BioBus hosts monthly Afterschool Science Hour at the Zuckerman Institute

BioBus hosted an avian biology and virology Afterschool Science Hour event on Friday at the Columbia Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute in Manhattanville.

BioBus, an organization that focuses on bringing science to New York City K-12 students who are often excluded from the scientific community, partners with the Zuckerman Institute to hold monthly Afterschool Science Hours. These events provide activities to local students free of charge, in an effort to make science education more accessible.

Christine Marizzi, director of community science at BioBus, and the organizer of Friday’s event, expressed hope that events like these would bring science to children of diverse backgrounds.

“I hope that it instills the joy of science, but also models science as a place for them, and science is actually for them,” Marizzi said.

Friday’s event focused on avian biology and virology, with research and activities developed by the New York City Virus Hunters. The team is composed of high school interns working to develop educational materials for BioBus’ younger students based on their own independent research projects.

The activities included stations where students could examine bird feathers under a microscope and build virus and bird models. The event also brought live pigeons from the Wild Bird Fund, a local bird veterinarian and rehabilitation center.

Regina Corpus, a teacher at the Manhattanville After-school Center, brought 15 of her students to the event on Friday.

“We always make it our best effort to come,” Corpus said. “This time I brought even more students because they heard from other students how much they wanted to go, so they joined the bandwagon.”

Corpus said her students enjoy the unique learning experience that BioBus events provide.

“Do you ever hear such low roar in a classroom? No,” Corpus said. “They’re working. They’re learning. They’re talking. They’re asking questions. They’re sharing. That’s why we come here.”

Doris Nuñez, a local parent who found the BioBus event through social media, said the event offered exciting opportunities for her child to interact with science at a young age.

“They definitely get excited,” Nuñez said. “Just being able to use the microscope is like a big highlight for them at this age.”

Sumeyye Yar, a local parent who frequently brings her 4-year-old child to BioBus events, echoed Nuñez’s sentiment.

“I think this is such a wonderful place,” Yar said. “We love living near BioBus because we can come to all the events.”

BioBus’ next Afterschool Science Hour event will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Zuckerman Institute.

City News Staff Writer Jesus Vargas can be contacted at Follow him on X @JesusVargas724.