Scuba diving is a valuable skill for marine research, but the training and costs required can create further disparities in a field that already lacks diversity.
To reduce barriers for under-represented and historically marginalized communities, this project will support the creation of a new training program: the DIVErsity in Diving Program (DDP) at the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara. DDP is designed to recruit and support students from Latinx and other historically marginalized communities through a one-year dive training program.
The funding will assist four undergraduate students through all levels, including everything from swim lessons to scientific diver training. In addition to removing the financial barriers of training and gear costs, the project will train mentors in best practices in order to create an inclusive and supportive environment for students.
Existing diversity programs on the UCSB campus will help recruit students who are motivated to learn about ecology, conservation science and climate change research. By the end of the year-long program, the DDP fellows will be conducting research in diving-related labs and starting the process of becoming scientific divers themselves.