Executive Committee

  Katy Croff Bell, PhD, Chair   Katy Croff Bell is an ocean explorer who has spent nearly 20 years using deep sea technology to discover what lies at the depths of the ocean, and is is passionate about developing new ways to better understand the ocean and and make it more accessible to everyone around the world. She is the Founder of the  Open Ocean  initiative at the MIT Media Lab and a Fellow at the National Geographic Society. Bell holds an S.B. in Ocean Engineering from MIT, an M.Sc. in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, and a Ph.D. in Geological Oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. 

Katy Croff Bell, PhD, Chair

Katy Croff Bell is an ocean explorer who has spent nearly 20 years using deep sea technology to discover what lies at the depths of the ocean, and is is passionate about developing new ways to better understand the ocean and and make it more accessible to everyone around the world. She is the Founder of the Open Ocean initiative at the MIT Media Lab and a Fellow at the National Geographic Society. Bell holds an S.B. in Ocean Engineering from MIT, an M.Sc. in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton, and a Ph.D. in Geological Oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. 

  Jenni Chow, PhD, Event Coordinator   Jenni Chow is project coordinator for the Open Ocean initiative at the MIT Media Lab. She is a lifelong ocean lover who is driven to bringing others those sparky moments of wonder, confidence, adventure, and curiosity that science and nature incite. Jenni received a B.S. from MIT in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and a Ph.D from Stony Brook University in Marine Sciences. She has taught courses in earth, environmental, and marine sciences. Her current work as a facilitator of ocean exploration research and outreach projects as well as forums like these resonates with a childhood instilled belief that every individual can make a difference.

Jenni Chow, PhD, Event Coordinator

Jenni Chow is project coordinator for the Open Ocean initiative at the MIT Media Lab. She is a lifelong ocean lover who is driven to bringing others those sparky moments of wonder, confidence, adventure, and curiosity that science and nature incite. Jenni received a B.S. from MIT in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and a Ph.D from Stony Brook University in Marine Sciences. She has taught courses in earth, environmental, and marine sciences. Her current work as a facilitator of ocean exploration research and outreach projects as well as forums like these resonates with a childhood instilled belief that every individual can make a difference.

  Alexis Hope, Creative Director   Alexis Hope is a designer and researcher based at the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media and the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, where she studies Industrial & Furniture Design. Alexis was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2012 - 2015, focusing on bringing human-centered and participatory research methods to technology design. As part of her commitment to participatory design, she helps organize unique hackathons and civic technology workshops around the world.

Alexis Hope, Creative Director

Alexis Hope is a designer and researcher based at the MIT Media Lab's Center for Civic Media and the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, where she studies Industrial & Furniture Design. Alexis was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow from 2012 - 2015, focusing on bringing human-centered and participatory research methods to technology design. As part of her commitment to participatory design, she helps organize unique hackathons and civic technology workshops around the world.

 
  David McKinnie   David McKinnie is senior advisor and acting lead for the OER Engagement Division for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. His expertise includes development of domestic and international external partnerships, moving concepts to operations, and translating science for decision makers. David is the designated federal officer for the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board.

David McKinnie

David McKinnie is senior advisor and acting lead for the OER Engagement Division for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. His expertise includes development of domestic and international external partnerships, moving concepts to operations, and translating science for decision makers. David is the designated federal officer for the Ocean Exploration Advisory Board.

  Adrienne Copeland, PhD   Adrienne Copeland is assistant faculty at the University of Hawaii and a science and policy analyst at NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. She specializes in the use of active and passive acoustic collection methods to understand open ocean predator-prey dynamics. Adrienne has designed and directed several at-sea research projects and has served as chief scientist on six expeditions. Adrienne was a co-organizer for the 2017 National Ocean Exploration Forum Ocean Exploration in a Sea of Data.

Adrienne Copeland, PhD

Adrienne Copeland is assistant faculty at the University of Hawaii and a science and policy analyst at NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. She specializes in the use of active and passive acoustic collection methods to understand open ocean predator-prey dynamics. Adrienne has designed and directed several at-sea research projects and has served as chief scientist on six expeditions. Adrienne was a co-organizer for the 2017 National Ocean Exploration Forum Ocean Exploration in a Sea of Data.

