Samantha Young, M.S.

Brown Endowed Senior Research Coordinator

Samantha Young serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Brown Endowed Senior Research Coordinator in Community Engagement. In this role, Samantha works on community-based conservation programs, developing and implementing collaborative field programs based on socio-ecological research and diverse approaches that benefit people, wildlife, and habitats. Through her work, she seeks to build capacity for locally managed, sustainable conservation. Samantha also assists with programs in our Conservation Education Lab, including the Advanced Inquiry Program.

Samantha conducts fieldwork in in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico, where a porpoise known as the vaquita is on the verge of extinction due to bycatch, and in the dry forest of Peru where a unique population of Andean bears is threatened by human development. She partners with local organizations to reduce human impacts on ecosystems, while considering the livelihoods of people. This includes research into human interaction with the environment to inform environmental education and teacher training, sustainable livelihood initiatives, improved cooking methods, and including local people in conservation research and leadership.

Samantha earned her bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, and her master’s degree in Biology from San Diego State University, where she studied the evolution of baleen whales. Passionate about a career dedicated to inquiry into science and nature, she first joined the Institute as an Undergraduate Summer Student Fellow before becoming a permanent employee in Community Engagement. Samantha is fluent in Spanish and loves the ocean and the desert.