Profile picture of: Lekelia Jenkins


School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University

Research Interests



Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where she grew up fishing and crabbing recreationally on the Chesapeake Bay. During the summers she prowled the grounds of the Baltimore Zoo as a junior zookeeper, learning about endangered species and conservation. A Meyerhoff Scholar and UNCF/Merck Fellow, she graduated with a B.S. in Biology 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. Since then, she has worked as an environmental consultant for the Natural Resource Defense Council, while also actively participating in the burgeoning field of Studies in Expertise and Experience. Forging a new path of opportunity, she gained the support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to host its first ever AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellows. As a Fellow, she served in the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of International Affairs, where she helped implement new regulations to address bycatch and illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing by foreign nations. Kiki came to the University of Washington as a postdoctoral scholar supported by the Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship and the David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship, which is awarded to rising conservation scientists who have the potential to change the face of conservation through entrepreneurial approaches.

Kiki has recently become an assistant professor at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington. Kiki’s research interests center on the rigorous, empirical study of the process of conservation in order to distill conservation theory and codify best practices, specifically exploring marine conservation, bycatch, conservation technology, invention, technology transfer, and diffusion of innovations. Her research includes field sites along the west coast of the United States, Gulf of Mexico, in Ecuador, and in Costa Rica. Her hobbies include teaching and participating in all forms of dance, mentoring, reading, traveling, eating good food with a view, writing poetry, costuming, imagining the possibilities, loving her friends, and loving her life.