  Mike Bove, PhD   V. Michael Bove, Jr., directs the MIT Media Lab Object-Based Media research group, which explores the future of electronic visual communication and expression, and how the distribution of computational intelligence throughout video and audio communication systems can make a richer connection between the people at the ends of the systems. He holds an S.B. in Electrical Engineering, an S.M. in Visual Studies, and a Ph.D. in Media Technology, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mike Bove, PhD

V. Michael Bove, Jr., directs the MIT Media Lab Object-Based Media research group, which explores the future of electronic visual communication and expression, and how the distribution of computational intelligence throughout video and audio communication systems can make a richer connection between the people at the ends of the systems. He holds an S.B. in Electrical Engineering, an S.M. in Visual Studies, and a Ph.D. in Media Technology, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 
  Dan Novy   Dan Novy is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, where he works to decrease the alienation fostered by traditional passive media consumption; increase social interaction through transparent, interconnected and fluid media; and create enriched, active, and inspired immediate experiences. He is an Emmy- and Visual Effects Society Award winning VFX Technical Supervisor.

Dan Novy

Dan Novy is a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, where he works to decrease the alienation fostered by traditional passive media consumption; increase social interaction through transparent, interconnected and fluid media; and create enriched, active, and inspired immediate experiences. He is an Emmy- and Visual Effects Society Award winning VFX Technical Supervisor.

  Carlie Wiener, PhD   Carlie Wiener has over ten years experience in marine science communications working on research, outreach, evaluation, and professional leadership. She received her Bachelor’s degree in communications and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in environmental studies from York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research focused on integrating natural and social science methods while examining Hawaiian spinner dolphins and dolphin-swim tourism. Carlie previously served as communications manager for Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence Island Earth, and as the research and outreach specialist for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

Carlie Wiener, PhD

Carlie Wiener has over ten years experience in marine science communications working on research, outreach, evaluation, and professional leadership. She received her Bachelor’s degree in communications and her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in environmental studies from York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research focused on integrating natural and social science methods while examining Hawaiian spinner dolphins and dolphin-swim tourism. Carlie previously served as communications manager for Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence Island Earth, and as the research and outreach specialist for the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology.

  Devora Najjar   Devora Najjar is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab focusing on ethically-minded bioengineering projects. Currently working on mammalian daisy drive systems, she has a strong interest in the implications for biotechnology policy, biosecurity, and public discussions. Najjar also enjoys finding new ways to explore biodiversity within the deep ocean and outer space.

Devora Najjar

Devora Najjar is a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab focusing on ethically-minded bioengineering projects. Currently working on mammalian daisy drive systems, she has a strong interest in the implications for biotechnology policy, biosecurity, and public discussions. Najjar also enjoys finding new ways to explore biodiversity within the deep ocean and outer space.

 
  Avery Normandin   Avery Normandin is a second-year graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies biological and ecological engineering, and develops experiential learning opportunities for youth in the environmental sciences. As a National Geographic Explorer, he has designed educational platforms for landscape literacy In the greater Boston area, including City as Classroom, City as Laboratory and Ecology, Evolution, and Engineering for Empowered Brains.

Avery Normandin

Avery Normandin is a second-year graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, where he studies biological and ecological engineering, and develops experiential learning opportunities for youth in the environmental sciences. As a National Geographic Explorer, he has designed educational platforms for landscape literacy In the greater Boston area, including City as Classroom, City as Laboratory and Ecology, Evolution, and Engineering for Empowered Brains.

  Emily Salvador    Emily Salvador '16 is a current MAS master's student in the Object-Based Media group interested in immersive, interactive experiences and storytelling.  Her work at the Media Lab focuses on the intersection of transparent displays, illusions, and projection to seamlessly blend digital content in our physical world.  She contributes actively to the Open Ocean Initiative at the Media Lab. Her favorite animal is definitely the sea lion, because they’re basically water dogs.

Emily Salvador

Emily Salvador '16 is a current MAS master's student in the Object-Based Media group interested in immersive, interactive experiences and storytelling.  Her work at the Media Lab focuses on the intersection of transparent displays, illusions, and projection to seamlessly blend digital content in our physical world.  She contributes actively to the Open Ocean Initiative at the Media Lab. Her favorite animal is definitely the sea lion, because they’re basically water dogs.

