Ari Daniel Shapiro produces the Ocean Gazing podcast for COSEE NOW.
Born in the South Euclidean burbs of Cleveland, Ohio, independent producer Ari Daniel Shapiro gravitated toward science and the natural world at an early age. He was brewed in a brine of educators: His grandmother taught nursery school and filled her life with children, his dad is an elementary school teacher, and his mom creatively integrates technology and media into higher education. Shapiro’s AP biology teacher in high school set his science interests aflame, and so he studied biology as an undergrad at Boston College.
Shapiro’s first academic encounter with whales came after his junior year as a summer student fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He helped out on a project involving killer whale calling behavior, and he was hooked on marine mammals. He got a master’s degree at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland by training grey seals pups. And he got a Ph.D. from MIT and WHOI, with his advisor Peter Tyack, by traveling north of the Arctic Circle in Norway to explore killer whale communication and behavior.
In between those degrees, Shapiro did a program called AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, and worked as a legal advocate in New York City for people on welfare and that were precariously housed. Social and environmental justice had always been important to him, but this time in New York really made him want to do more in the world.
After earning his Ph.D., Shapiro turned to the land of radio and multimedia to tell stories about science. He knew the audio software from his work with whales, except now he actually understood what his subjects were saying. These days, Shapiro produces pieces about science for public radio programs that air nationally, for academic and research institutions, and for nonprofit organization (see his website). He’s jazzed about using storytelling to encourage science literacy across all ages. His pieces have appeared on NPR, Radio Lab and The World.
Shapiro lives in Somerville, Mass. in an apartment historically housing some of his dearest friends and family.