In 2008 Ben Dubin-Thaler, a passionate science educator and entrepreneur, purchased an old New York City bus, outfitted it with state-of-the-art microscopy, developed a curriculum, and started visiting local schools. The result was the BioBus, a fully mobile research laboratory that brings a science field trip to school and community groups, with a focus on delivering high-quality science education to underserved communities. Since 2008, the organization has grown considerably, adding and outfitting a second bus and establishing two local community education centers (called BioBases), one on the Lower East Side and one in Harlem. BioBus also increased the breadth of their educational services by launching an internship program for high school and college students and a 12-week after school learning curriculum for interested middle and high schoolers. Since its founding, BioBus has brought innovative, fun science education to an estimated 250,000 students at more than 500 New York City schools.
Funds from this grant support efforts to expand the number of students participating in BioBus programs over the next three years while creating the physical, fundraising, and evaluation infrastructure to ensure sustainable future growth. Funded activities include efforts to increase BioBus’s capacity to provide science research and mentorship opportunities; complete a three-year evaluation plan of the internship program that will provide data and insights to maintain program excellence while expanding capacity, and create a sustainable business plan for increased government support.