Flora Zhou interviewed Tianna Sequeira, a Sustainable Energy Engireeing student from the SFU Co-op program, who secured an opportunity to work at The Canadian Space Agency / L’Agence Spatiale Canadienne (CSA/ASC), which is the Government of Canada’s federal agency responsible for Canada’s space-related activities, including exploration, satellite communication, and earth observation.
Tianna helped to collect, calculate and analyze data for the Annual Greenhouse Gas Report for the CSA. This was in part of the Federal Greening Government Initiative and the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to reduce GHG emissions and environmental impacts in Government departments and agencies. She also reviewed studies and energy analysis files to assist in improving the sustainability of the CSA in buildings, transportation, and the community. Collaborating with Natural Resources Canada, Tianna reviewed GHG Reports using RETScreen Expert Energy Software.
Tianna’s favorite part of the job is that there are many opportunities for personal growth. Her supervisors were constantly reaching out and asking if she was pleased with what she was working on or if there were any projects she wanted to participate in.
There are many activities offered to employees such as webinars, conferences, clubs, to meet other CSA members from various departments and learn about what their work is focused on.
Patrick Jefferson believes that the future is bright for professionals. Emmanuelle D. Lambert added, “ We have stars getting ready to lead the future.” Lambert compares having a co-op student to negotiating a good contract "You get the best out of all the parties." Jefferson and Lambert harbor the idea that as employers they can offer job opportunities and knowledge transfer, but most importantly they get to learn from the next generation, which has those great ideas to change the system and can help innovate in unexpected ways. This so-called win-win situation is fundamental in the sustainability field.
Tianna believes that the SFU co-op program and staff had helped her out a lot during her application. The Co-op staff had great communication with her employer and this ensured a smooth and efficient onboarding process for her. One piece of advice Tianna has for other students is do not be afraid to ask questions.
Co-op is a chance for students to learn about their program in a workplace setting, which is why co-workers, previous students, and employers love answering questions that students may have, and will readily share stories about their time with the company. Asking question also showcases your enthusiasm for the job. “Skills can be taught; however, enthusiasm is what makes you stand out,” Tianna explained. She was enthused that it's a good idea to show your dedication and willingness to participate because it sometimes helps you get additional opportunities beyond your scope of work.