The National Geographic Emerging Explorers Program was created to recognize young adventurers, scientists and researchers who have shown particular promise in their chosen field. Each year, Nat Geo selects a group of outstanding men and women who have not only made a significant impact early in their career but whose work shows potential for major breakthroughs down the line as well.
Earlier this week, the Class of 2013 Emerging Explorers was revealed for the first time. This year there are 17 recipients of this honor, each with their own diverse interests and areas of expertise. For instance, conservation biologist Steve Boyes is recognized for his work in protecting Botswana’s famous Okavango Delta ecosystem. He’s joined by Sayed Gul Kalash, an archaeologist who is striving to preserve the endangered Kalash culture and language in remote Pakistan. Erin Pettit earned her Emerging Explorer honors by studying glaciers to better understand the effects of climate change, while Shah Selbe is an engineer who built a system to track illegal fishing activities across the globe.
This year’s class of Emerging Explorers also represents how we are redefining who we perceive as an “explorer” in the 21st century. In addition to the traditional biologists, anthropologists and geologists that fit that mold, we also have Chad Jenkins who is a computer scientists and roboticist working in the field of artificial intelligence. Entrepreneur Tan Le is recognized for her efforts in studying how the brain works and sharing that knowledge on a global scale, while Jer Throp is breaking new ground in the arena of data visualization and digital art. These are new areas of research and study that would have been unheard of even a decade ago.
Each of the Emerging Explorers is awarded $ 10,000 to assist with their ongoing research. To view the entire Class of 2013, click here.