For a high school junior, Katie Mulligan receives a lot of fan mail. As a host of the TV show Aqua Kids, she reports on the threatened status of sea turtles and other ecology topics. When she started, she didn’t anticipate the show’s reach. Recently, a fan in the Dominican Republic shared that Katie had inspired her to become a marine biologist. So what’s it like to host a TV program? “The hardest part is the long hours,” says Katie. “Plus, they make me do all the gross things.” Katie admits she’s known for big reactions. The producers capitalize on these moments, such as when they tasked her with collecting a sample of sea lion poop for a lab to analyze. Her responses pack comedy, and make her relatable. Katie is grateful that the unscripted show has taught her to clearly articulate points. She wants to champion the earth’s ecosystems, but not in front of a camera. She wants to be in a courtroom as an environmental lawyer. That should keep the fan letters coming.
Why I Dive
» Age when certified: 15
» Level of certification: Open Water
» Hometown/school: Essex, Conn./Valley Regional High School
» Favorite dive destination: The Bahamas, where the water is so clear that you see forever. Plus, there’s so much wildlife. Sharks aren’t everywhere in the world, but in the Bahamas, we saw so many.
» Funniest thing that happened to me underwater: On the shark dive, one brushed against my forehead, leaving sticky, slimy goo. It felt like boogers. But we couldn’t move our hands, so I had to wait until we were on the surface to wipe it off. It was really gross.
Image courtesy of Katie Mulligan