Young Alumni Series

Jenny Roberts ’14: Saving the ocean, one whale at a time.

Jenny Roberts: Saving the ocean, one whale at a time.

An average day for Jenny Roberts ‘14 is hardly an average day at all. She doesn’t sit behind a desk or attend board meetings on a regular basis.

She snorkels.

Roberts is a fresh-off-the-boat marine biologist. She received her Masters this past December, and she is currently living in Hawaii where she works for the Pacific Whale Foundation and “helps protect the ocean through science and advocacy.”

Every morning, Roberts gets on a boat full of tourists and educates them on Hawaiian culture, sea life and how to conserve the ocean while taking them dolphin watching and snorkeling.

And that’s just her summertime agenda.

“In the winter months, it’s Humpback Whale season because Hawaii, especially Maui, is a part of the Humpback Whales’ migration, and so we do get Humpback Whales that travel down from Alaska,” Roberts said. “When that happens, because my specialty is cetaceans, which is whales and dolphins, I will be on board explaining Humpback Whale behavior as well as explaining their migration patterns and what they are doing in Hawaii. I will also be helping the research department of the Pacific Whale Foundation identify the whales so we can see which animals are coming back each year and stuff like that. I am really excited.”

Roberts said her favorite experience so far as a marine biologist was when she got to go to Ireland for six months. She took trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site called Skellig Michael and got to see numerous species while she was there. One specific day stood out in her mind the most.

“There was one day where we were out in October, and it was just the most amazing day,”  Roberts said. “We were on a boat coming back in, but the Captain heard there were some Humpback Whales in the area so we were like ‘alright we will check it out!’ We went over to the location of the sighting, and we ended up seeing eight Humpback whales, at least 100 plus common dolphins, five Minke Whales, Yellowfin Tuna and a couple of Harbor Porpoises. It was just this whole cluster of marine life, and it was just awesome.”

Roberts loved Ireland so much she wants to return, this time, more permanently.

“My dream job is to take what I learn in Hawaii and go back to Ireland and implement it into their tourism system where I was working for my Masters,” Roberts said. “Ireland is the best place on Earth, and I just want to go back so badly and help business over there. They rely a lot on the ocean with their economy, and I think a whale-watching business over there would really help the community and get the word out that Ireland actually has one of the best places to watch whales in Europe.”

Despite all the amazing places and animals Roberts has been and seen, Auburn, Alabama will always have a special place in her heart.

“Auburn’s marine biology school is one of the greatest, and Auburn is the best place on Earth. If there was an ocean by it, I would never leave,” Roberts said.

Check out the Pacific Whale Foundation’s website to learn more.

Interested in adopting a whale, turtle, false killer whale or dolphin? You can do that too! See more information here.