Welcome to the CIMI Dive Club!

The CIMI Dive Club is a place for the CIMI and Catalina Sea Camp community (former, present, and future) to connect around an interest in the ocean and diving! Monthly virtual meetings feature a guest speaker working in a field related to diving, marine science, and/or conservation as well as time to connect and plan dive meet-ups!

Interested in joining the CIMI Dive Club email list?

Stay up to date with meetings, recordings, and latest news.

Two girls smiling in scuba gear.

Upcoming Dive Club Speakers

December Meeting TBD!


Felipe Gómez

Dr. Felipe Gómez is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies at San José State University.   As a social scientist, Felipe specializes in organizational communication and has published research on organizational socialization, group decision making, and service learning.  Felipe is especially interested in how we use communication to frame and negotiate tensions between present issues that require immediate attention and future issues that require consideration and planning.  The concept of temporal myopia is central to most of his research.

Felipe started diving when he was in grad school, taking several dive courses and becoming a NAUI Instructor under the instruction of the late Peter Oliver at The University of Texas at Austin.  Felipe first joined Catalina Sea Camp as a dive master in 2006, working under the mentorship of Anne Lyse “Louca” Andlauer, Andy Balendy, Dave Work, Andrew Bruscher, and Michael Samale, among other great staff.  Being an associate professor has allowed Felipe the flexibility to keep returning to Catalina Sea Camp as a NAUI dive instructor.  Besides his experience at Sea Camp, Felipe also taught scuba diving courses at UT Austin and Texas State University for several years, volunteered for the UCSC open water sessions, and worked doing guided tours both at Monterey, CA and in Playa del Carmen, México, where he taught scuba diving independently.

Hanna Reed

Hanna Reed (Johnston) was born in San Diego, CA and grew up on the waters of St. Petersburg, FL. After returning to San Diego in 2001, Hanna pursued a serious swimming career and spent her summers as a Junior Lifeguard, ultimately igniting a lifelong passion for water safety and education.

In 2009, Hanna hung up her swim goggles and headed to Cal Poly Humboldt, pursuing Marine Biology and Scientific Scuba Diving. In the summers, Hanna followed her passion for water safety and emergency response, spending months guarding the crowded beaches of La Jolla, CA as an Ocean Lifeguard and EMT.

In 2012, Hanna was hired by Catalina Island Marine Institute as a dive staff member. The summer on the island confirmed what she had suspected, a career in diving safety was on the horizon.

After earning her degree in Environmental Management and Protection, and minor in Scientific Diving, Hanna moved to Florida with her partner and future husband, spending a year in North Florida and teaching scuba in a unique environment – the Florida Springs! But California still called Hanna home, as Coast Guard orders took her small family back west.

Hanna worked in the Santa Cruz mountains as an EMT before heading back to volunteer with the Humboldt State University Scientific Diving Program. Hanna spent 6 years as a faculty instructor at HSU, training students in first aid, rescue, and divemaster courses. During her final year in Humboldt County, Hanna and a team of divers created the Humboldt Bay Fire Public Safety Dive Team, in memory of Nicholas Bruner.

In 2021 Hanna was offered the position of USC Diving Safety Officer at Wrigley Institute of Environmental Studies, and returned to Catalina Island, where she resides today. As Dive Safety Officer for USC, Hanna manages all of the USC diving operations on the island and projects around the world, assists with Hyperbaric Chamber Operations, and teaches scuba and first aid courses. Her passion, though, still lies in undergraduate education, specifically for underrepresented minorities. In 2022 Hanna created a course with the help of the Wrigley Institute directly addressing the barriers historically marginalized communities encounter when entering the field of scientific diving. The Scientific Diving Discovery Program was born, and now offers all-inclusive yearly training for STEM students from all over the nation. The most special thing about the USC Dive Program is that it is expanding. Hanna’s current projects include expansion of the program into recreational diving education and growing the existing scientific diving program.

Support the Wrigley Institute and Hanna’s Vision Here

Dr. Tierney Thys

Dr. Tierney Thys is a National Geographic Explorer, biologist, filmmaker, author, Research Associate at California Academy of Science and founder of the 501c3 Around the World in 80 Fabrics. She is founder of the Adopt a Sunfish and owner of www.oceansunfish.org. Her diverse

research and outreach projects include: mapping connections between nature and human wellbeing through brain imaging, quantifying nature’s effect on incarcerated populations, satellite tracking ocean sunfish throughout the world ocean, and researching sustainable textile solutions to fast fashion pollution. She served as the Underwater Explorer for the popular on-line game Animal Jam which grew to a total of 130 million registered players in 200 countries. As past Director of Research for Sea Studios Foundation, she helped produce the NSF-funded, PBS documentary series Strange Days on Planet Earth and Shape of Life. Dr. Thys  also serves as an expert for numerous National Geographic Expedition itineraries each year, is a TED All-star speaker,  frequent TEDed contributor e.g.The Secret Life of Plankton (Wildscreen Panda Winner), and serves on the science advisory board for the innovation think tank, ThinkBeyondPlastic and Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Catalina Sea Camp Showcase!

3-Week Session 3 (84) Showcase!

Join us to view the underwater photographs and scuba video final products from our first session campers! This is an awesome way for campers to share their work, and the cool things they saw underwater, with their families and friends!


Catalina Sea Camp Showcase!

3-Week Session 2 (83) Showcase!

Join us to view the underwater photographs and scuba video final products from our first session campers! This is an awesome way for campers to share their work, and the cool things they saw underwater, with their families and friends!


Catalina Sea Camp Showcase!

3-Week Session 1 (82) Showcase!

Join us to view the underwater photographs and scuba video final products from our first session campers! This is an awesome way for campers to share their work, and the cool things they saw underwater, with their families and friends!


