Please tell us about yourself
Gayatri Gadag is a second year MPP candidate from India specializing in Energy and Environment Policy . This summer she interned at the World Resources Institute in Washington D.C.
What did you study?
Before coming to University of Maryland to do my Masters in Energy Policy, i did my Bachelors in Engineering (BE) from University of Pune, India.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
Investing two years in a graduate program was not an easy decision to make. And finally when the decision was taken, I wanted to be sure that I got most out of these two years. I was attracted to MSPP for two reasons. Firstly, the richness in the coursework offered. Secondly and more importantly, because of its faculty’s strong focus on research especially in the fields of energy and environment. These two aspects and the vibrant peer group at the school have made my experience at MSPP worthwhile.
Tell us about your internship
I spent my summer interning for the World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental think tank in DC, with their Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI) team.Here I led the development of a tool that will help civil society organizations (CSO) to ask substantial questions about renewable energy policy implementation to the decision makers in their respective countries. Most of these countries are low/middle income countries that are facing challenges to overcome the electricity shortage gap in a sustainable way. These challenges stem from lack of financial resources, lack of electricity sector planning and lack of good governance. EGI equips CSOs with analysis and research that helps them intervene in the electricity sector decision making process of their country, thus aiding them in confronting such challenges. Further, EGI also provides a platform for cross-country learning by bringing the stakeholders together to make improvements in policy, planning and regulatory decision making.
My internship involved combining technical knowledge of renewable energy with important aspects of governance (particularly transparency, accountability and participation) in the decision making process of these partner countries. While I had some exposure working on issues related to electricity sector governance in developing countries, the technical aspects of the internship drew heavily from my work with Prof. Nathan Hultman at MSPP as well the course on Energy Policy. These experiences allowed me to cut short my learning phase thus helping me to use my time at the internship more efficiently.
What are your future plans?
My career goals have always been to work on issues related to energy access in developing countries. This internship helped me broaden my horizon and see energy access through the lens of governance and in the process reinforced my determination to work on issues I always wanted to.