Brooke Mullins

Conservation & Science
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
  • B.A. Teaching English as a Second Language, Kent State University
  • M.A. Linguistics, Northeastern Illinois University

Areas of Expertise

  • Great ape communication
  • Gorilla gestural communication


After graduating with a B.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University, Brooke began accepting teaching positions across the globe while deciding what to do for graduate school. Eventually, she moved to rural Japan where she taught high school English and frequently observed wild Japanese macaques from her kitchen window. During this time, she began reading about the evolution of human language and great ape communication and became very interested in learning about comparative cognitive research between great apes and human children.

She began graduate school in a linguistics program at Northeastern Illinois University in 2021, where she researched the gestural communication of wild gorillas and eventually completed her thesis, titled Semantic Shift in Gestures of Wild Gorillas.

Brooke joined the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes in July 2023. She manages the center’s administrative duties and assists in ongoing research projects on-grounds and with external collaborators. She oversees the internship program and provides training in primate behavioral data collection methods using ZooMonitor.

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