Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins


Dr. Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins is an award-winning marine sustainability scientist, science dance choreographer, and at Arizona State University in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. 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 advised 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 Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Scotland. Dr. Jenkins also studies science dance as a means of science engagement, science communication, and social change. She has produced 80+ publications and scholarly works, granted $10.5M in funding in conjunction with collaborators, and received 50+ awards and honors for her research, teaching, science engagement, and service, including work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Among her many accolades and awards, she is an International Science Council Fellow, National Geographic Explorer, Fulbright Scholar, and member of the National Academies of Sciences Ocean Studies Board. For her accomplishments as a scientist and role model for women and girls in STEM, Dr. Jenkins was recognized with a life-sized statue that was exhibited in the National Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall. She has appeared in numerous media outlets including NPR’s Science Friday and All Things Considered, CNN, PBS, Nature, and Science Magazine. 
Dr. Jenkins’ commitment to nature was nurtured by her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland, where she fished and crabbed recreationally on the Chesapeake Bay and volunteered as a junior zookeeper. 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, Kiki 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. Her pastimes include watching, teaching, and participating in many forms of dance, reading, traveling, and eating good food while enjoying a beautiful view.