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Kelly Bushnell

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Kelly, a.k.a. "Dr. Kelpy," is a teacher and ocean advocate specializing in oceanic literature, history, and culture.


She received her BA from the University of California (San Diego), MA from Mills College, and PhD from the University of London (Royal Holloway).  She has taught at the University of London, University of West Florida, and the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Ocean and Coastal Studies Program, and she was a 2019 Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental and Society in Munich.


Kelly based in Seattle, Washington and conducts research primarily in London and the circumpolar Arctic.  Her publications include essays for scholarly and general audiences on oceanic poetics and ecocritical and ecofeminist visual cultures.


She's also an avid waterwoman and balances archival work with fieldwork as often as possible, including as a PADI Instructor and the Humanities Scholar-in-Residence for an all women's Arctic expedition team from 2017-2020, and Instructor for Inspiring Girls Expeditions.


She's served as a volunteer naturalist aboard cetacean conservation and education programs, and as a team leader for the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Team, which rescues and rehabilitates (or necropsies) marine mammals and sea turtles.  There she saw firsthand the effects of human interference on sea creatures, including turtles suffocated by balloons or tangled in fishing line, whales with bellies full of plastic, and dolphins driven ashore by sonar testing.


When she's not teaching or underwater (or teaching underwater as PADI Instructor #458657) you can find her rowing a wooden boat around Puget Sound.

Visit her homepage at or catch up with her on Instagram at @dr.kelpy!

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