Sunday, November 18, 2018

Who we are


Jeff Hogan- Executive Director

Jeff started Killer Whale Tales in 2000 with the goal of bringing the living science of the field into the classroom. Combining his interests of teaching, photography, science, psychology and theatre, Jeff created a program in which the students came to experience the world as the animals around them do. Jeff brings over thirty one years of education experience and sixteen years of orca research to his position. He is also a research associate for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Cascadia Research, as well as a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

Stephanie Schuster – Board Chair

Stephanie received her MBA from Seattle University and has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership with an emphasis in finance and accounting from the University of Puget Sound. She brings certified non-profit management skills, financial oversight, and planning expertise to the table. She is currently in the Project Management Organization for UW Medicine IT Services after serving 5 years as a financial analyst for the Boeing Company. Stephanie grew up in Illinois but always dreamed that she would be able to see Orcas in the wild.  After “adopting” J17 as an elementary school student, it was only a matter of time before she would be working to protect the Killer Whale population to which J17 belongs; the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Stephanie Joined the board in 2012 as Treasurer and became Chair in 2017.

Megan Levy – Board Secretary

Megan Levy serves as Business, Academic, and Research Continuity Program Manager at the University of Washington. She holds a Master of Science in Infrastructure Planning and Management from UW and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Oregon (go ducks). Megan started her work in regional disaster resilience by building public private partnerships to promote the dual regional goals of economic growth and environmental protection through policy making. Megan’s work on environmental policy in this realm, and lifelong love for whales and the wonders of the ocean, combined with her role as a new mother and interest in hands-on education are what drew her to Killer Whale Tales. Megan is an avid hiker, occasional runner, and amateur balloon twister. She lives in Seattle with her husband and baby boy, Wesley. She can make a truly exceptional roasted red pepper cream sauce.

Claire Brandt – Board Member

Claire holds a MFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Bachelor of Arts with an English and American Literature Concentration from Harvard University. She is a strategic designer with a strong illustrative streak. A hybrid, she combines a fine arts background with critical thinking and a collaborative approach to all projects. She is currently a freelance graphic designer. Her clients include Russell Investment, Perkins Coie, Yahoo!, Marshall Strategy, and Chef David Shalleck. Her passion for the ocean and all of its residents brought her to the Killer Whale Tales Board in Spring 2016.

Katrina Dunn – Board Member

Katrina found her love for nature and preserving the environment as a child growing up on Whidbey Island, which translated into her adulthood. She received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Management from Portland State University. She has worked as a research assistant in Astoria, OR studying vegetation dynamics after wetland restoration events, as a deckhand and educator aboard the SoundWaters Schooner in Connecticut teaching environmental education, and as a naturalist guide for the Portland Audubon Society. In addition to working for the environment, Katrina likes hiking and backpacking the PNW, stay-cationing in Seattle, cooking all the food, and art. She hopes to go to graduate school and link her passions for environmental education, art, and citizen science!

Arial Brewer – Board Member

Arial is currently a Research Scientist at NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle and focuses on the acoustic ecology of beluga and killer whales. Since 2015, Arial has been involved in yearly field studies with the southern resident killer whale population. Before moving to Seattle, Arial was involved in marine mammal conservation and research in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Diego, California. Arial earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has been involved in the marine mammal science field since 2007. Aside from being a whale nerd, Arial enjoys hiking, scuba diving, camping and exploring the great PNW with her adventure pup, Henley!

Kailey Busch – Board Member

Kailey is a student at the University of Washington pursuing a B.S. in Earth & Space Sciences with a focus on Environment. She spends her free time working on geochemical research at UW, hiking all over the PNW, and listening to local music. As a student herself, she recognizes the importance of education and the crucial role it plays in the conservation of our planet’s natural systems and biodiversity. She has been inspired by her educators all of her life, and she is excited to be working with a program to inspire other young people across the region about such an important issue as saving the Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Mel Upton – Board Member

Mel has over 5 years of experience educating youth about the Puget Sound and its inhabitants in many different settings. She acts as the Education Coordinator at the Puget Sound Estuarium and enjoys whale watching every summer. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology (with a marine emphasis) at Western Washington University in 2014. Since then, she has gained increasingly responsible experience in informal science education at multiple zoos, aquariums and children’s museums in Washington State. Her informal science education expertise also stems from completing an “Informal Learning in Museums” Professional Certificate from the Oregon State University. In her free time, Mel enjoys reading, doing crafts, exploring the outdoors, cuddling her cat (Luna), and eating cheesy macaroni.


Advisory Panel:

Dr. David Bain- Program Advisor

Dr. David Bain is an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Washington whose research has addressed orca communication, social behavior, population dynamics, physiology, and genetics.

Deborah Giles- Program Advisor

Dr. Deborah Giles- Program Advisor:  Dr. Giles earned her Master’s degree in Biogeography from the University of California Davis in 2007.  Beginning with a pilot study in 2006, she has been collecting location and behavior data on the Southern Resident Killer Whales for her PhD dissertation.  Giles’ plans for the future include teaching students how to conduct field research relating to habitat conservation and restoration and spending as much time in the presence of killer whales as possible.

Kari Koski- Program Advisor

Kari is the program director and co-founder of The Soundwatch Boater Education Program at The Whale Museum of Friday Harbor.   For 16 years she has been an integral part of the developing scene around the San Juan Islands and was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the ”Be Whale Wise” safe boating guidleines.

Andy Foote- Program Advisor

Andy graduated in Science and the Environment from De Montfort University in the UK in 1994. In 2000 he spent a life-changing summer at Orcalab, B.C. acoustically monitoring the Northern Resident orcas. Since then Andy has worked with bottlenose and common dolphins, harbor porpoise and minke whales in research projects around the UK and Greece, but primarily with the Southern Resident Orca population. He just completed a three year research MSc at Durham University, UK on the vocal behavior of this population.

Candice Emmons – Program Advisor

Candice holds a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington. She is currently a part of the marine mammal program at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle and is working on a variety of projects including winter habitat use, acoustics, and foraging ecology of Southern Resident killer whales.

Nina Hadley – Program Advisor

Nina holds a B.S. in marine science and a master’s degree in marine affairs from the University of Washington.  She works for  the Nature Conservancy as the regional learning manager for the Asia Pacific region. An avid traveler, diver and rock climber Nina has made her home on a patch of moss in Seattle for nearly eight years and loves the simple quality of life that the Pacific Northwest affords. She has been doing the backstroke with the KWT pod since 2002.

Eric Hess – Program Advisor

Eric has held a lifelong interest in the outdoors and environmental stewardship. He is currently in Marketing at REI has held previous roles in marketing and communications in the nonprofit sector. Eric joined the board in 2009.