How Tyler Campbell's passion to serve Jesus led him to Tesla

“As Tyler Campbell neared the end of his junior year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he began to pursue internship opportunities.  As he started interviewing for positions all over the country, he wore his faith on his sleeve. Intervi​​ewers were intrigued by Tyler’s willingness to connect his faith with his work, and he ended up with offers from two highly sought-after internships: one at Disney in Florida and one at Tesla in California. Wrestling with the decision of which offer to accept, Tyler realized there was one more factor to consider: was there a church for him to connect with once he arrived?” 

​—Ivan Strong Moore, CCO Campus Ministry Staff


​Tesla is on its way to changing the automobile industry forever, and I got to be a part of it. I was one of 400 people—out of over a million applicants—chosen to be an intern. “Why me?” I wondered.

When I would explain that I am a Safety and Health Intern at Tesla to the Santa Clara community, they were utterly impressed that I was applying my skills to make one of the safest cars in the world. However, that is not what I was doing. 

I was implementing plans, procedures, and policies for the company with the hope of lowering incident rates, OSHA recordables, and ultimately keeping employees safe. The listeners would quickly shift from an amazed stance to a, “Well, that’s important too, I guess” kind of response. 

Other interns were developing amazing designs and cost-reducing aspects to the cars, or they were engineering out bugs from the most-recently talked-about Model 3 that will be released in late 2018. When eating, living, and talking to these interns, it was easy for me to convince myself that I was not as important or that my job didn’t matter as much. 

But thanks to what I learned from the CCO, I was reminded that my job does matter. 

When I create policies and procedures, order a stop sign, or even remind an employee to wear his safety glasses, I am taking part in caring for God’s creation by slowly eliminating the chaos that is inside of a hectic factory. When I look at the world like this, I fall deeper in love with God by seeing His deep love for creation.

So instead of comparing my work to that of the engineers in the factory or the administrative teams, I reminded myself that all of our work is equally important, because it is all bringing glory to the Kingdom of God. All work is God’s work and we need to take pride in it, whether we are inserting data into an Excel spreadsheet or creating a prototype for an electric car. 

Although I may not fully understand why I got selected to be a part of Tesla, I do understand that no matter where I end up, I will do my work well, take part in cultivating the earth, and give the glory back to God. 

One of my criteria in choosing an internship was where I would worship over the summer. My church family back on campus was really central, and I didn’t want to miss out on being part of a local church. I shouldn’t have worried.

My first Sunday in California, I entered the doors of Santa Clara First Baptist Church. Several families graciously invited me into their homes for dinner, picnics, and to simply hang out. Every week, I got a taste of hospitality as ushers, pastors, and members of the congregation swarmed me with love, asking questions like, “How is work going? How is your grandma? Can I pray for you?” And my favorite, “Would you like to go out to eat this week with me and my family?” 

Finding a church community that loved, encouraged, and walked with me in my faith gave me hope that I will find a church home wherever God places me in the future.

—Tyler Campbell, Indiana University of Pennsylvania 2017, Safety, Health, and Environmental Sciences major