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Roane State's Fain already sets mark as part of Classroom Under the Sea

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Roane State Community College

As Roane State Community College educators Jessica Fain and Bruce Cantrell pursue a world record for longest time spent living underwater, Fain has already made her mark.

Cantrell, a biology professor, and Fain, an adjunct professor, are living and working in an underwater habitat — Jules’ Undersea Lodge on Key Largo in the Florida Keys — for 73 days.

Cantrell, an expert in the history of underwater habitats, noted that Fain has set the record for a female living underwater. The previous mark was 14 days, set in 1970 by renowned scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle and her team during their stay in the Tektite habitat. The Tektite program was the first nationally sponsored effort to place scientists in the sea to live.

As of Saturday, Oct. 18, Fain and Cantrell had lived continuously underwater for 15 days.

“I am honored to be among a select group of aquanauts that includes people such as Sylvia Earle,” Fain said. “It is a surreal feeling to know that I am one of very few women who have lived in an underwater habitat for an extended period of time. To know that I am now the only female to live in an underwater habitat for this long is an incredible personal achievement and I hope it inspires future generations of women.”

The current overall record for living underwater (69 days, 19 minutes) was set by Richard Presley in 1992, according to Guinness World Records. Fain and Cantrell submerged on Oct. 3 and plan to resurface Dec. 15.

While living in Jules’ Undersea Lodge, which is about 25 feet deep, Fain and Cantrell are hosting “Classroom Under the Sea,” an online lecture series presented by Roane State and the Marine Resources Development Foundation on Key Largo.

Classroom Under the Sea episodes will be streamed live on YouTube each Thursday – excluding Thanksgiving — through Dec. 11. To watch live episodes or previous episodes, go to youtube.com/classroomunderthesea.

For more information about the Classroom Under the Sea, visit roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea.

Roane State is a two-year, 6200-student college with nine campuses in East Tennessee. For more information, visit roanestate.edu.

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. All colleges in the system offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit tncommunitycolleges.org.

Located on Key Largo in the Florida Keys, the Marine Resources Development Foundation is a nonprofit organization with the goal of developing a better understanding of Earth's marine resources. For more information, visit www.mrdf.org.

Jules’ Undersea Lodge was the undersea research habitat called “La Chalupa,” which Marine Resources Development Foundation operated from 1971-1976.  Several missions were conducted in the habitat, including two at a depth of 100 feet.  In 1986, the habitat started a new life as Jules’ Undersea Lodge, which is the only underwater hotel in the world and accessible to any recreational diver.  Learn more at www.jul.com.