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  • Writer's pictureShelly Nicholas

The Spotlight: Liz McNamee

Just in case you forgot what sunshine felt like over the winter, we're bring some heat from Miami to you today in The Spotlight! Get to know Liz McName, Boating Safety Officer and Assistant Dive Safety Officer at Florida International University. Sounds cool, right? Just in case you have any doubts, Liz teaches students how to use scuba diving as a tool in research at FIU's underwater research laboratory. #amazing

Lizzie McNamee FIU Boating Safety Office and Assistant Dive Safety Officer

What's your game, girl?

Hi, all! My name is Lizzie, and I am a goofball. Originally from the northeast, I have been living in Florida and the greater Caribbean for most of my adult life.

If it is on or in the water, I probably do it; I am a US Coast Guard certified master captain, sailor, scuba instructor, paddleboarder, and underwater photographer.

I also have a Royal Bahamian Potcake (rescue pup) from the Turks and Caicos Islands who is the light of my life.

Lizzie and her Royal Bahamian Potcake

Your job sounds awesome! Please tell us more...

I am the Boating Safety Officer and Asst. Dive Safety Officer. In easier terms, I make sure all of our researchers who use scuba or boats are trained appropriately and safe. This is a lot of paperwork, but it also means time in the field, such as teaching scientific diving courses.

The other really cool thing that we do is run Aquarius Reef Base; the world’s only underwater research base where NASA astronauts and the US Navy train. In my minimal free time, I work with a group called Scuba Girls which promotes women in diving.

When did you get into diving and boating?

Before birth! I have always loved the ocean, so it was only natural to get a degree in marine science and work in and on the water! I got scuba certified when I was 12 and have been sailing and boating since around that time as well

What is your greatest athletic achievement? Personal achievement?

My greatest athletic achievement is consistency! I never mastered one sport growing up because I love all sports; as such I did everything from track and field and swimming to rugby and soccer. Many athletes have a hard time staying active when they get into “Adult” life, but I am very proud of myself for consistently staying active and strong!

Personal achievement is a much harder question. I have many amazing experiences that feel are great achievements, but most of them were helping students to their personal goals.

Fave workout hairstyle...

For land sports, definitely the high pony. For water sports, the braided pony prevents knots so much better!

Lizzie rocking the braid ;)

Any hair disasters in your past?

Pixie cut/Peter Pan. It was awful; I missed my pony, and it did not grow out nicely. Then I had the brilliant idea to try is a second time (smh).

Share your perspective on the saying, "hair up, game on."

Doing my hair is the same as making sure my shoes are tied just perfectly before a run or checking my air before a dive. It is a an essential part of the preparation to make sure that I know I am ready to take on whatever is coming my way!

Sunsets in Miami

The people need to know... how often do you wash your hair?

Usually every day. It gets wicked sweaty and salty here in South Florida and my thin hair gets greasy and knotty.

To shampoo or not to shampoo?

That is the question...

Heck yes! Between the chlorine, salt, wind, and sweat, my hair would be an unmanageable gross mess.

Any hair secrets or tricks you want to share?

Biodegradable and eco-friendly conditioner! I put it in my hair before swimming, diving, and paddleboarding and it makes the post workout hair much more healthy and manageable.

On top of that, many leave in conditioners are awful for the environment, so using a biodegradable and eco-friendly one allows me to keep my mane under control without harming the things that I work to protect.

Who knew?  Half badass, half Merlady!

We LOVE this! What a great tip, Lizzie. Thank you so much for sharing a bit about your bad ass life down in Florida. Keep doing amazing things.

Hair Up, Game On, Shelly

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