2022 Dive Staff

Running Dive StaffMeet the Catalina Sea Camp Dive Staff for Summer 2022!

Hear about the backgrounds of this summer’s dive staff and learn about what led them to careers as dive professionals. Get tips for getting your dive gear ready for the summer season and more!  The meeting will also feature a dive program question and answer session for Catalina Sea Camp families!

ENS Desda J. Sisson

NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps

Desda earned a B.S. in Marine Biology and a minor in Scientific Diving from Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, CA. She has previously worked for Guided Discoveries as a marine science and dive instructor on Catalina Island, and as The Aquarium of the Pacific’s Diving Safety Officer for Field Operations in Long Beach, CA. Currently, Desda is a NOAA Commissioned Officer stationed aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster homeported in Charleston, SC. Desda holds certifications as a NAUI Dive Instructor, AAUS Scientific Diver and Instructor, air-diluent CCR diver, USCG Licensed captain, and is a current board member of the Catalina Marine Society, based in Southern California.


Hillary Holt

Community Learning Manager, Catalina Island Conservancy

Hillary Holt.

Hillary Holt joined the Conservancy’s Education department in 2016 to apply her training in conservation and ecological research to interpreting the natural history of the Island and the mission of the Conservancy to the public. She grew up in Illinois and started pre-vet at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and received her Bachelor’s in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. An undergraduate professor of urban ecology changed her trajectory by introducing her to ecological research. Now having received her Master’s in Zoology, with a certificate in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2013, she is enraptured by evolution and biodiversity on Islands. A Certified Interpretative Guide (CIG) through the National Association of Interpretation, Hillary has become a CIG Trainer, and looks to further the art of science interpretation. As the lead instructor of the Naturalist Training program and coordinator of the Last Friday Lecture Series she is dedicated to bringing lovers of Catalina the most current information from the most relevant sources.

George Matsumoto

Senior Education and Research Specialist at MBARI

George Matsumoto.

A native Californian, George is third generation Japanese and grew up in southern California. He went to UC Berkeley for college studying phycology (there’s a story) or seaweeds and earning a Botany degree. During his final year at UCB he was able to get scientific diver certified which has had a huge influence in his life. During high school and college, he also worked in the state and National Park systems doing trail crew and teaching trail maintenance to high school students. George took a year off after graduating and worked part of that time for the Catalina Island Marine Institute before starting up a PhD program at UCLA. He ended up studying gelatinous zooplankton for his degree using SCUBA, Human occupied vehicles, and remotely operated vehicles around the world to collect specimens and observations. He then worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a short time and was a NSF postdoctoral fellow at Hopkins Marine Station (Stanford University) before taking up a tenure track position at Flinders University of South Australia where he spent three years before returning to California and his current job at MBARI.

He was awarded the QuikScience Ocean Leadership Award for commitment to Ocean Education and recognized as an ASLO fellow. He has served on a number of local, regional, and national boards including the National Marine Educators Association Board and the National Ocean Studies Board. He also participated in several National Academy committee reports and helped coordinate the 15th Deep Sea Biology Symposium in Monterey in 2018. At MBARI, he coordinates the seminar and internship program as well as the NSF funded Adopt-A-Float program. He is an adjunct faculty member at Monterey Peninsula College where he co-teaches an Environmental Science course at night and is part of the first AGU LANDInG cohort that will focus on building capacity to effect change (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the geosciences.

Stephen Frink

Underwater Photographer, Alert Diver Magazine Editor

Diver taking photo of shark.

Stephen Frink is among the world’s most frequently published UW photographers, with a career spanning four decades. He arrived in Key Largo in 1978 to open a small studio dedicated to UW photo services, primarily renting cameras and processing E-6 slide film, but he soon began to receive assignments to photograph and write articles for the consumer dive publications of the day. He worked as a photojournalist for Skin Diver magazine for 17-years, covering much of the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida Keys for the publication. Subsequently he worked as the Director of Photography for Scuba Diving magazine. For the past 10 years Stephen has been the publisher of Alert Diver Magazine, a beautiful coffee-table collectible magazine for the members of the Divers Alert Network. Clients for assignment photography range from Scubapro to American Express to Rolex.

Stephen teaches a Master Class course in underwater photography each summer in his home waters off Key Largo, Florida. He offers dive excursions emphasizing underwater photography through his travel company, WaterHouse Tours. When not on location in some tropical dive destination he divides his time between homes in Key Largo, Florida Keys and Rougemont, NC. View his portfolio here.

Deidre Sullivan

Member of the Women Diver Hall of Fame, Marine Geologist, Submersible Diver


Deidre was the Director of the CIMI Diving Program from 1986-95. She made substantial changes to the dive program by creating best practices for teaching scuba to teens; this led in part to her being inducted into the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame in 2014. Deidre has been an underwater videographer, a marine geologist (mapping marine protected areas off California using submersibles) and a college educator. Deidre is the co-founder of the Marine Advance and Technology Education (MATE) Center and directed the Center until her retirement last year. MATE is a national center that works with colleges, universities, and K-12 education to develop the marine workforce through at-sea internships, student underwater robotic competitions, teacher education, and more. Deidre will share her professional journey in science and education and how her experience at CIMI and with scuba diving have served as a foundation for approaching work and life.

Aunpa Asokan

Ocean Advocate & Waterwoman


Anupa works at the intersection of ocean science, policy, and communication. She is currently advocating for California’s marine protected areas through the 30×30 effort and is the director of Ocean Impact at Burero. She serves on the national Board of Directors for the Surfrider Foundation and helps lead their justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work. In her free time, she raises money for Surfrider through distance paddles, and enjoys snorkeling, fishing, and surfing.

Staff underwater diving.

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