Staff Spotlight: Elise Dixon

Bira Program Coordinator and Marine Biologist


Originally from the British island of Jersey, Elise is a dive instructor, applied mathematician and marine scientist. After gaining MSc Applied Mathematics Elise decided to pursue a future combining her mathematical background with her passion for diving and marine conservation. This lead her to travel to Indonesia to complete her professional diving qualifications, bringing her to the Indo Ocean Project team.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite memory travelling definitely comes from Fiji. Before starting my university studies I spent 5 weeks in Fiji as part of a shark conservation project. Sharks are such fascinating and beautiful creatures and this was my first experience being in the water with them. I also loved the simplicity of the way of life in the remote location that we were, and immersing myself in the local culture! This experience is very special to me as it drove my love of sharks and my obsession with diving, which ultimately lead me to where I am now!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

So much! Having the opportunity to working in an environment filled with ocean advocates and dive enthusiasts has allowed me to not only share the knowledge and experience I have but to learn from every intern that is a part of the program. As a former Indo Ocean Project intern myself, I have learnt so much about both the dive industry and the world of working in conservation and research since my journey with Indo Ocean Project began. Now as a divemaster instructor and through training research divers, I have grown in my confidence as a leader and mentor. I have built a lot of confidence communicating with a team both in and out of the water.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Seeing the progression of interns' attitude towards diving, competence in the water, and understanding of the dive industry makes me so happy. Many of our former interns go on to do their instructor certifications, taking the knowledge and experience they had as a part of the Indo Ocean Project team with them. Hearing the feedback from these individuals about how much their training with us has prepared them to be a dive instructor and that they understand how we really go above and beyond to make them awesome divemasters is one of the most rewarding bits of feedback you can receive as a mentor.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

As a former intern, doing my divemaster training with Indo Ocean Project was one of the best experiences of my life. I would do it all over again if I could in a heartbeat! From the minute my internship ended I wanted to start it all over again. The knowledge I gained through doing the program, in both the diving and conservation aspects was so enlightening. I am so happy to be a part of the staff to deliver the same experience to others, knowing the interns are so enthusiastic and excited about what they are a part of with Indo Ocean Project.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We provide a training program that is a divemaster and scientific diver hybrid. We combine learning objectives and key skills from the divemaster course with conservation and research diving applications so that our candidates get to apply what they are learning to real science. The graduates of Indo Ocean Project are above and beyond what you would expect from a new divemaster in knowledge, attitude and hands on experience. The research that we are doing is contributing to protection of the reef and reaches the government and local communities, inspiring changes in the attitude towards marine conservation.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

A passionate, driven and creative team who are excited by what they deliver to the customer. Paired with a unique and valuable product that's always growing and evolving, this is the driving force behind the success of Indo Ocean Project. From the feedback I have had from current and former interns, these attributes are definitely very evident within our program.