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Cynthia Matzke

Board of Directors

Even though Cynthia Matzke has been a professional diver and journalist for three decades, she feels like she’s just getting started. She authored a column in Dive Training Magazine, was a producer for NBC Universal, and covered stories as an Environmental News Reporter before shifting her focus to documentaries. Inspired by meeting trailblazers Jacques Cousteau and Sylvia Earl, Cynthia followed her own curiosities deeper into the realms of science, exploration and conservation.

Her research interest in bioacoustics led her to study cetaceans and collect soundscapes in remote ocean ecosystems, from Greenland to the Mariana Trench. While conducting research on humpback whales for NOAA, Ms. Matzke filmed scarring from fishing nets and witnessed severe entanglement. Unwittingly, she became ensnared in the marine debris issue. She sailed across the Eastern and Western Pacific Gyres to study plastic pollution, and earned a master’s degree from Scripps Oceanography. She then accepted a role as Associate Professor for UC San Diego’s Sally Ride Science, and created courses in marine science to encourage students in underserved communities to explore STEM careers. In her search for ways to bring positive change, in 2017 Cynthia founded the nonprofit Spiral Pacific to mentor early-career profession- als by supporting their creation of ocean conservation media, and interests in the emerging Blue Tech sector.

Ms. Matzke became an Explorers Club Fellow in 2018 and co-leads Sea Women Expeditions, whose mission is three-fold: study polar ecosystem dynamics, empower women through pro- viding experiential training, and learn about how a warming Arctic is affecting Indigenous cul- ture. Employed by Scripps Marine Physical Lab, she works as a research diver and for the Ge- odesy project, deploying and piloting wave gliders to track tectonic movement on the seafloor. Cynthia resides in Monterey and volunteers for several groups assisting with marine mammal entanglement response.

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