MUSTAFA SANTIAGO ALI is a renowned national speaker, policy maker, community liaison, trainer, and facilitator. He specializes in social and environmental justice issues and is focused on using a holistic approach to revitalize vulnerable communities. Mustafa joined the Hip Hop Caucus after working for 24 years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he most recently served as senior advisor for environmental justice and community revitalization. A guest lecturer at many leading universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown, he is a former instructor at West Virginia University and Stanford University in Washington, and the former co-host of the Spirit in Action radio show. Mustafa has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, VICE, and Democracy NOW. He has also been featured in the Washington Post and GQ magazine and cited in over 100 publications.Back
Vicki Arroyo is the founding executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center at the Georgetown University Law Center, where she also serves as the assistant dean of Centers and Institutes and a professor from practice. Previously, she served for over a decade at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change as vice president for policy analysis and general counsel. She has served on several federal panels, including those reviewing economic modeling of climate legislation for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, on the National Science Foundation’s advisory committee to the geosciences directorate, and on a federal study informing climate change adaptation along the Gulf Coast. Her TEDGlobal Talk on preparing communities for climate change impacts has been viewed over one million times.Back
Jonathan Baillie is the National Geographic Society’s chief scientist, senior vice president of science and exploration, and vice chair of the Committee for Research and Exploration. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Oxford. Jonathan joined the National Geographic Society after 20 years at the Zoological Society of London, where, as conservation programmes director, he led projects focused on threatened species and their habitats in over 50 countries. He has also served as a specialist group co-chair at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and was responsible for the first IUCN Red List of Threatened Species to define all mammals. With a Ph.D. in biology, Jonathan has conducted extensive fieldwork, including researching and monitoring western lowland gorillas in Gabon, developing ecotourism sites in Central Africa, searching for extremely rare endemic birds in the Gulf of Guinea, and conducting behavioral studies of desert baboons in Namibia. His work has been fundamental in defining the status of the world’s mammals.Back
Named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential persons in the world for 2016, Lee Berger is an award-winning researcher, author, speaker and paleoanthropologist. He is the recipient of the National Geographic Society’s first Prize for Research and Exploration and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, a Member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa and a Fellow of the Explorers Club. His explorations into human origins in Africa over the past two-and-a-half decades have resulted in many new and notable discoveries, including the most complete early hominin fossils found so far, which belong to a new species of early human ancestor, Australopithecus sediba, and, in 2013, the richest early hominin site yet found on the continent of Africa containing the remains of another new species of ancient human relative called Homo naledi. Among other positions, Berger serves on the advisory board of the Global Young Academy. Berger is the Research Professor in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Berger received the 2016 Explorer of the Year Award.Back
Dekila Chungyalpa has worked extensively on community-based conservation in the Himalaya and led the development of regional climate change adaptation and sustainable solutions for hydropower in the Mekong region. An associate research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Dekila works on the Yale Environmental Training Initiative for Religious Leaders program.
She also serves as the environmental adviser for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, coordinating over 50 monasteries and nunneries in the Himalaya that are carrying out environmental projects. From 2009 to 2014, she founded and then ran Sacred Earth, an acclaimed faith-based conservation program at the World Wildlife Fund. Dekila received the prestigious 2014 McCluskey Award at Yale University in recognition of her innovative work, and holds an honorary fellowship at WWF.Back
Dr. Katy Croff Bell is an ocean explorer, using deep sea technology to explore what lies at the depths of the ocean. For more than 15 years, she has participated in or led more than 30 oceanographic and archaeological projects. Katy’s current work involves the utilization of telepresence technology on ocean exploration projects for remote science and education. She works with a large team to implement this technology on multidisciplinary expeditions around the world aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus. Expeditions are shared with the world live on www.nautiluslive.org, revealing the wonders of the undersea world in real time, in an effort to engage and inspire a new generation of young explorers.
