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Former Program Participants

SDS has hosted more than 210 trainees from 50 nations since December 1999. Here are just a few.  Additional photos are linked to the main photo. A complete list of participants we have hosted is available at former participants database.

Do you want to learn what our former participants have to say about their internship experience with SDS? Then click on Our Former Interns Feedback!  

Sun Hee
Mechanical Engineer from South Korea

Sun Hee, currently getting her degree in John's Hopkins University in Baltimore, came for an internship in spring 2007 and made a huge difference in lives of many people she never actually met. It is because Sunny participated in a development project that III is running in cooperation with Rotary International.

Sunny helped to prepare various materials that were presented in 2007 Rotary International 98th Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, worked on improving Engineering manual for drinking water delivery systems, automated video presentations and other marketing materials, translated texts into several languages and much more.

Her focused effort really helped to improve living standards of many people in the developing world, who are suffering from poverty and limited water/sanitation resources.

Click here to Sunny with Dr. Capece

Sunny during a lunch break in a "jungle" park right next to III office.

David in LaBelle Nature Park during installation of security system equipment

Electrical Engineer from France

David mostly handled during his training assignments related to Pelaez ranch project. He helped with installation of water sampler components, did a lot of troubleshooting on mechanical and electronic parts of the equipment and joined water sampling field crew anytime needed. He also updated many SOPs prepared by his fellow interns less skilled in electronics.

David’s other major assignment was moving ahead with security system used for protecting LaBelle Nature Park. He helped with selection of the cameras and other equipment, installing and testing softwares employed in the system and actual installation in the Nature park.

Architect-Designer from Tajikistan

   Inom initially received 4 months training in Tajikistan, where III has its branch office. There he realized his potential, but also the fact that to learn more about the world, he has to leave his home country and go abroad. After that decision was made, he came for 5 months training to III office in Florida. Here he rapidly improved his English that was initially slowing him down and once English stopped to be his main limiting factor, he could apply his architectural and designing skills on various technical assignments, for example in designing boardwalks or Environmental Education Center for LaBelle Nature Park.

As a Tajik citizen, he also helped to move forward with III’s development project on improving water situation in his home country.

Inom visiting one of the near by ranches.

Tosan during an educational tour to coal-fired power plant in US.

Environmental and Energy Engineer from Nigeria

    Tosan was responsible during her 6 months training for handling Pelaez ranch tasks and daily chores related to that project. She was responsible for collecting surface and ground water samples, their preparation and analysis in a laboratory, preparing chains of custody forms, programming autosamplers, replacing sampler bottles, and various other parts of the data collection process. Tosan handled all aspects of the research project with dignity and a professional attitude. She also helped train and supervise the more junior trainees, gaining management experience.

Upon completion of her training with SDS/III, Tosan was offered a research assistant position with University of Florida in Gainesville, where she will continue to develop her skills and talents in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department.

Metallurgical Engineer from Russia

Viacheslav has been closely involved in initial development of Carbon Capture project, which is aimed at promoting advanced technologies for reducing CO2 emissions and their contributions to global warming.

He helped with scientific presentations preparation, developed parts of the project website and drafted several proposals. As an engineer with IT skills, he also developed many AutoCAD drawings for several local engineering and environmental projects.


Viacheslav dreams about building a strong cooperation bridge between Russia and US.

Daniel in the office testing telemetry stations connectivity.

Chemical Engineer from Ghana

Daniel contributed to field research project at Pelaez ranch with unique leadership and persistence. At first, as a chemical engineer he was responsible for collecting, preparing and analyzing surface and subsurface water samples. But with time, he also undertook the challenge and assumed the position of a team leader with responsibility for maintaining all mechanical and electrical components of the programmable water samplers, maintaining installed telemetry stations and preparing various SOP's for future trainees to use. Daniel handled his duties that encompassed several specializations each and every day. He measured up very well against the demanding expectations of Dr. Capece.

Agricultural Science and Natural Resource Manager from Ethiopia

    Getnet was one of the most hardworking trainees ever hosted at the Southern DataStream.  Getnet helped with project management for the non-profit organizations Rotary International, Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association, and Alpha Epsilon Lambda.  Getnet produced two grant proposals for village water supply projects in Central Asia (see ) and participated in the Rotary International Water Summit in Houston, Texas.  He created several, high-quality exhibits and slide presentations describing regional projects.  Getnet demonstrated that with hard work it is possible to accomplish much in a three-month traineeship.

