Producer and Founder of Synergy Exhibit
“I empower entrepreneurs, artists, designers, educators, and communicators to make a social impact by building alliances within the scientific, policy, and business communities.”
Philosophy and Approach
Dr. Whitney Bernstein’s professional interests and expertise include exhibition production and design, science policy and advocacy, philanthropy, social enterprise, and renewable energy.
As Co-Founder and Producer of Synergy, Whitney develops exhibitions to encourage public engagement in science and policy, and to promote public support for science-based decision-making.
Whitney’s work as exhibition producer, policy adviser, and policy campaign director is underpinned by her experience as a scientist. These diverse roles are knit together in her commitment to advancing environmental sustainability through improved science literacy and enhanced public engagement. Whitney harnesses both technical and creative expertise in a collaborative multisectoral approach. She recognizes the multifaceted nature of environmental issues by giving direct consideration to social, cultural, economic, political, and technical aspects of the issues.
Whitney develops innovative approaches for garnering a vested interest in sustainability within a variety of groups including families, youth, entrepreneurs, industry, and policy-makers. She realizes creative approaches toward improving public understanding of science and policy in order to foster informed decision-making in both the everyday and public policy context. She develops pathways toward measurable progress in science literacy, public policy, scientific research, and private sector investments for an environmentally sustainable future.
This personal philosophy and approach, anchored in sound science, has informed her work as a exhibition and event producer, policy adviser, and policy campaign director.
Whitney is frequently tapped to speak on interdisciplinary collaboration and science communication and has done so at institutions such as Harvard University, Boston’s Museum of Science, UMass Dartmouth, the New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.
Whitney believes that interdisciplinary collaboration is essential to developing sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. As Co-Founder and Producer of Synergy: Ocean Stories, Whitney created partnerships between artists and research scientists in order to communicate big ideas in an engaging and intuitive manner, while simultaneously promoting discussion and creative thinking. The exhibition attracted almost 400,000 visitors over the course of four months at the Museum of Science, Boston, and still more in a subsequent exhibition and through online media and press.
Whitney recently completed a one-year Knauss NOAA Sea Grant Policy Fellowship serving as Ocean Policy Adviser to Congressman Sam Farr, a member of the Appropriations Committee and the founder and Co-Chair of the House Ocean Caucus. During her time on Capitol Hill, Whitney garnered and cultivated bipartisan interest in ocean issues, drafted and introduced new legislation, and secured an amendment to an appropriations bill to boost funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Policy Campaign Director
In collaboration with Think Beyond Plastic, Whitney produced an Innovation Showcase featuring 30 entrepreneurs using design, material, and manufacturing innovation for reducing marine debris. This showcase attracted more than 300 policy makers and their staff in both the legislative and executive branch and resulted in dozens of new professional partnerships. Entrepreneurs and constituents directly communicated their professional challenges to their elected representatives, stimulating dialogue on Capitol Hill around policy solutions for advancing environmental sustainability and promoting economic growth. Environment and Energy Daily News and SF Gate reported on the event.
In collaboration with the Marine Technology Society, Whitney spearheaded two Capitol Hill Briefings highlighting the importance of marine technology and “blue jobs” for ocean exploration and research, economic growth, and national security. These events directed the attention of members of Congress toward ocean issues.
Whitney received her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Whitney planned and led research expeditions in Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico, Florida, the Federated States of Micronesia, Australia, and French Polynesia. Whitney’s doctoral research centered on the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on coral reefs.