Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins

Dr. Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins is an award-winning marine sustainability scientist and science dance choreographer. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, fishing and crabbing recreationally on the Chesapeake Bay. During the summers she explored the grounds of the Baltimore Zoo as a junior zookeeper, learning about endangered species and conservation. A Meyerhoff Scholar, she graduated with a B.S. in Biology and Dance Minor from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.  As a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Dr. Jenkins received her PhD from Duke University by pioneering a new field of study into the invention and adoption of marine conservation technology. During her AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, she helped implement new regulations to address bycatch and illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing by foreign nations. She later became an Assistant Professor at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington and during this time was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Ocean Sciences. She is now an Associate Professor at Arizona State University in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and has recently been named an Earth Leadership Fellow and appointed to the National Academies of Sciences Ocean Studies Board.
Dr. Jenkins’ research centers on the human dimensions of marine sustainability solutions, including fisheries conservation technologies and marine renewable energy.  Her work has led to regulatory changes that allow more sustainable fishing practices, has informed international fisheries diplomacy, and has informed renewable energy policy. Her research includes field sites along the southeast, west, Gulf, and Alaskan coasts of the United States, and in Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Scotland. Dr. Jenkins also studies the science dance as a means of science engagement, science communication, and social change. Her pastimes include watching, teaching, and participating in all forms of dance, mentoring, reading, traveling, eating good food while enjoying a nice view, imagining the possibilities, loving her friends and family, and loving her life.
Selected Honors and Awards
  • Member, Ocean Studies Board, National Academy of Sciences, 2020
  • AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, 2019
  • First Place, Dance Your Research Competition, International Sea Turtle Society, 2017
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow in Ocean Sciences, 2013
  • Member, Global Young Academy, 2013
  • Runner-Up, Postdoctoral Category, AAAS Dance Your PhD Contest, 2008