Getnet receives a recognition certificate from Rotary International for his contributions to the Central Asia Village Water Supply project.

Anneline in the Big Cypress Swamp.

Geo-Engineer from France

   Anneline is another talented and most dedicated young engineer we hae been hosting. Anneline's contributions during her first 3-month training proved that she was resourceful and focused. Her skills in soil and fluid mechanics and hydraulic modeling are applied to the Caloosahatchee River oxbow restoration projects. After completing her first training with III, Anneline returned home to France and then later on came back to Florida once again to start her second trainig, where she is managing another oxbow restoration project and performing related flow and sediment transport modeling.



Cindy at the Universal Studios Florida

Journalist from United Kingdom

  Cindy studied media studies and journalism at the University of Sunderland, England. In Florida she served as the community journalist among our group of primarily engineers and scientists. In addition to writing several economics and science articles for local newspapers, Cindy was assigned to train in grant writing, public relations, and non-profit organization management (Rotary International, Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association, and Alpha Epsilon Lambda).

  Cindy assisted in preparing and delivering presentations on river restoration projects to hundreds of school children and presenting the project to Rotary clubs throughout Florida. She was the group's events organizer. Cindy also demonstrated a high degree of responsibility in getting to presentations scheduled at very challenging times at very distant locations.



Radio and Television Journalist
from the Netherlands

Lars applied his artistic and technical talents in producing, editing, and distributing the Oxbow 24 Opening Ceremony video. Lars proved to be a uniquely video journalist and burned the midnight oil in producing a documentary about the problems of the Caloosahatchee River (currently in production) for his university degree project. Lars took a sincere interest in addressing the important water and environmental issues of South Florida and created the video clips supporting the naming of the Caloosahatchee River to America's Ten Most Endangered Rivers of 2006 (

Lars preparing to tape anther interview for his river documentary.


Oumnia during a recreation trip to Miami.

Electrical Engineer from Morocco

   Oumnia, originally from Morocco, came from France, where she attends her first year of Master's degree program at Belfort University. During her 3 months of summer training in Florida, Oumnia was assigned to train in the Pelaez, Queen Bee projects and focused her training activities on field data collection (water sampling and hydrologic measurements) and maintenance of the SDS automatic water samplers. She studied water sampler hardware to understand the instruments that create the overall data acquisition system.



Civil Engineer from Brazil

    Ricardo came to SDS from an Aerospace University in Sao Paulo. While somewhat out of his element, he did an excellent job at his river oxbow restoration project assignment. During his 5-month traineeship, Ricardo prepared RFB (Request for Bids) and RFQ (Requests for Qualifications) documents; researched and tested geofabrics; collected hydrological and water quality field data, performed land/water surveys, and designed much of the channel dredging project. Ricardo added his unique contributions to an innovative design for shoreline projection structures.  

Ricardo with a baby gator in Everglades.


Regis at the Bahia Honda State Park
(lower Florida Keys)

Engineer from France

   Regis with his high tech skills became invaluable to SDS projects during his 4-month program participation. He was responsible for installation and maintenance of field instrumentation, sensors, data-loggers, and various other telemetry system components. He also integrated the research data into a comprehensive database for statistical analysis. He served as team leader for field data collection tasks while also providing computer technical support to the office staff.



International Marketing and Management student
from Uzbekistan

   Vladimir developed and delivered presentations to Rotary clubs throughout Florida promoting an international service project. His dedicated attitude to the assigned tasks made him the most valuable member of the team in the summer of 2005 and has propelled the Village Water Supply project into a national-level program that has, so far, raised funds to provide clean water systems for more than 25 remote villages in Tajikistan, Central Asia.

Vladimir earned his Master Degree from Copenhagen Business School in Denmark on International Marketing and Management. After completing his traineeship, he went to Canada to continue his education.


Vladimir at one of his Rotary Club presentations


Xinyan at the Disney EPCOT Aquarium

Business manager from China

   Xinyan came for a four-month training in the summer of 2005. His main focus was tax and managerial accounting, but he also helped other trainees with their projects, including creation of an asset tracking database for Hendry County. Xinyan also acivelly collected GPS data on road and bridge infrastructure to imrove GIS sysem databases of Hendry County.



