Katy Croff Bell

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Katy Croff Bell
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology

University of Southampton

University of Rhode Island
EmployerMIT Media Lab National Geographic Society
Known forOcean Exploration

Katy Croff Bell is a marine explorer who has been on more than 30 oceanographic and archaeological expeditions.


Katy Croff Bell received a bachelor of science in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000, working with Professor David Mindell in the Deepwater Archaeology group.[1][2] Following college, she spent 2001 as a John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.[3] She completed a master's degree in maritime archaeology at the University of Southampton, before moving to the Graduate School of Oceanography in Rhode Island.[4][5] She was appointed a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2006.[6] At the University of Rhode Island, she was awarded the Ada Sawyer Award in 2007 and the Robert McMaster Award in 2008.[7] Bell completed her PhD, "On the Origin of Submarine Sediment Features in the Southern Aegean Sea," at the University of Rhode Island in 2011, under the supervision of Robert Ballard.[8]

Research and career[edit]

In 2011, Bell became vice president of the Ocean Exploration Trust.[9][10] She was Chief Scientist of Robert Ballard's exploration vessel E/V Nautilus, overseeing expeditions to the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and the eastern Pacific Ocean.[11] The Nautilus Exploration Program is an open science initiative, sharing the process and outcomes of ocean exploration with everyone.[12] The expedition attracted significant media coverage, and Bell gave several interviews and lectures.[13][14][15]

She was a 2014 MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow.[16] In addition to leading expeditions, Bell gave lectures about underwater exploration and technology.[17] When Bell was pregnant with her first child in 2015, she used telepresence technology to participate in Nautilus expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific Ocean.[2] That year, she took part in the social media campaign #ILookLikeAnEngineer.[18] She led a team of MIT explorers on a deep-ocean exploration off the coast of Southern California in 2016.[19] In 2017, as an MIT Visiting Scientist, she created the Open Ocean initiative at the Media Lab.[12][20] Bell is developing technology for ocean exploration projects, to allow for remote science and education.[21] At the Open Ocean initiative, she is reimagining the future of ocean exploration and storytelling.[22]

Bell is vice chair of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee.[23] She is a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. In July 2017, she became the first female Technology Fellow at National Geographic.[24] She is a founding member of the Ocean Collectiv, a group who have come together to find solutions to complex ocean problems.[25]


  1. ^ Foley, Brendan. "Deep Sea Archaeology". web.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  2. ^ a b Maxwell, Jill Hecht. "Katy Croff Bell '00 Brings Oceanic Exploration to the Desktop". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  3. ^ "Katy Croff Bell | FabFems". www.fabfems.org. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  4. ^ "GSO on National Geographic This Sunday". web.uri.edu. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  5. ^ "Do fundo do mar... Sea bottom: September 2004". dofundodomar.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  6. ^ Favorite, Crowd (2006-01-31). "Theoretical Physicist, Adventure Photographer Among New Class Of National Geographic Emerging Explorers". National Geographic Partners Press Room. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  7. ^ "Of Interest". www.riwba.com. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  8. ^ Croff, Bell, Katherine Lynn (2011). On the origin of submarine sediment features in the southern Aegean Sea (Thesis). University of Rhode Island.
  9. ^ "Webb Middle Science Teacher Kirk Beckendorft to Embark on Deep-Sea Expedition". Webb School of Knoxville. 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  10. ^ "Ocean Exploration Trust". Ocean Exploration Trust. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  11. ^ "Meet the Team". Nautilus Live. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  12. ^ a b "Katy Croff Bell | MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows". MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  13. ^ Blackwell's Bookshops (2013-06-26), Ocean exploration: Interview with Dr Katy Croff Bell, retrieved 2018-01-18
  14. ^ "The Future of the Past: Day 2 – FIA". FIA. 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  15. ^ "Plenary Presenters". stem.ky. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  16. ^ Lab, MIT Media (2014-07-10). "Announcing the Director's Fellows Cohort 2". MIT MEDIA LAB. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  17. ^ "Sailing/Cape Sounion, Greece - Lindblad Expeditions". www.expeditions.com. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  18. ^ "#ILookLikeAnEngineer campaign supported by women at MIT, Kendall Square, and elsewhere - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  19. ^ "An Ocean Exploration on Board of the Nautilus E/V | MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows". MIT Media Lab Director's Fellows. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  20. ^ "Group Overview ‹ Open Ocean – MIT Media Lab". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  21. ^ "Katy Croff Bell". Nautilus Live. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  22. ^ "National Geographic Student Expeditions". National Geographic. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  23. ^ "Profile: Katy". Ocean Collectiv. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  24. ^ Ito, Joi (2016-12-24). "Conversation with Ocean Explorer Katy Croff Bell". Joi Ito. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  25. ^ "Johnson launches new consulting firm for ocean problems". Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation. 2017-11-05. Retrieved 2018-01-18.