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Communications

Diving into Success

By David Ruck, SOC/MFA '13

Man in diving gear filming underwater with another diver placing buoys.

David Ruck filming off of Key Largo. Photo by Matt McIntosh - NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Here I am, doing my job in the Florida Keys. It's every bit as amazing as it looks. This photo of me was taken off of Key Largo. I'm seen with my Subal Housing filming the NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary buoy team repairing buoys that are used as markers and to help boaters avoid dropping anchors into the reef by providing a place to tie up.

This is part of my work with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as a diver, videographer and underwater cinematographer. We are filming a longer project on the entire sanctuary, one of 14 sites maintained by NOAA around the US and American Samoa. My job is to document compelling stories that emerge from these amazing locales, both above and below the water. The work I do in collaboration with our team is seen weekly through our Earth Is Blue campaign.

Also of note is the camera I'm using. That underwater housing contains a Sony FS700, a camera I was introduced to at the Sony Student NAB experience two years ago, an opportunity I had access to through American University (AU). After taking the job, I was asked what equipment I wanted to use and fortunately the gear I was excited about was within our budget.

So, moral of the story is: you can get a cool job if you work hard, establish connections, and learn how to sell yourself. It was because of AU School of Communication that one day I got a call from a fellow student to call my future boss about a job opening. The rest is history. I've been here just about two years and have the privilege of seeing some of the best protected sites in the ocean and Great Lakes, from shipwrecks to coral reefs.

David Ruck is an award-winning filmmaker with international documentary filmmaking experience. His MFA thesis at AU SOC, "I Want to Be an Astronaut," is the first film to premiere in space to an audience of astronauts. For more on Ruck and his work, visit his website.