Social-ecologist for hire. Aspiring writer. Here to help.
Now based in San Diego, with forays into the field around the world (…mainly Southeast Asia). Exploring the freelance lifestyle to allow for more quality time with family, particularly to improve as a communication partner for my brilliant, minimally-/unreliably-speaking autistic brother.
From following dolphins and listening to villagers on remote coastlines, to sharing skills and ideas in classrooms, to developing and facilitating strategic workshops, my work is centered on the idea: How can we actually make a meaningful and positive difference through conservation? This guiding idea spans from actively including community voices in designing better solutions, to pragmatically evaluating conservation approaches and outcomes, to making conservation careers more accessible and inclusive, to larger issues of decolonizing conservation as a field.
I’m continually working to build my skill set, experience, and perspectives from diverse field sites, projects, disciplines, and sectors, seeking insights and approaches to inform more thoughtful, practical, and equitable conservation. I see this as a quest for what I elegantly call “no bullshit conservation.” I’m particularly excited by the potential for Design Thinking as a framework for transdisciplinary, solutions-driven approaches. Along the way, I have been truly fortunate to work with dedicated, inspirational teams in many countries and from many walks of life, and I value these collaborations beyond words!
I also have long wanted to enter the world of freelance, nonfiction writing, as a way to share important and underrepresented ideas and experiences in conservation, but also more generally to share perspectives and stories about feminism, representation for neurodiverse people, travel, and life experienced along the way. My brother is also an aspiring writer and autism advocate, and we hope to collaborate on projects in the future!
Originally from Japan (Irish-Japanese hapa pride!), I grew up in Poway, California, and then braved the east coast to learn in the hallowed halls of Princeton University. I spent the next two years working as a field assistant in Thailand, Kansas, and Texas (and as a vitamin clerk at Henry’s Market to tide me through low-money times…yes, let’s talk about barriers to entering the conservation field!). Starting in college, I’ve been fortunate enough to study and work in California, Texas, Kansas, Hawaii, Panama, Kenya, Thailand, Peru, Mexico, the Philippines, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Myanmar. I’ve also traveled to numerous other countries for meetings and (too rarely) just for fun as a responsible traveler. I’ve seen some incredible flora & fauna, met and befriended amazing people, experienced fascinating cultures, and enjoyed many adventures.
These experiences have inspired me to contribute to our understanding of conservation needs and solutions in a way that will help people, animals, and ecosystems in these places that I’ve come to love. Along the way, I migrated from behavioral ecology (zebras! monkeys!) to marine conservation (marine otters! dolphins! porpoises!) to more broad social-ecological conservation research, and from academia to the NGO world (which I personally found to be much more fulfilling, though not without frustrations) to this very flexible, but exciting, world of freelance consulting, where I can link academic and applied work.
Other interests include: playing in the ocean (surfing, SUP, diving, swimming), running, yoga; vegan concoctions; traveling and spending quality time with friends and family (including canines) whenever our paths cross; feminism, immigrant and refugee rights, human rights; Spelling as Communication.