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Why so Proud

So Proud! Why? – Her Favorite Word that Spawned a Career

| Angela Naff |
So Proud
Vic & Liz Graduation Day at New College

I honestly believe that my second child, Vic, was born to be a scientist. From the moment it became clear that why was going to be her favorite word for life, our world was put on a path that would lead to places no one expected. Her older sister Liz is our family artist, and Vic is the one that travels the world seeking to better it through knowledge. Both of my children are as different as can be from the other, and together a force to be reckoned with. Liz grew up ahead of the curve in learning and trying my patience every step of the way.

When she was early in her teen years, and evidently ahead of the average child her age in her learning abilities, she announced she wanted to be a marine biologist and take her love of asking why further – we lived in Oklahoma at the time. Yep, no waters there to practice diving and marine biology, so the logical thing, of course, was to make a move to Florida. Little did I realize that a single change in locale would put her on a course beyond marine biology to scuba instructor and a life that would span the globe on research vessels and travel opportunities.

Vic graduated from New College at the height of Covid, not missing a semester during the most trying times of scientific research. She covertly worked out a plan to drop a recording device at Mote Aquarium regularly to staff not quarantined outside to listen to river otters housed there. She would listen to hundreds of hours of tapes and eventually submit a first-of-its-kind senior paper on North American River Otters and Underwater Audiology – yes, they can communicate under the water, and she proved it during a pandemic. Proud mama moment six hundred thousand in regard to my kiddos.

Oh wait, she wasn’t done; she did go from a basic swimmer to a scuba instructor and now even helps train the Bullshark Diving Club at her alma mater, New College, while accomplishing grad work at Rosentiel School of Marine, Atmospheric & Earth Sciences out of Miami. She also has taken several transect research cruises spanning Guam, Brazil, Spain, and Iceland, to name a few, in pursuit of water sampling ventures for numerous educational facilities. She will be graduating this December with another degree and a goal to take to the seas and continue educating and learning as much as possible regarding marine ecosystems around the globe.

In addition to her education, she has also had some amazing experiences along the way. For instance, she was one of the divers invited to Dive 55 in Tampa prior to the Super Bowl, along with ex-military divers and special divers from the teams. (See her at 00:38 in the video below). That dive was “in celebration of Super Bowl LV, the event, sponsored by “Pepsi Stronger Together” with support from NFL Green and the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee, featured FORCE BLUE, Special Operations veterans, leading five teams of 11 divers each on to Spanish Rocks Reef to remove as much ghost fishing gear and as many derelict crab traps from the area as possible.

Additionally, she was one of the first to talk to reporters from the middle of the ocean about the Sargassum Seaweed that recently hit Florida. Vic was on a boat, and you can see her interview from the research vessel she was on:

She loves learning, and I’m sure will have many more adventures and unique experiences in her career. As she continues to challenge the norms, always ask why, and follow her own path – this proud mama will always be home waiting for her next amazing tale.

Photos Courtesy of Deposit Photos/Angela Naff & Vic Dina

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