May 15, 2007

Association honors SIUC faculty member

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A national organization representing water resources professionals is honoring a faculty member at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Rolando Bravo, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at SIUC, received the title of diplomat, water resources engineer from the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, based in Reston, Va. Academy officials awarded the title to Bravo based on "the superior professional education and experience information" contained in his application, according to the award letter.

To achieve diplomat status, engineers must meet a stringent set of requirements including demonstrating active engagement in professional practices, holding a valid engineering license and at least a master's degree in an approved field and a minimum of 10 years professional experience in water resources engineering work, among many others.

Typically, candidates for the diplomat title also must pass an oral interview. In Bravo's case, however, the academy waived that requirement, citing his strong background and qualifications.

"The full application material was deemed sufficient to demonstrate satisfactory attainment of the water resources body of knowledge for a diplomat," the letter states.

Bravo said the achievement is an important professional milestone.

"This diplomat status allows one to be recognized as an expert in the area of water resources engineering," he said.

Lizette Chevalier, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said Bravo is the second faculty member to receive such a distinction. The first was John W. Nicklow, interim associate dean and associate professor.

"Bravo is an active member of the American Institute of Hydrology, maintaining strong ties with the profession," Chevalier said. "This is an honor for the department."

Practicing water resources professionals founded the AAWRE in 2004 primarily to offer a voluntary post-license credential. Since its inception, the group has awarded fewer than 250 diplomat certifications. AAWRE is aimed at improving and advancing the practice of professional water resources engineering and elevating standards.

Bravo began at SIUC in 1991 after earning his doctorate from the University of Houston in 1990. He previously earned a master's degree at the International Hydrology Engineering Institute in Delft, Holland.

Bravo has more than 25 years in the water engineering field in South America and the United States and currently does consulting work in addition to his faculty duties at SIUC. He is chair of the registration board for the American Institute of Hydrology and is also the first Hispanic to achieve diplomat status through the AAWRE.