North Island College Students Help Develop New Technology to Monitor Water Quality

NIC Industrial Automation students helped improve water quality monitoring in coastal BC by developing components for a new water profiler system.

Industrial Automation graduate Jonathan Levasseur worked on the project as part of his NIC studies and continued after graduation.

“It’s a very cool project,” said Levasseur. “It was a lot of trial and error and using our knowledge about how circuitry works.”

NIC’s Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Sustainable Aquaculture, Dr. Stephen Cross, turned to NIC programs to develop various system components. The overall project included a telemetry board, winch system, software coding and several other pieces.

“These kinds of projects are extremely valuable to students,” said Brad Harsell, Industrial Automation instructor. “They allow students to work with clients and develop unique projects from start to finish. It’s a great way to use what they’ve learned through the program in applications involving local industry and community projects.”

The support from program instructors and industry partner Island Telemetrics were an invaluable resource to draw on, said Levasseur. “There were a few times I got stumped and they would suggest other things to try, there’s always a different method to try. It’s really great to have that experience to tap in to.”

Being able to effectively problem solve is important when working in the Industrial Automation field, said Levasseur. “That’s reflected in what we learned at NIC – they heavily focus on troubleshooting,” he said. “You’re given a lab and you have to make it work. When something goes wrong, either human error or a component blew o you have to go in and fix it.”

Levasseur’s experience also helped prepare him to move into the industry. Following graduation he accepted a position at a modular robotics company on Vancouver Island. “The great thing about this industry is the variety – anything you can think about can be automated. The possibilities are endless. It’s really exciting to work in a field like that.”

To learn more about NIC’s Industrial Automation, Electronics Core or other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs at NIC, visit