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Meet Our People

CSUMB Diving Control Board
James Lindholm, Ph.D.Chair & MSCI Faculty
Andrew MorganCSUMB Diving Safety Officer
Sean SwingLecturer
Paulina Salinas-RuizLecturer
Steve Moore, Ph.D.MSCI Faculty
Amy ThomasDirector of Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management
Scott ChapmanDiving Safety Officer, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Program Administrators

James Lindholm

Dr. James Lindholm --- Program Director

James is a native Californian who grew up surfing and diving outside of San Luis Obispo, CA (approximately 2.5 hours south of Monterey). He arrived at CSUMB in January 2007 as an active scientific diver, having worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in New England and a private research institute in southern California. Immediately upon arrival at CSUMB, James was introduced to Frank Degnan, the instructor for the recreational dive courses and the part-time Diving Safety Officer. Together, and despite a variety of hurdles, they developed the scientific diving program, ultimately merging all dive courses, personnel and resources under the umbrella of the new Department of Marine Science into what is now the largest university dive program in the country.

James has conducted SCUBA-based research on six continents (no trips to Antarctica yet) and has been a participant in six missions to the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory in the Florida Keys (four as a saturation diver, two as a member of the surface diving team). Much of James' research involves the collection of undersea imagery, including stereo diver-operated video and, more recently, 360-degree video for virtual reality, to better understand where fish are and why they're there.

If James isn't diving, usually accompanied by his teenage daughter, he can be found surfing (also accompanied by his daughter), riding his road bike, or writing undersea adventure novels.

Andrew Morgan

Andrew Morgan --- Diving Safety Officer

For the past 10 years, Drew has held positions in the scientific and occupational diving field, starting first as a student and dive faculty member at CSUMB, then as a supervisor in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's dive operation and now as the Diving Safety Officer of CSUMB's Research Diving Program. These professional experiences reflect Drew's passion for environmental advocacy and teaching people safe and productive ways to interact with and study the natural world.

In his current role, Drew is responsible for the daily operations of the research diving program. On any given day, you may find him maintaining diving equipment, assisting with the instruction of all the our diving course offerings or working in the field with university research faculty and students on diving projects.

When Drew is not covered in grease in the dive locker or engaging and mentoring our dive students through the rigors of dive training and proficiency activities, he loves being out on the trail with his mountain bike or in the snow-capped mountains riding his snowboard. He also volunteers his time as a member of the Pacific Grove Hyperbaric Chamber and as a diver for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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Ali Fremont --- Science Diving Coordinator

Ali is a CSUMB Marine Science graduate, starting her own journey through the dive program in 2011. She took the open water course on a whim and immediately fell in love with diving and the underwater world. In 2013, after completing the science diving course, she dove (literally) into the world of research diving. Ali spent a year working with a graduate student at Moss Landing Marine Labs assisting with his thesis research. She spent that summer diving nearly five days a week for three months at Stillwater Cove in Pebble Beach, an amazing experience that was followed by several months of lab work. In 2015, Ali participated in the first year of the Marine Biogeography of California capstone course, and regards it as her favorite CSUMB course.

Ali is currently your science diving coordinator, a role which covers the administrative side of the dive program. In addition to budget and document tracking, she helps to gather and prepare the variety of materials needed for the science diving course.

Ali has been a volunteer diver for the Monterey Bay Aquarium since 2013, and currently dives with the CSUMB/MBA dive team at the Animal Research and Care Center (ARCC). In her spare time, she loves to cook, visit the beach, hike, and rock climb.

Paulina Salinas-Ruiz

Paulina Salinas-Ruiz --- SCUBA Instructor

SCUBA diving has been a big part of Paulina's life since she was 12 years old. It created an interest in the ocean big enough to lead her to major in Aquatic Biology at UC Santa Barbara. She worked as a scientific diver for the Santa Barbara Coastal Long-term Ecological Research Lab laboratory her entire undergraduate career. After graduating, she started to work as a technician conducting kelp monitoring and studying invasive species. This would require diving multiple times a day, 3-7 days per week. Here she gained a great variety of skills such as handling small vessels, preparing and deploying oceanographic instrumentation, and CA fish, invertebrate, and algae identification. During her time as a technician, she was certified as a Divemaster and a SCUBA Diving Instructor, and would help teach Open Water Diving classes at UCSB.

She then decided to further her education by pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Science at CSUMB. She continued to expand her scientific diving experience by working as a Teaching Assistant for MSCI.380 (Scientific Diving Techniques) and MSCI.455 (Marine Fish Ecology), and by volunteering as a diver at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She currently works as a Lecturer teaching dive courses MSCI.282, MSCI.283, and co-teaching MSCI.380 and MSCI.485 (Marine Biogeography of California) with professor James Lindholm. She has really found a passion in helping students further their SCUBA diving career and always holds their best interest in hand.

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Sean Swing --- SCUBA Instructor

Growing up in and around the ocean Sean was lucky enough to achieve SCUBA certification in high school. Upon arriving at CSUMB, Sean found the diving program and quickly knew he wanted to take very course offered. The SCUBA bug bit hard and ultimately lead to a life aquatic.

Providing the scientific community tools to access living laboratories via marine and diving operations is Sean's passion. The journey has taken him to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's West Coast Sanctuary Program, and owning his own consulting business. In 2015, Sean returned to CSUMB to help grow the dive program and has since taught all levels of SCUBA on campus. Sean's favorite class is MSCI 280, taking new students and transforming them into aquanauts.

When not blowing bubbles underwater, Sean is never far from the ocean. Currently he holds a US Coast Guard Masters License and operates various research and passenger vessels in the San Francisco Bay.

Research diving program

(831) 582-3856