Electrical Engineer from Germany

    Henrik was a trainee for 4 months starting in January 2005.  He was the instrumentation specialist responsible for setting up and maintaining a system of remote water samplers, water level and flow sensors, weather measurements stations, and telemetry hardware linked to Internet databases.  Henrik's quiet, steady determination and professionalism set the ideal example for the group of program participants.  Henrik became the senior project trainee for the second half of his traineeship and led his team during this time.


CLICK HERE to see Henrik sizing up a gator to make sure its not bigger than his canoe.

Henrik exploring the Florida wilderness on a canoe trip down Fisheating Creek.


CLICK HERE to see a larger version of this post-hurricane photo.

Aurelie at one of the ranch sites the day
after one of the Florida hurricanes of 2004.

Engineer from France

    Aurelie was a 6-months trainee, starting in the summer of 2004, the same year when 4 hurricanes passed through Florida.  She and other SDS trainees would spring in to action immediately on the heels of the storms, traveling to the flooded sites to measure the water flow and chemical quality.  In her last two months, Aurelie assumed primary responsibility for the sampling and instrumentation projects.  As part of her duties she would organize the team of 8 program participantss for the day-long field site data collection trips.


Economics student from Japan

    Masahiro came for a brief traineeship during his summer break from attending University of California - Irvine.   His primary responsibility was to manage the office finances including receipts, disbursements, expense accounting and preparation of annual corporate tax returns.

    He studied and mastered the Quickbooks Pro accounting software as his primary a digital tool.  Masahiro would also assist other program participants as a member of their field data collection team.

CLICK HERE to see Masahiro getting out from behind the desk into the Kirton Ranch field site.

Masahiro managing the office finances using
the QuickBooks Pro software system.


CLICK HERE to see Daniel and other interns hitching a ride back to LaBelle after a Rotary Club barbeque.

Daniel at a meeting of the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association meeting, for which he served as a member of the board of directors.

Political Scientist from England

   Daniel served as a trainee for six months...which must have seemed like at least twice that long to him, given the double-duty he did as both a guest  lecturer in the local schools and as the co-author of the grant proposal.  Having an undergraduate degree in American Studies and a graduate degree in Democracy Studies, ideally prepared Daniel to design and write components of the new project proposal.

   Upon completion of the document, Daniel traveled to Washington, DC and New York City with Dr. Abror Gadaev to present the proposal to USAID, World Bank, United Nations, and various foundations. 


Electrical Engineer from Cameroon

    For three months during the summer of 2004, Eliane was engaged in instrumentation and data collection activities for the Kirton Ranch project.  She learned how to maintain and repair the circuits of the sampler control unit.  She also assisted with water sample collection and processing, including SOP development, chain of custody creation, and general data records management.


Eliane in the office where she processes water samples from the ranch pollutions studies.


Weerachai at the river house with other trainees.

Mechanical Engineer from Thailand

Weerachai served as a trainee for five months during which he methodically and quietly developed his understanding of SDS projects and procedures.  By the last month of his program participation, Weerachai became the internal coordinator for all other program participants, taking responsibility and leadership in preparing and conducting most field experiment project tasks and trips.  As a mechanical engineer he also developed designs and prototypes for new water sampler components.


Civil Engineering Professor from Uzbekistan

Abror came to SDS in an effort to make the most of his time in the USA after delivering a technical presentation at the American Water Resources Association.  He spent 4 months developing a project proposal for his university and a web page, www.UzbekWater.Net, documenting water projects in Uzbekistan, Central Asia and the Aral Sea region.

    Upon returning to his university, Professor Abror Gadaev was assigned to develop a new department and area of study focusing on engineering training for disaster response, natural or otherwise.  He continues to remain involved with the training program in pursuit of educational opportunities for students from his nation.

CLICK HERE to see Abror with John Capece and Rae Ann Wessel at a RiverWatch

Abror touring citrus industry to study  irrigation systems.


CLICK HERE to see Mike and his trusty "Blue Flame" on the salt flats of Utah's Great Salt Lake.

Mike crossing the USA on one of his annual road trips.

CLICK HERE to see Mike on one of his US adventures.

Geographer from Czech Republic

Mike contributed more to Southern DataStream projects than any other of the 125 program participants before him. During his 17-month traineeship Mike was a data analysis and report writing machine, while also helping with field programs whenever needed.  By the time of his departures he had produced several project final reports and many more progress and data reports. He was also the glue that held the trainee group together, welcoming all new arrivals and helping out whenever they need assistance with their projects. 

