Allison Payne is a PhD student in the Beltran lab in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at UC Santa Cruz, where she studies elephant seals and other marine mammals. She has also studied humpback whale entanglement with San Francisco State University and the Marine Mammal Center. Allison has led over 600 wildlife trips to search for marine mammals off the central California coast, ultimately earning her commercial captain’s license. Her fieldwork has taken her around the globe to Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain. In her free time, Allison runs a science communication project called WhaleGirl, which brings cetacean education to audiences around the world.