Partners for Automated Vehicle Education Announces Winners of PAVE Essay Contest and Scholarship Program

Posted by STEER On May 8, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — Partners for Automated Vehicle Education today announced the winners of the PAVE Essay Contest and Scholarship Program. The contest encourages young people to contemplate a future with automated vehicles and write about what this technology could mean for their communities. The winning essays were selected from over 100 submissions, and winners will receive college scholarship funding.

The three locations for this year’s contests were Washington, D.C., Albuquerque, N.M., and Athens and Vinton Counties in Southeast Ohio. In each location, companies and organizations sponsored the contest and donated the scholarship funding: the Washington, D.C., contest was sponsored by STEER Tech; the Albuquerque contest was sponsored by Torc; and the Ohio contest was sponsored by Transportation Research Center, Inc. and DriveOhio.

Following are the 2022-2023 PAVE Essay Contest winners from the Washington, D.C., contest, sponsored by STEER Tech:
1st place: David Alfert – Junior, South Lakes High School
2nd place: Rakendu Malladi – Senior, Chantilly High School
3rd place: Jada McGlothin – Senior, Chantilly High School

“Autonomous vehicles offer an opportunity for us to improve road safety, to provide new mobility options for our communities, and to make our transportation system more efficient, more equitable, and more sustainable – but at the same time, there are new challenges that we need to think through,” said PAVE Executive Director Tara Andringa. “The PAVE Essay Contest encourages young people to think about these new technologies and share their thoughts about the opportunities for society as well as how we can address challenges that could arise. We were thrilled that so many students participated in the contest, and we are excited to congratulate the winners!”

“The next generation has the power to scale autonomous vehicle technology beyond our current imagination. They could, potentially, be the generation that adopts and takes AV technology mainstream. By fostering their interest in this exciting field and listening to their ideas, we can create a more inclusive breakthrough in transportation for all,” said STEER CEO Anuja Sonalker. “We’re committed to continuing to invest in the next generation of innovators, implementers, adopters and policy makers in the autonomous vehicle industry and are excited to see the creative discussions and solutions that will emerge.”

The essay contest – which is planned to be an annual event, in different geographic locations each year – was open to high school juniors and seniors in the selected areas, representing communities with diversity in geography, transportation challenges, and economies.

Students could choose between three essay prompts related to automated vehicle technology and its societal effects. A committee of experts from the AV ecosystem scored the student essays. In each contest, first-place winners receive $2,500, second-place winners receive $1,500, and third-place winners receive $500.

Details about the contest are available on the PAVE contest website at:

About PAVE:
PAVE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve public understanding of advanced vehicle technologies in order to maximize the potential benefits in safety, mobility and sustainability. PAVE members include automotive manufacturers, technology companies, and nonprofit organizations.

About STEER Tech
STEER Tech is the leading automated vehicle company engineering innovative solutions to mobility issues faced by enterprises and consumers. STEER develops autonomous technology for passenger and commercial vehicles that can be applied to parking, low-speed driving, first and last-mile delivery, vehicle maintenance, fleet operations, and other custom use cases. With its growing network of autonomous transfer hubs for fleet and delivery companies and mapped points of interest for consumers, STEER continues to create an ecosystem of users and infrastructures that benefit from space and time efficiency, reduced costs, enhanced user experiences, and new revenue.