Jay Simpson by Michael George
Jay Simpson by Michael George

NatGeo Young Explorer, Photographer, & Guide

b. 1987      he/they.

Jay Simpson, a National Geographic Young Explorer and digital storyteller trained in anthropology, collaborates with experts and practitioners facing social challenges to utilize multimedia storytelling as an intervention tool to encourage behavior change. He has created multimedia projects and awareness materials related to human-wildlife conflict, mountain and habitat conservation, HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, urban issues, and more with local communities, experts, and non-profits across four continents.

In addition to the above, Jay worked as the High School Experiential Ed & Project Collaborator at Brightworks, an alternative, project-based school in San Francisco from 2016-2019. There, he designed interdisciplinary curriculum, executed week-long thematic field trips, and managed all student-led projects during 8-week project phases. He also created the Brightworks Human Library, KBWX student-led radio and podcasts, and multiple community field days for the entire school community.

Currently located in San Francisco, CA, USA but happy to travel anywhere.

/ Instagram / Twitter / Facebook  /  Linkedin

Education & Certifications

  • Pursuing M.A. Interactive Media for Conservation, NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study (2021)
  • Towson University B.S. Anthropology and B.S. Film, Video & Digital Media, 2009.
  • Wilderness First Responder 2015, 2018.

Awards & Recognition

  • 2012 National Geographic Young Explorer, National Geographic Society
  • 2012 Included in Best Explorer Moments of 2012, National Geographic Society
  • 2012 First complete trek of +400 mile Rim of Africa Mountain Passage, South Africa
  • 2009 Most Distinguished Scholar of Anthropology, Towson University’s College of Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice

Strengths & Expertise

  • Field and studio photography, videography, audio production, blogging and social media production
  • Website design, information architecture, WordPress customization and third-party tools integration
  • Technology education, participant-driven project facilitation, and community engagement projects.
  • Grant proposals, project reports, and voiceover script writing and editing
  • Interviewing, research, and creative data analysis
  • Educational public speaking, storytelling, and multimedia presentations
  • Project management, from initial goal-identification and team-creation to outcome reports

Volunteer & Service

  • Volunteer since 2013, The Free Farm Stand, Mission District, San Francisco.
  • Assistant Librarian since 2014, Bibliobicicleta, bicycle-based mobile free library, San Francisco.
  • Volunteer since 2015, Juri Commons Park Clean-up, San Francisco.

Previous Project Outcomes

2014 Wolf OR-7 Expedition & Wolf OR-7 Expedition Documentary

  • Popular expedition website and social media following
    • Over 46,000 pageviews from 112 countries
    • 65 blog posts, over 500 images, multiple videos with over 20,000 collective views
    • 2,900 followers on Facebook (with a social reach peaking at 94,000 people in one day) and 580 followers on Twitter
    • 25 question/response educational series answering questions received online
  • Dozens of public presentations, with hundreds reached (including other team member presentations) across the United States and internationally
  • Other products produced:
    • Digital and print map “Wolf OR-7 Story Map”
    • Online Video “Timelapse of 1,200 miles in the Tracks of a Wolf”
    • Photo series “Wolf OR-7’s Journey in Photos From the Forest Floor”
    • Digital ebook of expedition’s online content
    • Numerous poems and oral stories
  • Multiple press interviews and articles
    • Associated Press News story with global print syndication
    • Numerous radio and print stories
    • Over 20 online articles promoting work of the expedition
  • $35,000 Expedition budget funded by
    • 2 major sponsorships for core expedition costs
    • 9 in-kind supporters and gear sponsors
    • 10 organizational endorsements and support
    • $22,485 KickStarter Fundraising Campaign with over 250 donors and 10,000 social media shares

2012 Rim of Africa Multimedia Trail Journal (Website)

  • Adventure website sharing educational content to a global audience
    • Nearly 20,000 pageviews from 124 countries 120 blog posts, 15 audio pieces, 20 videos, and 1,000s of images
    • 330 followers on Facebook
  • 4 Presentations, with over 250 students/attendees reached
    • Internal research presentation to National Geographic Society
    • Two school presentations, one in South Africa and one in USA
    • 1 public presentation (South Africa)
  • Multiple Press Interviews and Articles
    • Featured in National Geographic’s Top Explorer Moments of 2012
    • Two radio interviews, one in South Africa and the other (National Geographic Weekend) broadcast across the USA and published as a podcast
    • Cape Nature magazine article, Nightjar Magazine, and Towson University Alumni Magazine
    • Inclusion in geography text book in Lithuania
    • 3 blog posts on National Geographic’s website

2010 GreatGuides.Org

  • Multimedia blog full of good news stories of Africa, history, cultural exchanges, and more
    • Over 50 video profiles of storytellers, community leaders, conservationist, etc with over 40,000 views on YouTube
    • Over 100 radio stories and interview recordings produced in the field
    • Blog posts and multimedia uploaded from remote areas across Southern & East Africa during a year of overland travel from Cape Town to Kenya and back
    • Over 500 followers via Facebook and Twitter

Other Projects

My HIV Promise
Fundraising blog created to raise money for the 2012 AIDS/Lifecycle Ride that allows participants to submit promises in response to “What is your promise in the fight to end the spread and stigma of HIV/AIDS?”.

  • Creation, maintenance, promotion of website.

H.E.L.P. Malawi Children’s Video Series
Fundraising videos created from narratives written by students expressing how the N.G.O. helped students at their school in rural Malawi.

  • Lead youth workshop to script, act, and produce videos.
  • Film and edit videos for YouTube and DVD Distribution.

Urban Voices:
Interviews with residents, recounting their community’s and personal histories, to build a unique archive of cultural history in the Historic Sharp Leadenhall neighborhood in South Baltimore.

  • Film, edit, and mentor others in media production.
  • Prepare conference presentations from collected materials.

Presentations and Screenings

“Oppression of Hazara in Afghanistan”

  • 2011 Women’s Voices From the Muslim World
  • 2010 Screened at Hazara Conference in Afghanistan with President Hamid Karzai in attendance
  • 2010 Opening film at Hazara Asylum Rally in Australia
  • 2009 Women and Minorities Media Festival at Towson University
  • 2009 Materiality Conference at the University of Florida

“Urban Voices: Historic Sharp Leadenhall”

  • 2009 American Anthropological Association Conference (Presented by Dr. Matthew Durington)
  • 2009 Towson University Undergraduate Research Expo