Local Teacher Jason McGee Selected to Explore the Ocean Aboard Famed Explorer Dr. Robert Ballard’s Exploration Vessel Nautilus

SULPHUR, La. – May 10, 2019 — Teacher Jason McGee from College Oaks Elementary School has been selected as a 2019 CITGO Nautilus Ambassador and will sail aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus during its 2019 expedition. McGee will join the Corps of Exploration aboard E/V Nautilus in May as they explore ancient submerged shorelines and caves on Osborn Bank near the Channel Islands in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. McGee was also recently awarded CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year and will be the seventh Nautilus Ambassador from Southwest Louisiana to represent his community aboard the E/V Nautilus. McGee has also been instrumental in starting and leading a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Club at College Oaks Elementary.

Four educators from across the United States have been selected for this program run by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), a nonprofit founded by Ocean Explorer Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008. OET operates with a mission to explore the ocean by seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology, physics, and chemistry while pushing the boundaries of STEAM education and technological innovation. The Nautilus Ambassador Program is one of several programs which involve students and educators at sea as part of the 2019 Nautilus Exploration Program expedition.


McGee said he is excited to be awarded this experience. “This is a huge opportunity! I have always loved diving into STEM experiences with my students,” said McGee. “I am truly grateful and joyous that I will be able to experience this and in turn, bring this back to my school and STEM Club experiences.”


College Oaks Elementary School Principal Willona Jackson said McGee is truly passionate about education and, specifically, bringing STEM teaching into the classroom. “We are very proud to have the CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year be part of our staff,” she said.


Ambassadors will spend four days aboard E/V Nautilus exploring Osborn Bank, a submerged landform off the coast of Southern California, during the first mission of OET’s 6-month seafloor exploration expedition. Ambassadors will stand watch alongside scientists and engineers, learn oceanography from experts, and interact with shore-based audiences via Nautilus Live, a 24-hour web portal bringing expeditions from the field to future explorers on shore via telepresence technology at www.nautiluslive.org. The public can follow the expedition online or on Twitter as @EVNautilus, on Facebook and Instagram as NautilusLive, and through in-person, special, live ship-to-shore broadcasts into their hometowns organized by the Ambassadors.


“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEAM fields,” said OET’s Chief Operating Officer Allison Fundis. “We are very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience of ocean exploration, while allowing them the opportunity to share that experience with their peers across the country and around the world.” OET promotes science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM) education around the world using the excitement of exploration and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.


Since 2014, CITGO and OET have partnered to create a variety of STEM educational opportunities for teachers and students nationwide. This effort reflects a broader initiative by CITGO to promote academic exploration in the STEM fields. The CITGO-OET Community STEM program also supports educator professional development opportunities, STEM enrichment curricula, classroom grants, and in-classroom programs across greater Lake Charles, La., Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lemont, Ill.


About the Ocean Exploration Trust
The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, and archaeology while pushing the boundaries of STEAM education and technological innovation. Our international program is launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, offering live exploration to participants on shore and the public via live video, audio, and data feeds. The major 2019 expedition and education sponsors are the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Office of Naval Research, NASA Science Mission Directorate PSTAR program, Air Sea Heritage Foundation, University of Rhode Island, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, Richard Lounsbery Foundation, University of California Santa Barbara, Phil Stephenson Foundation, Nippon Foundation/GEBCO Scholars Program, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, KVH, Global Dynamix, ESS, and additional private donors.


Follow us online at www.nautiluslive.org, on Facebook and Instagram at @NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.