Katy received her S.B. from MIT in Ocean Engineering in 2000. In 2001, she was a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, after which she completed her Master's degree in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southampton. Katy completed her Ph.D. in Geological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in 2011. She is a 2006 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and 2014 MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow.Back
Cory Doctorow is an award-winning science fiction novelist, blogger, and technology activist. He co-edits the popular blog Boing Boing, is a contributor to many magazines, websites, and newspapers, and is a special consultant to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a technology-focused nonprofit civil liberties group. Cory holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a visiting professor, and is an MIT Media Lab research affiliate. In 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.
Cory has won the Locus, Prometheus, Copper Cylinder, White Pine, and Sunburst Awards, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and British Science Fiction Awards. His novels have been translated into dozens of languages.Back
Melissa Etheridge is one of rock music’s great female icons. Her critically acclaimed eponymous debut album was certified double platinum. Etheridge’s popularity built around such memorable songs as “Bring Me Some Water,” “No Souvenirs” and “Ain’t It Heavy” for which she won her first Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal. Etheridge hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am, featuring the massive hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” a searing song of longing that brought her a second Grammy. The six times platinum album spent more than two and a half years on the album chart. Etheridge is also an Oscar winner for Best Original Song in 2007.
National Geographic Awards
Sean Gerrity, CEO of American Prairie Reserve, (APR) is committed to wildlife conservation and hopes to create the largest wildlife complex ever assembled in the continental United States. When complete, the reserve will comprise some 3.5 million contiguous acres (more than 5,000 square miles) of native grassland in northeastern Montana, with a goal of restoring the wildlife abundance the landscape once contained. American Prairie Reserve was featured in National Geographic's American Serengeti, an hour-long film featured on the National Geographic Channel.
Gerrity and his colleagues are dedicated to building the reserve for the benefit of humanity—from Native American and other local communities neighboring the reserve to the global visitors now enjoying the reserve's growing educational and recreational opportunities. The project is now entering an exciting phase of enabling 300-mile dispersion corridors for grizzly bears, cougars, wolves and other wildlife between the American Prairie Reserve eco-system, which includes Grasslands National Park in Canada, The Yellowstone ecosystem surrounding Yellowstone Park, and the Crown of the Continent ecosystem that includes Glacier National Park.
Gerrity grew up primarily in Montana. Prior to joining the American Prairie Reserve, he co-founded Catalyst Consulting, a Santa Cruz, California-based company, specializing in organizational alignment, strategy development, and implementation primarily applied in the for-profit, business world.
Leading the American Prairie Reserve project has enabled Gerrity to combine his upbringing in and knowledge of Montana, his business skills, and his passion for education, nature and wildlife to focus on an effort that will leave an extraordinary, nature-based legacy for future generations.Back
Susan Goldberg is editorial director of National Geographic Partners and editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. Under her leadership, National Geographic has received numerous awards for photography, journalism, and graphics across platforms, and in 2017 was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for its issue about gender.
Previously, Susan was an executive editor at Bloomberg News, and before that editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the San Jose Mercury News. She has received multiple awards, and was named one of Washington’s most powerful women by the Washingtonian in 2017. She is on the boards of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.Back
Dominique Gonçalves is a Mozambican ecologist focused on elephant conservation in Gorongosa National Park. Her interest in biodiversity protection and human population increase inspired her to earn her MSC in Conservation Biology at Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at University of Kent. Gonçalves currently serves as Manager of the Elephant Ecology Project where she investigates elephant movement and range expansion in relation to habitat use and Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC). Working with law enforcement and sustainable development colleagues, she hopes to build coexistence between communities and wildlife throughout the buffer-zone surrounding the park. In addition to this, Gonçalves works closely with park Girls’ Club programs; promoting education and health to prevent early marriage.Back
Ben Harper grew up in the tree-lined Southern California college town of Claremont, literally surrounded by music. His grandparents had opened the Folk Music Center in 1958 as a music store and impromptu gather place for a thriving folk music scene. Artists like Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, Doc Watson, and John Fahey were known to drop by and play. Ben’s mother, Ellen, was a folk singer, and his dad, Leonard, was a talented musician as well. Ben worked at the family music store, where he learned how to repair and build instruments, became a masterful player and gifted songwriter, and eventually a Grammy-winning artist and producer of worldwide acclaim.
