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Nauticus Welcomes First Ever Director of Education and Community Engagement

Nate Sandel brings to Nauticus more than a decade of experience in STEM education.

Norfolk, Va. (July 21, 2022) – After a nationwide search, Nauticus is delighted to announce the hiring of Nate Sandel as the Director of Education and Community Engagement. In his new role, Sandel is responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing a diverse portfolio of programming which includes school programs that connect with the Virginia SOL Standards. Sandel will also cultivate strategic partnerships with educational and non-profit communities and build a network of regional educators to increase Nauticus’ visibility.

Sandel brings to Nauticus more than a decade of experience in STEM education, successfully leading teams in developing and delivering active informal learning programs to engage diverse audiences, including children, young people, students, and lifelong learners.

His 18 year long, impressive career began at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where he developed programming to bridge the gap between STEM education and history. Most significantly, Sandel is the creator of the CRMM Miniboat Program, a global, multidisciplinary STEAM learning experience for middle school classes in the Pacific Northwest and Japan where students are challenged to cooperatively design, build, launch, and track seaworthy GPS-equipped boats on a journey across the Pacific Ocean. Sandel has a bachelor’s in Community Development from Central Michigan University, is a founding member of the Northwest STEM Hub, and the winner of the 2022 Washington State Administrators Excellence in Education Award.

“Education is the heart of Nauticus’ mission, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have Nate come on board to lead these efforts in this new position,” said Nauticus CEO and President, Stephen Kirkland. “Nate’s diverse background will bring a unique and fresh outlook to Nauticus, and, with his extensive experience, he will be a great resource for our mission to educate, engage and inspire our community.”

About Nauticus
Nauticus is a maritime discovery center located along the waterfront in downtown, Norfolk, Virginia, offering a unique form of experiential learning for all ages. Through interactive exhibits and STEM to STERN programming, Nauticus uses the museum, Battleship Wisconsin, sailing center, and Schooner Virginia to tell the story of the maritime environment, industry, and the military. For more information, visit