Diversity & Inclusion
OET is committed to the important work of advancing justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and fostering an anti-racist culture within our organization and throughout the oceanographic community.
We are committed to including, amplifying, and making space for more Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, LGBTQIA+, and historically marginalized voices in the deep sea and STEM communities. We continue the important work to diversify our team, staff, trustees, and education programs both aboard E/V Nautilus and behind the scenes, so more people can build their careers in STEM and see their experiences reflected in the important work of exploring the ocean planet.
Growing from organization-wide Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging priority setting for OET, in 2020 and 2021 OET focused energy on refining policies and practices to improve the safety of all team members, particularly those with identities historically marginalized in ocean exploration and STEM. OET has implemented changes in staff hiring practices, ensuring equity in compensation for at-sea roles, and directed funding to reduce other barriers through reworking travel policies and reimbursements.
Understanding we have blindspots as a predominantly white workplace, OET beginning in 2021 hired an external DEI Strategist to lead an independent assessment of our at-sea fellowship and internship programs’ planning and implementation. This work is ongoing and focuses on increasing identity-based mentorship competency, improving the quality of the onboard experience that are reflective and inclusive of individuals’ whole identities, reducing barriers for participants with identities historically marginalized from STEM, and advancing how we support career, professional, and personal growth onboard.
Other priority initiatives currently include:
- Expanding the capacity and support structures to ensure OET and E/V Nautilus are inclusive workplaces where team members are safe and encouraged to bring their full identity to the field of exploration.
- Deepening and developing relationships with communities across the Pacific Ocean, where OET is building relationships to elevate and appropriately weave Indigenous knowledge into expeditions traditionally focused on Western Science methodologies.
- Diversifying OET’s Board of Directors with lenses of gender, age/ career stage, and ethnic and racial identities.
- Diversifying hiring of contractors and science teams who make up the majority of participants in the annual Nautilus Exploration Program. Learn about opportunities here.
- Diversifying hiring for full-time positions with Ocean Exploration Trust, as they become available.
Our Work in Action
- Since 2020, Ocean Exploration Trust has been working to build an equitable and ethical relationship with the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group to appropriately weave Hawaiian culture into deep sea exploration expeditions. The video, A Shared Voyage of Ocean Exploration, uplifts the voices of featured Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians) who have participated on expeditions in diverse roles including those who play major supportive roles from shore towards building a collective pilina (relationship) to the kai lipo (deep sea).
- OET convened the In Kupe’s Wake: a Voyage of Exploration from Hawaiʻi to Aotearoa workshop and report with partners NOAA Ocean Exploration, Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation for discussion of our organizations can reimagine ocean exploration in the Pacific in collaboration with Indigenous Island communities.
- Re-envisioning the Collective Voyage for Ocean Exploration [White Paper]. Quicho, K., Fundis, A., Morishige, K., Lorenzo H., Pihana, H., Anderson, A., Cook, M. (2022). Consortium for Ocean Leadership National Ocean Exploration Forum.
- OET partners with Na Wa'a Mauō Marine Stewardship Program to develop a Hawaiian language and culture-based STEAM educational package
- Live ship-to-shore interactions available now in 'Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language)
- OET POD portfolio from URGE (Unlearning Racism in Geosciences) professional curriculum
As our operational focus shifts to expeditions in the Central Pacific for the years ahead, our team is mindful of the harms perpetrated throughout large-ocean states in the name of science. We are committed to working intentionally to be grounded in cultural humility and to address how expeditions conducted aboard E/V Nautilus will foster collaborative approaches inclusive of Polynesian worldviews.
We are working closely with partners to advance how our expeditions can reflect and be guided by Indigenous knowledge in the Pacific. We continue to work closely with the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument staff along with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs-facilitated Papahānaumokuākea Cultural Working Group to build relationships and listen to educational priorities for Native Hawaiians as well as priorities for future collaboration within oceanographic research.
Similar work is underway now with the OET team and partners in Palau and in American Samoa. We aim to broaden this approach with other Pacific Islands.
As we take on this work as an organization, we invite input from our community on how we can engage more deeply in anti-racism work within the broader scientific community. Please email us.