Hope for Exploratory Future in the Present
July 2, 2013

Hope For Exploratory Future In The Present

National Geographic has some really cool programs. The Nat Geo website explains one of these called the Emerging Explorers Program, which awards recipients with $10,000 (USD) for research and exploration. The program “recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers—explorers who are already making a difference early in their careers.” In 2013, only 17 individuals received the Emerging Explorers award.

So, just how were these 17 individuals chosen?

“The Emerging Explorers Program does not accept applications or unsolicited nominations. National Geographic relies on a network of experts who nominate new candidates each year. Candidate lists are kept confidential, and nominees are not notified that they have been nominated. What qualities define Emerging Explorers? First and foremost, they should be at the beginning of a promising career in exploration. Their recent accomplishments should show a potential for future breakthroughs. In addition, the Emerging Explorers Program should reflect the world’s diversity and should be a home for dynamic personalities who are making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration.”

This year’s nominees who won consist of individuals in exploratory professions from archaeologists, biologists, and geneticists to educators, artists, and roboticists, as well as other explorers. They really consist of a great variety of interests.

So, who are they? Let’s take a look:

  1. Steve Boyes, Conservation Biologist
  2. Erika Cuéller, Conservation Biologist
  3. Jason de León, Anthropologist
  4. Bethany Ehimann, Planetary Geologist
  5. Sayed Gul Kalash, Archaeologist
  6. Chad Jenkins, Computer Scientist and Roboticist
  7. Sandesh Kadur, Wildlife Photographer and Film Maker
  8. Raghava KK, Artist
  9. Lale Labuko, Humanitarian
  10. Tan Le, Innovator and Entrepreneur
  11. Andrea Marshall, Conservation Biologist
  12. Brendan Mullan, Science Educator and Astrobiologist
  13. Erin Pettit, Geophysicist and Glaciologist
  14. Pardis Sabeti, Computational Geneticist
  15. Shah Selbe, Engineer and Conservation Technologist
  16. Jer Thorp, Data Artist
  17. Gregg Treinish, Adventurer and Conservationist

Many congrats to these emerging explorers! And what a super cool program that National Geographic has. Much can come from inspiring young professionals in the different exploratory areas. Through support, these upcoming explorers may impact our futures in incredible ways.

One thing I noticed was that several of these individuals focused on conservation in one way or another. Perhaps through the support of Nat Geo they will be able to address some of the very serious conservation issues the world has. Moreover, the fact that some of these award winners are artists, scientists, innovators, and humanitarians means that creativity is just as important in science and exploration as any other factor.

I had never heard of this program before, but I fully support such initiatives. We must support each other, especially those emerging in the science, space, technology, health, and creative fields. These individuals discover and motivate. They find answers, well at least possible answers. At the very least they promote discussion and discovery.

If you want to learn more about the Emerging Explorers Program, past and present, check out National Geographic’s website. Who knows, maybe you know someone who could receive this accolade. Heck, maybe you are that someone.

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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