Enduring Legacies, Ensuring Futures: Eugenie Clark and the Women Divers Hall of Fame

Posted In: Deep Thoughts
Eugenie Clark

Dr. Eugenie Clark founder of Mote Marine Laboratory and member of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame.

Earlier this year the passing of Dr. Eugenie Clark made international headlines, and for good reason. Dr. Clark was a renowned marine biologist, and was often referred to as the “shark lady” due to her research and passion for educating the public about the nature of the ocean’s apex predator. Dr. Clark also played an important role in opening up careers in underwater science for women. At a time when graduate programs felt justified in refusing admission to women, Dr. Clark excelled in her work. Just by doing her job, Dr. Clark demonstrated that women could not only work underwater, but shine in that environment.

Dr. Clark routinely encouraged and mentored women pursuing careers. Stanford University marine science professor Barbara Block, one of the world’s foremost shark trackers, described her in an email as “one of my early mentors” who worked on making powerful acoustic tags to study six-gill sharks off the coast of Bermuda. Anne Doubilet said of Dr. Clark in a remembrance: “she was and will continue to be an outstanding role model for all of us. She was my teacher and mentor for over half my life. She taught me the value to never accept no and continually ask why. She made science come alive and an integral part of our daily life. … Whenever she spoke we listened.”

logoDr. Clark was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame (WHDOF) in January 2001. The WDHOF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and raising awareness of the contributions of outstanding women divers. WDHOF Members are the pioneers, leaders, innovators and world record holders throughout the international diving community. These areas of diving and undersea endeavors include: the arts, science, medicine, exploration and technology, marine archeology, business, media, training and education, safety, commercial and military diving, free diving, and underwater sports. There are currently 186 members in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, hailing from 30 U.S. states and Territories and 12 countries worldwide.

In the spirit of Dr. Clark and other outstanding women divers, the WDHOF provides educational, mentorship, financial, and career opportunities to the diving community throughout the world. Each year, WDHOF awards scholarships and training grants that provide financial and educational support to individuals of all ages, particularly those who are preparing for professional careers that involve diving.

For the 2016 year (downloadable pdf), there are 13 scholarships and 15 training grants worth over $44,000. Of particular note is the Cecelia Connelly Memorial Scholarships in Underwater Archaeology, which is awarded to deserving women of any age who are graduate or undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited course of study in the field of underwater archaeology. The funds are intended to assist with college tuition, fees, or field study costs and are sponsored by the Connelly family in memory of their mother and WDHOF member Cecelia Connelly.

Having personally benefitted from the WDHOF, we encourage you to review the full list of scholarships and training grants, and forward this announcement to your friends and colleagues. For 2016, applicants MUST complete the online application form. The deadline for applications is November 20, 2015 at midnight U.S. Eastern Standard Time. Applicants will be notified of award status by February 1, 2016. To learn more about The Women Divers Hall of Fame, visit: Women Divers Hall of Fame

Toni L. Carrell, Ph.D., and WDHOF member (2001)
Amanda M. Evans, Ph.D., and recipient Cecelia Connelly Memorial Scholarship (2008)