My name is Ben Hillesheim. I’m an early career vertebrate paleontologist, 3-D printing enthusiast, and Minnesotan. I was born and raised in a small town called Buffalo Lake, Minnesota surrounded by corn, corn, and more corn. I went to college at St. John’s University where I studied Biology and History. Later, I escaped the corn by moving to Johnson City, Tennessee to study vertebrate paleontology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). At ETSU I wrote my master’s thesis on cranial morphological distinctiveness between black and brown bear skulls.
After graduating from ETSU, I returned to Minnesota (after a 2-year side-trip to New Mexico). To stay involved with paleontology and science outreach post-graduation, I have substitute taught middle and school students, volunteered with my local natural history museums, and surveyed for fossils with the BLM. Apart from paleontology, I enjoy 3-D printing (I’m an enthusiast, don’t ya know) all sorts of objects (though mostly paleontology-inspired nick nacks). I also like going on road trips with my wife, fishing with my mother-in-law, and spending time with my Chihuahua, Maisy.