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Cynthia Matzke

Cynthia Matzke

Videographer & Science Communications Specialist

Citizenship: American. San Diego, California

Cynthia Matzke is a marine biologist, professor and documentarian with a passion for exploring remote ocean ecosystems. Her research interests have compelled her to sail over 6,500 nautical miles to study marine debris in both the Eastern and Western Pacific Gyres. A lifelong love of filming whales and sharks has brought her eye to eye with some rare species in some unusual places.

Fueled by an unwavering dedication to bringing education and outreach into underserved communities, Cynthia takes experiences from the field into the classroom by creating innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Science + Math) curricula designed to  inspire the next generation of scientific explorers.

humpback whale calf

Curious humpback whale calf off Maui approaches to check out the videographer.

Ms. Matzke earned a Master of Advanced Studies degree from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. She possesses a cohesive background in journalism, producing packages and assets for NBC Universal, Akaku television, and independent documentaries. Her goal is to foster conservation efforts by pairing ocean science research with stunning imagery that engages audiences to raise awareness.

In Hawaii, Cynthia has put her training to use by capturing underwater footage of humpback whales for NOAA research. Her experience with marine animal networks includes oiled seabirds, turtles, and large whale entanglement response teams. She created a successful community engagement program on Maui that combines citizen science with reef cleanups to bring positive change.

Constantly striving ahead, her most recent effort is the development of a documentary project entitled “Spiral Pacific.” The film will be one of the first to use Ultra-High Definition (4K) video imagery to examine the complex connectivity of Pacific Ocean environments from the basin to the coasts.

Diving deep to film sharks off the Molokini Crater, Hawaii. Photo by Harold Giger.

She presented at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress and Ocean Summit in Hawaii at a workshop on Excellence and Leadership in Conservation Media, then crewed aboard a Hawaiian sailing canoe with Master Navigators to document the rebirth of the Polynesian voyaging culture.

Cynthia writes for various blogs and publications including Dive Training Magazine, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The Climate Science Alliance. She is a 5 Gyres Expert Ambassador and has lectured throughout California, Washington, Hawaii and South Korea. Currently she holds an office at the Marine Physical Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to support engineers and technicians with equipment and wave glider testing.

While much of her diving has been deep in the South Pacific, she is thrilled to join Team Sedna and trade tropical breezes for an Arctic chill to document disappearing sea ice firsthand. A cultural exchange with Inuit people of the North will fulfill a lifelong dream. Cynthia looks forward to this summer’s expedition to Greenland, as well as participating in the snorkel relay through the Northwest Passage in 2020 to bring engaging ocean messages to global audiences.






Email Cynthia: cynthia.matzke@gmail.com