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ACE Alumni Spotlight: TyJuan Swanson, Community Activist, Future Architect

Follow your dreams, I followed mine. ACE has definitely helped me towards my career goals in every positive way I can think of. I can’t even really explain. There are no words to express how supportive the program has been for me.” - TyJuan Swanson, ACE Student Alumni

TyJuan Swanson’s passion for architecture is evident from the moment you speak to him, so when he became a junior at John Hay’s Cleveland School of Architecture & Design it was no surprise that his teachers recommend he join the ACE Mentor Program. Today TyJuan is a senior at Kent State University majoring in architecture thanks in part to scholarships provided by ACE, and largely due to his hard work ethic and drive to set a positive example for his family.

Last summer TyJuan spent his time interning with ACE sponsor, Then Design Architecture, a firm who is dedicated to creating spaces that have a positive impact on people. With a vision to change the world with community-driven design, TyJuan was the perfect candidate for the position. Through relationships and knowledge built in the ACE Mentor Program, TyJuan was able to leverage his work ethic and passion to move him closer to his personal and professional goals.

As a student who understands the power of mentorship by his experiences with ACE, TyJuan is already making strides to give back to his community by mentoring fellow students. TyJuan is currently a mentor for Kupita Transiciones, a program that encourages seniors to take a mentorship role in the lives of incoming freshman that are from a similar background as his own.

TyJuan’s future aspirations are to change communities by way of impactful designs and to one day himself enrich the life of an ACE student, much like himself.

Here's a few interview questions:

Who would you say inspires or motivates you?

My dad the most. Since I was a kid he’s always told me to go for what I want and to be mindful of my decisions. He’s basically shaped the person that I am. Of course, you know, I’ve gone the extra mile to do the things that I do but he set the foundation and groundwork.

How do you see yourself giving back to the community in your current or future endeavors?

Currently, simply mentoring is the most I can do with how strenuous my education is right now. But in the future, I’d love to give back monetarily to organizations. And to design to best purpose people. Buildings are for people, and I want to make it less about aesthetic and more about function and programming and making sure it works to benefit people.

Did you discover anything new about your professional aspirations while in the ACE program?

Yes, when I was there just learning about the programs I would eventually use in my career like AutoCAD and Revit. That was cool. Learning about the tract towards becoming an architect. I had a mentor layout for me what the course tract looked like for my desired career. It was great to just be informed and made me want to do it more.

What would you tell a student about the ACE program to get them involved?

That it’s a great opportunity to simply just network. Even if you’re not wanting to pursue a career in the AEC industry, these fields very much impact everyone’s lives. So it doesn’t hurt to know if that’s an opportunity that can be had. But if you are pursuing a career in the AEC industry most definitely get involved. For me, it’s one of the best thing I’ve ever done for my future. Being in ACE allowed me to learn so much about my career before even going to college. Simply just having a mentor to help you with pursuing your career is great. It’s an all around great program.

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