 

Advisory Board

  Diva Amon, PhD   Fellow, Natural History Museum, London, UK   Diva Amon is a Trinidadian deep-sea biologist who studies the weird and wonderful animals living in the deep ocean and how our actions are impacting them. She is currently undertaking a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellowship at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. Diva has participated in deep-sea expeditions around the world and has also done a considerable amount of science communication and public engagement. Additionally, Diva is a founder and director of the non-profit NGO,  SpeSeas , dedicated to marine science, education and advocacy in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. You can find her on  Twitter   or visit her  website .

Diva Amon, PhD
Fellow, Natural History Museum, London, UK

Diva Amon is a Trinidadian deep-sea biologist who studies the weird and wonderful animals living in the deep ocean and how our actions are impacting them. She is currently undertaking a Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellowship at the Natural History Museum in London, UK. Diva has participated in deep-sea expeditions around the world and has also done a considerable amount of science communication and public engagement. Additionally, Diva is a founder and director of the non-profit NGO, SpeSeas, dedicated to marine science, education and advocacy in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. You can find her on Twitter  or visit her website.

  Tim Delaney Designer, Former Disney Imagineer   Tim Delaney spent 34 years at Walt Disney Imagineering, including 19 years as Vice President of Design, leading teams that designed and constructed attractions worldwide. He was the Creative Director and Producer of EPCOT Center’s Living Seas Pavilion, a one of a kind attraction dedicated to exploration, discoveries and immersion into the future of the world’s oceans.   

Tim Delaney
Designer, Former Disney Imagineer

Tim Delaney spent 34 years at Walt Disney Imagineering, including 19 years as Vice President of Design, leading teams that designed and constructed attractions worldwide. He was the Creative Director and Producer of EPCOT Center’s Living Seas Pavilion, a one of a kind attraction dedicated to exploration, discoveries and immersion into the future of the world’s oceans.

 

  Peter Girguis, PhD Professor, Harvard University   Peter Girguis’ research focuses on life in the deep sea, and their role in keeping our ocean healthy and habitable. His research is highly interdisciplinary, and his lab builds novel instruments such as underwater mass spectrometers. His honors include commendations for distinguished teaching, two Lindbergh Foundation Awards for Science & Sustainability, and Discover Magazine's “Technologies That Can Change the World.” He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the National Science Foundation, a Merck Co. Innovative Research Awardee, and a Department of Energy Biotechnology Fellowship recipient.

Peter Girguis, PhD
Professor, Harvard University

Peter Girguis’ research focuses on life in the deep sea, and their role in keeping our ocean healthy and habitable. His research is highly interdisciplinary, and his lab builds novel instruments such as underwater mass spectrometers. His honors include commendations for distinguished teaching, two Lindbergh Foundation Awards for Science & Sustainability, and Discover Magazine's “Technologies That Can Change the World.” He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the National Science Foundation, a Merck Co. Innovative Research Awardee, and a Department of Energy Biotechnology Fellowship recipient.

 
  Joi Ito Director, MIT Media Lab   Joichi “Joi” Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy and Internet freedom. As director of the MIT Media Lab and a Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways.

Joi Ito
Director, MIT Media Lab

Joichi “Joi” Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy and Internet freedom. As director of the MIT Media Lab and a Professor of the Practice in Media Arts and Sciences, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways.

  JJ Jackson, PhD Diversity & Inclusion Officer, MIT   Judy “JJ” Jackson's work has threaded through student affairs, high-level administration and the professoriate, earning both government and private sector support. Whatever her title, she has steadily focused on the power and promise of diversity and inclusion.  Her dissertation on race and gender differences in engineering faculty productivity illuminated the need to heed the relationship between socialization issues and the quantitative measures often used to determine or evaluate faculty progress.

JJ Jackson, PhD
Diversity & Inclusion Officer, MIT

Judy “JJ” Jackson's work has threaded through student affairs, high-level administration and the professoriate, earning both government and private sector support. Whatever her title, she has steadily focused on the power and promise of diversity and inclusion.  Her dissertation on race and gender differences in engineering faculty productivity illuminated the need to heed the relationship between socialization issues and the quantitative measures often used to determine or evaluate faculty progress.

  Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, PhD Founder, Ocean Collectiv   Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist, and Brooklyn native. She is founder and president of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions. Ayana earned a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology. She is an adjunct professor at NYU and board member of the Billion Oyster Project. Ayana envisions and works toward a healthy ocean that supports food security, economies, and cultures.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, PhD
Founder, Ocean Collectiv

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, conservation strategist, and Brooklyn native. She is founder and president of Ocean Collectiv, a strategy consulting firm for conservation solutions. Ayana earned a BA from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology. She is an adjunct professor at NYU and board member of the Billion Oyster Project. Ayana envisions and works toward a healthy ocean that supports food security, economies, and cultures.

 
  Fabien Laurier, PhD Vice President, National Geographic Labs   Prior to joining National Geographic, Fabien worked in President Obama’s White House where he led high-impact initiatives at the nexus of global change, technology, and innovation. His roles included Director of the National Climate Assessment, Deputy Director of the National Ocean Council, Director of the Climate Data Initiative, and Director of the Arctic Mapping Initiative. He also held leadership positions at the U.S. Global Change Research Program where he oversaw the coordination of federal climate change research and related $3B annual investment. Fabien received his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from La Sorbonne University in Paris, France.

Fabien Laurier, PhD
Vice President, National Geographic Labs

Prior to joining National Geographic, Fabien worked in President Obama’s White House where he led high-impact initiatives at the nexus of global change, technology, and innovation. His roles included Director of the National Climate Assessment, Deputy Director of the National Ocean Council, Director of the Climate Data Initiative, and Director of the Arctic Mapping Initiative. He also held leadership positions at the U.S. Global Change Research Program where he oversaw the coordination of federal climate change research and related $3B annual investment. Fabien received his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from La Sorbonne University in Paris, France.

  Alan Leonardi, PhD Director, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration & Research   Alan Leonardi is the Director of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, the only federal program dedicated to systematic telepresence-enabled exploration of the world ocean. A meteorologist and oceanographer, Leonardi is responsible for providing direction to NOAA and the U.S. Department of Commerce on ocean exploration, research, and technology development.

Alan Leonardi, PhD
Director, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration & Research

Alan Leonardi is the Director of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, the only federal program dedicated to systematic telepresence-enabled exploration of the world ocean. A meteorologist and oceanographer, Leonardi is responsible for providing direction to NOAA and the U.S. Department of Commerce on ocean exploration, research, and technology development.

  Rick Loverd Program Director, NAS Science & Entertainment Exchange   Rick Loverd directs The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences. Its mission is to inspire better science in Hollywood by introducing entertainment professionals to great science communicators. Since its launch in 2008, The Exchange has completed more than 2,300 consults including AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, STAR TREK, MAN OF STEEL, BLACK PANTHER, BIG HERO 6, and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. During his time at The Exchange, the program has produced more than 250 events targeted at the Hollywood community.

Rick Loverd
Program Director, NAS Science & Entertainment Exchange

Rick Loverd directs The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences. Its mission is to inspire better science in Hollywood by introducing entertainment professionals to great science communicators. Since its launch in 2008, The Exchange has completed more than 2,300 consults including AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, STAR TREK, MAN OF STEEL, BLACK PANTHER, BIG HERO 6, and 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE. During his time at The Exchange, the program has produced more than 250 events targeted at the Hollywood community.

 
  Dominique Rissolo, PhD   Assistant Research Scientist, UC San Diego   Dominique Rissolo is an assistant research scientist at the Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego. He has coordinated several oceanographic and marine archaeological surveys and his current research focuses on paleocoastal human ecology and digital applications for underwater cultural heritage documentation and visual analytics. Through the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative at UC San Diego, he co-directs the Hoyo Negro and Costa Escondida projects in the Yucatan of Mexico. Dominique is also a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and was co-organizer of the 2017 National Ocean Exploration Forum.

Dominique Rissolo, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist, UC San Diego

Dominique Rissolo is an assistant research scientist at the Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego. He has coordinated several oceanographic and marine archaeological surveys and his current research focuses on paleocoastal human ecology and digital applications for underwater cultural heritage documentation and visual analytics. Through the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative at UC San Diego, he co-directs the Hoyo Negro and Costa Escondida projects in the Yucatan of Mexico. Dominique is also a member of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Advisory Board and was co-organizer of the 2017 National Ocean Exploration Forum.

