Brent Whelan ’98 benefited greatly from the hands-on experience he gained while studying marine science at Coastal Carolina University. He learned how to navigate waist-deep marsh mud to take sediment cores, spent days offshore onboard the NOAA Ship Ferrel to determine the best areas for retrieving sand for beach re-nourishment projects, and climbed up quarry walls in search of oceanic sediment layers miles from the shore.
“The marine science program forces you to try to figure things out on your own,” Whelan said. “Everything you need to grasp every aspect of the marine world is right there at your fingertips. The entire experience qualifies as special memories.”
The Elkton, Md., native has taken his love for marine life to the U.S. Navy, where he works as the submarine combat control logistics manager. He oversees teams of support personnel and assists in the development and delivery of all integrated logistics products to the submarine fleet that are specific to the combat system. These products include all training materials and classes for sailors, maintenance manuals for scheduled upkeep and repair of equipment, analysis and procurement of spare parts required for the boats while on deployment, and development of stowage plans for that material. Once all of the products are developed and identified, he ensures that all of the boats receive the material on time.
“With boats scattered across the globe, in different stages of construction or on active deployment, it constantly keeps you on your toes,” he said. “It is not uncommon to receive a phone call or email from halfway across the world at any hour asking for documents or additional assistance.”
Whelan says that his success with the Navy can be attributed to the overall living and learning environment he enjoyed while at CCU. The experience allowed him to mature as a person, solve problems on his own and achieve goals, all of which gave him enormous confidence.
“Everything I have and everything that I have become was generated from my time, relationships and experiences from Coastal Carolina,” Whelan said. “I can only smile proudly and say ‘thank you!’”