BIO-JESSIE WILLIAMS, PH.D.
Jessie Williams lives and works at the fertile nexus where science and visual arts meet. Her career titles include behavioral scientist, clinical psychologist, and conservation biologist. As a fine art photographer, she draws on her deep understanding of the inner lives of humans and animals to create stories about our commonality. Through her photographic displays, Jessie aims to translate the information we have in our head into experiences of visceral understanding. Jessie believes that art has the potential to connect us to important issues in a way that cold, hard facts cannot. Jessie aims to inspire love and empathy for other life forms, and to promote a sense of urgency to protect the things we love.
Jessie earned her Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University, Institute of Animal Behavior. She continued her research career at the University of Maryland, Department of Zoology. She has published numerous scientific articles in the field of behavioral biology, including a seminal paper showing the role of oxytocin in pair-bonding. Jessie expanded her work into a clinical realm at the University of Miami, Department of Behavioral Medicine, and the University of Florida, Health and Sciences Center. Her strong conviction that empathy and compassion promote human and planetary health provides a mainstay to her current endeavors. She divides her time between a clinical practice and her work in wildlife conservation.
Jessie has long been dedicated to wildlife conservation, evidenced by her work as founding board member of Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, and her membership on the Board of Trustees to the Lemur Conservation Foundation. She created the project, Media For Conservation, with the mission to promote wildlife conservation through film, photography, and photojournalism. Her current photojournalistic work expresses a unique blend of science and poetry and an urgent message to protect wildlife. Among favorite current projects, Jessie is working on a visual biography about bonobo apes: a journey into hope as she explores the peaceful nature of this endangered cousin as evidence that we, too, have “goodness” in our DNA.