The Franklin Institute

Reflecting on E/V Nautilus: Alix Returns to The Franklin Institute

Brittany and Alix

On September 15th, E/V Nautilus left port in Honolulu Harbor with an ambitious plan to map and survey 10 previously unmapped and unexplored seamounts in the far north of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off of Hawaii. It was the first time the E/V Nautilus had ever been so far into the Eastern Pacific, and hurricane season threatened to cut our operations short many times. The seamounts we set out to survey have never been seen by human eyes before, but now after 11 successful ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) dives streamed directly to the internet, we have a deeper and richer understanding of our planet on a geographical, geological, and biological level. I am honored and humbled to have been on this team as an educator to share our work with people around the country and around the world.

crane on E/V Nautilus ship

You can watch a video of some of the amazing creatures we encountered on these seamounts during our dives here. It features corals, sponges, and other associated ocean life discovered in these deep sea communities. It is primarily narrated by Dr. Tom Hourigan from the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program, and if you listen closely you'll hear me chime in too!

Throughout my time as a Science Communication Fellow, I worked twelve 4-hour shifts in the control van helping to facilitate educational conversation about the dives. I hosted over 30 Q&A sessions with schools and museums around the country, and I also connected with The Franklin Institute and our guests and volunteers through eight separate interactions.

I have had an incredible time serving as a Fellow and carrying the mission of The Franklin Institute with me through the entire expedition. I am humbled by the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience I was surrounded by with the Corps of Exploration.

It is energizing to think about returning to Philadelphia and sharing what I've learned with my coworkers, my family and friends, and you, the visitors of our museum. You can find me at The Franklin Institute doing live science presentations all around the building; I'd love to answer your questions about the E/V Nautilus and the importance of science communication. 

The E/V Nautilus will soon depart from Honolulu Harbor with a smaller team led by Lindsay Gee to map the Clarion Clipperton Zone on a transit towards Monterey Bay where more Science Communication Fellows will join the crew to educate and excite even more people around the world about the intricate beauty and balance that exists deep below the surface of our ocean. 

You can continue to stay updated with the exploration of E/V Nautilus through Twitter and Instagram as well as

Have a question for Alix?


Follow the E/V Nautilus on Twitter and Instagram: Twitter - @EVNautilus / Instagram - @nautiluslive

October 8, 2018, 10:06am

Alix Leszczynski

Science Interpreter

Alix works as part of the Museum Programs and Outreach Initiatives team and performs live science demonstrations, creates curriculum for use on the museum floor, and helps to oversee educational volunteers and materials. Their favorite duties include overseeing the anatomical specimens such as horse hearts, cow eyes, and human brains.