Environmental students are certified in Aquatic Animal Life Support

Fifteen students in Environmental Engineering Technology (EVT) earned certifications from the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operations (AALSO) professional organization, by passing organization exams that were incorporated into EVT Fall Semester courses.

Three students passed exams for certifications as both Life Support Operator Level 1 and Water Quality Technician Level 1:

  • Melissa Givens
  • Joshua Green
  • Sean Sohi

Four other students earned the Water Quality Technician certification:

  • Craig A. Buckely
  • Timothy Norman
  • Tracy Stephens
  • Mykiale White

Eight other students earned the Life Support Operator certification:

  • Alexandra Balkowiec
  • Nora Combs
  • Victoria Grecni
  • Dave Hoerst
  • Jacob Moore
  • Nola Morris
  • Jacob Spohr
  • Benjamin Taphorn

The Water Quality exam was administered in EVT 230, Treatment Technologies. Exam topics included lab safety, USDA regulations, common laboratory equipment, theory and operation of analytical testing, and more.

The Life Support Operator exam was administered in EVT 246, Operations of Wastewater Treatment Plants. Topics on the exam included sand filtration, biological filtration, chemical filtration, system disinfection, automated control systems, and more.

EVT Program Chair Dr. Ann Gunkel said the AALSO Field Guide was adopted last year as a textbook for the EVT 230 and EVT 246 courses and used throughout these courses to prepare students for the exams.

Dr. Gunkel said incorporating AALSO certifications into EVT courses was recommended by the program’s Advisory Board members.

“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.