I am generally concerned with making the world a better place (yes) through shared learning, empathy, & understanding systems.

I primarily work in conservation, mainly in the coastal realm – usually related to small-scale fisheries. This makes sense, because I get easily seasick and I am a vegetarian. I used to stalk dolphins, but now I mainly interview, teach, & communicate with humans, because conservation is a human process. My work strives to support more effective, equitable, & ethical planning, implementation, and evaluation of conservation projects.

I am also the primary communication support person for my brother Danny Whitty, a nonspeaking autistic writer & advocate. We work to build community, raise awareness, & develop innovative learning programs for adult nonspeakers. I am in training to be an S2C Practitioner.

Also, I love writing. I hope to do more of it professionally.


Based in San Diego

Irish-Japanese (immigrated from Japan as a wee one)

Research experience includes following zebras, staring at monkeys, catching birds by various means, searching for marine mammals, and a whole lot (1000s) of interviews

Marine mammal bycatch = gateway to becoming an interdisciplinary researcher

Fulbright U.S. Student Scholar, National Geographic Explorer

Proud member of the Southeast Asia Marine Mammal research family

Big fan of qualitative data, design thinking, systems thinking, mindfulness

Disillusioned by academia & disenchanted with the peer-reviewed journal industry (no longer agreeing to review for journals)

Language enthusiast & curious traveler

Astoundingly intermediate surfer

President & Consultant: Keiruna Inc.

Engagement & Social-Ecological Expert

Community Engagement Director
Pact Media


Gulf of Mottama International Advisor, International Union for Conservation of Nature

NSF SEES Postdoctoral Fellow & Conservation Assessment Scholar: Center for Marine Biodiversity & Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD

PhD, MSc: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD; Center for Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Field jobs + vitamin clerk at a health food store during low-money times (have *thoughts* about pursuing academic/conservation career with no intergenerational wealth/financial safety net…)

B.A.: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, + Environmental Studies Certificate, Princeton University

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