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News > Alumni News > Alumna Maya Santangelo (2009) a positive career difference for the oceans and our planet

Alumna Maya Santangelo (2009) a positive career difference for the oceans and our planet

Maya Santangelo (Class of 2009) returned to school to speak with Year 10 Science students and share her career journey working now as diver, marine naturalist and science communicator.
12 Mar 2019
Alumni News
Maya Santangelo (Class of 2009) just another day in the office
Maya Santangelo (Class of 2009) just another day in the office

Alumna Maya Santangelo a positive career difference for the oceans and our planet

Maya Santangelo (Class of 2009) is currently working as a diver, marine naturalist and science communicator on expedition ships around the world and mostly based in California. While in Sydney for a short break she kindly came into visit the science students of Year 10 and share her career story since leaving Oxford Falls Grammar School, ten years ago. 

Maya took a gap year after graduating from school to compete at the World Youth Championships for Indoor Rock Climbing in Scotland, and complete a Captive Animal Studies course with Taronga Training Institute, before starting a Bachelor of Science at University of Sydney. In her first year studying, she completed her first level of professional diver training, earning my PADI Divemaster certification, and self fundraised to travel to Thailand and Cambodia on a volunteer trip working with an elephant conservation and rehabilitation organization and helping with construction at a school in a tiny hill tribe community. In her second year of studying, she realized she wanted to seriously pursue marine biology, so completed her training to become a Scuba Diving Instructor and transferred to James Cook University in Townsville to complete my undergrad studies, graduating with a major in Marine Biology in 2014.

Since graduating university, she has worked as an intern over the summer at Lizard Island Research Station, before moving to Palau where she worked for almost a year as a professional dive guide, with experiences that proved to be formative in realizing a passion for communicating science and sharing the underwater world with others, through dive guiding and presenting as a marine naturalist in tv and documentary productions. These experiences were significant in leading her to to applying for and being awarded the Rolex Scholarship for Australasia of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society for 2016. This is a year long experienced based program to allow young divers a chance to travel the world and work alongside leading experts in respective underwater related career fields, sponsored by Rolex, with the goal of exploring ways to apply ourselves in future career pursuits to make a positive difference for the oceans and our planet.

Since completing this Scholarship in 2017, she now works full time in the dive and expedition industry, primarily with Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic Expeditions diving around the world from the Arctic, to remote Mexico and Baja, Alaska, French Polynesia and Antarctica with the goal of educating people about the marine life and nature that makes these remote places so special, as well as about the threats they face and what we can do to protect them. She is working in remote corners of the planet, possibly diving where no one has ever dived before, which allows for unique observations and the chances to contribute to citizen science and marine research.

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