October 20, 2020

When Thomas Kitt ’17 approached his senior year at Susquehanna University, he knew he wanted to begin his professional career with a company that was making a difference in the world.

The American electric vehicle and clean energy company, Tesla, seemed like the perfect combination.

“Just from the vehicles department alone, Tesla has saved over 3.6 million tons of carbon dioxide. That’s not including any kind of solar generation,” Kitt said. “So, we’ve taken large strides in trying to lower the carbon impact of our industry.”

Kitt, who majored in earth and environmental sciences with minors in environmental studies and economics, first joined the company as an energy specialist, keeping in mind the eventual position he wanted – energy systems designer. It was a job he advanced to within a year.

As an energy systems designer, Kitt designs solar energy systems for private homeowners.

“Every single job is a brand-new project. There is no feeling that it’s getting monotonous,” Kitt said. “Every single household I see is completely different from the last job.”

Though he works exclusively on residential projects, the products he uses differ based on what the homeowner is looking for, from the Tesla Powerwall, which is a home battery designed to store energy so the homeowner can use it anytime they want, to the Tesla solar roof, which replaces a home’s existing roof with solar tiles.

Despite a global pandemic that has adversely impacted many industries, Kitt said he and his colleagues at Tesla have never been busier.

“A lot of people are doing home renovation projects and that all filters down to customers wanting to upgrade their electrical systems,” he said.

Kitt encouraged students to do what he did and start their job hunts early. He began his search in January of his senior year and by March he had secured a job offer.

His other tips include:

  • Taking advantage of the Career Development Center for résumé and interview tips.
  • Leaning on your academic department for internship opportunities.
  • Taking diverse classes to work on skills other than those within your major.