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Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year

The Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year award is given to an individual whose actions, achievements, and spirit push the boundaries of leadership in exploration, and who shows a commitment to share this knowledge with the world. It recognizes a member of the National Geographic Explorer community who shines a critical light on important issues, discoveries, and challenges facing our planet, and inspires the world to act on behalf of a more sustainable future.

2022 Award Recipient

Tara Roberts
photograph by Mark Thiessen

Tara Roberts

National Geographic Explorer and storyteller Tara Roberts embarked on a life-changing journey alongside Diving With A Purpose—a team of Black scuba divers—in search of shipwrecks that carried enslaved Africans. Roberts documented her travels and the stories of the divers, historians, archaeologists, and communities she met along the way for the National Geographic Society funded six-part podcast series Into the Depths. The highly acclaimed podcast series was downloaded more than 430,000 times, was named Spotify’s “Best Podcast of the Week;” and was featured in more than 100 media articles and outlets (including GMAPBSNPR, and CNN). Roberts also became the first Black American female Explorer to grace the cover of the National Geographic magazine, where her story reached over 26 million people. Through her storytelling, Roberts hopes to empower and bring nuance to the plight filled stories within the Black community.