This post was written by Chief Education Officer Vicki Phillips.
Around this time last year, 50 exemplary educators were selected to receive a Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, a field-based professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. A month after the cohort was informed of their selection, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world and travel was put on hold—along with their fellowship experience. For nearly a year, the 2021 Fellows have patiently kept the exciting news to themselves, but today their wait is over. I’m thrilled to officially announce the 14th cohort of Grosvenor Teacher Fellows and celebrate these inspiring educators.
Travel is still on hold, but once conditions allow, each Fellow will embark on a one- to three-week voyage aboard a Lindblad Expeditions ship, a fleet that includes National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endeavour II, National Geographic Orion, or National Geographic Quest. Fellows will travel in small groups to some of the world’s most remote and extraordinary environments—such as the high Arctic, southeast Alaska, Central America, Antarctica, or the Galápagos Islands. Throughout their journey, they will encounter wildlife and explore breathtaking landscapes while accompanied by a team of Lindblad Expeditions naturalists, including marine biologists, geologists, historians, undersea specialists and National Geographic photographers. Each will return home with an experience they will translate into reimagined curricula that inspire their students, colleagues and communities to care more deeply about the planet and take action on global issues.
The Fellows were selected from a competitive applicant pool of pre-K–12 educators from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Department of Defense Education Activity schools for this life-changing professional development opportunity. The formal and informal educators in this group were chosen for their impactful work to further students’ understanding of the planet and its people, empowering them to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future. Their work focuses on inspiring youth to become environmental stewards, mentoring and amplifying student leaders, and tackling complex issues such as climate change. As part of their Fellowship, members of the 2021 cohort take on a two-year leadership commitment, serving as program ambassadors, fostering connections and collaboration with other educators in the National Geographic community and beyond.
Please join me in congratulating the 2021 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows (in alphabetical order):
- Furahi Achebe (New Haven, CT)
- Maimona Afzal Berta (San Jose, CA)
- Myriam Bara (Winnipeg, MB)
- Janet Barber (Springfield, PA)
- Kimberly Boyce-Quentin (Houston, TX)
- Brielle Carlson (Grand Rapids, MN)
- Matt Colautti (Toronto, ON)
- Laura Cummings (Haleiwa, HI)
- Lauren D’Ambrosio (Altamonte Springs, FL)
- Sharon Davison (Williston, VT)
- Sergio de Alba (Los Banos, CA)
- Susan Dorsey (Baltimore, MD)
- Jaclyn Foster (Tuscaloosa, AL)
- Sarah Gallah (Toronto, ON)
- Charu Gulati (San Carlos, CA)
- Katherine Harnish (Lancaster, PA)
- Amanda Hendricks (Maryville, TN)
- Michael Hernandez (Los Angeles, CA)
- Karl Horeis (Denver, CO)
- Ellie Kantar (Honolulu, HI)
- Thomas Kenning (St. Petersburg, FL)
- Amy King (Bear Creek, NC)
- Karla Lee (Baltimore, MD)
- Caroline Little (St. Paul, MN)
- Julissa Llosa (New York, NY)
- Rachel Mainero (Rochester, MI)
- Alejandra Martinez (Eagle Pass, TX)
- Jessica Mauritzen (Riverside, IL)
- Katie Mauro (Newtown, CT)
- Robert May (LaVale, MD)
- Justin Moodie (San Diego, CA)
- Sonia Myers (El Granada, CA)
- Karina New (Vancouver, BC)
- Vickie Obenchain (Moraga, CA)
- Julie Olson (Mitchell, SD)
- Jorge Pacheco, Jr. (San Jose, CA)
- Zana Pouncey (Atlanta, GA)
- Kelly Preheim (Armour, SD)
- Ali Pressel (St. Augustine, FL)
- Jessica Radek (Park Ridge, IL)
- Derek Ratchford (Springdale, AR)
- Brittanee Rolle (Chicago, IL)
- Gabriel-Philip Santos (Claremont, CA)
- Christian Scott (Boston, MA)
- Cheryl Sheffield (New Liskeard, ON)
- Andrea Smola (Edmonton, AB)
- Christina Torres (Honolulu, HI)
- Ben Walker (Anchorage, AK)
- Jaraux Washington (Tampa, FL)
- Susan Wolfe (Boise, ID)
I remain impressed by the resilience and strength our Fellows have exhibited over the past year. They have gone above and beyond to adapt to the evolving education landscape in order to help their students grow. They’ve developed creative ways to enrich their learning environments while also remaining actively engaged in their communities. Sharon Davison sent her kindergarteners postcards throughout the summer to prepare them for a journey of exploration at the start of the school year. Charu Gulati schedules social emotional learning time each week to check in with students to ensure their needs are being met and that they feel supported. Katie Harnish has used virtual reality to empower her students to tell stories about their homes and communities. And Caroline Little, Gabriel-Philip Santos, Karl Horeis, and Sarah Gallah received grants from the COVID-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund for Educators to design innovative instructional resources to help other educators teach in remote- and hybrid-learning environments.
Some of our 2021 Fellows have been honored by other organizations for their longstanding dedication to education. Florida environmental science teacher Ali Pressel was named a 2020 National Geographic Emerging Explorer and recently received her district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year award. California elementary school teacher Sergio de Alba was selected as the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s 2020 National History Teacher of the Year, and Connecticut elementary school library media specialist Katie Mauro was a finalist for the 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
These extraordinary educators recognize that no matter the circumstances, they must remain a source of strength for their students, their colleagues, and their communities. I’m inspired by their incredible perseverance and optimistic outlook during this challenging time. When it’s deemed safe to do so, I’m eager to see the Fellows take their innovative spirit abroad, immerse themselves in their expedition experience, and bring inspiration home to their students. The Society and Lindblad Expeditions admire the heart, passion, and commitment these educators have for arming their students with geographic knowledge and global awareness. They have earned this opportunity to participate in the journey of a lifetime—to learn, create, connect, and explore—to shape our tomorrow.
Learn more about the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship here.
ABOUT THE GROSVENOR TEACHER FELLOWSHIP
The Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship is a professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society, as well as funding and support from various donors. The program is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society and Education Foundation Board. This opportunity is designed to give current pre-K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Department of Defense Education Activity schools the opportunity to extend Grosvenor’s legacy of excellence in geographic education. Through the program, exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geographic education and are given the opportunity to be actively engaged in finding new ways to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms or informal learning environments through a field-based experience.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY
The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 14,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit www.nationalgeographic.org or follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
ABOUT LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company that works in partnership with the National Geographic Society on its ship-based voyages to inspire people to explore and care about the planet. The organizations work in tandem to produce innovative marine expedition programs and to promote conservation and sustainable tourism around the world. The partnership’s educationally oriented voyages allow guests to interact with and learn from leading scientists, naturalists and researchers while discovering stunning natural environments, above and below the sea, through state-of-the-art exploration tools. For more information, visit www.expeditions.com.