Briefly describe your job and your area of expertise. I am responsible for the maintenance and repair of diving equipment used at the Academy. I am also involved with day-to-day diving operations in the Academy exhibits. In addition, I work with the other DSOs to train the volunteer divers and staff researchers to Academy standards.
What got you interested in becoming a Diving Safety Officer? I have been involved with the UC Berkeley Scientific Diving Program as a volunteer instructor for a number of years. I recognized very early on that a DSO position with an educational or academic diving program would allow me to teach diving at a high level, and to work with scientific divers to improve their skills and safety awareness.
What do you like most and least about your job? I enjoy the variety in my day. I get to interact with our volunteer dive staff, our aquatic biologists, and the Academy visitors. I can go from working on a regulator in the morning to diving in the Philippine Coral Reef tank in the afternoon. My least favorite part of the job is the commute home on MUNI and BART.
What college did you go to and what degree did you receive? I earned a BS degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley’s College of Natural Resources. The CRS major is an interdisciplinary program that allowed me to put together a marine science program, focused on temperate marine ecosystems. I also hold an AS degree in Chemistry from Contra Costa College.
What influenced your job choice and when? I have been a diving instructor for a number of years. Once I got involved with the UC Berkeley Scientific Diving program, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in diving for science.
Do you have pets at home? What and how many? My wife and I have one cat, a little tortoise-shell named Celia. She is the loudest cat I’ve ever met, particularly at 4:00 AM.
Advice for someone wanting to go into your field. Get involved with the diving program at your University, and then volunteer for as many projects as you can. Most marine science schools will have lots of opportunities for qualified divers to participate in research projects. The more experience you acquire as a project volunteer, the more opportunities will become available. Also, any work in the diving industry, whether as a research assistant, at a dive shop, or with a SCUBA equipment manufacturer as in my case, will broaden your background and make you more attractive to diving program managers.