Changing Planet

NG Emerging Explorers Class of 2011

Fourteen visionary, young trailblazers from around the world—including an astrobiologist, a Middle East peace worker and cultural educator, a wastewater engineer, a filmmaker and a science entrepreneur—have been named to the 2011 class of National Geographic Emerging Explorers.

National Geographic’s Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists and storytellers making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration while still early in their careers. The Emerging Explorers each receive a $10,000 award to assist with research and to aid further exploration. The program is made possible in part by the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, which has supported the program since its inception in 2004.

The 2011 Emerging Explorers are cultural educator and Middle East peace worker Aziz Abu Sarah; environmental scientist Jennifer Burney; planetary scientist and astrobiologist Kevin Hand; paleontologist Jørn Hurum; wildlife conservationist Paula Kahumbu; bioengineer Kakani Katija; ecologist Sasha Kramer; environmentalist Juan Martinez; entomologist Dino Martins; wastewater engineer Ashley Murray; ornithologist and conservation ecologist Çağan Hakki Şekercioğlu; wildlife ecologist and filmmaker Adrian Seymour; science entrepreneur Hayat Sindi; and conservationist Tuy Sereivathana.

National Geographic Emerging Explorers may be selected from virtually any field, from the Society’s traditional arenas of anthropology, archaeology, photography, space exploration, earth sciences, mountaineering and cartography to the worlds of technology, music and filmmaking.

“National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet, and our Emerging Explorers are outstanding young leaders whose endeavors further this mission. We are pleased to support them as they set out on promising careers. They are innovators in their respective fields and represent tomorrow’s Edmund Hillarys, Jacques Cousteaus and Dian Fosseys,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president for Mission Programs.

Learn more about all the Emerging Explorers from 2004-2011, and keep your eye on this blog for interviews with this year’s honorees.


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Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

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