  Mike also has a talent for photography and as a geographer, he made it his mission to travel to as many corners of the USA as possible during his training breaks.  Upon completion of his traineeship, Mike was elected as a director of Intelligentsia International, Inc. and is serving as an international programs coordinator traveling to water development projects in Europe and Asia.


Environmental Engineer from Australia

    Benjamin created and earned for himself one of the most diverse traineeship ever accomplished at Southern DataStream. His primary focus was planning for the first-ever Caloosahatchee River oxbow restoration project.  But during his 6-month program he also gained experience in water quality sampling standard operating procedures, organized field trips, delivered lectures to civic groups and school classes, served as a project development liaison with state government agencies, authored technical reports for research projects, analyzed ground water dynamics data sets, and developed a new project scopes.

  Upon returning to Australia, after his traineeship, he quickly found employment with a world-class company that develops geographic pathways and social impact plans for high speed rail systems throughout the world. 

CLICK HERE to see Benjamin with one of the LaBelle High School Science classes after his oxbow restoration lecture.

Benjamin exploring his oxbow restoration site.


CLICK HERE to see Sanjay and Jurgen at the Kissimmee River near one of the water quality sampling sites.

Sanjay testing new controllers and software.

Electrical Engineer from India

    Sanjay is another of the exceptionally talented and hardworking engineers that Southern DataStream has been fortunate to host.  As an electrical engineer from Illinois Institute of Technology, Sanjay's contributions during his first 4-month program participation and his second 6-month traineeship were extremely critical to the field instrumentation and control systems of the automatic water samplers.  He is an engineer who does it all: performs design calculations, builds and tests prototypes, fabricates the production units, and then personally installs the final systems... with enthusiasm.  Together with other skilled trainees, including Jurgen from Germany, designed and  built water samplers placed on farms near the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee. Sanjay's technical skills, demonstrated positive attitude, high degree of focus, and absolute personal integrity makes him the type of team member that any company would be fortunate to hire. 

   Upon graduation from Illinois Institute of Technology Sanjay was immediately offered a design and development position with Motorola.


Irrigation Engineer from Niger

    Moctar led a team of trainees in the task of preparing the final report to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the demonstration project at MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center.  This 300-page report documented results from the 3-year project to study the effects of cattle grazing on pasture lands runoff water quality.  After completing his traineeship at Southern DataStream, Moctar was hired to serve as the first water utility engineer for Hendry County.  In addition to his responsibilities for designing water supply system for the community of Port LaBelle, Moctar provides engineering services for regional roads, bridges, and airport.

   Moctar earned his Master of Science from Utah State University Biological and Irrigation Engineering Department.

Moctar reviewing his project report.


CLICK HERE to see Rustam "failure is not an option" Tajibaev building a ground water well sampling system.

Rustam on his first snorkeling experience at the Pennekamp State Park in the Florida Keys.

Petroleum Industry Engineer from Tajikistan

    Rustam is an engineer's engineer.  His curiosity and thirst for new knowledge and skills proved endless.  He embraced each new challenge as an opportunity to learn and do.  Rustam was equally capable and energetic with mechanical design, CAD renderings, machine shop fabrication, field equipment maintenance, electronics circuit analysis and repair, power system maintenance, data acquisition systems and software, GPS technology, and water quality sampling.  On each trip to the ranch experiment site, Rustam was the one trainee still in the field focused intensely on his tasks when everyone else (including Dr. Capece) was exhausted and ready to go home. 

    After completing his undergraduate degree in Turkey, Rustam returned home to Tajikistan where has started a new company, Silkroad Science and Engineering, as a joint venture with other former trainees and Dr. Capece. Its first local project is described at


Electronics Engineer from Morocco

    Loubna came to SDS not directly from Morocco but from France, where she attends Universite de Technologie de Belfort-Montebeliard.  She came with her best friend and fellow engineering student Hanane for a 6-month traineeship.

   Together they met the challenges of their training in which they focused on the power systems and control units of the 51 automatic water samplers deployed at Kirton Ranch.  Loubna developed procedures for the maintenance and operations of the electrical systems.  Hanane and Loubna also were assigned to the water sampling and other project training.

CLICK HERE to see Loubna and Hanane at the EPCOT aquarium exhibits.

Loubna on a tour of the Disney EPCOT Land Pavillion's agricultural technology facilities.


