Tesla engineer Julian Minuzzo

Sonoma Valley High graduate Julian Minuzzo (’09) may not yet be old enough to rent a car, but at 22, he is helping to design perhaps the most buzz-worthy cars in the world.

Immediately after graduation from college last spring, Minuzzo started at electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors in its huge U.S. headquarters in Palo Alto.

As a freshman at top-rated Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Minuzzo knew that he wanted to study some field related to energy. “Based on what I was good at throughout high school, I was drawn to engineering and the chance to study how we produce, store and use energy,” he said.

At Tesla, Minuzzo is a battery engineer. “There definitely is never a typical day at work here,” he said. “That’s something I like a lot about Tesla. One day I might be running tests on different types of batteries, some days I do data analysis or build something in the lab. A few times, we have even blown up a cell (on purpose) to study battery safety!”

Thinking back to college, Minuzzo acknowledges that not many Sonoma Valley High graduates choose the Midwest but he loved Northwestern precisely because it was such a different location. “Moving halfway across the country was appealing to me, as I wanted to experience how life and people are different outside of California.”

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