Benjamin VanDine’s route to a career in the NOAA Corps ran through his love of diving, and doing research on corals in Bonaire during a college semester abroad. Today he is the officer-in-charge of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's research vessel Gloria Michelle.
No Salt Water in His Veins
Working on the ocean was not on the radar early in Ben VanDine’s life. Born and raised in the small town of Eagle in southeastern Wisconsin, freshwater was his playground. He enjoyed the lakes and river systems of Wisconsin and “up North” in Canada. The only family connection to the ocean was his grandfather, who served in the U.S. Navy shortly after the Korean War.
Ben was homeschooled through high school. In 2012, he graduated from Cedarville University in Ohio with a bachelor of science in biology.
While in college VanDine tutored students in biology and organic chemistry, and served as a volunteer firefighter for the local fire department.
Then, he spent a semester on the Dutch island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. He is an American Academy of Underwater Sciences diver and a professional rescue diver. He used these skills to conduct independent ecological research and gather coral cover data for Bonaire National Marine Park. He was hooked.