Maya was born and raised in Southern California, where her curiosity for the natural world was encouraged from an early age. Relocating to Sydney, Australia with her family at 11 years old, she learned to scuba dive, eventually becoming a PADI Instructor. Her fascination for the underwater world undoubtedly fueled her interest to study marine biology at James Cook University. Working as a professional guide in some of the world’s top dive destinations, including Palau and Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and Revillagigedo Archipelago, Maya realized a passion for sharing her love for the ocean with others, and the value of citizen science in the dive industry.
In 2016, Maya was awarded the Rolex Scholarship for Australasia by the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society. Diving around the world for a year to work alongside leaders in dive expeditions, marine research and conservation, her experiences as a Rolex Scholar proved to be formative in cementing her passions and future career directions to make a difference for our blue planet.
With an underlying drive to explore and understand life in the ocean, Maya’s aquatic endeavors have seen her diving and working on projects in a variety of marine environments across all seven continents. Whether counting the arms of giant sea stars in Antarctica, or identifying manta rays in French Polynesia, Maya is happiest when underwater and looks forward to each dive as a new opportunity to share what would otherwise be out of sight and out of mind.