A 23-year-old nursing undergraduate from southwest England has been named as the 2023 European Our-World Underwater Scholar.
Lucy Penny has a keen interest in dive medicine and physiology and remote expeditions, and she is looking forward to her scholarship journey of adventure and education, and integrating into a community that is dedicated to the ocean and the people that work there.
Her lifelong love of the sea developed when diving and snorkelling in the UK’s seagrass beds and kelp forests. Exploring the coast in Indonesia and New Zealand only furthered her appreciation for the underwater world, its inhabitants, and the communities dependent on this environment. The ocean provides Lucy with respite whilst on track to obtain a first class honours degree in Adult and Paediatric Nursing at Plymouth University.
During her university studies, Lucy has helped children suffering from poor mental and physical health. She finds caring for people at their most vulnerable a privilege. When working as an outdoor pursuit instructor, Lucy loved how much enjoyment school groups would get from spending time in nature.
She aims to reconnect children with the ocean to help them experience both health benefits and encourage interest in their surrounding environment. Lucy wants to ignite a passion for the sea that inspires younger adults and children to become the next ocean custodians.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lucy worked as a Medical Technician at Aquamarine Medicals. She helped provide occupational medicals for essential maritime professionals, working with both divers and seafarers. She enjoyed meeting diving professionals who worked across the world in all areas of diving and gained insight into the physiological and medical challenges from the diver’s perspective.
She led the company’s social media and collaborated with marine experts to produce blogs aiming to inspire others. This sparked Lucy’s interest in combining healthcare and diving as a career and led her to complete an HSE SCUBA commercial dive course with Plymouth University.
To combine her love of diving, adventure and healthcare Lucy recently undertook an expedition medicine course, where she was voted most outstanding student both by faculty and students alike. She enjoyed working with like-minded people who provided her with much-valued mentorship and encouragement to make her passion into a career.
Working as a RNLI lifeguard made Lucy appreciate how the ocean provides peace and tranquillity, but how it’s also unforgiving. Diving in remote areas can challenge human physiology and technological boundaries in locations that often have limited healthcare.
Lucy aims to use the scholarship to progress her diving and medical skills to become a key team member and asset in future dive expeditions.
Lucy deeply respects the Society ethos and will wholeheartedly contribute all her energy and enthusiasm to make the absolute best of this incredible opportunity.