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In the Company of Fellow Explorers

Dusty Howland and Kakani Katija Young never met each other, but they’ll share a bond for many years to come.

Dusty loved anything to do with the ocean—to fish, to sail, to cruise, to learn about its mysteries and to support the study of it. He traveled the world in pursuit of his passion. He studied his favorite waters like an oceanographer, and throughout his life he did much to protect and preserve the land and water that gave him so much pleasure.

Kakani is a bioengineer, and takes inspiration from the natural world. While many people in her field are drawn to medical research or aeronautics, Kakani found her calling in a jellyfish. Specifically, her research focuses on the power sources that propel the motion of the oceans. Winds and tides have long been known to drive ocean currents, which in turn affect weather patterns around the world. But as her evidence shows, the “creatures in our seas could be as important to ocean circulation and global climate as the winds and tides,” she explained after National Geographic named her an Emerging Explorer in 2011.

What links these two explorers is not simply the ocean; Kakani is able to work at the Institution and begin her promising career thanks to Dusty and the Devonshire Scholar program he created.

Actively involved with WHOI for over 25 years as a member of the Corporation and a Trustee, Dusty supported education at the Institution through the Devonshire Postdoctoral Fellow program, created in 1984. His legacy carries on in perpetuity through the Weston Howland Jr. Postdoctoral Endowed Scholarship Fund, established in 2011 and fully endowed in 2012 to support an international pool of oceanography’s best and brightest young minds—The Devonshire Scholars—as they launch their careers.

“The Devonshire Scholar program has given me, a young researcher, the freedom to pursue and advance high risk, high reward concepts and ideas,” Kakani said. “Most postdoctoral and research positions are unable to provide such an opportunity.”