Christopher Scalise Success Story!
Christopher Scalise was nice enough to submit a success story to Animal Behavior College. We appreciate learning of his success after graduation.
This is what Christopher had to say about his Animal Behavior College experience.
My name is Christopher Scalise, and I completed the Aquarium Maintenance Program recently. The program took me a tick over 13 months. I am a (relatively) normal guy, single (divorced), 51 years old, living with no other human inhabitants…lol. I have an incredible best friend, my 8-year-old Chocolate Lab, Dexter…and his co-conspirators Scratch (the old man) and Spock, Dex’s adopted teenager. Both cats are very cool grey tabbies. I also currently have nine freshwater aquariums ranging in size from 30-75 gallons, and ONE newly set up 125-gallon reef setup. I have an amazing daughter, Devon, whom I am very proud to say holds her doctorate in physical therapy! (I couldn’t wait to poke at her when I got my diploma, saying “see? Now I have letters after my name too!”.
I guess I’ll just toss my occupation in here now as well. I am a full-time Utility Repairman and Laboratory Headman substitute at United Refining Company, in Northwestern Pennsylvania. I have been employed there since 2008. Oddly enough, my refining and laboratory experience through my occupation was actually quite helpful in many aspects of my studies. The laboratory end is somewhat self-explanatory, with numerous different chemistry aspects crossing over between the 2. The refining end is quite helpful with many of the plumbing/head pressure/ flows/controls aspects. One thing in particular, I found very cool…. we essentially run a “super-sized” protein skimmer in our wastewater plant…. doing the same job, ours is just using bubbles (with a tiny bit of chemical help) to force hydrocarbon particles to form a foam of sorts, to remove it from the water. We also have a tank that houses bacteria, that feeds off microscopic hydrocarbons…. much like those that feed on ammonia in the aquarium industry.
We asked him why he chose ABC and this was his reply:
Whew! Ok! Why ABC? Honestly, I had been considering an actual education/certification of this type on and off for a while and started nosing around the web. After doing the usual comparisons and reading reviews and such, ABC checked all the boxes I had in mind. Also, I will not lie, tuition was “on-sale” at the perfect time to…lol…was it a deciding factor? In a way, it was. I could not find a good reason NOT to take the plunge. I did call with many questions before committing. The biggest of which for me was, potential flexibility…and the options for extensions as needed throughout the course. In my career, things can go VERY bad, VERY fast….and the term “normal schedule” is merely a term. That was a key factor for me, I needed that flexibility….and utilized it multiple times throughout my time as a student.
My program manager, Rachel Griebert, could not have been more accommodating and understanding of my sometimes insane not only work schedules, but happenings in my crazy life in general. I know full well that I can be an incredible pain to deal with, but Rachel, became more than just my pm, but a friend in a very professional and comfortable way. I struggled at times through that year, and she helped keep me going. I will always be grateful for her help and support!
Something that SHOULD be mentioned to new students…. the ability to print the materials is really a must, I don’t know anyone who could do all of this material strictly online.
When asked about his upcoming plans, this is how he responded.
As far as plans for my Certification…I’m going to use it as a part-time gig to help me inch towards a happy retirement, and then supplemental income after that, if I still can. I actually have a client already, with a regular maintenance contract. I have good relations with my local pet and fish stores, even if they don’t with each other…lol.
I’m old enough to remember, as a kid, having to wear a size of jeans that used to be called “Husky”….a polite way to say your kid is too large for his height….lol…(people would protest that in today’s world!…lol)…well, my nickname at work has been “Pirate” for years (a couple of earrings in one ear and a skullcap, voila’!)….. sooooo……”Husky Pirate Aquatics” had a name just like that!…lol….and yeah, I’m still too chubby for my height!!…but now I can say “HEY!, I’m over 50!”….hahahaha
Completing this course was quite a challenge, not the difficulty and not that it was easy either by any means, but actually with it all the way through. It is an impressive amount of incredibly useful information, even if one is not looking to pursue work in the field upon completion. I have been a freshwater hobbyist my entire life and thought myself fairly well versed and learned about it. Come to find out, I was, in fact, doing a whole lot correctly over the years, subconsciously learning from mistakes…. but was also doing a lot more wrong. I am a much better hobbyist for myself and my personal tanks now, but also a comfortably proficient professional for others now as well, in the freshwater end thus far. I am beginning my saltwater (which is indeed covered in the studies) experience on my own here at home, so I can get firsthand experience well before I even think of offering services for others. The course gave me the training and knowledge in the saltwater/reef end of things that is needed to not only set up but run and manage a system…. but that alone is not enough to accept responsibility for someone else’s system…. especially considering the much higher cost of every aspect of saltwater systems!
We at Animal Behavior College wish Christopher all the success in the world with his continued love and affection for animals.
The pictures that are attached to this success story are images of Christopher’s aquarium tanks.