Speakers at All Hands on Deck will share their experience and insights on how we can use play, imagination, immersion, and creativity to connect a global community of ocean explorers. The full speaker list is in progress.
Explorer, environmentalist, master navigator, cultural revivalist, educator, storyteller: Nainoa Thompson has led the rediscovery and revival of the ancient Polynesian art of navigation. Through his voyaging, teaching and engagement, he has opened a global, multigenerational dialogue on the importance of sustaining ocean resources and maritime heritage. Nainoa has dedicated his life to exploring the ocean, maintaining the health of the planet and ensuring that the ancient marine heritage and culture of Polynesia remain vibrant into the future.
Panel 1 | Play
Joe Lawandus is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Consumer Products at NBC Universal. A kids entertainment and toy industry veteran, Joe has spent much of his career mining the intersection between engaging play experiences and immersive storytelling. Today he oversees product licensing, design and retail development for Universal’s biggest entertainment franchises including Jurassic World, Trolls and Minions. Previously, Joe held positions at Mattel and Disney Consumer Products, with oversight for toy brands including Batman, Disney Cars, Matchbox, Mickey Mouse, Minecraft, Disney Princess, Toy Story, and WWE. He co-founded Seattle-based interactive gaming startup Smith & Tinker and his early marketing career was at Hasbro as Global Brand Manager on Nerf.
Panel 2 | Imagine
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.
Panel 3 | Immerse
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.
Sven-Olof Lindblad, CEO & President of Lindblad Expeditions, was born in Switzerland and traveled extensively with his father, renowned adventure-travel pioneer Lars-Eric Lindblad, who led some of the first non-scientific groups of travelers to Galapagos and Antarctica. In 1979 he launched Special Expeditions, the adventure tourism company that became Lindblad Expeditions, offering marine-focused expeditions aboard small ships. In 2004, Lindblad formed an alliance with National Geographic that combines the strengths of two pioneers in global exploration, with the goal of inspiring people to explore and care about the planet. His personal experience led to a commitment to environmentally responsible travel.
Vikki N. Spruill is president and CEO of the New England Aquarium and its research and conservation institute, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. She previously served as president and CEO of the Council on Foundations, the largest association of philanthropic grant-making organizations, and Ocean Conservancy, a science-based advocacy organization dedicated to the oceans. Ms. Spruill founded the Trash Free Seas Alliance, and helped found and currently serves on the board of COMPASS, which empowers scientists to better engage in public discourse on environmental issues. She was also the founding director of SeaWeb.
Carlos Toro leads a team of designers, developers and filmmakers at Steer Digital. He has Directed/Produced conservation themed programming for Discovery channel and has served as underwater cinematographer on several productions for Discovery Channel and National Geographic. He was awarded the emerging filmmaker award at the Blue Ocean Film Festival and has since focused on projects that bring viewers closer into underwater environments. In his role as a conservation media ambassador for the Marine Megafauna Foundation of Ecuador, he’s recently partnered with lookingglassfactory.com to produce experimental underwater hologram content featuring Giant Manta Rays (Mobula Birostris). His aim to create impactful experiences that draw on the sciences to inspire action.
Panel 4 | Create
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.
Daniel Kohn is an artist whose work stands at the crossroad of art and science. Long immersed in questions of place and representation, his engagement with science began in 2003 when he was invited to the Broad Institute where he became Founding Artist in Residence and co-founded the Viz Group. Kohn was subsequently in residence at the Center for Epigenomics and Art/Science Research Director at Ligo Project. Following a NAKFI conference on the Mesopelagic Daniel refocused his work on the Ocean. He now co-leads a 4 year NAS interdisciplinary grant based on the question: Does the ocean have memories?
Panel 5 | Explore
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.
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.
Panel 6 | Connect
Danielle Wood leads the Space Enabled Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, seeking to advance justice in earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. She is a scholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy for the US and emerging nations. In her research, Danielle applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Previously, she worked as the Applied Sciences Manager within the Earth Science Division of Goddard Space Flight Center and served as Special Assistant and Advisor to the Deputy Administrator of NASA.
Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, biologist, filmmaker and Research Associate at California Academy of Science. Her work involves satellite tracking marine megafauna, mapping connections between nature and human wellbeing through brain imaging, quantifying nature’s effect on incarcerated populations, and serving as Daily Explorer in the popular online game, Animal Jam, boasting 170 million registered players. As past Director of Research for Sea Studios Foundation, she helped produce PBS documentaries Strange Days on Planet Earth and Shape of Life. Thys is a TED All-star speaker, frequent TEDed contributor and serves on the science advisory board for the innovation think tank, ThinkBeyondPlastic.
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.
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 Founding Director 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.
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.
Carlie Wiener is the Senior Communications Manager of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. She 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.