Student Winners to Explore the Galápagos Archipelago
(New York, NY – July 8, 2009) – A 17-year-old student who emigrated from Vietnam to California and
actively supports conservation through volunteering at a non-profit coastal environmental education
facility and a 16 year-old New Jersey student who started the first recycling program in her county were
named recipients of the second annual Kalpana Chawla Ocean Journey Scholarship from Blue Ocean
Institute and Lindblad Expeditions.
Khanh Nguyen of Lawndale, CA and Delphine Slotten of Mendham, NJ will embark on a Lindblad
Expeditions’ voyage to the Galápagos Islands in July. Accompanied by skilled scientists, naturalists, and
researchers, the Scholarship winners will explore the unique ecosystem of the Galápagos archipelago,
observing and studying the distinct wildlife that calls it home.
The Kalpana Chawla Ocean Journey Scholarship was established by Blue Ocean Institute in conjunction
with Lindblad Expeditions in 2007. It is named in honor of Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut who perished
aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle in 2003. Her abiding love of the ocean and her interest in the work of
Blue Ocean President and Co-Founder, Dr. Carl Safina, led her to bring Safina’s acclaimed book, Song
for the Blue Ocean, on her final mission.
A year after her death, her family and friends established the Kalpana Chawla Spirit of Columbia Fund at
Blue Ocean, which supports the Ocean Journey Scholarship. In honor of Chawla’s profound connection
with the ocean and concern for its conservation, the scholarship is designed to introduce students who are passionate about the oceans to wonderful marine habitats they would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit.
“You can’t really become an expert unless you experience what you’re studying,” said Dr. Carl Safina,
Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Institute. “For young people with dreams of entering the world of science,
being in it for real is vital. With this scholarship, we are happy to give them this chance and to honor
Kalpana’s adventurous, courageous spirit.”
“It’s a great pleasure to introduce young people to the world and the notion of exploration,” said Sven
Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “My own life was strongly influenced by a
mentor who introduced me to the importance of conservation and I look forward to learning how this
experience shapes the winners’ lives.”
Nguyen and Slotten will journey to the Galápagos island chain, which is located 600 miles off the coast of
Ecuador in mid-July. In addition to observing the island’s famous inhabitants – blue-footed boobies,
frigate birds, marine iguanas, tortoise, penguins and sea lions – they’ll also have an opportunity to swim,
snorkel and hike through the land of Darwin.
Nguyen will begin her senior year at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science this fall. A
nature lover who lives in urban Los Angeles, Nguyen volunteers at the SEA Lab, a small marine center in
the area where she takes care of the marine life and gives tours of the facilities. In addition, Nguyen runs
an environmental club on her school’s campus. Nguyen knows that the expedition to Galápagos will
enable her to “reconnect with nature.” But, she is more excited because she believes this experience will
“spark creative ideas to bring nature back to her community and to her city.”
Slotten recently completed 10th grade at the Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey. With an active
interest in conservation, Slotten is actively involved in community service at a local nature preserve
where she contributes to visitor education, cares for animals and conducts research on areas of the
preserve. Slotten views the expedition as an opportunity to immerse herself in “a new facet of the natural
world; interact with those who share similar interests and with naturalist who have made these subjects
their profession and their passion.”
Throughout the voyage, Nguyen and Slotten will keep journals to record their daily observations,
experiences, and personal thoughts. Samples of their writing will be posted on the Blue Ocean Institute
website (www.blueocean.org) later this year.