Avril Prakash (MPP/MBA '21) discusses her experience working for General Motors in Detroit in their Energy and Environment Team under the Public Policy Center and how her experience has deepened her passion for ensuring equal opportunity in this digital age.
Sending reports to CEO Mary Barra, driving autonomous vehicles in the proving ground, having meetings on a boat...
My name is Avril Prakash, and these are just some of the highlights from my summer at General Motors in Detroit.
So my goal in the Ford School was to specialize in the regulation of emerging tech.
I want to create economic and political infrastructure that allows regulation to keep up with the fast pace of innovation that spurs growth.
And here at Ford I used the STPP certificate to explore the policy landscape emerging technologies like autonomous vehicles because mobility impacts every aspect of your life.
From the individual to the community, work, family, quality of life.
So you might have heard of GM.
They're the largest automaker in the U.S. They produce vehicles in 37 countries and their branding lineup includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
So GM envisions of future of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.
And they're committed to an all electric future.
They're actually the 1st American automaker to mass produce an affordable electric car.
So it's a long been a dream of mine to work for an American automaker because the big 3 are such an integral part of what makes Michigan Michigan.
And this role give me a behind the scenes understanding of why.
So while environmental policy is not my career focus, the path to vehicle electrification rests on emerging technology and that experience allowed me to explore this policy area that's in my interest.
So based out of the Renaissance Center in Detroit, I was an intern for the global public policy team, and I worked on the Energy and Environment portfolio.
So over the course of my internship I basically helped GM strategic planning process by addressing global regulatory changes.
Some key regulations at the heart of my team's work includes federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards.
So over my 12 weeks, I had examined California's greenhouse gas emissions modeling to clarify their assumptions.
I'd analyze federal fuel economy data to isolate market trends.
I also had to evaluate California's bifurcation or split from federal rule making you might hear about that tomorrow in the news.
And I also had to monitor presidential candidates' policy that affected GM's portfolio.
So this roll allowed me to put my graduate studies in emerging tech regulation to practical use.
The Ford School emphasis on quantitative research and analysis allowed me to deliver impactful reports directly to CEO Mary Barra and the rest of the senior leadership team with confidence.
My internship included several aspects unique to the policy team.
I discovered a new legal strategy that gave GM a competitive advantage.
I also got to test drive their autonomous vehicles.
These would not have been possible on any other team within GM because global public policy is able to have touch points on such needs and issues that just aren't possible on business development or on the legal team for instance.
And we had our by monthly meetings on a colleague's boat, and I guess that was fun.
The experience confirmed my goal to pivot into the private sector, and it really opened my eyes to the multitude of opportunities and innovation that's present in the auto industry.
I really believe that combining business acumen with my passion for public policy can help me promote the constant innovation and stay true to my personal values and ethics of ensuring equal access to opportunity in the digital age.
Thank you so much.