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Jessica Whiton stands in Shedd's Oceanarium.

Jessica Whiton

Supervisor, Marine Mammals

With years of experience working with Shedd’s marine mammals, Jessica Whiton shares her expertise by training new trainers.


B.S., biology and psychology, Hope College, Michigan.

“The best part of my job is when the animals choose to play with me.”

Drawing on her two decades of experience working with Shedd’s beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and penguins, Jessica Whiton helps train the marine mammals training staff. She began her Shedd career in 1996, first as an intern in the Marine Mammals department, then as a volunteer and finally as a full-time employee. Although she had planned a career in research, the internship hooked her on marine mammals.

Whiton has witnessed many births at Shedd and helped raise beluga and dolphin calves and penguin chicks as well as many rescued sea otter pups. In 2003, she was sent to the Alaska SeaLife Center to assist with the care of Mari, a stranded pup, whom she later accompanied back to Shedd. She has also traveled side by side with beluga whales during transports and spent nine months with Shedd’s belugas at Mystic Aquarium during the renovation of the Abbott Oceanarium.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Hope College, Holland, Michigan.