CLICK HERE to see Tony at the seemingly endless line of Kirton Ranch automatic water samplers.

Tony calibrating sensors at Kirton Ranch.

Computer Scientist from Connecticut

    Versatility combined with high tech skills and a "can-do" attitude made Tony invaluable to SDS projects during his summer traineeship.  He installed instruments, programmed dataloggers, calibrated sensors, maintained telemetry systems and improved the online databases. He also helped with other aspects of the field experiments: water sample collection, vegetation sampling, equipment maintenance, and anything else that needed doing.  As a student from Southern Connecticut State University, Tony was the sole American within the group of 14 international program participants at SDS during the summer of 2003.  He is the type of person that Americans like to think we are...or can become. 

    After his 3-month taste of Florida, this Yankee decided to move south and transfer to Florida Gulf Coast University to complete his degree.


Computer Engineer from India

    Taking the summer off from studying at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Jay developed skills in network and database administration at SDS for the summer of 2003.  While Jay is Indian by heritage, he is truly an international citizen having grown up in Zambia.

   Jay managed network and domain security, maintained telemetry systems, set up MySQL databases and created some online graphics utilities that allow SDS scientists to monitor and visualize far-off experiment sites in near real time, allowing the scientists and technicians to focus on data analysis rather than time-consuming data processing.  His professionalism and technical skills were far beyond those of your typical 21 year old undergraduate.

CLICK HERE to see Jay checking signals at one of the Kirton Ranch telemetry station.

Jay bringing in his dinner.


CLICK HERE to see Olha at one of the water sampler flumes.

Olha playing in the mud at Kirton Ranch.

Industrial Ecologist from Ukraine

    No job (or truck) was too large for Olha.  Olha arrived just when things started getting busy for the Kirton Ranch project.  With the summer rains came the task of collecting surface and ground water samples and preparing them for delivery to the University of Florida lab.  Olha along with other trainees refined and expanded the water quality sampling standard operating procedures (SOP).  During her 3-month traineeship she also prepared project progress and data reports for the South Florida Water Management District.

   Olha came to SDS from University of Idaho where she is pursuing a graduate degree in environmental science as a Freedom Support Act Muskie Fellow.


Environmental Scientist from Ghana

    During his brief 2-month program, Paul assisted with the treatment implementation, field activities, and sampler maintenance of the experiments at the Kirton Ranch and Chandler Ranch.  His serious attitude to the training made him the most valuable member of the research team in the Spring of 2003.  Paul is a true team player, never hesitant to take the major responsibilities alongside Dr. Capece to make the projects succeed.

   Upon completing his traineeship Paul returned to Denmark to complete his degree program.

CLICK HERE to see Paul at the University of Tampa.

Paul checking the sampler at Candler Ranch.


CLICK HERE to see this journalist getting close to her story as she buries a solar panel cable at the Candler Ranch water quality monitoring site.

Michela on a trip to NASA.

Journalist from England

    During her 14-month traineeship, Michela documented the public interest issues and technical debates behind the environmental projects pursued by Southern DataStream.  She researched and wrote newspaper and magazine articles as part of the Watershed Council series.  Michela also dealt with projects for various non-profit organizations: AEL, AWRA, and CRCA.  For the final months of her traineeship she served as the trainees' coordinator. 

   Michela became a valued part of the community and was granted membership in the LaBelle chapter of Rotary International.  Upon completion of her traineeship she went on to employment in nearby Ft. Myers.


Engineer from Lithuania

    During her unprecedented 18-month program participation, Jurate served as the data specialist for the MAERC project.  She is now married to an American, Eric Meister.   She is now employed in LaBelle as the GIS specialist for the Hendry County Engineer (Road and Bridge Department).  Jurate set the standard of patience, persistence and attention to detail by which all other trainees are now measured. 

   Her traineeship was extended to 18 months after she demonstrated incredible dedication to the MAERC research project during her initial traineeship.  Wedding photos are also posted for all her friends.

CLICK HERE to see Jurate at her new job with the Hendry County Engineer.

Jurate at the Chandler Slough project site.


CLICK HERE to see Stefan atop the Emprire State Building in New York City.

Stefan on a cruise through the river oxbows.

Software Engineer from Germany

    Stefan was a trainee of few words but  many lines of code.  During his six months at SDS, Stefan developed and installed the Kirton Ranch telemetry system and created the associated online database.  This was a key contribution to the project that allows near real-time visualization of the data collection systems for the project weather stations, sensors, and 51 automated water samplers.

