All posts by Newcomb College Institute

Feminist Camp

Simran Jain majors in political science and social policy and practice, and minors in gender and sexuality studies. Simran recently attended Feminist Camp, where she was exposed to feminist work beyond her personal experience.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I am a sophomore who is constantly taking classes on the theory behind feminist ideology and movements, but have had limited exposure to feminist work that is being done beyond Tulane’s campus. At Tulane, I am involved in several student groups: Students United for Reproductive Justice (SURJ), Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline and Education (SAPHE), and Undergraduate Student Government, and I feel as though I am fairly well versed in what social activism looks like on our campus. Feminist Camp was an exciting opportunity to expand my knowledge on national and international feminist movements. Making sure that I am always being exposed to new content and having my ideas challenged is core to my activism, and I wanted to attend Feminist Camp as an opportunity to learn and grow, then bring what I learned back to the campus that I love.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite parts of the conference were, surprisingly, the times that centered around art. I often consider myself to be much more political than artistic. Most of my activism exists in a political sphere and visual art often goes right over my head. So when I found myself connecting so deeply with the A.I.R. Gallery, a feminist art gallery in Brooklyn, I was shocked. This trend of art continued as we met with the Feminist Press publishing company and Anastasia Higginbotham and learned more about feminist literature, poetry, and children’s books. Viewing all of these forms of alternative activism was the most powerful part of the conference for me, and it was these moments where feminism was brought from the intellectual to the emotional that will stick with me for life.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice: 

As an executive board member of Students United for Reproductive Justice for the last two years and an activist for reproductive health and rights, I thought I really had a handle on these topics. I can tell you where your local abortion clinic is, what the laws are in your state in regards to access, what sex education looks like in different school districts, etc., but there was one huge gap in my education. My knowledge of the actual medical procedure of an abortion was so limited. I knew all there was to know about the politics of reproductive rights, but the scientific aspect went right over my head. At Feminist Camp, that gap was filled when I performed an abortion procedure on a papaya at a family planning center in Harlem.

We started the workshop by breaking down common misconceptions about abortions and who is getting them. One in four American women will have an abortion before age 45. 59 percent of people seeking abortions had given birth in the past. 51 percent of people seeking abortions were using a contraceptive method the month that they became pregnant. Learning about all of this was already increasing my knowledge about the state of abortion in America, but the most influential part of the workshop was when we performed an “abortion” on a papaya. After doing the procedure with my own two hands, I left Harlem knowing that I was better equipped to continue my activism.

Having this new found knowledge on the logistics of what an abortion looks like has made me a better, more informed advocate and has offered me a level of compassion and understanding that I did not have before. I hope to bring this papaya workshop to Tulane so that reproductive rights activists, and general student body alike, can experience what the procedure of an abortion looks like and dismantle some of the stigmas and myths surrounding it.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

One of the most valuable things that I learned from Feminist Camp was not something that was directly told to us, but rather a trait that was exhibited by so many of the people we met. I learned the power of passion from the coordinators, speakers, and other campers. As we spent a full week constantly engaging with people, the speakers who stuck with me and inspired me the most all had something in common; they were obviously passionate about what they did. As a young adult with many opinions and not a whole lot of life experience, it can often feel as though getting people to listen is an impossible task. But if you really care about something, really love something, those feelings show and the value of that is unparalleled to any formal skill.

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Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

I would highly recommend Feminist Camp to all Tulane students interested in social justice! This experience was therapeutic, and rejuvenated my energy and drive to commit myself to feminist work. The people that you meet during Feminist Camp are diverse and inspiring. Feminist Camp offers you the chance to expand your understanding of feminist work being done today, while also making meaningful connections and engaging in professional development for those who hope to bring feminism into their future careers.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

Feminist Camp gave us the opportunity to make meaningful personal connections, as well as necessary professional connections. This experience allowed me to network with a purpose and took a huge amount of the stress of networking out of the process. Getting the chance to be face to face with people from the organizations that I hope to someday work at allowed me to solidify my career goals and begin pursuing those goals in an informed manner. I feel much more prepared to take on my professional future thanks to Feminist Camp!

