National Board of Directors

The American Cetacean Society’s National Board of Directors consists of individuals with diverse professional backgrounds and affiliations who bring to the governance of the organization knowledge of conservation science, whale watching, business, finance, education, the arts, and public policy. These eclectic interests are united by their passion for cetacean protection and their desire to advance a new paradigm in marine education, research, and conservation.

Meet The ACS National Board of Directors!

Uko Gorter National ACS President and President of the ACS Puget Sound Chapter

Email: [email protected]

Born in Amhem, Netherlands, Uko was a professional ballet dancer for 17 years, and is currently a scientific and natural history illustrator, specializing in marine mammal illustration. Uko's illustrations are featured in museum exhibits, interpretive signs, magazines and many publications like the Marine Mammals of the World, A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, 2nd Edition (Jefferson et al., 2015). Samples of his work can be found on his website, Uko Gorter – Natural History Illustration ( Uko is the President of the Puget Sound Chapter and has provided nearly all of the illustrations for the ACS’s national website, as well as numerous Whalewatcher and Spyhopper publications. He currently lives in Kirkland, WA, with his wife, Susan.

Diane Glim Secretary and Past ACS National President

Email: [email protected]

Although raised far from the ocean, Diane became interested in cetaceans at the first Save the Whales symposium held at Indiana University in the 70s. Within the first month of her move to Pacific Grove, California in 1988, Diane discovered the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society. She became very involved with the chapter in various capacities, and served two terms as Monterey Bay Chapter President and as ACS National President from 2012-2014. Diane is currently Secretary of ACS National. Diane is extremely concerned with the highly endangered status of the vaquita porpoise and helped establish ¡Viva Vaquita! to raise awareness and funds to help save the species. Highlights of her whale life included visiting the gray whale calving lagoons at San Ignacio, Mexico and kayaking among a superpod of orcas off the San Juan Islands. Diane lives in Pacific Grove with her husband and is a certified California Naturalist. She is employed by the Monterey County Weekly newspaper and is a long-time volunteer with the Sea Otter Research and Conservation (SORAC) program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 


Ric Matthews 

Ric Matthews Treasurer, Past ACS/SD President and Past ACS National President

Ric has taught biology for local community colleges for almost 40 years. First as a professor at San Diego Mirimar College (1982-2002), then served as Dean of MiraCosta College (2002-2011). More recently as an Adjunct Faculty member at San Diego Community College District, and part time adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences. Ric has served as the ACS-San Diego Chapter president from 1972-1976 and then served for two years as the founding National ACS president.  As a biologist he has studied various marine mammals. Ric now serves as the ACS National Treasurer.


Joy Primrose, Treasurer American Cetacean Society

Joy Primrose Board Member and President of the ACS Oregon Chapter

Email: [email protected]

Joy is the Founder and President of the American Cetacean Society Oregon Chapter. She brings her passion for public education about whales and conservation to the ACS. In this capacity, Joy has developed the ACS volunteer handbook as well as developed and teaches the ACS Oregon Chapter naturalist training course.

Joy developed an interest in cetaceans during her teenage years living in Ohio. After moving to Arizona in 1986 she was able to travel to California and Mexico to go whale watching and explore marine life. After moving to Eugene, Oregon in 1992 she began exploring the Oregon Coast. Joy has been a nurse since 1987, as well as owned and operated a construction company for seven years. She brings her business experience to the ACS National Board of Directors. Joy is a Certified Marine Naturalist (The Whale Museum, Friday Harbor, WA) and a CIG, Certified Interpretive Guide (National Association for Interpretation). She has volunteered with Oregon State Parks Whale Watching Spoken Here Program since 2004 and Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center since 2014 as an interpreter. She previously volunteered as an interpreter at the Oregon Coast Aquarium from 2007-2015. She lives on the Oregon Coast and has two daughters.


Sabena Siddiqui Board Member and Student Chair

Email: [email protected] 

Sabena has dedicated her career toward identifying avenues to bring together the scientific, conservation, and enthusiast communities for the common goal of protecting cetaceans. She is experienced in cetacean behavioral and acoustics ecology research as well as non-profit management. Since she founded the ACS Student Coalition in 2011, she has served as the student chair and as a national board director of the American Cetacean Society. Her efforts on the ACS board include serving as the International Whaling Commission representative for ACS and leading the organization's efforts to broaden the scope of cetacean conservation and science outreach beyond the typical ethnic and socioeconomic groups. As ACS student chair, she helps recruit new student leaders in addition to providing mentorship and guidance of current student leaders in campuses across the country. To promote gender diversity and inclusion in the field, she served as lead editor of the first publication highlighting women cetacean scientists through the ACS Whalewatcher journal titled "Breaking the Surface: women of Cetology". 

Sabena is currently a PhD student at Oregon State University's Marine Mammal Institute. Previously she earned her masters at University of Hawaii conducting humpback whale behavior and acoustics research. She has participated in projects involving cognition, communication, and species distribution in locations such as Egypt, The Bahamas, Hawaii, Florida and the North Atlantic. 

Jayne Vanderhagen, American Cetacean Society Board Member

Jayne Vanderhagen Board Member and President of the ACS San Diego Chapter

Email: [email protected]

Jayne is currently the President of the American Cetacean Society San Diego Chapter and a Naturalist on board the Hornblower Whale Watching tours for the San Diego Natural History Museum. Both of these positions allow her to share her joy and passion for marine life while generating awareness and education through lectures, programs, field trips and community events.

Her love of the ocean and marine life started as a young child with continuous family visits to the beach watching the dolphins in the surf. As a young adult it was her adventures in sailing and boating that deepened her passion by being able to more closely observe the marine life but it was her trip to San Ignacio in 1999 that captured her heart after looking eye to eye with a gray whale. Although her career life took her to the world of real estate, her passion for the ocean and marine life stayed safe in her heart.

Robert Wilson, American Cetacean Society Board Member

Robert (Bob) Wilson Board Member and Board Member of ACS San Francisco Chapter

Email: [email protected]

Bob Wilson is active in a number of environmental organizations. He is the former Chair of the Greater Farallones Association (formerly FMSA) board and is currently The Executive Director. He has been an active Beachwatch and SEALS volunteer. He has been on the Sanctuary Advisory Council for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. He currently is CEO of Sanctuary Supporters LLC. Bob is on the Board of Directors of the American Cetacean Society (SF chapter). He is on the Board as treasurer of the Snow Leopard Conservancy. He is a director emeritus of The Marine Mammal Center, is currently Policy Liaison for TMMC and is a stranding and animal care volunteer. Bob is also a founder and former Board Chair of Polar Bears International (US) and Vice Chair of PBI (Canada). He is on the audit Committee for the Desert Tortoise Preservation Committee. He has served as a director for Earthshare California. He is an attorney and retired from the Federal government.

Kelsey Stone Board Member and Social Media Manager

Email[email protected]

Kelsey is an ACS board member and runs our very active Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. She has a BSc in marine biology and a conservation biology master’s degree. While her undergrad focused on systematic research and marine mammal biology, her graduate degree had a heavy emphasis on community-based conservation, global stewardship, and outreach/education. Her graduate studies also integrated research and the use of modern technology like social media to inspire the public and promote conservation actions. She uses both the ACS social media platforms and her own personal accounts to share posts about cetacean conservation and marine biology. 

Kelsey devoted most of her schooling and career to cetacean research and conservation and heavily identifies with the goals and mission of the ACS. She entered the cetacean world as a toothed whale gal with Bernd Wursig as her undergraduate advisor doing photo ID and social/sexual behavior work with dolphins in Texas and New Zealand. More recently, however, she has found herself getting pulled more and more into the baleen whale world. After a stint at the New England Aquarium under Scott Kraus and a master's degree focused on anthropogenic threats to large whales, she’s spent a lot of time working with and advocating for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. She also often works as a marine mammal observer for industry mitigation and dedicates her summers to educating teenagers about marine biology, sustainability, and ocean conservation. 

Be sure to follow ACS on our various social platforms!

Shelby Kasberger Board Member, Past President of Texas A&M ACS Student Group

Email: [email protected]

Originally from Houston, Texas, Shelby graduated from Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2018 with a degree in Animal Biology. She has extensive experience in wildlife rehabilitation and has spent four years helping rehabilitate sea turtles, shorebirds, and raptors, in her efforts to aid wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. While her research background so far has focused on marine reptiles and shorebirds and she will now be working with cetaceans as a research assistant with a photo ID project on bottlenose dolphins in the Corpus Christ Bay area of Texas. She is excited to embark on her journey obtaining her Master's Degree in Animal Biology with an emphasis on marine organisms. Through various leadership roles, Shelby's dedication and passion for marine conservation helped lead the Texas A&M ACS Student Group for 4 years, including serving as President. As a national ACS board member, Shelby will now turn her skills and expertise toward conservation initiatives and policy within the organization. 

ACS Team Members

Kara Henderlight Advocacy Chair 

Email: [email protected] 

Originally hailing from Knoxville, TN, Kara moved to Wisconsin and earned her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. She then spent time in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia assisting with research of fin whales, humpback whales and Northern Resident orcas. Upon return, she enrolled in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the UW-Madison to pursue her masters degree in Environmental Conservation to obtain the tools to better advocate for what she loves. During this time, Kara saw the need for both her university and her community to be involved in cetacean conservation through land-to-sea stewardship. Thus, Kara formed the ACSSC-UW Madison Chapter and has been active on campus and within the community ever since. Through her graduate studies she has also worked with the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary as well as the Icelandic Orca Project in a variety of roles. With her education, valuable research and welfare experiences working with cetaceans, she is now helping lead ACS initiatives and "Action Items" to mobilize members and strengthen our presence.