Brian Kennedy

Hollings Scholarship Alum & NOAA Commissioned Officer

Brian attended the Honors College at the College of Charleston (C of C) in South Carolina, where he majored in Marine Biology and minored in Marine Geology.  While at C of C, he had the opportunity to sail on multiple research cruises aboard two different National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessels and was selected as a NOAA Hollings Scholar.

As part of the Hollings Scholarship, Brian completed his summer internship with NOAA’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2008. The majority of Brian time as an intern with CRED was spent assisting with the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) program. Brian was involved in the logistical support of an ongoing operation and the analysis of preliminary data. This was a nascent project to monitor the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms. Through this project, Brian learned about and influenced the first steps of experimental design and participated in numerous brainstorming sessions with researchers from around the county on how best to monitor this aspect of global climate change.

After completing his Hollings internship and graduating with honors from C of C, Brian wanted to continue his connection with NOAA and gain more experience in operational science, which brought him to the NOAA Corps. He was selected for a commission as part of BOTC 125 and was in one of the last classes to complete their training at the US Merchant Marine Academy at King Point, NY.

Brian’s first NOAA sea assignment was as a Junior Officer aboard NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer, America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration. During this assignment, Brian participated in more than 25 expeditions of exploration taking him to two oceans (Atlantic and Pacific), three continents (North America, South America and Asia) and through the territorial waters of more than five countries (Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Indonesia).

After two wonderful years aboard the Okeanos Explorer, Brian was able to continue his work in ocean exploration while on a land assignment with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). During his more than three years on assignment with the NOAA Office of Exploration and Research, Brian has  taken on more responsibility, advancing from an expedition coordinator for OER-led Expeditions to presently serving as the Acting Deputy Program Manager for the Okeanos Explorer Program.