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Feminist Camp

Alex Nichols is a senior majoring in English, psychology, and gender & sexuality studies, and she’s interested in a career in civil rights law or nonprofit development. Alex also recently attended Feminist Camp.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the Feminist Camp:

After interning with the National Organization for Women – NYC as well as the New Orleans Abortion Fund this past year, I was unsure if I wanted to commit my life to fundraising. I wanted to have a more direct role in fighting systematic oppression, so I began considering going into Civil Rights or Constitutional law. This uncertainty about my future is what pushed me to attend Feminist Camp.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

Some of my favorite parts of the conference was simply getting to meet so many people in various stages of their lives and careers, but who all cared about feminist issues. While I learned quite a lot from the speakers, I found that even my peers were a terrific source of information and additional perspectives. Of the speakers we met, Rye Young of the Third Wave Fund and Chanel Porchia of Ancient Song pushed me to consider aspects of my feminism that I thought I had a solid understanding of. This was particularly true for nonprofit development and for respecting the agency of marginalized communities. I now feel even more confident of my views and the way in which I want to aid others.

Highlight info you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

Because of the thoroughness of the NCI meetings I attend as part of my reproductive rights internship, I found that I didn’t learn too much in this one area. The visit to Spence-Chapin did offer another angle to approach the subject though. Since I often think of reproductive justice as access to abortion as well as the right to have and raise a child, I overlooked the significance of adoption. I was greatly impressed by the organization’s commitment to informing pregnant individuals of the many options they have outside of adoption.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Regardless of the path you end up taking in life, you can always stay true to your values. Getting the chance to meet and hear about women who worked in the government, at nonprofits dedicated to these issues, as well as those who worked in places that could be considered problematic, such as Vice or a corporate law firm. There is an infinite number of ways to be a feminist.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Other students should attend Feminist Camp because it was the first time that I was told the skills I’ve gained and the knowledge I’ve learned over these last three years can be applied and even valued in the workforce. Previously, I struggled to see careers beyond academia or non-profit organizations. Now, I recognize there really aren’t any restrictions on my feminism.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

I came to Feminist Camp in hopes of determining which of the careers I was considering would fulfill and challenge me. However, it actually made me aware that there are countless other directions I could go in. I’m still unsure of my future, but knowing that there’s always another option has made graduating and picking one career less intimidating.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Feminist Camp

Jillian Singer majors in political science and minors in psychology and sociology. She’s interested in a career in reproductive healthcare advocacy or legislative affairs, and she recently attended Feminist Camp.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I am a current senior from Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside of D.C. I plan to enter a career in politics soon, specifically focusing on issues of women’s rights, and I knew that Feminist Camp would be an amazing opportunity to expand my view of social justice work. I wanted to meet female pioneers in the nonprofit and social justice arena, alongside other inspiring young feminists.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite day of Feminist Camp was the “Philanthropy” day. Throughout the day, we met with many women who are engaged in social justice work relating to feminism, and they shared their stories and career paths with us. We had in-depth discussions of our personal values, how our life experiences have shaped those values, and how we aim to incorporate those values into our careers. The most powerful speaker on this day, in my opinion, was Justine Moore. Justine was formerly incarcerated for 16 years and later helped to establish The National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She shared her experiences while in prison, and discussed some of the most pressing needs in criminal justice reform. We later met with Lindsey Rosenthal from the Vera Institute, who now works to end the mass incarceration of women and girls. She shared her traumatic experience as a Night Warden at a prison for pregnant teenage girls in Miami. This day, the first day of Feminist Camp, was important in getting me into a self-reflective mindset for the rest of the week.

