Chat Room

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By Lance Coleman

Meet Ben Cash

Age: 39
Occupation: Associate professor of biology and chair of the Division of Natural Science at Maryville College
Married to: Christina
Children: Kade, 11; Olivia, 4

What was your most embarrassing moment?
"Probably being a biologist and almost passing out in the delivery room when my first child was born."

Why did you pursue the career you chose?
"The career pursued me, I would say. Sometimes our talents and interests cannot be ignored. I have a passion for the living world."

What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
"Straightforward. I hope that’s in a good way."

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
"Well, I had to call my mom for this one. She says I wanted to be a veterinarian."

What was your first paying job?
"My first job was at the 7-Day Store on Naval Air Station Sigonella (Sicily). My dad was in the U.S.Navy, and the school had a work program for those students that wanted it. It was actually a great experience."

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
"I would very much like to be an heir to the ancient Scottish throne, but since that is fanciful, I would say I wish I had more patience with things."

What is your passion?
Cash says his passion is wetlands. "I was always interested in the outdoors. I’ve always had this thing about ponds and wetlands. These little swamps are unique places. That’s what I ended up studying when I went to grad school. It’s just a really unique sort of habitat. The fascination comes from within. Some things I can explain, and some I can not."

To what do you attribute your success?
"My parents, my wife, my children, and key influential family members and teachers throughout my life."

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
"Charles Darwin. His influence on modern biology is still being felt today."

What do you hate?
"People who hurt children."

What’s your favorite quote?
"After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains." -- Walt Whitman.

What is your dream vacation?
"A month with my family, free from any responsibilities anywhere, preferably Canada or Alaska and far away from any towns with a population of 500 or greater."

What is your all-time favorite movie?
"Das Boot."

What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?
"I would probably most like to be Horatio Hornblower from CS Forester novels or Jack Aubrey of Patrick O’Brain novels."

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
"Heart of Darkness," by Joseph Conrad.

What is your favorite sport and your favorite sport’s team?
Both the men and women’s soccer teams at Maryville College.

If you won a big lottery jackpot, what is the charitable donation you would make? How would you splurge?
Cash says he would donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. "I would splurge by funding my research so that I would not have to worry about applying for grants."

If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
"I think it would be really neat to be a sailor on board the USS Constitution during the 1812 battle with HMS Java."

Who has been the best United States president of the last 100 years and why?
"Just based on achievements in troubling times, I would have to say Franklin Roosevelt."

What is the best present you ever received?
"When I was 11 or 12, my dad got me a nice SLR camera, and this helped to fuel my interest in nature. I began spending more time outdoors taking pictures."

What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
"Don’t hate."

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
"Yes, which time?"

What’s your favorite television or movie quote?
"When Capt. Miller looks up at Pvt. Ryan (‘Saving Private Ryan’) as he is dying and says. ‘Earn this.’ "

What are you guilty of?
"Watching to much TV. You’ll sit there and ‘veg’ out in front of the TV."

What task or activity have you still not gotten around to doing?
Cash says he and his friend Kim Trevathan have yet to take a canoe trip to Northern Canada.

If there was on thing about Blount County you could change, what would it be?
"A growth plan. It needs to have a smart growth plan, and it really doesn’t."

What is your favorite material possession?
"My mother’s father died when she was 3. He was a machinist, and I have his toolbox. Of all the things I have, that’s special."

What are you reading currently?
"I’m reading a couple of things (including) E.O. Wilson’s new book, ‘Creation.’ "

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