National Geographic Awards
National Geographic Emerging Explorer and engineer Arthur Huang has spent over a decade turning post-consumer waste into innovative products for businesses and consumers through his company, Miniwiz. Co-founder and CEO of Miniwiz, Arthur is focused on accelerating the shift to a closed-loop circular economy, in which all products are made from recycled materials and are then eventually recycled themselves. Today, Miniwiz is a global leader in transforming post-consumer products into retail store interiors, factory campuses, and consumer goods.
Four National Geographic channel episodes have been dedicated to Miniwiz’s projects, from constructing an entire nine-story museum using post-consumer materials to designing a portable trash collection system.
Under Arthur’s leadership, Miniwiz has received the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer title, the Financial Times’ Earth Award, and the Wall Street Journal’s Asian Innovation Award, among other honors.Back
Peg Keiner is the Director of Innovation at GEMS World Academy Chicago, Global Goal Ambassador for the United Nations Association Chicago Chapter, Google Earth Education Expert, and 2017 National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. During her expedition to Antarctica in December 2017, she collected audio and 360 videos to immerse her community in the great white continent. Keiner’s focus is on creating environments for people to use technology to investigate problems, design solutions, and take action. She leads research in Field Studies at her preschool-12th grade private school in downtown Chicago, where students use the city as a landscape for learning. As a Google Earth Education Expert, she creates curriculum to increase geospatial thinking through storytelling. As a Global Goal Ambassador through the United Nations Association Chicago Chapter, she plans events to that bring awareness to our world’s most pressing issues. On May of 2017, she hosted the first GEMS Global Design Challenge, where students across the Chicagoland, with the help of industry experts, spent a weekend researching and designing solutions to 5 of 17 United Nations Global Goals.Back
Natalie Kofler is a molecular biologist and the founder and director of Editing Nature at Yale University, a global initiative to steer the responsible development and deployment of environmental genetic technologies. At Editing Nature, she builds processes and platforms to guide projects that aim to genetically alter wild species with goals such as preventing disease transmission, eliminating invasive species, or aiding species adaptability to changing climates. Natalie received her M.S. in human nutrition and metabolic studies and her Ph.D. in cellular, molecular, and medical biosciences from Columbia University. She is a leading voice for the advancement of inclusive science and the need for integrated deliberative models, and has authored numerous scientific research articles, review articles, and commentary pieces.
David Lang is an entrepreneur and writer. In 2012, along with Eric Stackpole, he co-founded OpenROV to create a low-cost robot to explore an underwater cave. Since then, OpenROV has raised over $900,000 on Kickstarter and become one of the largest underwater drone manufacturers. The team also created OpenExplorer as a digital field journal to empower and connect citizen scientists and explorers. Lang is the author of Zero to Maker—part memoir and part guidebook for participating in the growing maker movement. He is also a member of NOAA's Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and a TED Senior Fellow.Back
Julia Lee is an assistant professor of management and organizations at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and studies the psychology of social- and self-narratives as well as behavioral ethics. Lee received a Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University, where she was trained in organizational behavior, psychology, and behavioral economics. She is also a non-resident Fellow at Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, and was selected as a Lab Fellow in Institutional Corruption at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard and as a Research Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program.Back
Leland Melvin is an engineer, former NASA astronaut and NFL player, photographer, and musician. He traveled twice on space shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station, worked in NASA’s Langley Research Center, and served as NASA’s associate administrator for education. He has also co-chaired the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Task Force and acted as the US representative and chair of the International Space Education Board, a global collaboration in space. He is a judge on ABC’s BattleBots and the former host of Lifetime’s Child Genius. The holder of four honorary doctorates, Leland has been selected as an ICON MANN and awarded the NFL Players Association Award of Excellence. His memoir, Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances, was published in 2017.Back
Actor and director Ravi Patel just finished shooting the 2019 comedy Flarsky with Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron, and can most recently be seen in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Master of None and TBS’s comedy series Wrecked. Before this, he was a series regular on Fox’s Grandfathered; he can also be seen in the current Sundance hit Band Aid. In 2014, Ravi wrote, co-directed, and starred in Meet the Patels, a documentary he created with his sister, Geeta, that won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the LA Film Festival. The duo currently have a deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures to adapt the documentary into a feature length film. Outside of acting, Ravi is the co-founder of This Bar Saves Lives, which donates a meal packet for every granola bar sold.
