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Profile: This Girl Can Dive – Meet Sherri Ferguson

There are a number of careers in diving. Some well known – scuba diving instructor, dive center manager and service technician – whilst some roles are less apparent, ie diving researcher.

Meet Sherri Ferguson, a diver with a lot of titles. She’s the Director of the Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit at the Simon Fraser University; the Past President and current Treasurer of the Canadian Association for Underwater Science; sits on the board of the Canadian Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Association, and until 1 April 2017 is the Diving Safety Officer at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.

When she is not chairing standards committees on ‘Hyperbaric Operations’ and ‘Occupational Diving’, Sherri is running Canada’s only civilian hypo-hyperbaric chamber.

Hypobaric chamber, hyperbaric chamber, SFU, Simon Fraser University, Sherri Ferguson, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, diving medicine, environmental medicine, scuba diving physiology, diving research
The hypo-hyperbaric chamber in the Environmental Medicine and Physiology Lab, Simon Fraser University

This is probably the coolest research chamber in the world because it located up a mountain. Why is this unique? Scientists like SFU’s chamber because it means they can not only simulate aircraft flight and deep sea conditions, they can also easily replicate sea level conditions too. Not many chambers have the capacity to replicate sea level conditions! Why is valuable to the researchers? This feature gives researchers a ‘control’ to measure their findings against because they can compress a subject (person) to sea level when conducting hyper or hypobaric research. Told you SFU’s chamber was cool!

Sherri Ferguson
Sherri Ferguson in SFU’s AQ Magazine (April 2014)

Sherri began diving in 1994. She has worked in the diving industry for over 20 years in a variety of roles. Sherri is a commercial diver, and a recreational, technical and rebreather instructor trainer. She worked for TDI/ SDI as a Regional Manager (Pacific North West: Canada / USA) and with Poseidon and Dräger as a service technician instructor.

Sherri is currently funded by the US Office of Naval Research as a diving physiologist. At present, she is working on her PhD in biomedical physiology.

In 2016 Sherri Ferguson, UHMS Paul C Baker Award for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safety Excellence, diving research, SFU, Simon Fraser University, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, This Girl Can Dive
In 2016 Sherri Ferguson won the UHMS Paul C Baker Award for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safety Excellence

Sherri Ferguson has won three awards:

  • 2010 UHMS Associates Award for Excellent in Presentation
  • 2014 Worksafe BC Research Trainee Award
  • 2016 UHMS Paul C Baker Award for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Safety Excellence

If you are an open water diver, just getting into the sport, you may be surprised just where you could end up. Sherri Ferguson was once an open water diver too!

Rosemary E Lunn
Rosemary E Lunn
Rosemary is the founder of The Underwater Marketing Company, co-founder of EUROTEK and established TEKDiveUSA. Roz is a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, a BSAC Advanced Instructor, a rebreather and a Trimix diver. Before moving into the PR field she worked as a full time recreational instructor in the UK and abroad, on History Channel and National Geographic documentaries, as a safety diver and modelled underwater. She is a prolific freelance writer. You can find Roz on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on her blog.