Times Square New Year’s Celebration Honors Science Education

Climate change was the theme of the Times Square New Year’s celebration. But climate education was the star.

When it was time for the ball drop, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shared the stage with two New York City public school science teachers, including one Columbia alumnus, and their students.

“Being up on the elevated platform, there was an overwhelming sense of this sea of humanity,” said Jared Fox, who graduated from Columbia’s Teachers College in 2015 with a doctorate in science education and is currently the chair of the science department at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. “Experiencing the energy from them was incredible.”

Fox is a board member of BioBus, a nonprofit mobile laboratory that provides hands-on learning to students in Harlem, Washington Heights and the Bronx. BioBus was launched at Columbia University in 2008 by Ben Dubin-Thaler (CC’00, GSAS’07). More than 250,000 students have benefitted from this “lab-on-wheels,” which has now partnered with Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute and explores everything from biology to neuroscience.

“BioBus does great work with science education,” Fox said, adding that he invited Dubin-Thaler to the Times Square celebration. Fox hopes this year to expand BioBus’s reach to more underserved communities in Lower Manhattan and Queens.

“Science is the search for truth,” Fox said. It’s what he tries to instill in his students. “There’s always more to explore, especially right in our own neighborhoods.”

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