   Upon completing his degree, Stefan obtained US permanent residency and returned to LaBelle to continue his professional career. 


Industrial Engineer from Indonesia

    Before finishing the last year of he graduate degree at Oklahoma State University, Novry undertook a summer traineeship at SDS.   She managed traineeship marketing and application processing, including the development of database resources.  Novry also conducted legal research to create agreement language and documents.

  After completing her degree Novry returned to LaBelle, where she is now employed by the Country Home and Land company, analyzing business operations and designs and developing technological support systems.

CLICK HERE to see Novry at a Florida Keys harbor.

Novry at Tyrell Gardens in LaBelle.


Ramy with Astronaut Jon McBride at NASA.

Mechanical Engineer from Lebanon

    During his 3-month program participation, Ramy focused on the maintenance and redesign of the SDS automatic water samplers.  He conducted maintenance and equipment installation tasks at the research project site (Kirton Ranch).  Ramy also studied the use of the CR10 dataloggers and developed software for integrating various electronic sensors into hydrological monitoring stations.

   His last assignment was to initiate testing of the SDS prototype samplers at the University of Florida Department of Agricultural Engineering laboratories in Gainesville.


Environmental Engineer from Colombia

       During her 3-month traineeship Catalina made important contributions to SDS projects while she grew in her professional skills and confidence. Catalina's primary project was to learn about and assist with water quality sampling procedures (SOPs) for Kirton Ranch. She accomplished this cooperating in parnership with another environmental engineering trainee, Elif Songun from Turkey. These formal procedures are required for all government-funded research projects. In addition to developing the methods, Catalina selected and purchase all the necessary sampling and measurement equipment. Catalina collect the first set of ground water samples from the 51 wells at the Kirton Ranch project.

      Upon completion of her traineeship, Catalina continued with languages studies in Miami and then returned to Colombia, where she presented her project results and received her engineering degree.

CLICK HERE to see Catalina processing ground water samples.

Catalina Barreneche at the office.


Yaw Sun in Key West

Yaw Sun
Civil Engineer from Singapore

     Yaw Sun served as a trainee for 3 months, but it probably seemed longer than that to him given all the training challengeshe took on. He contributed to the Kirton Ranch project.  Along with a team of other trainees, Yaw Sun helped install the 51 water samplers and monitoring wells.

     In addition to his field activities, Yaw Sun developed a report comparing mathematical methods for estimating evapotranspiration from weather parameters as part of the FHANTM hydrological modeling project.  He also studied the XP-SWMM hydraulic model in preparation for a new engineering design study.

    Yaw Sun was perhaps the most devoted trainee ever hosted by Southern DataStream.  Yaw Sun's unique ability to excel at both his field activities and his hydrological analysis project proved that this young engineer will let no obstacle stand in the way of his professional goals.


Economist from Nigeria

     Aigba set the record for departing with more baggage than any other trainee.  But she had good reason for the extra boxes and suitcases...Aigba had to pack all the necessary supplies for her wedding scheduled only weeks after her return home.

     During her 3-month traineeship, Aigba managed SDS finances and trained other program participants as well.  She learned how to use standard U.S. small business accounting software and how to prepare federal and state tax forms for non-profit and for-profit corporations.  Aigba also took time to become involved in the community by participating in the local church groups. 

Aigba at her campus in Ghana.


Carlos in the SDS workshop with Volkan.

Electrical Engineer from Brazil

     Carlos accomplished much during his 12 months with SDS.  He arrived with marginal English skills but departed with an excellent command of the language.  Carlos came to Florida with his cousin Edward and his friend Nicolai. Together they designed and built the electronic control units for the SDS water samplers and also assembled the flume systems prior to their installation at the Kirton Ranch water quality project site.  He also developed the preliminary conceptual design for the hydrological instrumentation telemetry system.

    Carlos completed other engineering projects, including development of a sugarcane freeze prediction and mapping system for the U.S. Sugar Corporation.  As part of this effort, Carlos trained himself in the operation of the ArcView GIS software system.  His last project was the creation of a road and bridge assets valuation and management system for the regional governmental engineering office.


