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Penland, Laurie M.

Scuba Mom

With over 30 years as a professional photographer, Penland has captured images of the Amazon, the North Pole, and many places in between. Penland's love for the underwater realm lead her into the position of the Assistant Diving Safety Officer for the Smithsonian Institution. In this role she provides expertise in program management--with a focus on safety--in high-risk environments such as underwater research activities. In addition she co-teaches the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Course as well as provides underwater support and supervision for scientific diving activities, underwater photography/videography, manages the program's social media, and develops/manages the program's online dive management system. Her articles and photographs can be found on and the Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal at


Background And Education

Education And Training


Selected Publications

  • Academic Article

  • Article

    • Penland, Laurie, Brooks, Barrett L., and Ochoa, Edgardo. 2013. "Long-Term Methods for High-Definition Image Maps of Benthic Surveys." Marine Technology Society Journal, 47, (6) 7–15. 2013


Teaching Overview

  • As a scuba diving and diving first aid instructor, I have mentored many Smithsonian employees, interns, volunteers, and fellows through a physically and sometimes emotionally challenging course. In addition to classroom, confined water, and open water instruction, I develop curriculum for the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Certification Course.  This course meets the American Academy of Underwater Sciences criteria for Scientific Diver certification, resulting in reciprocity with other research organizations. 

    Scuba Diving Instructor, NAUI, SDI
    Diving First Aid Instructor, Diving Alert Network

Teaching Activities


Member Of


Mailing Address

  • 600 Maryland Ave SW

    Suite 303 East

    Washington, DC  20024