Jim DelBene started his career as a shark biology intern at Mote Marine Laboratory. He then went on to work as a science instructor/camp counselor at Seacamp Association, Inc. where he introduced campers to the marine world. In 2014, DelBene transitioned into the field of environmental consulting as staff biologist at Perennial Environmental Services. There he conducted field surveys and permitting for the oil and gas industry. Wanting to return to the marine sciences, in 2016 he enrolled at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at William and Mary to pursue a master’s in marine science. He worked with commercial crabbers and state resource managers to address the issue of lost and abandoned fishing gear in Chesapeake Bay. Continuing his work at the interface of science and policy, DelBene was selected to be NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow and worked in the Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2020. Currently, he is a contractor for NOAA, supporting decision-making on all of NOAA’s observing systems. Jim DelBene is working hard to ensure decisions are informed by the best available science, with stakeholder input, and we are proud of his efforts. 

  • What was an impactful experience you had as a student at Hope?
    • Taking the marine biology and biophysics course that was offered by Drs. Murray and Gonthier, which immersed me in the marine sciences (even became SCUBA certified!) and introduced me to opportunities in the field.
  • To you, what makes Hope special?
    • The professors and relationships formed with students, providing valuable research and learning opportunities.
  • What is your current job title? In your own words, describe what you do.
    • Scientific support analyst that supports and informs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s leadership concerning all observing systems, such as buoys, ships, and satellites.
  • What do you love about your chosen career?
    • I enjoy learning how different information and perspectives are considered in decision-making processes. My career has provided me with opportunities to participate in various decision-making processes, working with diverse stakeholder groups and decision-makers.
  • What was your favorite food at Phelps?
    • French toast sticks.
  • What is a relationship that started at Hope that remains in your life today?
    • My relationships with Drs. Winnett-Murray and Murray, which helped me navigate my time at Hope and continues to support me throughout my career.
  • Which class would you want to retake if you could? Why?
    • Marine biology and biophysics, because it introduced me to the marine sciences and interdisciplinary studies in the sciences.
  • What is your hope for Hope’s future?
    • I hope that Hope continues to support and grow academic opportunities in the natural sciences, offering diverse field and lab experiences for students.

Hope College is proud to honor Jim DelBene ’12 with the 2021 10 Under 10 Award. The “10 Under 10 Awards” honors emerging leaders who are making significant contributions by living out their callings; engaged in the local and global community through professional and/or volunteer involvement; and use their education to think about important issues with wisdom and clarity, communicate effectively to bridge boundaries that divide human communities and act as agents of hope living faithfully into their vocations. Designed for alumni who are within 10 years of graduation, they are presented by the Hope College Alumni Association. Make a nomination today

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