Dr. Katy Croff Bell (US) is a deep sea explorer with a background in ocean engineering, maritime archaeology, and geological oceanography, and has led dozens of expeditions around the world. Bell is passionate about developing new ways to better understand the ocean and and make it more accessible to everyone around the world. Currently, she is the Founding Director of the Open Ocean Initiative at the MIT Media Lab and a Fellow at the National Geographic Society, developing programs for low-cost, distributed deployment of new and emerging technologies for ocean exploration and community building. Previously, as Executive Vice President of the Ocean Exploration Trust, Bell led the development of exploration, research, and educational outreach activities for E/V Nautilus, including management of scientists, engineers, educators, and students from 30+ countries working together to conduct telepresence-enabled expeditions around the world.
She was a 2001 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, 2006 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, 2014 MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow, and 2017-2019 Vice Chair of the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. Bell holds an S.B. in ocean engineering from MIT, an M.Sc. in maritime archaeology from the University of Southampton, and a Ph.D. in geological oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island.