Highlight information you learned on reproductive health and reproductive justice:

We had the opportunity to perform an “abortion” on a papaya with the Reproductive Health Access Project, meet with a doula from Sister Song, and visit the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. The papaya abortion was a particularly impactful moment in Feminist Camp, as we were able to see, firsthand, the simplicity of the procedure. We engaged in discussions surrounding common myths about abortion and why/how it should be de-stigmatized. With Chanel Porchia, a doula and the founder of Sister Song, we discussed the beauty of motherhood and the wide range of doula services she offers particularly to low-income immigrants and women of color.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never lose sight of the importance of listening intently to other peoples’ life experiences, when they choose to share. I was so moved by all of the women we met throughout Feminist Camp – each person shared their path in getting to where they are today, and their own relationship with feminism. Listening to these powerful, successful women, in addition to my peers who each had unique perspectives and experiences to share, was incredibly inspiring. Throughout my professional life, I hope to take every opportunity to listen to others share their stories. There is so much to learn from those around us.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

Feminist Camp was an unforgettably inspiring, immersive experience in intersectional feminism. I cannot believe how much I learned from my peers, from the leaders of the program (Amy Richards, Jennifer Baumgardner, and Carly Romeo), and from each of the amazing speakers with whom we had the opportunity to meet. Feminist Camp makes you deeply consider what you are passionate about, what your values are, and who you want to be. I am still in disbelief. If you have the opportunity to attend Feminist Camp, DO IT.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

I am currently searching for post-graduation jobs, and Feminist Camp put me in the right mindset to deeply consider the impact that I want to make in my career. I am still not exactly sure what I want to do with my life, but Feminist Camp helped me to expand my possibilities. I am so grateful to have had this experience.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend Feminist Camp. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

 

PLEN: Women in STEM Policy

Erica Fuller majors in public health, and is interested in a career in maternal and child health policy. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in STEM Policy seminar, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

I am in my final year at Tulane University. I found my love for maternal and child health early in my Tulane career, but recently found my interest in health policy. This conference gave me the opportunity to explore my interest and truly decide whether I wanted to work within the field of health. It also gave me a chance to make connections within D.C. that will help me launch my career.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference was the day we spent on Capitol Hill. I loved hearing how to incorporate scientific knowledge into politics. After hearing from panelists, I was able to meet with my congressman and advocate for an issue that I am really passionate about (reforming birth practices in the U.S.). This visit gave me insight into how to enter the field of science policy.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

Dianna Flett spoke with us early on in the conference on how to speak with confidence. Her talk really set the tone for the conference and showed us how to increase our own confidence and leverage that confidence in the workforce.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

The United States Congress only has a few elected officials that are scientists while other countries such as China have 80% of their elected officials as scientists. When it comes to incorporating science and evidence-based solutions into policy decisions, we need to get more scientists into office and have scientists work with congressmen and congresswomen to make a change.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

The PLEN conference was an amazing experience that connected me with many students and professionals in my area of interest. It is a great opportunity to explore your interests and find out how to best enter your field.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

PLEN: Women in Public Policy

Julianna Pasquarello majors in economics and political science, and is interested in a career in public policy and law. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) Women in Public Policy seminar, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute (NCI).

 

Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

Coming to college, I understood my passions (law, advocacy, helping others) and my strengths (writing, critical-thinking, problem-solving, and leadership). Despite these understandings, I was still unsure of how exactly I could apply these passions and strengths into a job which both captured my interests and accomplished real-time change. Young adults such as me are often presented with many life-impacting questions such as “What do you wish to accomplish in your life? What do you want to do when you grow up?” Yet without the proper connections to help understand exactly what means exist to accomplish these goals, it can be extremely difficult to find answers to them. My search for answers attracted me to PLEN. Under the recommendation of Heather Johnson, a professor at Newcomb College Institute, I applied for a grant to attend PLEN and took a leap of faith to understand exactly what I wish to accomplish later in life and how I needed to move further along its path.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite parts of the conference were the speakers who came to discuss their experiences in public policy. Some of my favorite speakers included:

