In a recent interview with Dr. Tom Chesser, a contributing writer for Business Innovators Magazine, 15 years old John Humphreys, a Florida native, shares how, in February, he will spend twelve days aboard a ship scuba diving in Antarctica to document the bottom of the composition of the ocean, the underwater life found there, and any signs of sea star wasting disease, a major concern in this planet’s unknown and rapidly changing region. If that’s not an ambitious enough goal, this is just one stop on his journey to become a Mission Commander for the US Navy and Astronaut Corps.
Planet Earth is more than 70% water, and it is still unexplored. As the planet changes rapidly, there is an urgent need to document these unknown realms for a simple baseline understanding, economic concerns, and even humanity’s survival. Overcoming global challenges will require young people equipped to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems, and 15-year-old John Humphreys is well ahead of the curve as he joins a citizen science expedition to Antarctica in February.
Humphreys is committed to helping to change the world for the better. For the last three years, he has been working with SCUBAnauts International as a scientific diver conducting coral restoration with Mote Marine Laboratories in the Florida Keys, documenting local fish populations, and collaborating with Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge to hone his skills and refine his ambitious career goals.
He has an immense love and passion for flying. John aspires to be in the space industry as a Mission Commander, specializing in Mars exploration and colonization. He is an active member of many youth organizations and commits himself to working hard and conducting community service. Currently, he has well over 1,000 community service hours, and his list of certifications, achievements, and leadership positions includes high honors, such as Eagle Scout, NAUI Master Diver, and first solo flight with Infinity Aero Club, to name a few.
Humphreys says, “Ever since I was little, I have wanted to go to Antarctica; now, I’m going to collect vital baseline data and research in many different aspects, as well as conduct my own research for a MasterNaut project.”
MasterNaut is the highest rank in SCUBAnauts and requires the student to lead an independent research project and produce a written paper and two oral presentations at the project’s culmination. John is still determining his topic, as the expedition is unpredictable.
The mission of SCUBAnauts International is to educate teens in the marine sciences, enabling them to make a positive impact on the environment and empowering them to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Dr. Amy Moran, a Polar scientist researching gigantism in polar water, said. “Potential topics include climate change and its economic impacts, biodiversity, plankton, invasive species, microplastics, jellyfish, and sea star wasting disease. We don’t know exactly where we’re going or what we’ll find; that’s true for all scientific expeditions, but this one more than most, since science is taking place in the context of the commercial cruising industry. It’s a completely different model, but one that has some incredible potential synergies.”
Preparing for such an expedition has been no small feat. In just four months, John has earned several additional dive certifications and conducted more than 50 dives in a variety of environments, including Buffalo, NY.
John went on to say, “I just finished diving in the stinging cold waters of Buffalo, New York, in the winter. It was difficult at first, being a native Floridian, but I learned to tolerate the freezing water temperatures and hone my diving skills in a drastically different environment. I was able to conduct twelve dives in just four days, and now I feel that I am very prepared to dive in the frigid climate of Antarctica.”
Humphreys isn’t just tooting his own horn, however. “It’s an honor to dive with John,” US Navy Veteran and PADI Divemaster Jon Naumowicz of Professional Scuba Buffalo said. “He has exceptional skills and vast knowledge and is very proficient in peak buoyancy.”
Humphreys has been training hard and may be ready for the expedition, but scientific research and travel to Antarctica are expensive and challenging.
“There are a lot of challenges in a journey to Antarctica,” Humphreys said. “I need $ 75,000 in funding for cutting-edge equipment, transportation, accommodations, research materials, and safety measures. I have set up a GoFundMe and have a few sponsorships, including Shearwater Research, “Diving Science and Technology” https://www.shearwater.com, and The National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI Worldwide) has been training and developing the best divers in the world. Their motto is Dive Safety Through Education. https://blog.naui.org/unveiling-the-next-generation-of-scuba-diving-john-humphreys, but I’m only a fraction of the way there. Your contribution will directly fuel my ability to carry out this vital research and achieve my career goals.”
Visit https://johnjohn360.com to learn more about John R.F. Humphreys, follow his journey, and consider a donation of any size to help him continue his lifelong ambition. Everybody’s involvement will help address critical questions about the planet’s past, present, and future.