Fathom’s Dominican Republic STEM Voyage Underscores its Commitment to Student Education Around the World
Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation’s 10th and newest brand, is finalizing preparations for its July 17 Dominican Republic voyage representing the first ever cruise to the Caribbean focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming. The 7-day cruise will feature specialized STEM-focused workshops for educators that Fathom developed in close collaboration with the Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL). Fathom also will play host to the fifth annual Clean Tech Competition, a unique research and design challenge for pre-college youth. Additionally, advertising students from the Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma’s (OU) student-run advertising and public relations agency Lindsey + Asp will join the sailing as part of their partnership with Fathom to promote this first-ever STEM-focused cruise to the Caribbean.
“Since our founding, Fathom has considered experiential education a central element of the experience we are bringing to travelers and communities,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. “By hosting the first-ever STEM cruise to the Caribbean, we are demonstrating our commitment to education in a creative and innovative way by engaging as partners, educators and students who are actively working to advance our collective understanding and application of STEM while at the same time working to further build young leaders.”
Russell has a personal reason for wanting to create this community. “Both Tyson (10) and Lucy (8) love complicated math. I want to do all I can to encourage their continuing passion. We need to make math and science and business cool and exciting for kids -– so they embrace their interests and don’t feel like outsiders for studying what they love.”
According to Russell, Fathom’s partnership with the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College student-run advertising and public relations agency is yet another way the company is furthering its commitment to education. “The students created an incredible project during their capstone class on behalf of Fathom, which led to an ongoing partnership between Fathom and Lindsey + Asp. Through this partnership, they have applied their classroom learning to a ‘real-world’ marketing opportunity – to build awareness and drive sales for Fathom,” she said. “With this cruise, we have created a ‘living lab’ for them to put their skills to work as they promote Fathom while seeing for themselves the truly unique impact experience we provide enhanced this week by the STEM theme.”
For educator programming, Fathom worked alongside Ray Ann Havasy, Ph.D., director of the CSTL, to design progressive and engaging professional development workshops to help educators continue promoting student learning of critical STEM concepts. Fathom workshops will provide specialized training and information on STEM-related teaching resources, collaborative STEM program support, and technical career development opportunities. The featured onboard programing will emphasize the following areas:
- Project based learning
- Hands-on science activity ideas and demonstrations
- STEM questioning techniques
- Earth science
- Endangered species
As host of the Clean Tech Competition, Fathom will welcome onboard talented 15- to 18-year old students from around the world to showcase their creative solutions to “Make an Impact” by offsetting humans’ negative effects on the planet. The competition is designed to foster a deeper understanding of STEM-related concepts, recognize outstanding talent, and prepare the next generation of globally competitive innovators. The winning team will receive an award of $10,000, as well as the opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship with a professor who will serve as a long-time mentor and assist them in furthering their work and education.
Fathom’s Partnership with the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College
An additional element of the Fathom’s July 17 cruise will be the participation of University of Oklahoma (OU) advertising students on the sailing. Members of the University’s student-run advertising and public relations agency Lindsey + Asp will travel aboard the STEM-focused sailing to film Fathom’s impact activities and share its commitment to student education globally. Participating in the sailing is just another step in what began as a semester-long capstone project, which led to the agency’s full-time partnership with Fathom to apply four years of coursework and academic study in a “real-world” engagement designed to promote the new brand.
As a part of the students’ semester-long project, they worked closely with Fathom to strengthen Fathom’s brand awareness and educate the consumer marketplace about the new impact travel category. The students conducted focus groups on to design their campaign for the company then implemented a robust program throughout the year.
STEM Activities Augmented by Social Impact Experiences
Travelers sailing aboard the STEM voyage will participate in the range of social impact activities in the Dominican Republic for which Fathom has become known, including educational programs benefitting school-aged children and adult students alike. For STEM educators on the July 17 cruise, Fathom has organized additional, special exchanges between U.S. and Dominican teachers to discuss how to further integrate STEM content into the Dominican school curriculum.
In addition to the education programs, Fathom offers a broad range of authentic impact activities focusing on the environment and economic development. The company has developed close partnerships with organizations with deep roots in the Dominican Republic. The activities travelers participate in will have an immediate and lasting impact, tailored specifically to what each community needs most. Example impact activities include building water filters for Dominican homes; helping a women’s cooperative produce artisan chocolates; improving homes and common areas in impoverished communities; assisting arts and crafts entrepreneurs; participating in community English-language retention activities; and supporting reforestation efforts.
Fathom’s STEM sailing is a first of its kind in which educators can learn, share and motivate each other while continuing their own professional development and supporting talented pre-college youth from around the world. They may do all this while collectively impacting the lives of thousands of Dominicans through organized social impact activities. Prices for the seven-day STEM trip to the Dominican Republic start at $499 per person, excluding taxes, fees and port expenses and including all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies. To reserve a spot on this and future Fathom sailings, travelers may call 1-855-932-8466 or work with a travel professional. Learn more at www.Fathom.org.