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Dr. Eugenie Clark - The Shark Lady

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

American ichthyologist (1922-2015)


Eugenie Clark followed her curiosity and passion and paved the way for women to study marine biology, specifically ichthyology (study of fish). She became a pioneer in shark research through determination, breaking stereotypes as she forged a career path unheard of for women in the 1940's and 50's.


This videos is a short introduction to her career.



Two wonderful children's books provide biographical information to introduce Dr. Eugenie Clark. They both illustrate her determination and how she overcame obstacles to become a leading figure in the world of shark research.



Author: Jess Keating

Illustrator: Marta Álvares Minguéns

Grade Level: K-3

Lesson Plans: Printable Activities CLICK

Publisher Summary: "This is the story of a woman who dared to dive, defy, discover, and inspire. This is the story of Shark Lady.

Eugenie Clark fell in love with sharks from the first moment she saw them at the aquarium. She couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than studying these graceful creatures. But Eugenie quickly discovered that many people believed sharks to be ugly and scary—and they didn’t think women should be scientists. Determined to prove them wrong, Eugenie devoted her life to learning about sharks. After earning several college degrees and making countless discoveries, Eugenie wrote herself into the history of science, earning the nickname “Shark Lady.” Through her accomplishments, she taught the world that sharks were to be admired rather than feared and that women can do anything they set their minds to. Includes a timeline of Eugenie’s life and many fin-tastic shark facts!


Here is a video read-a-loud of Shark Lady.




Here are the full color printable activities provided by the publishers. They are suitable for early elementary grades.

There is also a movie version of this book available. Here is a preview trailer. There are many services that allow you to view or you can purchase from Amazon.




Author: Heather Lang

Illustrator: Jordi Solano

Grade Level: K-3

Lesson Plans: Publisher Activities CLICK

Publisher Summary: "Before Eugenie Clark's groundbreaking research, most people thought sharks were vicious, blood-thirsty killers. From the first time she saw a shark in an aquarium, Japanese-American Eugenie was enthralled. Instead of frightening and ferocious eating machines, she saw sleek, graceful fish gliding through the water. After she became a scientist―an unexpected career path for a woman in the 1940s―she began taking research dives and training sharks, earning her the nickname "The Shark Lady.""


Here is a teacher reading Swimming With Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark.


Here are the activities and resources that the publishers have provided in the Teacher's Guide. Included are discussion questions, environmental issues questions, shark anatomy diagrams, and simple science connections.


Biographical Resource for Dr. Eugenie Clark


An interesting, and often overlooked source of biographical information for students to use is obituaries. The New York Times obituary for Dr. Eugenie Clark provides a fantastic overview of both her professional and person life, which will give your students a starting point for further biography research.


Here are two further tributes for Dr. Clark:

Dr. Eugenie Clark from NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


As the Founding Director of Mote Marine Laboratory, this organization's website, mote.org, will provide much more in-depth resources about Dr. Clark's professional activities and research. Her biography page list her education, her published research and books, listings of publications about her, as well as her awards and honors.



Here are some additional resources:


The Paxton Brothers conducted an hour video conference with Genie about the early days of Warm Mineral Springs, Col. Bill Royal, and the beginnings of Mote Marine.



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