Alaska Pacific University student, Anne Benolkin, was recently announced as the 2014 recipient of the Zale Perry Scholarship. Administered by The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, the $3,000 scholarship is awarded to college students who are seeking to advance their knowledge or enter a professional career in the fields of ocean exploration, diving equipment technology, hyperbaric research or marine conservation. Benolkin, a student in APU’s Master of Science program in Environmental Science, is focusing her thesis research on body patterns of Octopus cyanea while foraging. Her goal is to become a researcher and a dive safety officer at an aquarium and then return to school to earn her doctoral degree and teach at a university.
Zale Parry is an internationally renowned pioneer of the early days of skin and scuba diving. As early as the 1950s, Parry was an underwater equipment tester and (the only woman) executive at Scientific Underwater Research Enterprises (SURE), founded by her husband, Parry Bivens, M.D., who designed and built hyperbaric chambers. In 1954, Parry set a woman’s deep diving record at 209 ft/64 meters in the open sea as part of an experiment to test the Hope-Page non-return valve mouthpiece, which from that day forward became a standard feature in all regulators. Parry was the third female instructor to graduate from the L.A. County UICC program and served for many years as a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor. A NOGI Fellow and the Ambassador at Large for the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, Parry continues to lecture around the United States. As a member of the scholarship selection committee, she had this to say about Anne Benolkin:
“The three letters of recommendation prove Anne has an excellent academic background. She is a strong diver and a girl of my heart. Imagine doing diving research in a field extremely challenging called The Inside Passage of Alaska. This caught my attention. I dove a fjord in Alaska waters to check the abundance of salmon. The water was cold, the rush of current out of control … and the visibility poor. Diving is challenging with all the variables of low visibility and the steep bathymetry. One can easily perform a shore dive and quickly end up in 100 feet.”