Simon Fraser University - Convocation | June 8, 2023
Danielle Arciaga | Building Performance Engineer

The first cohort of students from SFU’s new Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program is ready to take the skills they’ve acquired to the next level—the majority, with industry jobs in place—after receiving their degrees at Spring Convocation this week (June 8).

The SEE program was established at SFU’s Surrey campus in 2019 as the first of its kind in Western Canada, created to meet the urgent need to train students as leaders in the areas of renewable energy and clean energy technology.

Students like Emma Hannaford, Danielle Arciaga and Felipe Patarroyo Singh chose the SEE program because of the potential impact they could make using the engineering skills they would acquire to create a more sustainable future. The program, set in an interdisciplinary learning environment, goes beyond equipping students with technical skills upon the completion of their degree.

“In SEE, we learn the technical skills for electrical, mechanical and software engineering, yet equally important, the program helped us recognize the need for people with diverse background and expertise to work together towards finding a solution to a challenge such as climate change,” says Hannaford, a Surrey graduate who is now developing vertical farms at Vancouver-based QuantoTech and has plans to pursue a master’s degree.

SEE also teaches their students to think critically and assess each step of a process when developing a new tool or technology.

“One skill that I learned was to make good engineering judgement based on historic, current and, if it exists, future projected data to support the decisions we make to complete projects,” says Arciaga, who is now a building performance engineer-in-training (EIT) at RJC Engineers, which specializes in design for sustainability through innovative structural and building science designs that improve energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

Students are also introduced to policies, effective communication and how, as future technology leaders, they can help decision makers create and implement new policies for a greener future.

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