PhD Student Researcher
Lauren is a PhD student in marine mammal ecology based at the University of California Santa Cruz. Raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Lauren’s love for the ocean developed in her university years when she studied abroad in Perth, Australia.
Although her degree was in Chemical Engineering, she felt a profound pull to work in environmental conservation. This led to her first internship with a white shark conservation organization in Gansbaai, South Africa, and a job as a marine naturalist on the island of Maui, Hawai’i. After her first whale season, she was hooked.
She then spent several years working as a whale watch guide and marine naturalist in various places around the globe. This time spent abroad increased her awareness of the plight of the ocean, and she felt the pull to return to graduate school. Her research now involves better understanding the impacts humans are having on the largest creatures on the planet – and how to minimize them. She spends several months each winter working in the Antarctic as a guest scientist onboard cruise ships, collecting health and behavioral data on humpback whales and other cetacean species.
Apart from her studies, much of her time is dedicated to wildlife photography and writing. Science communication is a great passion of hers, and she hopes to continually integrate the worlds of science and art to help protect the beating blue heartbeat of the planet (the ocean). She is on the leadership board for her local chapter of the Society for Women in Marine Science, volunteers for the Surfrider Foundation and Save Our Shores, and also fosters dogs for the local animal shelter whenever she isn’t out on the ocean.