JASON Learning's 2013 Argonauts Announced

Students and Educators Embark on Ocean Research Expeditions
in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea
through JASON Learning’s Argonaut Program

MYSTIC, Conn. (July 8, 2013) – Fourteen student and educator “Argonauts” will embark on Dr. Robert Ballard’s ship of exploration, the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus, as it explores the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea this summer and fall. Since 1990, JASON’s National Argonaut program has provided hands-on, scientific field work to over 460 competitively selected students and educators worldwide, many of whom have gone on to pursue degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). National Argonauts participate in scientific research with peers and scientists and return to their communities as mentors and role models.

The Argonauts will join the ship’s Corps of Exploration—an international team of scientists, engineers, students and educators exploring geology, biology, archaeology and chemistry—and will participate in live, interactive webcasts with shore-based audiences during the expedition. The 2013 expedition can be followed in real-time at www.nautiluslive.org and at the Nautilus Live Theater at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn. The work of the Argonauts aboard the Nautilus will be featured through blogs, photos and live events at www.jason.org.

During their voyages, the Argonauts will be engaged in at-sea activities with scientists and engineers, during which they will learn basic navigation and oceanographic sampling techniques. They will also be immersed in life at sea alongside the Corps of Exploration and ship's crew.

“The JASON Argonauts program is a unique and exciting connection among students, educators and real scientists at work,” said Dr. Eleanor Smalley, Chief Operating Officer of JASON Learning. “Those who participate return to their schools with a depth of new and relevant experience to share with colleagues and peers, helping STEM education come alive in the classroom.”

The 2013 Nautilus expedition season consists of eight cruise legs and begins in the Gulf of Mexico studying the underwater environment following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as mapping natural hydrocarbons and studying a shipwreck. Later legs bring Nautilus to the Caribbean Sea. Research will focus on the impact of volcanic eruptions on the sea floor, underwater tar seeps fed upon by local bacteria, and earthquake faults that are the possible sources of 1918 and 1867 tsunamis.

Ten students and four educators were selected as JASON Learning National Argonauts in a highly competitive process and will join the expedition in two groups:


August 13-20 – Galveston, Texas to the Cayman Islands
Jacques Jougla
Student Argonaut, age 15, Carpinteria, California

Catherine Gale
Student Argonaut, age 14, Grapevine, Texas

Ankush Joshi
Student Argonaut, age 14, Vienna, Virginia,

Dejon King
Student Argonaut, age 14, Houston, Texas

Rackley Seaborn (CB) Wren
Student Argonaut, age 16, Augusta, Georgia

Ryan Sweat
Educator Argonaut, Beaumont, Texas

Erica Landreneau Fontenot
Educator Argonaut, Mamou, Louisiana

October 16-23 – San Juan, Puerto Rico to Antigua
Austin Sanderson
Student Argonaut, age 14, Smithfield, Rhode Island

Paloma June
Student Argonaut, age 14, Houston, Texas

Chase Gonsoulin
Student Argonaut, age 15, Houston, Texas

Chemutai Shiow
Student Argonaut, age 17, Glenville, West Virginia

Excel Jose Luna
Student Argonaut, age 14, Houston, Texas

Laura Smith
Educator Argonaut, Richmond, Texas

Chris Taylor
Educator Argonaut, Boise, Idaho

“By joining this expedition and becoming part of JASON’s Corps of Exploration, these students and educators will serve as role models and science ambassadors to millions of their peers worldwide,” said Sea Research Foundation and JASON President & CEO Dr. Stephen M. Coan. “We are fortunate to have them as part of this year’s research and exploration team.”

JASON Learning was founded by Ballard, who is widely known for discovering the Titanic. JASON provides multimedia curricular experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for K-12 students, and corresponding professional development for educators in a wide variety of formal and informal education environments.

In independent evaluations across the country, JASON Learning has been shown to:

  • Increase student interest, motivation and achievement in STEM
  • Increase student interest in and knowledge about careers in STEM
  • Increase educators’ science content knowledge, confidence and ability to teach science effectively

JASON reaches 1.5 million students a year, and general audiences of over six million through content distributed by partner organizations. Its programs are used in every U.S. state and in over 170 countries.

About Sea Research Foundation
Based in Mystic, Connecticut, Sea Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates Mystic Aquarium, Ocean Exploration Center and, in partnership with National Geographic Society, JASON Learning. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration. Sea Research receives major support from United Technologies Corporation, The Coca-Cola Company and Foxwoods Resort Casino. Learn more at www.searesearch.org.

About JASON Learning
JASON Learning is an independent 501(c)(3) operated in association with National Geographic Society and managed by Sea Research Foundation. Named for the mythological Greek explorer, JASON is a nationally acclaimed, exploration-based program that links students—inside the classroom and out—to real science and scientists through technology intensive, inquiry-based curricular experiences. Learn more at www.jason.org.


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Jim Zebora, The Dilenschneider Group
860.985.5458 (Cell)

Peter Glankoff, Sea Research Foundation
860.572.5955 x355
401.787.8182 (Cell)