National Geographic Awards
One of America’s most honored and experienced journalists focused on environmental sustainability, Andrew Revkin has written on global environmental change and risk for over 30 years, reporting from the North Pole to the White House, the Amazon rain forest to the Vatican. In 2018, he joined the staff of the National Geographic Society as strategic adviser for science and environmental journalism. A staff reporter for the New York Times from 1995 to 2009, Andrew wrote his award-winning Dot Earth blog for the newspaper from 2010 to 2016. He has also worked at ProPublica and been Pace University’s senior fellow for environmental understanding. An innovative science communicator and the author of award-winning books, Andrew has won the top awards in science journalism multiple times, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship and Investigative Reporters and Editors AwardBack
Actress and singer Amber Riley is best known for her role as ‘Mercedes Jones’ in the Golden Globe Award-winning musical comedy, “Glee.” She will next be seen in Tyler Perry’s new movie The List set to premiere in Fall 2018. The film also stars Tiffany Haddish, Tika Sumpter, Omari Hardwick, and Whoopi Goldberg. Riley recently wrapped a year-long run in her West End debut of the revival production of Dreamgirls in the iconic role of Effie White The production marked the UK premiere of the award-winning production. Riley won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. In 2013, she won season 17 of ABC͛s hit competition series “Dancing with the Stars” alongside her partner Derek Hough. Additional recent television appearances include a starring role in the UPtv original movie, “My One Christmas Wish” and a starring role alongside Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige and new comer Shanice Williams as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, in NBC’s live production of “The Wiz.” Riley’s numerous theatre credits include Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Into the Woods and Mystery on the Docks with the Los Angeles Opera. In November 2012, she made her New York stage debut to rave reviews in New York City Center’s Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade.
National Geographic Awards
Solar energy pioneer and entrepreneur Lyndon Rive most recently served as president, global sales and service, in Tesla’s energy division. He co-founded and was CEO of SolarCity—the number one solar company in the world to consumers and businesses—for 10 years before it was acquired by Tesla in 2016. Under his leadership, SolarCity completed more than 300,000 U.S. solar installations, generated funds to finance more than $10 billion in renewable energy projects, and created 15,000 full-time jobs.
Prior to SolarCity, Lyndon co-founded Everdream, an industry leader in software and services for large-scale, distributed computer management, which was acquired by Dell Computers in 2007. A lifelong entrepreneur, he founded his first company at age 17.
Lyndon currently serves on the boards of three nonprofit organizations: the National Geographic Society, GivePower Foundation, and World Spine Care.
An anchor at MSNBC and correspondent at NBC News, Stephanie Ruhle regularly interviews titans in politics, business, entertainment, and sports. She previously served as anchor and managing editor for Bloomberg Television and editor at large for Bloomberg News, where she co-hosted the morning program Bloomberg Go. Stephanie has contributed to multiple documentaries including Sharkland: A Mission Blue & Fusion Expedition, The Making of Trump, and Haiti: Open for Business?, which she produced and hosted. She was the first journalist to break the 2012 story of the “London Whale,” identifying the trader behind the JPMorgan Chase $2 billion trading loss. Prior to Bloomberg, Stephanie was a managing director at Deutsche Bank and she began her career at Credit Suisse, where she was the highest-producing credit derivatives salesperson in the United States.Back
Cara Santa Maria is an Emmy and Knight Foundation award-winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, producer, and podcaster. A correspondent on National Geographic’s Explorer and Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, Cara is also the creator and host of science podcast Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria and cohost of the podcast Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. She is also a founding member of the organization Nerd Brigade and co-founder of the science communication retreat #SciCommCamp. Cara has appeared on Nat Geo WILD, BBC America, the Travel Channel, and many other outlets, and is a contributor to the online news program The Young Turks. Before her career in media, Cara taught college and high school biology and psychology courses; her published research has spanned topics ranging from clinical psychological assessment to the neuropsychology of blindness.
