Diversity Scholarship  *New in 2021

Recreational scuba diving is a privileged sport. Training costs money, the gear is expensive, getting to dive sites adds up.

Reports have found that 68.4% of divers are Caucasian (Zippia ), 60% male, and 66% are college graduates. Each of these demographics are considered privileged and can be additive. In a 2018 and 2019 report, it was found that 64% of scuba divers earn more than $75, 000 per year (Scubanomics), with a total household income of over $100,000 (DEMA ). For those who continue to go on in their diving education, “70% earn above 100K” (Scubanomics ).

Many researchers cannot participate in the scientific diving training that they need due to the fact that they simply cannot afford to get their Open Water Scuba Certification. We look to offer those a chance to get an assist with this first major hurdle.

Who would this be for? This scholarship is targeted to those from underrepresented groups in diving, based on personal background, as demonstrated by a variety of factors, including but not limited to, educational experience, socioeconomic background, cultural heritage, race and ethnicity, and geographic origin AND:
- Who need scientific diver certification for their research but first need the prerequisite open water certification and whose institutions do not offer open water certification courses.
- Those interested in pursuing a scientific diver certification for volunteering or a technical position.
- Those interested in becoming a scientific diver within the aquarium or organizational member with which they are currently associated.

How does the scholarship work?
- The AAUS Scholarship Chair, along with the AAUS Foundation scholarship and diversity committees will choose a winner based on their application.  Note: This is a need-based scholarship.
- The Foundation provides payment directly to the dive shop of recipients choosing for an open water scuba course including online modules, confined water dives, open water dives, gear rental for the course, processing fees,
and personal mask, fins, and snorkel. 
-Foundation to provide a one-year DAN Master Plan.

Applicants Must:
-Be an AAUS member (join at www.aaus.org/join)
Must be connected to an AAUS Organizational Member such as:

  • Graduate students whose thesis/dissertation work involved diving.
  • Undergraduate volunteers participating in research.
  • Aquarium volunteers or employees who would like to include diving in their job duties.

-Provide a one-page personal statement must include:

  • Statement of self-identification as a member of a traditionally underrepresented group who, under normal circumstances, may not receive scuba diving instruction or would struggle due to financial barriers or other hardships.
  • Reason for applying. May include description of planned research or work/volunteer time that could require scientific diving, applicable involvement in extracurricular activities, community service or other work experience.

-Provide a Letter of Recommendation from faculty or mentor.
- Signature of institutional DSO confirming they will continue on to scientific diver training.
- Complete online application. (find under Apply Now tab)

NOTE: Basic watermanship skills and swimming ability are a prerequisite for an Open Water Scuba Diving course. Applicants should be comfortable in the water.

Once scholarship is awarded, applicant must:
- Provide up to three suggested dive shops for the Open Water course including cost. Assistance available from a DSO in the region of the applicant in finding a reputable dive shop/instructor to complete the training.
- After the experience, submit a short bio/summary of experience for publication and promotion of this scholarship.