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Explorer of the Week: Becca Skinner

When photographer Becca Skinner was nine years old, a friend told her to give up on her dream of shooting for National Geographic. Despite her friend’s advice, Skinner achieved that dream with a Young Explorers grant that allowed her to document the post-conflict society of Banda Aceh, Sumatra—a province effected by the 2004 tsunami. What…

Explorer of the Week: Todd Pierson

Biologist Todd Pierson wants to live in a world with great amphibian and reptile diversity, and he’s going to do his best to make that happen. He’s currently studying Appalachian salamanders, but has encountered all kinds of interesting reptiles in the field—including a 60-pound alligator snapping turtle. What project are you working on now?  Right…

Explorer of the Week: Kendra Chritz

What exactly does a paleoecologist do? While nearly stepping on carpet vipers, getting caught in riots, and dashing past fresh crocodile nests might not immediately come to mind, Kendra Chritz has encountered all of these situations in the field. A fascination for the world inspires Chritz to work towards understanding what the planet looked like…

Explorer of the Week: Andy Maser

When Washington’s Condit Dam became the largest dam ever removed, Andy Maser was there to witness the demolition. While out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maser was pinned down by AK47-wielding rebel fighters. And while spending time in an Alaskan stream, the Young Explorer‘s fingers became too numb to zip his dry suit.…

Explorer of the Week: Alton Byers

 At age 21, geographer Alton Byers thought to himself, “Wouldn’t it be cool if one could become a mountain geographer, studying mountains, mountain people, and conservation as a career?” His resulting work as a “climbing scientist” has allowed him to establish new national parks, protect a mountain species, and help people reduce the risk of…

Explorer of the Week: Eric Patterson

Biologist Eric Patterson always knew he wanted a career that allowed him to work with animals. Today, this fascination brings him everywhere from the National Aquarium in Baltimore to Australia’s Shark Bay. Patterson studies dolphin behavior—most recently, their use of sponge tools. And while his subjects share many similar traits to humans, they always find…

Explorer of the Week: Brendan Buzzard

Where do we all belong? How do we as individuals and species fit into the spaces of the world? These are questions that fascinate conservationist Brendan Buzzard, whether he’s following a herd of elephants in the desert or simply sitting at his desk writing an essay. Growing up in Southern and East Africa set Buzzard…

Explorer of the Week: Mike Wesch

Cultural anthropologist and media ecologist Mike Wesch examines how the internet has changed communication and relationships today. He addresses questions of anonymity, user generated filtering, participatory culture, and more with various experiments online. As one reviewer exclaimed, “Who knew anthropology could be so much fun?” What project are you working on now? I am working…

Explorer of the Week: Feliciano dos Santos

Emerging Explorer Feliciano Dos Santos uses a guitar and a strong sense of rhythm to fight against against diseases and speak up for clean water and sanitation in Mozambique. Dos Santos contracted polio due to poor drinking water when he was a little boy growing up in Niassa Province and doesn’t want other children to…

Explorer of the Week: Jake Porway

Emerging Explorer and data scientist Jake Porway is part of a new genre of National Geographic explorer in that his expeditions are occurring digitally. He is connecting nonprofits with data scientists eager to make a difference and help solve social, environmental, and community problems. What project are you working on now? I’m working on running…

Explorer of the Week: Elena Garcea

Elena Garcea, a member and leader of multiple National Geographic archaeological projects in Africa, has always been interested in studying ancient people’s lifestyles. When she’s not in the field, she teaches paleoethnology and interprets the data from the field. What project are you working on now? My current field research takes place in a small…

Explorer of the Week: Jill Pruetz

In recognition of her pioneering work with chimps on the savannas of Senegal, Jill Pruetz was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2008. Over the years she and her team have discovered that chimps were using tools to kill bush babies, chimps stayed in caves to keep cool, and even successfully returned a lost…

Explorer of the Week: Knicole Colón

In 2011, astronomer Knicole Colón received a Young Explorers grant to examine “hot-Jupiters,” Jupiter-size, gas giant planets orbiting close to their host stars, and “super-Earths,” rocky planets about ten times larger then Earth. What project are you working on now? Being an astronomer, I’m currently analyzing data from the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias. Specifically, I…

Explorer of the Week: Jacinta Beehner

What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Hanging out in a field of monkeys, especially the gelada monkeys of Ethiopia. Biologist Jacinta Beehner received two grants from National Geographic to study the introduction of new males on gelada females and how geladas assess potential rivals and mates. What project are you working on now?…

Explorer of the Week: Martin Nweeia

Updated on 9/29/12 Rather than pursuing a childhood dream of being an orchestra conductor, Martin Nweeia chose to be a dentist and marine mammal biologist instead. With help from a National Geographic grant, he sought to uncover the secrets behind the extraordinary tusk of a whale—the narwhal—that resembles the horn of a unicorn. In 2000,…