September 28, 2022

Up & Comers

Young Guns

20-somethings who are helping to shape business in Florida.

Diane Sears | 7/1/2006
Jennifer Kleinbaum, 28

Job: Co-owns Blue Jungle Tours, an ecotourism company that takes groups on one- to two-week educational vacations in the Caribbean. She's also director of education at the Francis M. Weston Audubon Society at the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center. Operated by Escambia County School District, the center sits on 120 acres of forest land and has taught 8,000 second- and fifth-graders about the environment and natural habitats since Kleinbaum came to the center two years ago. She secured a $75,000 grant for the program this year.

Education: Bachelor's in marine biology from Cornell University in New York and master's in educational technology from Long Island University. She recently earned a fund-raising certification at New York University.

Grew up in: Teaneck, N.J.

First job: Sorting and filing newspapers from around the world at the Cornell University Library.

Turning point: A college study trip to Akumal, Mexico, with a dozen other students, when she sat down with the local people and talked with them in broken Spanish about the science of the coral reef they took for granted.

In 10 years: "I would love to be the director of a nature center or a marine lab so I can help shape the direction of science education, not just for elementary school students but especially for communities that really need the help." Also would like to be giving three to five tours a year through Blue Jungle Tours.

Advice for young professionals: "Make friends. Other people would call it networking," but she digs deeper to create friendships that turn into long-term contacts.

Tags: Around Florida

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