Cal State, Los Angeles Alumna Kara Standford-Jones Talks About Her Experience in EcoCAR 2

KaraBusiness Manager Abraham Vargas sat down with former CSULA EcoCAR 2 Co-Outreach Coordinator (now referred to as a communications manager), Kara Stanford-Jones to talk about her experience in the EcoCAR 2 competition as well as working with CSULA’s Outreach team. Here’s what she said!

Q: What led you to join the EcoCAR 2 Team?

A: Hector and I shared a class together and he had just been brought on as the Outreach Coordinator. He had told me about it and asked me to apply for it. The competition sounded really interesting, so I joined.

Q: What were your responsibilities on the team?

A: I was responsible for a bunch of things. When I first joined, we really didn’t have a lot set up in terms of the business or outreach plan. I worked with the rest of the team members to figure out what we needed for each plan and to meet the other deliverables. I was also responsible for setting up/managing the social media accounts, project planning and helping Hector out with various other tasks.

Q: What are your favorite memories of the Project?

A: I really like working with everyone on the Business/Outreach team, but I think what stands out the most is the end of Year One presentations. I thought it was really exciting to be there presenting and it felt like such a huge accomplishment for our little team. It was really interesting to see all the other schools and what they had done. It was sort of difficult to understand the scope of EcoCAR 2 when you are just at your school working with intangible things. But being at the end of Year One presentations and seeing all the schools, the car and how much went into it, it was a bit surreal to me.

Q: What are you doing now and how did EcoCAR 2 help?

A: I am currently working for a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. I feel like the experience has greatly impacted my ability to understand business and marketing. I worked a lot with the research and planning what was necessary for the outreach and business plans. I have used that experience when it comes to researching, developing and executing the marketing and sales efforts at my current workplace.

Q: Do you have any advice for people considering joining the team?

A: I would say that if you are considering joining the EcoCAR 2 competition, do it. It is a time commitment and it is challenging, but it is so worth it. There really is a lot to gain and learn from this experience. You are getting exposure to companies, technology and knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise get access to. Many schools and students don’t have access to a project like this, but you do!