Blog Post

Announcing the National Geographic Society’s 2020 Class of Emerging Explorers

The Society’s newest cohort of changemakers will transform their fields and the understanding of our world

At the National Geographic Society, we aim to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. To achieve this mission, we invest in and elevate bold individuals with transformative ideas. These individuals help shine a light on our shared human experiences, empower the next generation of changemakers, and demonstrate the power of science and exploration to change the world.

That’s why the Society has chosen eight global changemakers as the latest class of Emerging Explorers who will transform their fields and further our understanding of our world and all that’s in it.

These individuals conduct groundbreaking work focused on the rare and wonderful animals that live in deep-sea habitats, the social implications of artificial intelligence, rural and urban rainwater harvesting, protecting Congolese biodiversity, grassroots micro-entrepreneurship, GIS education, and impactful storytelling.

Meet these incredible Explorers:

Diva Amon

Diva Amon is a deep-sea biologist who works at the nexus of science, policy and communications. Amon is founder of SpeSeas, an organization dedicated to marine science, education, and advocacy in her home country, Trinidad and Tobago.

Joy Buolamwini

Joy Buolamwini is a computer scientist who uses art and research to illuminate the social implications of artificial intelligence (AI). She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to create a world with more equitable and accountable technology.

Adams Cassinga

Adams Cassinga is a wildlife activist and a wildlife criminal investigator from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is currently the founder and CEO for Conserv Congo, which fights poaching and wildlife trafficking by enforcing environmental laws and supporting conservation through education.

Enrique Lomnitz

Enrique Lomnitz is an industrial designer focused on water access and sustainability. Lomnitz’s organization, Isla Urbana, mostly works in low-income, peri-urban neighborhoods, and in remote rural and indigenous communities, where it has installed over 20,000 rainwater harvesters since 2009.

Sonika Manandhar

Sonika Manandhar is a co-founder and CTO of Aeloi Technologies, a financial technology platform that uses digital tokens to finance projects for green micro-entrepreneurs. During her decade as a software engineer, she has aimed to make technology accessible to all literacy levels.

Tamara Merino

Tamara Merino is a Chilean documentary photographer and visual storyteller who focuses on human and sociocultural issues, identity, and subterranean communities. Her work has been published in multiple online and print publications worldwide including National Geographic, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, among many others.

Anthony Obayomi

Anthony Obayomi is a storyteller from Lagos, Nigeria who uses photography, filmmaking, and other storytelling techniques that combine art and technology in both traditional and experimental media. Obayomi's mostly documentary work is aimed at offering alternative perspectives to diverse audiences. He portrays people, society, and culture with the aim of fostering tolerance, mitigating stereotypes, questioning traditional opinions, and addressing issues of social justice.

Ali Pressel

Ali Pressel is an environmental sciences educator, dedicated to bringing science exploration to students through project-based learning and outdoor field studies. She is a leader in career academy education and continues to develop innovative and novel ways to engage students in their community and help them make connections between the natural world and their personal stories.

To learn more about these incredible Explorers and the Emerging Explorer program, tune into the Society’s virtual event on October 1, “Emerging Voices in Exploration” by registering here today.

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.