GSE alumnus selected for Nautilus crew
Author: Nancy Eichsteadt
Posted: October 25, 2017

Alfonso Garcia Arriola, EdD ’17, will join Dr. Robert Ballard’s deep-sea project onboard the Nautilus as a Science Communication Fellow to explore the Gulf of California and the Pescadero Basin. Garcia Arriola teaches in PPS’s Access Academy and is the 2016 District XVII recipient of the Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and a graduate of the PSU Doctorate in Educational Leadership program.




Educators and students participate in a groundbreaking STEAM initiative exploring deep-sea biology, geology, and archaeology in the Eastern Pacific

Portland, Or —  Alfonso Garcia Arriola, 7th and 8th grade science educator at ACCESS Academy has been selected as a 2017 Science Communication Fellow and will sail aboard Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus during its 2017 expedition. Alfonso Garcia Arriola will join the Corps of Exploration aboard E/V Nautilus in October and November as they explore the Gulf of California and the Pescadero Basin.

Twenty-four educators, one artist, and nineteen students from North America have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to participate at sea during the 2017 Nautilus Exploration Program expedition. OET, a nonprofit founded by Dr. Robert Ballard in 2008, has the mission to explore the ocean, 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 selected educators and students hail from schools, universities, science centers, aquaria, and non-profit organizations in seventeen states in the US and two Canadian provinces. They will join the Nautilus Corps of Exploration during sea-going expeditions from May through November in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

“I am thrilled to participate in this expedition, collaborate with scientists and bring my students and school community closer to understanding how science works and the exciting world of scientific ocean exploration” Alfonso Garcia Arriola

As members of the Corps of Exploration, educators and students will stand watch alongside scientists and engineers, as well as participate in live interactions 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 and via social media.

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. “One of the major goals of our Nautilus Exploration Program is to inspire the next generation of explorers in STEAM fields,” said Allison Fundis, OET’s Vice President of Education, Outreach and Communications, “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 around the world.”

The 2017 Science Communication Fellowship, an initiative of OET, will bring nineteen formal and informal educators together from around the world as a part of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration. Fellows are charged with the responsibility of engaging students and the public in the wonders of ocean exploration, sharing discoveries from the 2017 mission, as well as aspects of daily life aboard a working exploration vessel. Fellows receive four days of intensive training at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, and then spend two to three weeks aboard E/V Nautilus between the months of May and November, as it explores the Eastern Pacific Ocean. An equally important aspect of the program is for Fellows to bring the expedition and excitement of ocean exploration back to their home communities after they have returned from sea by incorporating their experience into classroom lesson plans, community presentation events, and through informal educational opportunities.

“ACCESS Academy students demonstrate deep scientific interest and potential to make transformational contributions in science and technology. Mr. Garcia Arriola is committed to creating science education more meaningful and create a generation of engaged, lifelong scientists” David Wood, Principal, ACCESS Academy

Alfonso Garcia Arriola will participate in live audio commentary and question-and-answer sessions through the Nautilus Live website ( while aboard the ship; he will also engage events and activities upon his return. Global audiences can tune in to the website, Facebook or Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus to follow their expedition.

The public, scientists, educators, and students can join Alfonso Garcia Arriola’s adventure while he is at sea via streaming video on, a 24-hour portal bringing expeditions from the field to onshore audiences through telepresence technology. The public can also follow the expedition on social media on Twitter as @EVNautilus and on Facebook and Instagram as NautilusLive  and through in-person live interactions at partner museums, aquaria, and science centers around the world.

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 2017 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, on Facebook and Instagram at NautilusLive, and on Twitter as @EVNautilus.

About Portland Public Schools

Portland Public Schools, founded in 1851, is a PK-12 urban school district in Portland, Oregon. With more than 49,000 students in 78 schools, it is one of the largest school districts in the Pacific Northwest.

Equity and Excellence: Every student, every teacher, every school succeeding.

Mission: Every student by name prepared for college, career and participation as an active community member, regardless of race, income or zip code.

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