Source: Keiser UniversityFt. Lauderdale, Florida, August 22, 2013-Four industry professionals who work in different aspects of the pool/spa industry in the United States and Singapore received the first university degree specific to the pool and spa industry. Keiser University eCampus conferred the Associate of Science in Aquatic Engineering Degree on Wendy Purser, Cynthia Burdett, Martha Galan and Terence Lei this summer. The graduation was held at the Ft. Lauderdale Performing Arts Center, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. "We missed Terence, who was unable to travel from Singapore, but he was with us in spirit, and via texting and social media," said Department Chair and Professor, Connie Gibson Centrella.

The two-year online degree covers subjects such as water hydraulics, electrical systems, chemistry, structure design and facility management. Centrella has played a significant role in the success and development of the online Aquatic Engineering Degree program, now in the ninth year. Keiser online students can learn anytime anywhere, from all over the world, on their own schedule, even while they work.

Cindy Burdett has worked as an Aquatic Engineer for the past 14 years. "I decided to enter the Keiser program because I wanted to learn more about aquatic management, which I did," she said. "What I really liked about the program is that we students were all together month after month, interacting online; we developed a friendship and were able to assist each other through the courses." Cindy was fortunate to meet her current employer, D2 Marine Solutions, just 2 months prior to completing her degree and moved 1200 miles from Vermont to Florida. "My added degree definitely helped in my acquiring the position," she stated. Burdett performs water quality management on cruise ships; her primary focus is currently watching over the Princess Cruise Line; she travels widely around the globe. Cindy got her start in the pool and spa industry working for the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont and oversaw the construction of many Vermont resorts.

Martha Galan has a plan - to one day own her business designing and constructing contemporary swimming pools. Having worked a number of years in Civil Engineering, her interest in the Keiser Aquatic Engineering degree was a natural to pursue. "I really liked the program for several reasons. It was online which allowed me to work on school work at my own pace. And, the professor was very friendly, extremely knowledgeable and field-experienced in the area of study," explained Ms. Galan. She said the program has opened many doors in other related disciplines such as landscape architecture, lighting design, consulting and construction. She added, "I would recommend the two-year program to other industry members to expand their knowledge with new technology." Ms. Galan will be continuing her studies at the University of Central Florida in Construction Engineering. She is also seeking a position with an organization that specializes in swimming pool design, construction, and aesthetic entrance fountain features.

Terence Lei's Keiser experience is a perfect example of how seamlessly the online degree program can work for someone half way around the globe. Terence was already employed with Weei Ta Engineering in Singapore as a project engineer when he was encouraged by his supervisor to enroll in the 2-year degree program as a means to improve his knowledge base and skills. Weei Ta specializes in all aspects of water treatment and features. "The course opens the door to a great many opportunities - to meet industry professionals from all over the world, seeking to expand and grow, to share not only knowledge, but their professional networks," explained Lei. "I enjoyed all the core subjects under the tutelage of Professor Connie Sue Centrella. Her experience and guidance made the learning experience enjoyable and painless. We could approach her at any time with any question or problems we were facing, and she would advise us accordingly on the right way to get the problem solved." Terence currently is employed as Project Director at Waterland Services (sister company to Weei Ta), a swimming pool and water feature specialist firm, working on several large scale pool construction projects, most notably the Singapore Sports Hub scheduled to open April 2014.

Wendy Purser is an experienced pool professional, and like many others,Wendy started work while in high school and never received a college degree. She decided to attend the KeiserUniversity program to "complete something in my life that I always wanted, a degree." Purser, owner of Hampstead Pool, Spa and Patio in North Carolina, says, "I have learned so much more about pools and other subjects that directly effect my pool career. What I find so valuable is that the knowledge I am gaining is not manufacturer based but real scientific facts." She adds,"It has opened my scope of understanding pool related issues such as aquatic facility management, design, equipment, and chemical theory. In addition other courses such as Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Advanced Algebra and Intro to computers have also provided me information that I use everyday in business." Purser says now she can talk with confidence on a wide range of subjects and "hopefully use this degree to continue to work into my old age as well as provide a better resource for my customers and employees."Online learning is hard as it takes discipline of time and putting forth a better than expected performance. "The experience with Keiser has been above my expectations from the beginning enrollment to the professors. The Keiser staff was also fastidious in helping me fund this endeavor.I highly recommend this course of study as it is well worth the effort and cost to anyone at any level of life," she concluded.

"The ultimate goal of an online instructor is to instill a passion for learning," explained Connie Centrella. "These four students were totally engaged and committed throughout their studies. I am proud of their accomplishments and I look forward to their continued success in the swimming pool industry. They are raising the level of professionalism for our industry's future," she stated.

Connie Gibson Centrella, MBA, is Professor and Department Chair for the online Aquatic Engineering Degree Program at Keiser University eCampus, Director of Education for Team Horner, and is a Sustainability Officer, having been certified in the principles of Green and Sustainable business practices. Centrella is a five-time recipient of the Evelyn C. Keiser Teaching Excellence Award "Instructor of Distinction" and is an industry veteran with over 40 years experience in the pool and spa industry.

About the Online Keiser University Aquatic Engineering Degree Program The Keiser University Associate of Science two-year Aquatic Engineering Degree is 60 semester hours. Each student is required to complete 36 credit hours of major courses and 24 credit hours of general education courses. The degreed program encourages students to broaden their knowledge in all aspects of swimming pool and spa management and operation. It is offered exclusively online, making the degree program available to the national and international community of pool and spa professionals, and those seeking employment in the field. The online format makes it possible to offer a global study program that enables schedule flexibility and increased access to those currently employed. Keiser University's eCampus online currently serves students throughout the nation and overseas. For more information about the Aquatic Engineering Degree at Keiser University, visit http://www.keiseruniversity.edu and click on online education, call 866-534-7371, or email admissions@keiseruniversity.edu.

About Keiser University Keiser University was founded by the Keiser family in Fort Lauderdale in 1977. Still calling Fort Lauderdale home, with 14 campuses throughout Florida, and still run by the Keiser family, the University offers degrees, including M.B.A. and Ph.D., in high-demand fields in computer technology, aquatics, medical, business, and legal disciplines and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, 404-679-4501) to award certificates and degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.