National Geographic’s education initiatives are known for bringing students a global perspective on nature and the environment, and this summer, four top high school students got the chance to see the world for themselves as part of the Nat Geo Mundo Explorer competition.
The competition, a joint effort between DIRECTV and 21st Century Fox’s Nat Geo Mundo channel, launched in January as a way to expand opportunities for young people to participate in National Geographic Student Expeditions. The program matches student groups with a National Geographic Explorer, who then guides the students through original research and photography projects at one of more than 40 locations across the globe. Nat Geo Mundo Explorer offered full scholarships to the Student Expeditions program and allowed the winners to select any of the available trips.
Following a three month application and review period, experts at National Geographic selected the following four winners, two from the U.S. and two from Latin America:
- Claudia – A junior at Southside High School in Alabama, Claudia traveled to Nepal this summer to work with local communities repairing homes and villages damaged in earthquakes. She also hiked the Himalayan foothills, practiced meditation with Buddhist monks, and helped conservationists care for elephants in Chitwan National Park.
- Ethan – A senior at Bob Jones High School in Madison, Alabama, Ethan travelled to Peru for a twenty-day photography journey, documenting both the ancient and contemporary culture of the region.
- Domenica – A sophomore from Ecuador, Domenica travelled to India on a photography expedition, working with National Geographic’s Sandesh Kadur to document India’s rural and mountain communities. She also worked at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Rajastan.
- Lucia – A junior for Uruguay, Lucia travelled to Tanzania, living in a rural village at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. She studied wildlife conservation in the region and assisted a National Geographic project to build a “boma” fence and help preserve Africa’s lion population.
“I am so grateful to AT&T, Nat Geo Mundo and National Geographic for making this trip happen and for giving me this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Domenica. “I will treasure it forever and look forward to returning to India, and its wonderful people, down the road.”