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Lekelia (Kiki) Jenkins

Lekelia (Kiki) Jenkins
Science & Technology Policy Fellowships

2007-09 Energy, Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources (EEANR) Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

When Lekelia “Kiki” Jenkins applied for the AAAS Fellowship, she knew she wanted to serve at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The only problem was NOAA had never hosted a AAAS Fellow before.

Kiki, who has a PhD in marine conservation from Duke University, spoke with several officials at NOAA about the benefits of hosting S&T Policy Fellows in their offices. “When they decided to host for the first time, I just kept my fingers crossed that they would think I was qualified,” she says.

They did, and for two years Kiki was at the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Office of International Affairs, where her responsibilities included serving as the staff lead for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). Her expertise and experience put her in a good position to address conservation-based regulations.

She believes her most profound contribution has been her work related to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Kiki’s efforts focused on a petition by non-governmental organizations that calls for the banning of swordfish imports from countries without adequate marine mammal protection measures in swordfish fisheries. “As a AAAS Fellow and not a federal employee, I felt I had more liberty to suggest and pursue a wider scope of options in considering the petition,” she explains.

Kiki is now a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle. “My post-doc is based in large part on what I learned in the AAAS Fellowship,” she says. Her experience at NOAA will also affect her future research. “It has changed my perspective on the kind of scientific work that I do. Instead of being reactive, I’ll be able to look ahead, stay more current, and anticipate where the policy needs are.”