The Aquaponics team’s initial goals were to come up with a working budget and see if our EPICS grant can satisfy our needs. If we do not have the required funds, we will brainstorm methods to secure sponsorship and additional funding. Once we meet with our community partners, we will have a better idea of the parameters we need for our first prototype. When we finish our prototype, we will seek approval from our community partners and make any necessary improvements.
Alondra Cabrera Ruiz, Computer Engineering, Graduation: May 2019, Project Manager
I am a Hispanic woman in tech from Richmond, California. On my free time I enjoy shopping, watching Netflix, and traveling. I joined EPICS because of my passion for community service projects. I have always been highly involved in my community, especially in those that are underrepresented, helping children with their STEM projects and also leading STEM activities. I am looking forward to working with interdisciplinary students and community partners to help me further develop my interpersonal and professional skills as well as continue serving the community.
Justin Sean Leinbach, Software Engineering, Graduation: December 2019, Mechanical Design Lead
I was born to parents from very different backgrounds who loved to move around a lot. After my parents separated, my mother and I moved to the Tule River Reservation in Central California. This opportunity exposed me to my mother’s cultural beliefs and gave me a great respect for nature and spiritual things. When it was time for me to graduate high school, I decided to join the submarine force for the U.S. Navy. This gave me the opportunity to serve in multiple leadership positions and work on many teams. I wanted to join the EPICS course to work on a community project with an interdisciplinary team.
Alwin Riady Argono, Computer Engineering, Graduation: May 2019, Technical Assistant
I am an international student from Indonesia. Before attending SJSU, I attended Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California. During my free time, I like to play basketball or computer games. I had a huge interest in computers and technology since I was little kid. I used to open up my CPU when things didn’t work right, though I sometimes made it worse, which actually motivated me to learn more about computers. I joined EPICS for my senior project to graduate from SJSU. I chose EPICS because I was previously a 160SL student, and I found myself really interested in working for the community. I thought it was fun meeting people from different backgrounds and majors.
I was born and raised in Watsonville, California, where I attended Cabrillo College and transferred to San José State University. I enjoy working with tools to either fix things or make them better. My main passion is working on cars and machines. I also like going to the beach with my dog when I have time. My favorite professor is Carlos Figueroa he teaches Physics and Introduction to Circuits at Cabrillo College. Professor Carlos is like no other teacher I ever had: he is a very caring professor and understanding. I enjoy learning from people that are passionate in what they do. The reason I joined EPICS was because I was awarded a scholarship that I am very thankful for receiving. I also enjoy giving back to the community by helping others through life experiences or what I have learned in school. My future plans are to look for a job so that I can gain more experience and help others. I will also want to go back to school for my masters degree.
Christian Lopez, Computer Engineer, Graduating Spring 2019, Webmaster
I am a graduating senior in computer engineering who is passionate about big data and its applications, I believe that the deluge of data generated from a smart aquaponics system is key in solving world hunger by understanding how to grow food with significantly less resources. I hope that through bringing awareness of this project to the community, I can make a difference by showing that there are far more efficient ways to grow food.
Cameron Hayes, Mechanical Engineer, Graduation: May 2021, Assistant Mechanical Designer
I grew up in Mountain View, CA where I went to Foothill Community College before transferring to SJSU. I enjoy the design process and particularly 3D printing application. As of right now I do not know was sub field of engineering I am interested in pursuing, but I am happy to be perpetually expanding my horizons and finding new fields that may one day pique my interest. When I am not studying I like to cook and read. I joined EPICS because I liked the idea of using my skills as an engineering student to make a direct impact in my local community. For the future and as of right now I would like to pursue a masters degree with a focus potentially in sustainable agriculture.
Omar Habra, Computer Engineering, Assistant Technical Designer
Scott LoCascio, Computer Engineering, Assistant Technical Designer
Alan Huang, Mechanical Engineering, Assistant Mechanical Designer
Climate change is a major concern for this generation. Food production has a major impact on the environment and climate change since most methods of food production require acres of land, chemical pesticides, and large amounts of water. The Earth’s oceans and seas are suffering from overfishing and some estimates claim that current fishing techniques can not be maintained. With populations growing and overfishing practices still in use, there needs to be a sustainable alternative for producing food. Aquaponics is that alternative. It is our hope to educate the public on what Aquaponics is and how anyone can implement these systems.
Our partnering organization, The Tech Museum of Innovation, is a family-friendly interactive science and technology center that serves as an educational resource for children and any interested adults. The Tech Museum of Innovation offers educational programs and onsite exhibits to expose children to technology and nurture their curiosity for STEM research. Some of these programs include The Tech Challenge and the Annual Team Design Competition, which have been globally recognized as community-centered activities for learning. Since climate change and chemical-free food production has been a major discussion in multiple science journals, The Tech Museum needs the Aquaponics project as an additional onsite exhibit to help educate the community on possible solutions to these global issues.
Aquaponics has many benefits for the environment and the community. First, aquaponics efficiently uses resources: no water is thrown away and fish food is ultimately used by both the plants and fish. Second, the system does not require use of chemicals, which makes crops safer to consume. Third, the crops grown with this method have a low chance of exposure to pests and diseases. Finally, by utilizing two sources of food in one system, aquaponics can potentially outperform current farming methods at a large scale. Overall, aquaponics can save the community space and money while producing more food.