  Kristen Sarri President & CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation   Kris joined the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation as President and CEO in October 2016. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kris formed a life-long connection to environmental stewardship growing up surrounded by the Great Lakes. Kris’ career spans over 19 years working on ocean, land, and climate policy. Kris most recently worked at the Department of the Interior, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget from 2014 to 2016. Kris received a B.A. in Biology from Washington University, St. Louis and an M.S. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan.

Kristen Sarri
President & CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Kris joined the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation as President and CEO in October 2016. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kris formed a life-long connection to environmental stewardship growing up surrounded by the Great Lakes. Kris’ career spans over 19 years working on ocean, land, and climate policy. Kris most recently worked at the Department of the Interior, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget from 2014 to 2016. Kris received a B.A. in Biology from Washington University, St. Louis and an M.S. and M.P.H. from the University of Michigan.

  Jerry Schubel, PhD President & CEO, Long Beach Aquarium   Jerry R. Schubel has been President and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific since 2002 and has been involved with Ocean Exploration for more than a decade. As a member of the NOAA Science Advisory Board he was the liaison to the Ocean Exploration Advisory Group. In 2013, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted the first Ocean Exploration Forum and Schubel has been part of each of the subsequent forums. He recently chaired the review of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Education Program. Schubel has a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He was Dean of Stony Brook’s Marine Sciences Research Center  and Provost of Stony Brook University.

Jerry Schubel, PhD
President & CEO, Long Beach Aquarium

Jerry R. Schubel has been President and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific since 2002 and has been involved with Ocean Exploration for more than a decade. As a member of the NOAA Science Advisory Board he was the liaison to the Ocean Exploration Advisory Group. In 2013, the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted the first Ocean Exploration Forum and Schubel has been part of each of the subsequent forums. He recently chaired the review of NOAA’s Ocean Exploration Education Program. Schubel has a PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He was Dean of Stony Brook’s Marine Sciences Research Center  and Provost of Stony Brook University.

 
  Jyotika I. Virmani, PhD Senior Director, Planet & Environment, XPRIZE   Jyotika Virmani is the Senior Director of Planet and Environment at XPRIZE and Executive Director of the $7 Million  Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE , which includes a $1 Million NOAA Bonus Prize. This international competition is accelerating innovations in autonomous deep-sea robotics and artificial intelligence. Before joining XPRIZE in 2014, she was the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and, prior to that, a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office. She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida, a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY Stony Brook, and a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College, London. 

Jyotika I. Virmani, PhD
Senior Director, Planet & Environment, XPRIZE

Jyotika Virmani is the Senior Director of Planet and Environment at XPRIZE and Executive Director of the $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, which includes a $1 Million NOAA Bonus Prize. This international competition is accelerating innovations in autonomous deep-sea robotics and artificial intelligence. Before joining XPRIZE in 2014, she was the Associate Director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and, prior to that, a Senior Scientist at the UK Met Office. She has a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of South Florida, a M.S. in Atmospheric Science from SUNY Stony Brook, and a B.Sc. in Physics from Imperial College, London. 

  Kaitlin Yarnall SVP, Media Innovation, National Geographic Society   Kaitlin Yarnall is responsible for expanding the the National Geographic Society's impact in journalism, photography and data visualization within its areas of focus: Our Changing Planet, Wildlife, and the Human Journey. She has addressed the UN General Assembly, Scandinavian royals, rock concert stadiums, and conferences worldwide on topics such as storytelling, data visualization, mapping and visual narratives, and has been published extensively on these subjects. Yarnall studied Latin American literature and geography at Humboldt State University and earned her M.A. in geography from The George Washington University.

Kaitlin Yarnall
SVP, Media Innovation, National Geographic Society

Kaitlin Yarnall is responsible for expanding the the National Geographic Society's impact in journalism, photography and data visualization within its areas of focus: Our Changing Planet, Wildlife, and the Human Journey. She has addressed the UN General Assembly, Scandinavian royals, rock concert stadiums, and conferences worldwide on topics such as storytelling, data visualization, mapping and visual narratives, and has been published extensively on these subjects. Yarnall studied Latin American literature and geography at Humboldt State University and earned her M.A. in geography from The George Washington University.