Alumni Update: Tori Hunt ’21

Tori Hunt, originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, graduated with her Bachelor of Science in chemistry with a concentration in secondary education in 2021. She teaches earth and environmental science and physical science at Concord High School in Cabarrus County.

Recently, Hunt was also selected to join an expedition team as part of a science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) initiative exploring deep-sea biology and geology in the Central Pacific Ocean funded by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET).

“This experience will forever shape me not only as an educator but as a person who has always dreamt of learning from the ocean.”

“It is an absolute honor and a dream to sail aboard E/V Nautilus,” said Hunt, who will serve as a science communication fellow. “This experience will forever shape me not only as an educator but as a person who has always dreamt of learning from the ocean.”

“What an amazing opportunity for one of our outstanding science teachers to go out and have a scientific experience and be able to share it with her students and the world,” said Dr. Adam Auerbach, principal at Concord High School. “I am thrilled that Ms. Hunt has been selected and cannot wait to see what she brings back to help her students develop their love of science.”

Impacting Education in Her Community

Hunt is impacting education in her community. She was one of sixteen fellows who were selected nationally to join the team aboard E/V Nautilus for four weeks in September as they explore Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument through OET.

OET promotes STEAM education worldwide using the excitement of exploration and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The OET Science Communication Fellowship brings formal and informal educators on board to engage students and the public in the wonders of ocean exploration, sharing discoveries from the 2023 mission and aspects of daily life aboard a working exploration vessel. 

Fellows develop their science communication skills and spend several weeks as a crucial part of the team aboard E/V Nautilus. Fellows bring ocean exploration back to their home communities by incorporating their experience into classroom lesson plans, community presentation events, and informal educational opportunities.

The public can engage with Hunt via Nautilus Live, a 24-hour live-streaming web portal bringing expeditions from the field to explorers on shore via telepresence technology at and via social media. Tori will participate in daily live audio commentary and question-and-answer sessions through the Nautilus Live website from the sea.  

Ashore, she will also engage in various community outreach events and activities throughout the team to engage students and families in learning about the ocean. Local schools can also schedule free, live one-on-one Q&A sessions with explorers on the ship in English or ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language). 

“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to motivate the next generation of explorers in STEAM fields.”

“One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to motivate the next generation of explorers in STEAM fields,” said Allison Fundis, OET’s Chief Operating Officer.  “We are very excited to provide educators and students with the direct experience in ocean exploration while allowing them the opportunity to share that experience with their peers around the world.”  

“Science Communication Fellows bring expertise as educators and storytellers to work alongside scientists and engineers and make discoveries about the planet,” said Megan Cook, OET’s Director of Education and Outreach. “We are proud to elevate these role models for learners, with a particular focus on reaching communities who have been historically marginalized from STEAM and maritime fields”

Read more about Hunt on the Nautilus website.

About Ocean Exploration Trust

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 Nautilus, offering live exploration to participants on shore and the public via live video, audio, and data feeds. Learn more about Ocean Exploration Trust

The 2023 Nautilus Expedition is sponsored by NOAA Ocean Exploration via the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, Ocean Networks Canada, the Office of Naval Research, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. OET education program sponsors and partners for 2023 include the Office of Naval Research, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, CITGO, and the Phil Stephenson Foundation. Learn more about our partners and sponsors.