LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 6, 2018 – The Nautilus Ambassador Program, which invites teachers aboard the research vessel E/V Nautilus to learn about ocean science, embarks today on an four-day voyage from Los Angeles to San Francisco, California. The program is co-funded by CITGO Petroleum Corporation and the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), a non-profit founded by renowned explorer Dr. Robert Ballard to support ocean exploration.


Working alongside the ship’s expedition team, participants are exposed to the technology and engineering involved in ocean discovery, including systems that track data on if, and how, earthquakes have impacted the ocean floor and its ecosystems. The educators then incorporate the knowledge and experience gained on the Nautilus into their curriculum. They can even interact with their students and communities via Nautilus Live, a web portal that connects expeditions in the field live, 24 hours a day to future explorers on shore.


“The Nautilus Ambassador Program aims to spark students’ interest in ocean science, and hopefully lead many to consider careers in STEM,” said Allison Fundis, Vice President of Marine Operations and Programs at OET. “We are thrilled to welcome these four outstanding educators aboard the ship to continue this mission. They will undoubtedly share their experience in ocean exploration in their communities and incorporate what they learned into their curriculum.”


“Embedding educators into the ocean exploration team truly showcases real-world connections for classroom curricula and highlights the many ways cutting-edge technology can be integrated into student learning,” said Megan Cook, Community STEM Program Coordinator at OET.


The four 2018 CITGO Nautilus Ambassadors are:

· Jeff Brown – Lockport Township High School in Lemont, Illinois; CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year

· Amelia Cote – Olle Middle School in Houston, Texas

· Terri Miller – Barbe Elementary School in Lake Charles, Louisiana; CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year

· Simon Rios – CITGO Innovation Academy at Foy H. Moody High School in Corpus Christi, Texas; CITGO STEM Teacher of the Year


“This year’s four ambassadors share a passion for introducing young people to the joys and wonders of science,” said Larry Elizondo, CITGO General Manager, Community Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility. “CITGO has seen the power of initiatives like the Nautilus Ambassador Program to inspire students to pursue futures in STEM. We are thrilled to be again working with OET on this innovative program and look forward to seeing how the teachers bring ocean exploration to life in their classrooms.”


Dr. Ballard is best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, as well as numerous other historical shipwrecks. He founded OET and acquired E/V Nautilus, his current ship, in 2008. Dr. Ballard is dedicated to supporting innovation in ocean exploration and encouraging others to explore the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.


Since 2014, CITGO and OET have partnered on several STEM programs. The effort is driven by the CITGO STEM Talent Pipeline, a broader initiative promoting partnerships with schools near the company's headquarters and refineries to increase access to quality STEM education. The CITGO-OET Community STEM partnership supports professional development opportunities for teachers, STEM enrichment curricula, at- sea and in-classroom programs.



CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com.


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 2018 expedition and education sponsors are the NOAA Office of Exploration & Research, the Office of Naval Research, Ocean Networks Canada, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the University of Rhode Island, CITGO, AltaSea, KVH and additional private donors. Follow us online at www.nautiluslive.org, on Facebook and Instagram at @NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.