The Women Divers Hall of Fame welcomes seven new members in 2024 – DIVE Magazine

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The Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF) has announced it is welcoming seven new members for 2024, including the first posthumous award in the Hall of Fame’s history.

Founded in 2000, the Women Divers Hall of Fame is an international not-for-profit professional honour society dedicated to recognising and honouring the contributions of women divers, with members spanning a wide variety of diving-related fields including the arts, science and medicine, sports, exploration, underwater archaeology, media, diver training and education, safety, business and marine conservation, as well as free diving, commercial diving, and military diving.


As well as recognising women who provide outstanding contributions in their field, WDHOF offers financial assistance and mentorship in the form of scholarships and training grants to women who are seeking a career in diving.

This year, seven new WDHOF Members will constitute the Class of 2024 from a range of diving disciplines, which this year includes a posthumous award for the UK’s Penelope ‘Mossy’ Powell, the first woman diver and co-author of the first cave diving book.

Ronnie Damico — California, USA

Instructor, scientific diving officer, NAUI board member

Ronnie Damico is a female pioneer in the field of diving safety and leadership. In 1979, she became Diving Officer for the USC Catalina Marine Science Center (CMSC). She was also a chamber treatment-team supervisor. In 1985, she became the Diving Safety Officer for California State University, Long Beach, plus DSO for the Ocean Studies Institute, overseeing scientific diving across six different campuses.

As a frequent instructor-trainer, Ronnie was often the sole female member of staff. An acknowledged leader, she served as NAUI Branch Manager from 1987-1989 and was a Program or Conference Director for international conferences and early consumer dive shows in southern California. She was elected to several boards including NAUI’s Board of Directors, 1990-1993.

Elizabeth Kintzing — Maine, USA

Educator, scientific diver, ocean advocate

A scuba class changed Liz’s life plans when she found that, after taking it, she couldn’t get enough of all things underwater. Maintaining an interest in diving medicine during graduate work at UNH, Liz taught scuba as a NAUI instructor and conducted research at the UNH hyperbaric chamber.

Liz is a facilitator of diving and underwater science, and has has trained over a thousand students in scuba and scientific diving. Liz has mentored many students, encouraging them to become diving scientists, technicians in a science diving lab, as well as diving instructors and DSOs for academic institutions around the world.

Highlights of her career include experiencing full saturation in the Aquarius underwater research station, diving under the ice in Antarctica, and using CCRs to conduct research in 100m coral reef environments.

Laura Marroni — Italy

Diving safety advocate, tech and cave Diver, NGO manager

Laura Marroni, a Bachelor of Economics and MBA graduate, is an extraordinary individual fueled by a deep passion for the underwater realm. Having grown up by the sea, she embarked on her diving journey at the tender age of eight. Today, she stands as a highly skilled technical and cave diver, and a fervent advocate for advancements in the safety of professional and recreational diving.

As the Executive Vice President at DAN Europe, Laura takes the lead in various research projects focused on understanding the physiological effects of diving on the human body. Her ultimate aim is to enhance safety measures in all types of diving and make diving an increasingly accessible and sustainable activity.

Mikki McComb-Kobza, PhD — Colorado, USA

Explorer, conservationist, educator

Mikki McComb-Kobza transformed her childhood fascination with sharks into a lifelong career in shark conservation and advocacy. The environmental changes she witnessed as a diver over 40 years became the inspiration to train new divers as lifelong ocean supporters.

Her doctoral work authoritatively described how the hammerhead shark visualizes its world and today, Mikki uses innovative techniques and citizen science to increase understanding of great white shark behavior and distribution.

She has promoted hope and action to over 500,000 people as Executive Director of Ocean First Institute, spreading her message through National Geographic, Shark Week, NPR, and CBC National Radio Canada. She also serves as adjunct faculty at CU Boulder, President of the American Elasmobranch Society, and National Fellow of the Explorers Club.

Robyn McGinn — Virginia, USA

Navy Diving program manager, Diving Life Support Systems technical expert, Navy deep sea diver

Massachusetts Maritime Academy Summa Cum Laude graduate, Robyn McGinn, graduated from the Navy Dive School as ‘Class Honor Woman’, the first government civilian employee woman to receive that designation.

Robyn is a recognized technical expert and respected professional in Navy diving, serving as the Diving Life Support Systems program manager for the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving. She supports DoD/GOVT diving programs and foreign militaries, facilitating the outfitting of diving equipment and training internationally. 

She is responsible for ensuring military diving equipment is built, evaluated, tested, and maintained in accordance with the Navy’s technical standards, so that divers have safe and effective equipment to perform their missions.  She also manages the Navy’s Diving Depot and ISEA, providing services to Navy Diving worldwide.

Penelope Powell (1904-1965) — UK (posthumous)

First woman cave diver, co-author of first cave diving book

Penelope ‘Mossy’ Powell was a pioneering British cave diver. She was Diver No 2 for the first successful cave dive using breathing equipment in Britain, at Wookey Hole Caves in the Mendip Hills, Somerset, on 18 August 1935.

She co-wrote the first cave diving book, The Log of the Wookey Hole Exploration Expedition: 1935.

Samantha Whitcraft — Florida, USA

Conservation biologist, oceans advocate, environmentalist

Samantha Whitcraft is a marine conservation biologist, environmentalist, and ocean advocate. Logging 5000+ research and educational dives around the world, she created the first classroom-at-sea in Jardines de la Reina National Park, Cuba.

After earning her Bachelor’s degree in natural science at Harvard and her Master of Marine Affairs & Policy at the University of Miami, Samantha worked to legally protect endangered marine species, especially sharks, whales, and manatees. She’s studied coral reef MPAs’ connectivity and investigated the shark fin trade in China all while promoting sustainable ecotourism over her 30+ year career.

Whitcraft initiated and developed Aggressor Adventures’ award-winning sustainability program, Green the Fleet, and is Executive Director of the Sea of Change Foundation, providing leadership in community-based conservation, globally.

For more information about the Women Divers Hall of Fame, log on to

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