Kenny Broad, PhD

Environmental anthropologist and Professor at the University of Miami, Dr. Kenny Broad, has participated in extreme scientific and filmmaking expeditions on every continent to gather information and samples that shed light on little known environmental and cultural subjects.

Kenny was born in 1966 in Los Angeles, California, but moved to Miami, Florida shortly after where he lived until graduating high school. There he developed an affinity to warm salty water, the people that relied on its resources, and the creatures that lived beneath the surface. He received his B.A. in literature in 1989 from the University of California at Santa Barbara’s College of Creative Studies. He then worked as a professional diver for scientific and film projects around the world. These experiences observing the range of human-environment interactions led him back to school at the University of Miami (UM) where he received an M.A. in Marine Affairs and Policy. His mentor, Dr. Sarah Meltzoff, a Columbia Anthropology graduate, introduced him to Professor Comitas. Professor Comitas convinced him that anthropology was the way to combine his interests.

Kenny’s first ethnographic experience was led by Dr. Melanie Dreher, studying the social impacts of the proliferation of crack cocaine on an urban shantytown in Jamaica.  For his PhD under Prof. Comitas’s supervision, Broad studied the climate impacts on fisheries in Peru and Chile, graduating in 1999. Broad subsequently published many papers on the use and misuse of climate information in different parts of the world in high impact journals, including Nature, Science, and Climatic Change. He also served on NOAA’s Climate and Global Change Advisory Board for several years. He collaborated closely with CIFAS’s Dr. Renzo Taddei on multiple projects in Brazil as well.  

Broad was a post doc, then research scientist at Columbia until 2001, when he took a faculty position at the University of Miami. Kenny has remained active in cave exploration and was recently featured in the October 2023 special issue on Space in the National Geographic Magazine; and along with the late Wes Skiles, received the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year award in 2011.

Kenny is a licensed US Coast Guard Captain, a commercial helicopter pilot, and holds multiple diving ratings. He currently is Director of UM’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. He is also Co-Director of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions at Columbia University. Broad was a National Geographic 2006 Emerging Explorer and was elected a Fellow National of the Explorers Club in 2009.