Student Helps to Improve Safety Practices at Tesla

Posted on 8/10/2016 3:41:28 PM

Tyler Campbell Safety Sciences Internship with TeslaIUP student Tyler Campbell is proof that sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to some extraordinary things. When he was presented with the opportunity for a summer internship in California, Campbell was unsure at first. But after listening to the advice of his professors, he decided taking the trip west was in his best interest, and that’s how he ended up at Tesla.

Yes, that Tesla.

Campbell, a senior at IUP majoring in Safety Health and Environmental Applied Sciences, spent the summer of 2016 as an intern for Tesla, the cutting-edge car manufacturer. Working with Tesla’s safety engineers, Campbell helped Tesla, located in Freemont, Calif., about 30 minutes from San Francisco, improve its safety practices for workers in many different departments.

“It was a wonderful opportunity,” Campbell said. “I’ve heard many stories where students went into their internship and realized, ‘Wow I do not want to do this the rest of my life.’ I had that fear in my mind. I was worried. But it was affirmation for me that this is what I want to do.”

Campbell never really imagined himself working anywhere near California. He initially had been accepted into an internship program at Disney World, and he was ready to spend his summer working there. But then Seth Woody, the Global Environmental Health and Safety Director at Tesla, began searching for universities that offered online doctoral degrees in Safety Science, and he discovered IUP had such a program.

In his contact with the university, Woody mentioned that he was in the position to hire some good interns, and Jolene Campbell, the Safety Sciences department secretary, passed the request on to some students.

Initially, Campbell said he was unsure if he was even interested in another option. But thinking he really had nothing to lose, he sent in his application.

After a Skype interview with Woody, Campbell was offered an internship. He had always dreamed of working at Disney, but after talking to some of his professors, including Lon Ferguson, Laura Rhodes, and Jan Wachter, Campbell knew Tesla’s offer was too good to pass up.

“I ultimately just felt like it was a calling to come to California to open my wings a little bit,” he said.

Campbell spent his summer working on all kinds of projects. His supervisor, Laura Parzych, a senior health and safety engineer at Tesla, said she was impressed with Campbell’s work.

“Tyler was an absolute pleasure to have on our team,” Parzych said. “He came in every single day with a positive attitude and was successful in interacting with employees of all levels — production to management — and being that change agent I expected from the start. Tyler has a very bright future ahead in his career, not only with his positive attitude, but his ability to influence others, which is a crucial skill to being successful in this field.”

Campbell came back home, to Bellwood in early August, but his stay in Pennsylvania might not be that long. He said he has been offered the opportunity to go back to Tesla next year for his final internship, and that could lead to some really interesting things after he graduates.

“I never pictured coming to California for anything but a vacation,” he said. “So to do it at 22, it taught me a lot of life lessons. It has been a catalyst for me to grow.”