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The Explorers Club is proud to introduce 13 Explorers Club members who will be traversing new frontiers in search of discovery and a more sustainable future through The Explorers Club x PONANT on-board Speaker Series!
From fearless storm chasers who have shattered industry norms to visionary leaders whose ideas have reshaped the future of education, our speakers are a collection of inspiring explorers from around the globe. They come armed with not just accomplishments, but with a burning desire to share their wealth of stories and talents.
The EC/PONANT speakers bring depth and knowledge of the destinations visited on these incredible trips and will engage with guests through exciting research and lectures on and off the ship.
Keep your eye on our social feed over the next year to follow along with these members on their upcoming journeys and learn about future opportunities to apply for your own EC/PONANT voyage.
Alex Rose is the Science Editor for Ocean Geographic Magazine, and the Managing Editor for Ocean Geographic Explorers. Alex is also a professional photographer, violinist, PADI Divemaster, and lover of all things aquatic. She founded ocean conservation company, Blue Ring, at the beginning of 2017 in an effort to create a new method of ocean conservation accessible to and inclusive of everyone. Her driving goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habitats through diving, writing, photography, education, and research.
Ann Andreasen is the Principal of the Uummannaq Children’s Home and the founding director of the Uummannaq Polar Institute in Greenland. A social educator and family therapist, she has devised original educational activities including dog sled expeditions, hunting and fishing schools, international summer holiday camps, music therapy and filmmaking workshops. Ann was elected to our 2022 class of the Explorers Club 50 for her visionary efforts to advocate for the future of children in Greenland.
Dr. Cassandra Brooks has a fierce passion for Antarctica, dedicating the past 15 years of her career to protecting endangered regions. An Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, she works at the intersection of marine science, environmental policy and public outreach to achieve conservation solutions. Brooks was elected to our 2022 class of Explorers Club 50 for her tireless advocacy and dedication to preserving earths last cold places.
David Borish is a social researcher and documentary filmmaker pushing the boundaries of using audio-visual methodologies to explore and understand relationships between humans and wildlife across the Arctic and Subarctic. As part of his PhD, Borish worked with Inuit communities across the Nunatsiavut and NunatuKavut regions of Canada to create HERD: Inuit Voices on Caribou, a research-based documentary film all about a 99% decline of a caribou population and what that means for community food security, identity, mental health, and overall well-being. Borish was elected to our 2023 class of Explorers Club 50 for his advocacy efforts in communities around the world.
Diego Cardeñosa, PhD, is a Colombian Marine Scientist focused on the conservation of elasmobranchs. Diego combines molecular and field-based tools to answer pressing questions for conservation to drive management actions around the world. His research has taken him from the largest wildlife markets in Asia, to unexplored regions in South America, all in an effort to determine the species composition of the international shark trade, the identification of supply chains at highest risk of illicit trade, and the development and implementation of rapid, portable, and inexpensive in-port DNA protocols to enhance the detection of illicit wildlife trade by law enforcement officers in major wildlife trade hubs. Diego is a member of our EC50 class of 2023.
George Kourounis is an award-winning explorer, storm chaser & TV presenter who has spent 25 years documenting extreme forces of nature and natural phenomena around the globe including tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, floods, and the effects of climate change. He is frequently seen showcasing nature’s fury on television programs worldwide. George has documented changes to melting permafrost in Siberia, sea level rise in Tuvalu, shifting tornado & hurricane patterns in North America, wildfires in Australia, and melting polar ice. He also earned a Guinness World Record for being the first person to ever set foot at the bottom of the Darvaza “Doorway To Hell” flaming gas crater in remote Turkmenistan.
In 1998, Heather Halstead, a pioneer of virtual exchange, founded Reach the World, a global education nonprofit with the mission to bring the world into the classroom. Reach the World makes the benefits of travel accessible to classrooms, inspiring all students, in all communities, to become curious, confident, and compassionate global citizens. In 2023, Halsted was elected to the EC50 for her and Reach the World’s efforts to make education a central mission in the search for Shackleton’s lost Endurance.
Jamal Galves globally known as the Manatee man has been passionate about protecting wildlife since childhood. He started his work with manatees in 1998 at age 11, volunteering with renowned manatee scientists Dr. James Powell and Dr. Robert Bonde participating in manatee health assessments in Gales Point Manatee—his home village. Jamal’s volunteerism in the field of manatee conservation continued throughout his formative years and he eventually gained full-time employment with Nicole Auil Gomez and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute formally Wildlife Trust as a Field Assistant. Jamal worked his way through the ranks and now functions in the capacity of Program Coordinator and Research Biologist for the Belize Manatee Conservation Program. Jamal is also a member of The Explorers Club 50 Class of 2023.
Dr. Jessica Glass is an Assistant Professor of Fisheries Genomics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and an Honorary Research Associate of the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity. Dr. Glass leads marine field expeditions across the world, from Alaska to South Africa. Over the past 11 years, Dr. Glass has straddled South Africa and Alaska, working closely with scientists at the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity. She has received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and USAID to conduct marine genomics research and lead field expeditions in South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, French Polynesia, and Alaska.
Dr. R. Graham Reynolds is a tropical biologist whose research focuses on endangered species biodiversity and new species discovery on remote islands. In his lab, he uses information from DNA to understand the impact of small population size on genetic diversity, as well as relationships among species. He holds an appointment at Harvard University as an Associate of Herpetology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research is highly collaborative, and he regularly works with institutions such as the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, the North Carolina Zoo, Ft. Worth Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and others.
Ulyana Horodyskyj Peña is the head of science communication for the University of Colorado Boulder’s Climate Adaptation Science Center. She holds a PhD in geological sciences, specializing in glaciology. Her research has covered the growth of supraglacial lakes and flooding on Himalayan glaciers, as well as the impacts of pollution and soot falling on snow and ice in high latitudes and altitudes, and by the time she turned 23, Ulyana had traveled to and worked on all 7 continents.
Vickie Siegel leads expeditionary work in challenging polar and underground environments. She has accumulated a year’s time in Antarctica and seven months in Greenland working as a robotics designer, research camp manager, and fieldwork mentor. Also a cave explorer, Vickie participates in expeditions to explore and map some of the world’s deepest cave systems.