GreenH2@Work Employee Spotlight: Kaitlyn Kemp and Ryan Delaney

July 2, 2024

Students at Plug jumpstart their careers by working collaboratively with leaders through programs that give them real world industry experience. Students are mentored by employees who are experts in their fields and receive career support and feedback, support active Plug projects and drive forward Plug’s mission of the green hydrogen economy.

Kaitlyn Kemp and Ryan Delaney are both returning interns at Plug. Kaitlyn recently graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Chemical Engineering and Sustainability Studies, while Ryan completed his degree at the University at Buffalo with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

This is Kaitlyn’s third internship with Plug’s electrolyzer team. During her time here, she’s been able to dabble in both process engineering and product development. During Kaitlyn’s first year, she focused on calculations for the ultrapure water system used by our electrolyzer products. One of the highlights of her time at Plug was a trip to our facility in Texas, where the product was being built. She was able to take water samples and compare actual samples with the calculations she had done in the office. “That was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. That really got me excited about things like this.”

Kaitlyn Kemp

Ryan is beginning his second summer at Plug, but has also been working throughout the school year as part of Plug’s new product introduction (NPI) team. He’s been able to do everything from CAD modeling and designing test fixtures to integrating, testing, and verifying what he’s built directly into prototypes for modifications to our 125kW and 30kW fuel cell systems. “The opportunities that I’ve been involved with are one of the best things,” he stated. “I’ve worked with multiple people on the NPI team. There are always new projects or questions that need answers or problem-solving. I’m not just tied down to a specific area.”

Ryan Delaney

Both Kaitlyn and Ryan highlighted that the variety of work at Plug was among their favorite parts of the work. The ability to try new things and discover areas they enjoy is a great part of any internship, and truly encapsulates working at Plug.

Ryan noted, “When I was researching the companies in this area, Plug really stood out to me as a great company to be a part of because there are so many opportunities and so much room to learn and grow in the hydrogen business. This is a relatively new business and there are not a lot of other companies doing it like Plug. It’s cool to be a part of that and just see where you go – you’re really going to make a big difference.”

Kaitlyn added, “There aren’t a lot of companies that have a sustainability mindset for chemical engineering. When I saw Plug at a career fair, I realized Plug would be the best fit I could have to really combine both of my majors. I’m excited I landed where I did.”

Real world experience is a key component to internships at Plug – and the real world provides challenges not seen in the classroom in the same way. Kaitlyn stated, “We’d have simulation questions at school, but applying it to what I’m actually doing – this year, I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of it.” Ryan added that, “There’s no right or wrong answer; there are many opportunities and options to solve the problem. You need to look at it from a lot of angles, find the best solution, and move forward. The best experience for me has been the hands on learning. In school you don’t get to see what’s happening, but when you’re here, you do the calculations and then can go to the floor and see what you’ve designed, built, and tested go to a place in need.”

When they’re not working, both Ryan and Kaitlyn live active lives. Kaitlyn enjoys hiking, especially in the Adirondacks. She also played lacrosse when she was at RPI. She’s currently coaching a club team and wants to continue that in the future. During Ryan’s time at Buffalo, he really got into golf. When he’s not working, he’s likely to be on the green.

 As far as what their plans are after this summer, Ryan mentioned, “For the next two years, I’ll be going to Penn State for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. I’m going to continue working for Plug throughout the year remotely, so I can come back next summer and during winter break.” Kaitlyn is still deciding what she wants to do next, like many people coming out of college. “I do think the hydrogen industry is somewhere I’ll end up no matter what. The green hydrogen industry is such a wonderful mix of my two passions, with the chemical engineering and sustainability. That’s something I hold dear and really want to keep together.”