Tyler Heilman graduated from Quest University Canada in May 2015. He was 22 years old when he died tragically in a climbing accident. Tyler grew up near Mt. Tabor in southeast Portland, Oregon.

Tyler Heilman’s university experience, built his confidence to seek solutions to daunting challenges, and helped launch what promised to be an exceptional life with immense potential for future meaningful accomplishments in his field of choice. Tyler’s goal was not only to advance understanding, but also to genuinely help solve problems facing current and future generations, particularly surrounding climate and climate change.

Made possible through a Fellowship granted through the Quest Summer Fellowship Program in 2014, a particular research experience was integral to Tyler’s development as a young scientist and to his deep commitment to good work. Following his third year at Quest University Canada, Tyler’s Summer Fellowship allowed him to continue study in aid of developing a new remote weather station in the sub-alpine climatic zone of Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia. By this time, he had already begun as a student of climatology. His three months of paid research during the summer facilitated exceptional intellectual and personal growth, created an outlet for his intense curiosity, and allowed greater depth and breadth to the final product than even his optimistic young scientist’s mind had anticipated. By winter of his graduating year, Tyler had completed and installed a fully functional, multi-parameter weather station capable of data capture, on-board analysis, and broadcast of current conditions to the cellular network and then the internet. His keystone report (i.e., undergraduate thesis) comprised analyses of winter storms and snowfall patterns captured by his own sensors. Tyler presented his work at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America and to the Quest community along with four other students all selected to showcase the best work in his graduating class.

This period of Tyler’s post-secondary training was most remarkable in that prior to undertaking the project, he had no particular leaning toward writing software, trouble-shooting analog and digital circuitry, or coordinating with government agencies and the local First Nations group whose traditional territory contains the meadow where he proposed to locate the weather station. These unanticipated aspects of the project created multiple opportunities for creative problem solving and growth. Tyler thrived at the multi-dimensional challenges that we’re preparing Quest students to take on.  He started with expertise in the programming and physics of his project and was able to successfully manage stakeholder engagement too.  He regularly surprised himself with his own successes and over a period recognized in himself an appetite for intellectual problems that seemed impossible at the outset. Those of you who knew Tyler in other realms will likely recognize this pattern.

In memory of Tyler, his family and friends would like to support other students in similar endeavors. They seek to enable the type of experience Tyler had as his inner scientist burst forth during a long-term, challenging project, unconstrained by the traditional disciplinary boundaries of academia. Tyler’s project forced him to call upon, test, and further evolve all elements of his identity.

Contributing to the Tyler Heilman Fellowship fund will encourage the development of intellectually courageous students by supporting advanced work on their thesis projects beyond the regular school year. It is a way to give them the freedom and responsibility to learn in an environment that expects not just productivity, but personal growth. It is a way to honor something that Tyler invested heavily in and recognize the exceptional way he approached such challenges.

The gift will be administered by the Summer Fellowship Program in close consultation with faculty at Quest who knew and worked closely with Tyler and with the guidance of Jeff and Jennifer Heilman. A financial report will be available to interested persons supporting this fund.

• The costs for a Summer Research Student to participate are $10,000 CDN.

• The minimum cost to establish an endowed scholarship is $25,000 CDN.

Please donate today to the Tyler Heilman Fellowship Fund.