Transform the SFU Experience

Tyler Schwartz helps SEE students see success

June 14, 2024

Tyler Schwartz, the Co-op Coordinator for the Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program, was honored with a 2023 SFU Staff Award in Student Service. This award is an acknowledgment of his efforts to create an open and caring community space where students can freely seek advice and address various co-op related challenges.

In his role, Tyler helps students craft resumes and cover letters for co-op positions, advising them on which industries to explore, while guiding them on how to maximize their co-op experiences. He also assists students by connecting their academic knowledge with employment opportunities and helps them solve any work-related issues that may arise.

“I know how overwhelming the process can be for a student,” Tyler explains. “Between starting university, maybe having moved out on their own for the first time, balancing school, part-time jobs and other priorities, and getting ready for co-op, students have a lot on their plates. Co-op should be an exciting time for students to apply their coursework to hands-on experiences, so I try to make the process as accessible and easy to navigate as possible.”

The SEE co-op program is mandatory, so all of the program’s students eventually connect with Tyler as part of their interdisciplinary degree. Students describe him as compassionate and committed. They value his long-term view of co-op planning which comprehensively prepares them for educationally rewarding co-op experiences.

Tyler notes it can be challenging staying connected with the rapidly evolving sustainable energy industry, which is characterized by frequent mergers and creations of new companies. Despite this complexity, Tyler has successfully placed students in various related sectors, including transportation, infrastructure, biogas, fuel cells, new renewable energy technologies, sustainable buildings, government agencies, and both on-campus and off-campus research.

A significant part of Tyler’s strategy involves leveraging student introductions to potential employers, which frequently create lasting partnerships. "Often these student-created introductions result in companies coming back to SFU because they find out how good the program is," he notes. Establishing the relatively new program’s name in the industry has been a unique challenge, but Tyler’s efforts are paying off. "Every graduate is employed or in grad school right now," he proudly shares, adding that many of the upcoming graduates have also already secured jobs.

Tyler is also proud of the diversity within the program and that 42 per cent of the students are women. This achievement reflects the inclusive environment that he helps foster. His personal life, which includes playing Dungeon & Dragons and being a father to two young children, also influences his work. He credits these activities with enhancing his creative problem-solving skills, which are invaluable in his role.

"Supporting students in different working environments can be challenging. They are faced with unique scenarios, uncertainties, and doubts," Tyler acknowledges. His impact is evident not only through his award but also through the heartfelt nominations from his students. "It was my students who nominated me, which feels incredible. Knowing that I did have an impact on them and that we achieved what we set out to is a huge milestone."

“My goal is always to support students go in whatever direction they want to explore," he says, highlighting his dedication to helping students navigate their diverse career paths. As a result of this commitment, the SEE program, its students, and our local sustainable energy industry all benefit from Tyler’s efforts to foster student success and his innovative approach to co-op coordination.