Renowned professor of geoscience communication at the UK’s University of Plymouth, Iain Stewart spends much of his time writing and talking about the planet—how it works, its volatile history, and what its future holds for those living on it. His research focuses on contested Earth science issues that are relevant to sustainable development. Throughout a 15-year partnership with BBC Science, he presented numerous award-winning documentary television series, many in collaboration with National Geographic and Discovery Science channels.
President of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Iain is also the Scottish Geodiversity Forum patron and a Royal Society of Edinburgh fellow. He has received awards from the American Geophysical Union and European Federation of Geoscientists, among many other scientific bodies, and his Plymouth post is recognized as a UNESCO Chair of Geoscience and Society.Back
When The Suffers step on the stage, the energy is combustible, and contagious. A contemporary version of the great R&B/funk bands of the '70s and '80s—Rufus, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang—this eight-piece band’s sound is steeped in what its members call "Gulf Coast Soul," as well as elements of ska, Southern hip-hop, classic soul, rock 'n' roll, and reggae. Founded in Houston, Texas, in 2011, the band has grown in popularity, garnering national awards and recognition along the way. They’ve played sold out shows in Japan and Latin America, turned out audiences at the Newport Folk Festival and Afropunk Festival, and appeared on The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and the Late Show With David Letterman.
Party for the Planet
Laura Sydell is the digital culture correspondent for NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org. Her work focuses on the ways in which technology is transforming cultures around the world and how people live. Over her career, she has covered politics, the arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Before joining NPR, Laura served as a senior technology reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace and prior to that as a reporter for NPR member station WNYC in New York. Her reporting for WNYC was honored with awards from The Newswomen’s Club of New York, The New York Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, and others. Her work has since been recognized with a Gerald Loeb Award and by American Women in Radio and Television, The National Federation of Community Broadcasters, and Women in Communications.Back
Jessika Trancik is an associate professor in the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research examines and explains the dynamic costs and environmental impacts of energy technologies to inform technology design and policy, and her projects focus on electricity and transportation, with an emphasis on solar energy conversion and storage technologies. Jessika received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Before MIT, she spent several years at the Santa Fe Institute, where she is currently an external professor, and at Columbia University as an Earth Institute Fellow. Her work has been published in journals such as Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been featured by news outlets such as the New York Times and NPR.Back
Ian Urbina is a New York Times investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C. His most recent series, The Outlaw Ocean, chronicles crimes offshore, from the killing of stowaways to intentional dumping. He has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Ian has also written extensively on criminal justice issues, including the U.S. Defense Department’s dependence on prison labor. Several of his stories have been made into feature films. Ian was a member of the reporting team that broke the story about then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his use of prostitutes, a series for which the New York Times won a Pulitzer in 2009. In 2016, he won a Polk Award for The Outlaw Ocean series and several other awards for a series called Drilling Down, about fracking.Back
Kimberly Young is a world history teacher at Weston High School in Weston, Massachusetts. She cultivates her students' identities as explorers by bringing the world into her classroom through artifacts, technology, and experimentation. As a 2017 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, she explored Arctic Svalbard and was part of the the National Geographic Channel special “Land of the Ice Bear.” Her classrooms regularly participate in the Out of Eden Learn platform with a focus on “Stories of Human Migration,” communicating with students from Indonesia, Canada, China, and Jordan. She recently began collaborating with photojournalist and National Geographic Young Explorer Hannah Reyes Morales as part of the Educator + Explorer Exchange. Expanding students’ global competence is her core source of passion in teaching. As an explorer herself, Young has traveled to over 30 countries, with a focus on the Middle East. Her next adventures will take her to Germany to study refugee integration and to the northern slope of Alaska to study changes in permafrost.Back
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