Sunday, January 26, 2020

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.

Board of Directors:

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 is the Business, Academic, and Research Continuity Program Manager at the University of Washington. Megan aims to strengthen regional disaster resilience by building public private partnerships to promote the dual goals of economic growth and environmental protection through policy making. 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’s work on environmental policy, and lifelong love for whales and the wonders of the ocean, combined with her role as a 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 son. 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 a Research Scientist at NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle and specializes in the acoustic ecology of beluga and killer whales. Since 2015, Arial has also been involved in yearly field studies with the southern resident killer whale population. Arial loves spending her time at sea and has been involved in marine mammal surveys off the coasts of Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska and Hawaii. Arial holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has been involved in marine mammal research and conservation 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.

Susannah Maher – Board Member

Susannah received her B.S. in Environmental Science with a marine ecology emphasis in 2018. She is now pursuing a Master’s in Marine Affairs at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington. She brings experiences in leadership, communication, and conservation issues from another non-profits and her personal life. As lifelong Washington resident Susannah has had a passion for the outdoors and Puget Sound for her entire life. She loves to spend her time hiking, reading (preferably in a hammock), or scuba diving. She is excited to be able to engage kids in science based learning and conservation.

Molly McCormley – Board Member

Molly McCormley is currently a research scientist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle, focusing on marine mammal physiology. She has experience working on multiple species including killer whales, Steller sea lions, and northern elephant seals. Much of the research Molly has participated in takes her to remote corners of Alaska, with summers spent on uninhabited islands or on vessels in the Bering Sea. She obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and went on to complete a master’s degree at the University of the Pacific focusing on hormonal changes and the potential consequences of acute and repeated stress in northern elephant seals. She loves inspiring others to learn as much as they can about science and nature! Also, her dog, Wyatt, is perfect and she enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities like paddle boarding and hiking.

Dylan Wambold – Board Member

Dylan received his B.S. in Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. He is currently enrolled in the Woodland Park Zoo’s Advance Inquiry Program working toward his M.A. in Biology from Miami University. His masters project focus is working toward increasing the awareness of the effects of stormwater runoff in western Washington communities. Dylan is the Assistant Director of School Age Care at the Ballard Community Center and develops camps for large out of school time programs. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors, hiking, backpacking, and gardening.

Katie Sieverman – Board Member

Katie Sieverman is a biologist who escaped her roots as a fifth-generation Texan and migrated to the Pacific Northwest, which she now calls home. After completing her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California – Berkeley, Katie transitioned from research to science education, joining the Biology department at the University of Washington – Seattle as teaching faculty. Katie is fascinated by all things nature – animals, plants, fungi, microbes, and the beautiful environments they inhabit. She believes in the power of meaningful conversation and storytelling to tackle the ecological and societal challenges we face, and loves asking questions that begin with “why?”. When Katie is not in the classroom, she can be found on her bike, at the climbing gym, planning her next escape to the wilderness, training for mountaineering, dancing in her kitchen while cooking a tasty meal, trying to identify a strange fungus or invertebrate she found, or slowly enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the birds and pondering solutions to all of life’s problems. Katie lives, works, and plays on the ancestral homelands of the Duwamish people.

Lou Forristall – Board Member

Lou has a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Illinois. He migrated to the PNW in pursuit of a Master’s at the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. His master’s project deals with fisheries bycatch issues in Alaska, and the rest of his studies focus on how humans interact with their environment. Lou developed a passion environmental education working as a teacher and hiking guide, and he is excited to contribute to KWT’s mission. When not studying the sea and its creatures, he’s usually out trying to see them.

Pod Squad of Influence:

Eric Hess – Immediate Past Board Chair

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 and took a leave of absence in 2018 to focus on his growing family.

Candice Emmons – Former Board Member

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 – Former Board Member

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.

Advisory Panel:

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.