison Mello (Sevinc Ercan’s lab) have worked with Citizen Schools which provides extended day school programming to public school children in low-income communities. They designed and taught a once a week after school class at the Bronx Writing Academy middle school titled "Invisible World." Students explored the relationship between microbes, organic molecules and food. The class culminated with a project and presentation where the students used raw ingredients and microbes to make foods like fermented ginger ale and yeast risen doughnuts.