Inspired by the thousands of letters he received from students seeking an opportunity to join an expedition following his discovery of Titanic’s final resting place, Dr. Robert Ballard’s vision for the mission of the Ocean Exploration Trust was that it would increasingly connect exploratory expeditions beyond the scientific community and into classrooms and living rooms. His goal was, and continues to be, to encourage the next generation of explorers to follow educational pathways into the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce.
Role modeling has been the keystone of OET’s educational and outreach program since its inception. Each year, members of the Corps of Exploration — which includes crew members, to students and lead scientists that sail aboard E/V Nautilus — come from academia, industry, schools, federal agencies, military, and nonprofits. As we highlight each member of the Corps aboard the vessel to global audiences, we aim to show that the breadth of vocations and pathways possible within STEM-related disciplines is vast. We also strive to ensure that the demographics of the Corps — specifically, representation of women and historically underrepresented minorities in STEM — reflects the diversity of the United States, allowing a greater number of children to recognize opportunities for themselves in these career pathways.
While emphasizing role modeling and mentoring, OET has developed a suite of programs over the last decade to engage educators and students of all ages through a multifaceted approach including: (1) outreach to inspire the online-public through 24/7 connectivity to explorers at sea; (2) immersive, hands-on opportunities for students and educators to participate in E/V Nautilus expeditions shoulder-to-shoulder with professionals in the field (3) professional development opportunities for educators on shore; and (4) ocean exploration-themed STEM curricular materials.
OET’s at-sea education programs for the 2020 Nautilus expedition season are open to individuals who hold a United States or Canadian passport or are eligible to obtain one upon program selection. Participants must plan to live in the United States or Canada for the duration of the expedition season (June – December 2020).