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PAVE Winners of PAVE Essay Contest and Scholarship Program

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WASHINGTON, DCPartners 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:

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


Albuquerque, N.M., contest, sponsored by Torc:

  • 1st place: Ryan Bunzel – Junior, Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School
  • 2nd place: Briana Pena – Junior, Atrisco Heritage Academy
  • 3rd place: Aeryona Thompson – Junior, Nex+Gen Academy HS


Southeast Ohio contest (Athens and Vinton Counties), sponsored by DriveOhio and Transportation Research Center, Inc.:

  • 1st place: Julia Dick – Senior, Athens High School
  • 2nd place: Olivia Salyer – Junior, Vinton County High School
  • 3rd place: Andrew J. Stone – Junior, Nelsonville-York 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 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 a 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: https://pavecampaign.org/pave-essay-contest/