2017 Emerging Explorers (part 2)

Each year the National Geographic Society recognizes a group of gifted and inspiring scientists, conservationists, storytellers, and innovators—explorers who are already making a difference and changing the world: Emerging Explorers.

Emerging Explorers are a part of our Explorers Festival (June 15-18), which brings together some of the world’s top researchers, advocates, and storytellers. While they come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, each is an exemplary explorer of our world and beyond.

See the rest of our Emerging Explorers in this post!

Read about what our Emerging Explorers are working on. Then use our resources and discussion questions to bring them into your own classroom of explorers!

Danielle N. Lee

Photo Danielle
Danielle N. Lee, Photograph courtesy Danielle N. Lee

Danielle is a biologist focused on urban ecology, animal behavior, and increasing diversity in STEM.


Watch Danielle’s TED Talk about her work using African giant pouched rats to detect landmines

What is ecology?

Explore our STEM Education resources

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some reasons why it’s important to have diversity in the sciences?
  2. Can you think of another problem that scientists could use rodents to help solve?


Anand Varma

Anand Varma, Photograph courtesy Anand Varma

Anand is a science photographer zooming in on everything from honey bees to “zombie” parasites.


Video and photo essay about Anand’s work with bees

Learn more about Anand and watch one of his talks

Build your own “bee hotel”!

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why are bees important to ecosystems around the world?
  2. How does Anand’s background in biology impact his photography?


Keolu Fox

Keolu Fox, Photograph courtesy Keolu Fox

Keolu is a geneticist advocating for the inclusion of indigenous populations in genome sequencing.


Watch Keolu’s TED talk “Why genetic research must be more diverse”

Learn about the human journey with Genographic Project activities

More information about indigenous peoples

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is it so important to make sure genome sequencing includes people of all demographics?
  2. Why do you think geneticists have historically focused on studying people of European descent?


Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Fertile Ground for Sustainable Growth
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Photograph courtesy Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Hindou is an environmental activist and geographer bringing indigenous peoples’ voices into the conversation about climate change.


What is climate change?

Check out NG Education climate change resources

Read “Six Reasons Why Climate Progress Will Continue”

Discussion Questions:

  1. What information do you think indigenous people can share that policy makers are not aware of?
  2. Why is 3-D mapping a key part of Hindou’s work? How would you use 3-D mapping?


Jennifer W. Lopez

JLo Molecular Biology Lab 2
Jennifer W. Lopez, Photograph courtesy Jennifer W. Lopez

Jennifer is a technologist and data scientist using technology to solve problems on Earth and in outer space.


Watch Jennifer’s TED talk about her work and women in STEM

Learn more about the International Space Station, for which Jennifer oversees all technology.

Read about Jennifer’s work with NASA’s open data

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the positives and negatives of NASA’s open data strategy?
  2. What factors do you think prevent women from entering STEM fields at the same rate as men?


Mateus Mutemba

Mateus Mutemba, Photograph courtesy Gorongosa Media

Mateus is a park administrator and conservationist committed to protecting diversity in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.


Explore this interactive timeline of Gorongosa National Park

Locate animal conservation efforts around the world using this map

What is biodiversity?

Discussion Questions:

  1. One key task of Gorongosa National Park rangers is promoting peaceful human-animal coexistence. What are some ways to do that? (more info here)
  2. What factors threaten the biodiversity of Gorongosa, and biodiversity more generally?


Hotlin Ompusunggu

Hotlin_onplanting day_Greenday_H
Hotlin Ompusunggu, Photograph courtesy Hotlin Ompusunggu

Hotlin Ompusunggu is a dentist and conservationist using healthcare as a way to break the cycle between poverty and illegal logging.


Read more about Hotlin’s innovative way to stop illegal logging.

Read this article about illegal logging in Borneo.

Learn more about rain forests and the factors that threaten them.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think offering healthcare to people is an effective way to discourage illegal logging?
  2. What other creative approaches to conservation can you think of?


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