  1. Meredith​ ​Singer​ (Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive at IBM): Meredith serves as a liaison between the federal government and IBM. This plays greatly into her advocacy for IBM “dreamers,” who are now in jeopardy of losing their residency status.
  2. Amy​ ​Marmer​ ​Nice (independent Immigration Policy Advisor & Executive Director of Immigration Policy at the US Chamber of Commerce): A Tulane alumni, Amy has over 25 years of experience advocating on behalf of immigration reform. Speaking to someone with a similar background and education as myself was particularly inspiring.
  3. Marcy​ ​Mistrett​ ​(CEO at the Campaign for Youth Justice since 2014): Marcy created ”The Campaign for Youth Justice” which advocates to end youth being charged, sentenced and incarcerated as adults and has led a change in more than 30 states who changed their laws making it more difficult to prosecute children as adults. Ms. Mistrett was a living example of how following your passion to advocate for others and seeing faith in the potential of other individuals can create change.

 

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

At PLEN, I had the opportunity to visit the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (“IWPR”) the leading think-tank in the U.S. that focuses on domestic women’s issues. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s reports and other informational resources have informed policies and programs across the U.S. which affect women’s health and participation in the workforce. At the Institute, I spoke to two researchers and I came to understand how research organizations play unique and important roles in policy formation. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research places an emphasis on its bipartisan approach as it is imperative to conduct research from an impartial point of view to most effectively inform policymakers who affect change. As a result of my experience, I see a future for myself in research with the ultimate goal to help create change.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

PLEN taught me four important lessons:

  1. The most important work you do is when you are not on the ballot.
  2. Opportunity is another word for hard work. Do not overlook the small things.
  3. Your perceived personality is another person’s reality. Be aware of what you say, and how you say it.
  4. Politics, like all work, is local. Do not undervalue the people and network around you.

PLEN taught me that the combinations of hard work and understanding the value of the resources which surround you will lead you to a happy, successful career. I will carry these lessons with me going forward both at Tulane and later as both a professional and as an individual who wishes to affect changes.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Throughout my time at Tulane, I have met incredible women who possess great potential to enact change in this world. Each have their own dreams and continue to inspire me. I would advise these students to try to attend a PLEN conference because PLEN gives students the skills and connections to leverage this very potential which awes and inspires me every day.

To any female Tulane student reaching this: take a leap of faith and apply. Besides some of the obvious positives (such as visiting our nation’s Capital and meeting with legislators) PLEN truly is at the forefront of placing female leaders into contact with the right opportunities and people who can help them discover and accomplish their potential. Attending PLEN is not just an investment in your future, it is an investment in yourself.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

PLEN: Women in STEM Policy

Ellyn Frohberg studies public health and psychology, and is interested in a career in science and healthcare policy, policy research, or mental health. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in STEM Policy seminar.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

As a student, it is easy to feel helpless in implementing substantial and sustainable change. My interest in attending the Women in STEM Policy PLEN workshop in Washington D.C. took root in my wish to streamline my goals and pinpoint what I can do to begin to create change in my community. I am increasingly interested in how policy can positively shape society, and wanted to know how I can combine my interest in science with policy that is helpful and transformative.

Through an internship at an addiction recovery center, I recognized the need for policy that helps and supports those struggling with illness inside and outside of the clinic. I also recognized public health as the conduit that can provide the framework to protect vulnerable populations and prevent illness. Furthermore, I am passionate about establishing equity within healthcare.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite parts of the conference included the networking opportunities during site visits. Meeting with professionals at organizations such as HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) and the NIH (National Institute of Health) increased my interest in the field and helped me to establish clear and achievable short and long term goals to best suit my interests and the needs of my intended career.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

I would like to highlight the Health Resources and Services Administration and the women who graciously hosted us for the afternoon we visited. This particular office space was filled with contagious passion for helping others. Each woman brought different skills and experiences to the table that expanded my vision of how incredible and influential we each have the power to be in our future careers.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never forget the importance of others in building a career. A good conversation, a true connection with a stranger, or a mentor can change your life if you are open to it.  Furthermore, there is room for everyone’s talents. Time with peers truly is better spent in fellowship with one another rather than in competition.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

