Columbia University in the City of New York


The artist’s child gets involved with mural creation in their own way (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


Washington Heights-based artist and educator DISTER RONDON created IN SCIENCE WE TRUST for the Zuckerman Institute to highlight scientists as “real people; bringing them forward as a part of our collective community—  worldwide and local” in his latest mural featured in the Education Lab. 


DISTER specializes in spray paint - an homage to hip hop culture (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevents us from gathering, DISTER RONDON challenges the notion of loneliness with a vibrant and colorful display that emphasizes community. It all started off with some simple, virtual conversations. 


IN SCIENCE WE TRUST came from Zoom conversations had between DISTER and scientists Latasha Wright, PhD, Connor Gibbons, Vikram Gadagkar, PhD, Cornel Duhaney and Tessa Montague, PhD. The mural depicts these scientists, who work in the Zuckerman Institute—  from those studying zebra finches and cephalopods, to community scientists who work with students in New York City to discover, explore, and pursue science. Notably, the mural shares images of individuals experiencing joy— whether it’s children musing at test tubes, or scientists telling stories. 


Zuckerman Institute scientists are depicted on one side of the mural, alongside their research and personal interests (Credit: Paula Croxson/Columbia University).


The medium is spray paint —  an homage to Hip Hop culture that permeates throughout New York City past and present.  “I paint murals that directly reflect the culture and aesthetics of the respective community —  art that represents us,” DISTER notes with pride. 


In 2008, DISTER founded I LOVE MY HOOD, an artistic movement dedicated to loyalty and respect of culture and community. This mural adds to the rich repertoire of DISTER’s community-based artwork.

The artist at work on the mural. One side features BioBus chief scientific officer Dr. Latasha Wright (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


The art work acknowledges that what we see on a daily basis influences what we aspire to become for the rest of our lives. To DISTER, the mural’s payoff at the Education Lab is by no means limited to beautification; DISTER also works with ZI and BioBus scientists to host events involving science and the arts for the local community. 

The artist’s child gets involved with mural creation in their own way (Credit: Sirin Samman/Columbia University).


DISTER’s work advances the mission of the Public Programs team at the Zuckerman Institute to help make science more accessible and interdisciplinary, breaking out from expectations of traditional scientific programming.


To get involved, tell us your ideas, or to find out more, email us at [email protected]