Eva Brungard is a junior majoring in Policy Analysis with a minor in political science and economics. At the O’Neill School, Eva served as a research assistant for Professor John D. Graham on the topic of electric vehicle proliferation in various regions across the globe. While working for Dr. Graham, Eva was instrumental in the completion and publication of his book “The Global Rise of the Modern Plug-In Electric Vehicle: Policies, Innovation, and Strategy.” She also co-authored two separate research articles on the topic of consumer adoption of EVs and on concerns regarding lithium sustainability and energy security. She hopes to work in the field of energy policy to implement equitable and sustainable energy solutions for future generations and to combat climate change.

During the summer of 2021, Eva interned at the Renewable Energy Group where she designed a Political Action Committee (PAC) communication plan for her capstone project. This involved stakeholder outreach to the Senior Leadership Team, other PAC organizers within the biofuels industry, and employees. She presented a 30-minute presentation complete with deliverables of a new PAC newsletter, FAQ form, and welcome letter.

More recently, Eva interned in Washington D.C. for the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA). Here, Eva completed research and first drafts for one-pagers, Congressional letters, Requests for Information (RFIs), Congressional testimony, public comments, and legislative analyses. She also co-authored two white papers on the topics of medium- and heavy-duty fleet electrification and driving consumer adoption of electric vehicles. See what she has to say about her time working for ZETA:

1. Why were you interested in interning for ZETA?

My freshman year I got a position as a research assistant for Professor John D. Graham, who was examining policies spurring electric vehicle adoption in Europe, China, Japan, the US and California. After assisting him in the publication of his book “The Global Rise of the Plug-In Electric Vehicle,” I then co-authored two research papers on electric vehicles. Those were specifically on “Lithium in the Green Energy Transition” and “Consumer Adoption of Plug-In Electric Vehicles.” After that, I have been hooked on electric vehicle and energy policy more broadly. As a result, I applied to various internships related to EVs and energy policy. The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) was a brand new trade organization that represented companies throughout the entire EV supply chain; from mining, manufacturing, recycling, charging, and utilities. ZETA is the only all EV trade organization, and a group I am proud to be apart of to advocate for 100% EV sales by 2030.

2. What is your interest energy policy?

My research in energy policy began primarily in electric vehicles, but has since expanded. I previously interned for the Renewable Energy Group (Ames, IA) during the summer of 2021. They are a major producer of sustainable biodiesel. There I learned more about alternative transportation fuels, which is an area that interests me. I believe it is essential we move away from fossil fuels in the near-future, and both biofuels and electrification can achieve this. Renewable energy in general is my passion, and in the future I hope to be apart of the solution to transition the U.S. away from our reliance on fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable energy mix.

3. How did your internship prepare you for future career plans, including your upcoming policy internship at Tesla?

ZETA’s membership includes prominent companies like Duke Energy, ChargePoint, EVgo, Tesla, Rivian, and Panasonic. As a result, I was able to regularly network and work alongside the government affairs teams of these companies. Prior to interning at ZETA, I had interviewed for a policy internship with Tesla. It was actually my interviewer at Tesla who recommended me to ZETA in the first place. At ZETA I further developed my knowledge of EV policy, specifically on current federal legislative and regulatory actions. With this knowledge in hand, I reapplied to the Tesla position and was able to finally secure the Federal Policy Internship position. After these two amazing opportunties, I hope to apply my EV and renewable energy knowledge and work in the federal government in some capacity. But you never know what the future might hold!

4. How did you go about finding and applying for the internship?

As I alluded to, I had originally applied to the Tesla internship. My sophomore year I was researching electric vehicle and energy related policy positions on LinkedIn, and stumbled across Tesla’s Federal Policy position. After three rounds of interviews, I ultimately did not get the position. Fortunately, the interviewer took it upon himself to recommend me to the Executive Director at ZETA. ZETA’s Executive Director reached out to me directly and asked me if I would be interested in working for them, and after a brief interview I secured this position and worked full-time during the Fall of 2021 through the Washington Leadership Program. This goes to show the importance of making a great impression in an interview, even if you were ultimately not chosen for the position. Especially in Washington D.C., making connections and networking is very helpful in finding new opportunites.