PLEN can provide the resources and connections you need to make tangible steps in determining what career path is right for you. I think, especially for STEM majors, students are not often introduced to options outside of medical school and research. This conference introduced me to all the options I have in STEM, and how my degree can help me to advance policy. I would also like to give a huge thank you to NCI. This experience was incredible, and I am so grateful for the support and funding.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN: Women in STEM Policy

Meet Lauren Bartels! She majors in chemical engineering and is interested in environmental/sustainability science-policy work. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in STEM Policy seminar.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

Ever since I was young, I knew I was destined to pursue a degree rooted in science. As I grew older, I began to realize the excitement I felt when tasked with any sort of challenge, so I looked for a degree which would serve to strengthen my critical-thinking skills. After much research, I declared a chemical engineering major and have not looked back.

Despite my love for engineering, I realized I wanted to utilize my degree beyond the typical engineering career paths. A previous summer internship in Washington, D.C. had introduced me to the world of science-policy, and I became eager to learn more about the intersection of these fields. I saw the Women in STEM Policy PLEN conference as a means for both broadening my knowledge of science-policy careers and introducing me to many respected women in the field.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

I honestly enjoyed every aspect of the conference, as I learned so much more than I could have anticipated. However, one of my favorite parts was the fact I was constantly surrounded by powerful women who shared my passion for science-policy. Not only were all of the speakers and panelists renowned in their respective areas of expertise, but the other students attending the conference were extremely inspirational. Although the importance of science-driven policy cannot be overemphasized, the opportunities for scientists to influence politics often goes unaddressed. Scientists are severely underrepresented in influential government positions, so I was encouraged by the enthusiasm demonstrated by my peers.

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Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

Although I am intrigued by all science-related polices, my particular interests revolve around environmental policies. One afternoon during the conference, we were split into small groups and sent to visit the location of an organization focused on a particular policy issue. My group was sent to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which is an environmental advocacy group driven by scientific research. We were able to meet a variety of employees in their D.C. office in an informal atmosphere, where they educated us on the work of the EDF and answered any questions we had about the organization or science-policy in general. I gained valuable knowledge from this site visit, and the trip only strengthened my interest in environmental policy.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Although each of the panels throughout the seminar focused on a different topic, one question was repeatedly asked: how did you reach the career you hold today? Regardless of the specific career field, all answers emphasized the idea of “planned luck.” An individual must be active in pursuing diverse opportunities; however, one cannot predict where each opportunity will lead. I learned a career in science-policy does not result from particular choices throughout one’s education and early career but rather one’s eagerness to learn and desire to improve.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Women in STEM Policy was the specific PLEN conference I attended, but PLEN hosts numerous other conferences to prepare women for leadership positions in the public policy arena. Even if you are unsure you are interested in public policy, maintaining knowledge of the political process benefits many aspects of your life and enhances your ability to think critically about a variety of issues. Furthermore, networking is key, and PLEN allows you to meet many professionals and other students with extremely diverse backgrounds. No one will leave PLEN without learning something new and creating fond memories!

