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Brian Connon

Director, Hydrographic Science Research Center
University of Southern Mississippi

Tell us about your work/research. What kinds of things do you do?

The mission of the Hydrographic Science Research Center is to assess emerging trends in the science of Hydrography, develop innovative techniques and technologies capturing these trends, and implement these techniques and technologies into hydrographic operations.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I received a copy of Jacques Cousteau's The Ocean World when I was in high school and immediately became fascinated by marine science. I was fortunate to serve in the US Navy, where I specialized in meteorology, oceanography, and hydrography over a 28 year career. Now, I am excited to join a great team exploring and mapping the oceans.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My middle school science teacher really inspired me to become a scientist-he made sure we were exposed to all facets of science and made it fun and interesting. In the Navy, I had a number of mentors and leaders who encouraged scientific thought and research.

What element of your work/study do you think is the most fascinating?

I enjoy solving problems through a combination of technology insertion and empowering young scientists.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

My university is now a member of the Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, along with OET. This cruise will allow me to understand how OET operates and see the technology that USM may be using in the future.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

As mentioned before, I served in the Navy for 28 years as an officer with specialization in meteorology, oceanography, and hydrography. I was a member of the inaugural class of students in a new hydrographic science program, which led to a number of positions involving hydrography, positioning, navigation, and timing.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Geography -University of South Carolina 1990; Master of Science in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography-Naval Postgraduate School 1999; Master of Science in Applied Hydrographic Science-University of Southern Mississippi 2000. Certified as a Category A Hydrographer.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy biking, reading and wine tasting.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

A Navy career is not for everyone, but I highly recommend it! It gave me the opportunity to serve my country, stay involved in science, and see the world. Regarding a career in hydrography, I find it to be challenging and rewarding. As a hydrographer, you have to be multi-functional: boat driver, engineer, electronic technician, acoustician, cartographer, GIS expert, and marine scientist. At the end of the day, you have a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that the data collected will be used for many purposes, for years in the future.


Brian participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: