A summer internship with a start-up offers a new path in political science

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When Ethan Jacunski ’24 arrived on campus, he had no idea which major would be the perfect fit. He decided to take advantage of Trinity’s liberal arts program, exploring courses that seemed to fit his interests.

“I’ve always had an interest in following current affairs and politics,” he said, “and I loved watching shows like shark tank as I grew up.” In her sophomore year, Jacunski declared a major in political science with a minor in formal organizations, an interdisciplinary liberal arts field that deals with economics, entrepreneurship, and a wide range As he began looking for summer internships, he didn’t expect a conversation with an engineer from start-up SparkCharge to yield the perfect opportunity.

“SparkCharge has created the world’s first portable charging system [for cars] delivered to you through an app,” Jacunski said. “It’s like UberEats, but to charge your car.” SparkCharge appeared on shark tank last summer and struck a deal with “sharks” Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, and the business continues to grow rapidly. Last August, CEO Joshua Aviv spoke at the White House, introducing President Joe Biden during the signing of the new Chips and Science Act, which supports American companies producing computer chips.

Ethan Jacunski ’24 charges an electric vehicle.

Last spring, Jacunski learned that the company had a grants and government affairs department, which works to find funding opportunities and partnerships for the startup, especially with the introduction of the formula program. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI).

“Each state has received significant funds from the Biden administration that will be used to set up charging stations,” Jacunski explained. “My main job this summer has been to learn all about the programs, figure out where SparkCharge may be eligible for funding, and then write public comments on behalf of SparkCharge to submit to each state’s Department of Transportation, to then help with electrify the country with portable devices. charging options. SparkCharge hopes to help states add a fair charging network for everyone, as well as being part of the nationwide solution.

In addition to Jacunski’s work on the NEVI program, he spends his time researching and applying for grants, and working with lobbyists and stakeholders to discuss deals and potential partnerships, while learning about news and federal and state policies regarding electric vehicles to inform his boss about potential government and professional opportunities. A highlight of his experience was attending meetings with local mayors and government officials while traveling to various seats of government.

Working in government affairs, Jacunski finds his two passions intertwined: his political science classes have prepared him to understand legislation and politics, while his business and entrepreneurship classes help him understand grants and writing. compelling proposals and correspondence. Having a background in both areas, he said, is essential for this internship.

Ethan Jacunski'24
Ethan Jacunski’24

In addition to her classroom knowledge, Jacunski said her experience participating in on-campus team sports also came in handy for this job. “My coaches and teammates taught me great leadership skills and I increased my ability to work with others as part of a team,” he said. Balancing the workload of a student with the demands of an athlete also taught Jacunski the importance of time management and discipline, he added.

“It’s been very interesting and somewhat challenging to be part of a rapidly growing startup with such ambitions,” Jacunski said. “Every day is something new.” Much of his work has involved learning about renewable energy, ever-changing government policies and news, and funding opportunities, all policy areas he wasn’t as knowledgeable about until this summer.

“The wide variety of work I did this summer that I can now do in the future is something I didn’t really expect,” Jacunski said. Before this internship, he was still deciding what would be the right post-graduation path; but now Jacunski said he sees himself working in government affairs.

Learn more about political science and formal organizations in Trinity.


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