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN: Women in Public Policy

Meet Katie Donahue! She studies political science, social policy/practice, and Italian, and she’s interested in working in campaign finance or nonprofit fundraising. She recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Public Policy seminar.
Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:
I’m a senior in the midst of a career search and thought that experiencing D.C. and hearing from those who held jobs I may be interested in or not know about would be a productive way to spend the last week of winter break! It was a really fulfilling experience and I enjoyed meeting Tulane students that attended the conference as well as those from universities across the country.
What were your favorite parts of the conference?
I really enjoyed the opportunity to network with my peers from other universities and hear about their studies. The breakout panels on immigration and criminal justice were fascinating, and the women who spoke to us on those issues were truly leaders in their fields. It was interesting to learn more about topics that I was interested in and to explore new areas in a setting like this conference.
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Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:
One of my favorite speakers was Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes. She highlighted the importance of work at the local and state level, which can sometimes be portrayed as less important than federal work, but can truly be more impactful. She spoke to us like the responsible young adults we are and really took the time to address our concerns and questions.
Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:
The importance of networking and relationship building has been drilled into my head and I’m sure I won’t forget it soon! Another thing that became clear during the seminar is that there is truly no one path to success. We heard from so many wonderful women who had chosen vastly different schools, internships, and jobs, but all ended up in fantastic and fulfilling careers. As one of our speakers put it, it’s really more of a career “jungle gym” than a ladder.
Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?
PLEN did a great job of ensuring that we heard from people with very difference life paths and different opinions, so there really was something for everyone in the seminar. I learned so much about my professional and academic options and will definitely keep in touch with the peers and mentors I met.

Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN: Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy

Meet Rayne Pestello! Rayne is majoring in economics and international development and minoring in political science. She also recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Law and Legal Advocacy seminar.

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend this PLEN seminar:

Like any good female political science student, I had intentions of becoming president as a child.  While I have changed that dream (and my major) many times, the need to be involved in the policy making process and the events happening all over the world has not faded.  I wanted to attend the PLEN conference because I knew that in addition to the technical skills that classes give you, I had to address the practical skills as well.  Meeting like-minded people, networking, and understanding what a career may look like were all important to me.  In addition, every person I know who attended a PLEN conference returned raving about the experience, so I knew it was something I had to do.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite parts were hearing from and meeting all of the wonderful women speakers who participated in the question and answer panels.  Many were PLEN (and even Tulane) alumnae and hearing about their positions and career paths was not only fascinating but also relieving.  Right now, I do not have a clear idea of what I want my future to look like.  Hearing that they also felt like they made it up as they went in the early stages of their careers was humanizing and made me feel like I was less directionless. It is possible to have a successful and meaningful career even if you do not know initially how to begin.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

While there are so many incredible women who spoke about their lives, the one that sticks out in my brain was the panel on Careers on the Hill.  It was fascinating to hear how many different roles there are in the government and how exciting these jobs are.  While I knew I was interested in working on the hill, I had no idea how badly I wanted it until I heard them speak.  It was hard to wrap my head around the idea that the women in front of me played an active role in shaping the law that affects us every day and that I could do it, too.

Tell us what you learned that you hope to never forget:

The lesson I learned that I will go back to for my entire working life is to stop doubting yourself.  Imposter syndrome is overwhelmingly present in women; you have to know you are qualified for jobs you may feel you are not, and you do have something to valuable to contribute.  You deserve to be in the job you are in, and you also deserve more.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

In addition to meeting so many wonderful women, both students and professionals, there are also concrete skills to be developed.  Salary negotiation, networking, and assertiveness are wildly important, and I more wholly developed these skills at PLEN.  They are often boring and even uncomfortable to learn, but having them under your belt is empowering (an learning them by making a mistake is more uncomfortable for sure).

 

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN: Women in Corporate and Nonprofit Leadership

Meet Alexa Kimmel! She is a psychology major minoring in political science and public health. She also recently attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Corporate and Nonprofit Leadership seminar in DC.

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Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend this PLEN conference:

I wanted to attend the conference so I can learn and develop the skills necessary to be successful in a nonprofit setting after graduation.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

All aspects of the conference were extremely informative and insightful, but my favorite part of the conference was meeting so many different women leaders in a variety of positions who are working tirelessly to make the world a better place.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

The keynote speaker, Ms. Gabriella Morris, the partnerships director for UNICEF USA was absolutely incredible.

What did you learn that you hope to never forget?

I learned how to enter a field or career path that may seem unattainable based on prior background.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

The skills and abilities I developed from attending the conference and meeting with leaders across a variety of nonprofit and corporate fields are invaluable.

 


Does this sound like something you might be interested in?  Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Betsy Lopez at elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.