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Graduate student shares scuba diving adventures

Posted on 02.20.2013

First year occupational therapy student Emily Augustyniak has been scuba diving for three years.

Augustyniak first experienced diving in Florida, and then got her certification at the Venturing Program in St. Louis, Mo. According to, the program is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America and is a program for young adults who want to broaden their experiences.

“I was hooked from the certification dives and after Florida,” Augustyniak said. “I could not get enough of it. So I went back, got my advanced open water and rescue diver [certifications] and spent a year just diving. Then I started my dive master [certification] and I have been doing it ever since.”

As a dive master, Augustyniak has been  able to help students get comfortable with diving and teach them alongside an instructor.

Emily Augustyniak poses beside underwater wreckage on a scuba dive at France Park in Logansport, Ind. Photo contributed by Emily Augustyniak.

“I love being a dive master,” she said. “I am usually the first person students connect with and see, so I can introduce them to what I love doing.”

Augustyniak has been able to go to a number of unique dive sites, including the Florida Keys, Sanibel Island and the Denver Shark Tank.

“When I first got certified, I chaperoned a venture crew down at the Florida Sea Base, which is on Island Mirada in the Florida Keys,” Augustyniak said. “We did three dives a day for like a week and dove on coral reefs.”

Augustyniak said that she has always been interested in the ocean and thought about going into marine biology before she got into occupational therapy. She was introduced to the organization Diveheart through Facebook and realized she could combine her passions.

According to, Diveheart is a nation-wide non-profit organization that is based in Illinois. The organization’s mission is, “to build confidence and independence in children, adults and veterans with disabilities using Scuba diving as a tool. ” Diveheart allows individuals  with disabilities to enjoy the experiences of scuba diving without the threat of discrimination.

As an OT student and avid scuba diver,  Augustyniak said that she aspires to volunteer with Diveheart.

“I really want to volunteer with Diveheart,” Augustyniak said. “Just for these people to experience weightlessness and to see these kinds of things, it helps them forget the real world for a bit, which is what I love about it.”

Beyond her aspiration to work with Diveheart, Augustyniak said that she enjoys scuba diving for its relaxing and social aspects.

“For me it is calming,” she said. “It is a social activity but it is a different kind of social. It is wonderful.”


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