Cincinnati State Environmental Engineering Technology student Tyler Rasp (on left in photo) recently was awarded a scholarship from the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operations (AALSO) professional organization, after earning the AALSO Water Quality Technician Level 1 Certification in Fall Semester while enrolled in the course EVT 230 (Treatment Technologies).
Tyler received travel funding from AALSO to attend the annual Symposium and Workshops held Mar. 30 to Apr. 3, 2019, in Long Beach, California, on the historic Queen Mary ocean liner.
Environmental Engineering Tech (EVT) Program Chair Dr. Ann Gunkel (on right in photo) also attended the Symposium, a five-day idea exchange where professionals and students are able to rebuild pumps, size chillers, calibrate sensors, fuse pipe, and operate ozone systems on an automated 5,000 gallon fully functional aquatic system called The Big Automated Water Loop (BAWL).
Tyler helped to assemble The BAWL and also worked with a group that installed a protein skimmer using PVC.
"It was nice to gain some experience with pipefitting and solvent welding," Tyler said. "We had to double check the polyethylene fittings to make sure the bolts were tight enough so they would not leak, but not crack the fittings, either."
"I learned a lot while working on The BAWL," Tyler said. "It was my favorite experience at the Symposium."
Tyler also presented a poster session (conducted in the engine room of the Queen Mary) that explained his proposal for a low-impact aquarium and native plant nursery. "I received a lot of helpful feedback for my proposal," he said.
During the Symposium, Tyler took the exam and earned the Level 2 Water Quality Technician Certification.
"The Symposium was a great experience, and I hope to go again in the future," Tyler said.
Dr. Gunkel said courses EVT 230 and EVT 246 (Operations of Wastewater Treatment Plants) began incorporating AALSO certifications this year, in response to recommendations made at the annual Advisory Board meeting.
"Representatives from AALSO, including Newport Aquarium personnel and professionals from California, visited Cincinnati State in Fall Semester," Ann said. "They made presentations to the EVT classes and conducted a behind-the-scenes tour of Newport Aquarium for our students."
Ann said seven students in EVT 230 earned the Level 1 Water Quality Certification and four students in EVT 246 earned the Level 1 Life Support Operator Certification. One student earned both certifications.
"Cincinnati State is one of only seven colleges or universities in the U.S. that has incorporated AALSO training into the curriculum, and is the only school that offers students the ability to earn two different certifications," Ann said.
AALSO was formed in 1994 when approximately 30 zoo and aquarium Life Support System professionals met to discuss water filtration systems. Now the organization has over 1,000 members, 500 certified operators, and about 300 vendor members.
AALSO encourages advancement of the science and technology of life support for care of aquatic systems and animals. The organization provides a forum for water quality and mechanical system professionals at zoos and aquariums, along with curators, researchers and vendors, to exchange information and ideas to enhance stewardship of the animals in their care.