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Riley Hathaway

17-year-old Riley is an ocean advocate and presenter for the online and TV series Young Ocean Explorers. On land, Riley is studying for her final year at Mahurangi College.

Riley HathawayWhat do you do on an average day?

Outside of school I love to go to the beach, and I try to swim in the ocean everyday. At the weekends, I scoop ice cream at our local gelato shop.

I also absolutely love spending time with friends and family. I enjoy basketball too, which I only started last year - so I look forward to improving that haha!

What are you studying at high school?

This year I'm in Year 13 and taking Maths, English, Photography, Hospitality and Outdoor Education.

Are your studies related to what you want to do as a career?

I don't have a very clear idea of what I want to do as a career so I've tried to keep my options open this year. I guess you could say a lot of my part-time/volunteer work is with Young Ocean Explorers :)

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?

Pursue something you love to do. Also science doesn’t always have to look like a person in a white lab coat.

Riley snorkling

What are some of your career highlights so far?

I've had so many amazing opportunities over the past 4 years or so with Young Ocean Explorers. It's so incredible to look back and see everything I've done.

Some of my major highlights would have to be doing the TEDx talk and speaking at NYLD twice - I'm quite proud of myself for doing them 'cos talking to 2500 people is a lot of faces!

But traveling has to be my biggest highlight - I absolutely love adventures and traveling, so being able to do that and see all these amazing dive locations with my dad has to be a massive highlight for me.

Riley taking a filming break

Why do you believe engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is important to New Zealand?

Science isn't necessarily my strength but I've done lots of different interview with scientists and asked them what's one thing that kids can do to be like them.  "Be curious" was the answer I was told the most. Science is about asking questions and never giving up until you find the answer.

Riley snorkling with seaweed

Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?

I have been so inspired by some incredible women working in the STEM area with marine animals - Nan Hauser and her work with Humpback Whales, Dr Ingrid Visser and her research with Orca, Dr Rochelle Constantine with Baleen whales, Agnes Le Port with stingrays, Dr Karen Stockin with dolphins and Michelle Dickinson aka Nanogirl.

It's so important for us younger girls to have these passionate women teaching us and doing amazing things to inspire us to learn more about science and being curious!

Riley is a passionate 17-year-old ocean advocate and PADI AmbassaDiver. She is in Year 13 at Mahurangi College and while in Year 8 she completed a school project on turtles and plastic, which was the inspiration behind the kids show Young Ocean Explorers that Riley has been part of for the last four years.  

She’s been on heaps of fun adventures with her dad Steve (an underwater cameraman), and has some incredible stories of encounters with sea creatures including turtles, orca, whales and sharks. Their aim is to get kids enthused about the beauty and diversity of our marine life and to create stories that inspire kids to love our ocean. In 2017 they released their interactive documentary website

Young Ocean Explorers

Young Ocean Explorers' new website has 4.5 hours of amazing underwater stories, quizzes and polls for students, parents and teachers.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.

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