History student from England

     Nick's addition to the group of of his peers represented an attempt to diversify the SDS emphasis on engineers by promoting attention to sociological and political aspects of the training.  Nick developed a seminar series in which all trainees presented both the technical and social aspects of their traineeship experience. His personal seminar, coincidentally scheduled for September 11, 2001 provided an opportunity for the group of 15 SDS trainees to gather and discuss events of the day and attempt to make sense of this terrible event in U.S. and international history.

     Nick's technical contribution to SDS was the development and submission of a project and grant proposal for a mentorship program between local school students and the SDS program participants.  Nick firmly believes that his experience with SDS opened up new professional opportunities to him upon his return home.

Nick enjoying a weekend  boat trip on the Caloosahatchee River.


Marlene, always focused on the task at hand at her desk.

Environmental Engineer from France

     During her 3-month training, Marlene Canetti produced the C-11653 official work plan and DEP quality assurance plan.  Both are standard government documents required of all environmental research projects in Florida.

   This assignment required that she learn all aspects of the research project and integrate those plans with existing regulations of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation and the South Florida Water Management District.


Environmental Engineer from Brazil

     Thiago is one of those people who can't help but smile and thus turn any situation into a positive experience.  Such an unflapable positive attitude is particularly helpful when facing the challenge to design and construct 55 hydrological measurement flumes and samplers.  Together with Stephane from Switzerland, Thiago started the process which eventually led to the establishment of the nationally-unique hydrological research facility at Kirton Ranch (  

     Thiago's traineeship also demonstrated and further developed his unique talent for creating teaching tools and instructional materials as exemplified by his attention to detailed process descriptions as shown in his flume website.


Thiago (right) with trainee extraordinaire Stefan from Switzerland.


Andrea at an SDS trainee reunion in Brazil.

Civil Engineer from Italy

     For 12 months Andrea was a hydraulics trainee handling a variety of training assignments.  Initially Andrea restored a set of hydrological monitoring stations at the MacArthur Agroecology Research Center.  He replaced and calibrated all the proximity and pump sensors. Next, Andrea and another trainee, Olli Neumann, developed the core hydraulic design concept for the SDS automatic water samplers.

  Andrea was then given a very challenging assignment, to develop a hydraulics model of the stormwater runoff in the City of Cape Coral, known as the American Venice because of its extensive network of canals. This project, conducted in cooperation using the XP-SWMM model, resulted in Andrea being offered a professional-level permanent job at Boyle Engineering Corporation, another partner in the Cape Coral project.

 However, Andrea was determined to build his career back home.  Andrea is now gainfully employed as a hydraulic modeling engineer in Italy...except when he is traveling throughout the world visiting some of his former trainee colleagues and friends from his days at SDS.


Software Engineer from Ghana
2000 and again 2004-2005

    Isaac is the perfect example of determination overcoming all. When posed with a formidable assignment to develop graphical applications for the Palm OS platform, Isaac focused like a laser beam on acquiring the specific skills required to meet the project goals.  Isaac was based in Gainesville for much of his program where he cooperated with another trainee, Ronald Hellriegel from Germany.

   Upon completing his training program, Isaac returned to Denmark to complete his Masters degree.  He then returned to Florida in 2004 for a second traineeship as the IT manager for Southern DataStrean and as a GIS analyst for the Hendry County Engineering office.

Isaac...ready to take on the world.


Claudia snorkeling in the Florida Keys.

Environmental Engineer from Italy

     Claudia served as an engineer for six months.  She is one the most exceptional trainees ever hosted by SDS.  An incredibly dedicated, meticulous engineer and researcher, Claudia also was the perfect housemate to the other trainees...a great cook and always seeking travel and adventure.

       Claudia's first assignment was to develop the literature review and work plan for the C-11653 project for the South Florida Water Management District.  This assignment required that she spend a month at the University of Florida in Gainesville so as to have access to their library resources.

  Upon returning to LaBelle and completing the training plan, Claudia then began undertook on the Cape Coral XP-SWMM model training assignment.  She cooperated with Andrea on this effort until her departure.


Geographer from England

Someone had to be the first trainee and it was Catherine. During her 8-month program participation, Catherine produced the video documenting the UF-SDS project at Buck Island Ranch for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  She handled a variety of other projects including the creation of a web page for the CYDA school in Clewiston. 

  After completing her traineeship she was hired to become a certified teacher for the Hendry County School District. She returned to England after marrying another former SDS program participant.  In October, 2003, the couple had a son.  The new family now lives in London.

Catherine and husband, former program participant Edward from Brazil.