Kristen Crossett photo

Kristen Crossett

Guest Educator
Outreach and Education Division Chief
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Exploration

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

I lead a team of incredible communication, education, and outreach specialists who support NOAA Ocean Exploration’s mission by increasing awareness and understanding of ocean exploration to the general public, building the capacity of educators to include ocean science and exploration in classrooms, fostering early career development for those wanting to join the ocean exploration workforce, and building partnerships to make this all happen.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I have always had a love for maps and the environment. My career path became clear to me when I took my first geographic information systems (GIS) class as an undergrad at Santa Barbara while also interning at Channel Islands National Park. I learned quickly that GIS and data visualization were powerful tools in understanding data and spatial relationships, but also storytelling and communication. While I pursued geography and nutrient modeling in graduate school, it has been my 20 years at NOAA that has allowed me to grow into what I truly enjoy, and that is communicating and educating the public on NOAA’s mission and ocean science.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

Both of my parents have been my biggest inspiration as they built a strong foundation that allowed me to succeed and fail in the things I have tried. My very first supervisor out of college also served as a meaningful mentor. I had just moved across the country for a federal position and she guided me through the process and set a terrific example of professionalism and kindness.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

What I love about ocean exploration is the potential for discovery. You never know what lies around the corner.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

NOAA Ocean Exploration has had a long and successful partnership with Ocean Exploration Trust and most recently through the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI). I am excited to be part of OECI-funded multi-vehicle expedition to learn more about partner technologies.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Prior to my career at NOAA, I was a geographer at U.S. Census Bureau, a cartographer at a university, and a technical analyst for a defense contracting company. Within NOAA, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects serving as a physical scientist and communications specialist. These positions can translate more informally to functions like data analysis, website development, writing, graphic design, engagement coordination, team leadership, and project planning and management.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography – University of California Santa Barbara, 1997; 
Master of Arts in Geography – San Diego State University, 2003

What are your hobbies?

I spend most of my free time with family, raising two teenagers and two goofy golden retrievers. I finally bought a guitar this summer and I’m hoping I’ll have the opportunity to actually pick it up and teach myself to play!

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

One of the most important things I have learned throughout my career is the importance of people. Plain and simple. Build relationships and maintain them, treat people with kindness and respect, and be grateful for all opportunities you receive (both the good and the bad).



Kristen participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: