All posts by Newcomb College Institute

PLEN: Women and Congress

Meet Izzy Haggar! Izzy double majors in public health and homeland security, and recently attended the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminar on Woman and Congress, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute. Read about her experiences below:

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

I’m a junior studying public health and homeland security. I am very passionate about public policy, specifically health care reform, but wasn’t sure how that might fit into a career. I decided to attend PLEN so that I could learn about all of the careers available on Capitol Hill, what skills are required, and how I can accomplish my goals. I wanted to meet women who have made it in a male dominated field and hear about their careers, life experiences, and how they find work-life balance.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

I enjoyed the Networking 101 session on the first day. Networking and stepping outside your comfort zone can be very scary and it was a great way to prepare for a week full of meeting new and important women. I also enjoyed the Mentor Awards on Tuesday night. It was inspiring to see where some PLEN alumnae have ended up and I was lucky to meet some of the generous sponsors who make PLEN possible. Additionally, one of the award recipients, Courtney Liss, was a Tulane alum and it was wonderful to meet her.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

My favorite speaker was Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California who spoke at the Mentor Awards. Her story is so powerful and it really demonstrated that you can do whatever you want in life if you work hard for it. She shared some funny anecdotes and I was just in awe to be in the same room as her.

Izzy Haggar 1

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I will never forget walking into the Capitol with my badge and being able to walk down hallways and into areas that I never would have seen if I were just a tourist. It was amazing to be in a building that has housed so many important moments in history.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

PLEN is an amazing opportunity to learn about yourself, your interests, and your potential career. PLEN provides insightful and inspiring speakers and networking opportunities. Additionally, you can make some great friends from schools all across the country.

 


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.

 

Advertisements

PLEN: Women and Congress

19884520_10211714307667398_3989128047457151667_n

Meet Noa Elliott! Noa majors in economics and recently attended the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminar on Women and Congress. thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute. Read about Noa’s experience below:

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

I wanted the opportunity to learn the important skills incredible women use to navigate the type of work I am passionate to engage with. PLEN introduced us to women who were at the very top of their fields and others who were finding success at the steps just a few ahead of us. I was thrilled about the opportunity to explore Washington, D.C., and to meet the people who are responsible for the operation of our nation and hear about their experiences as women.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

PLEN offered us the opportunity not only to hear about a broad range of experiences that women had in navigating the world of federal government, but also to practice the skills they felt had been most useful. The combination of types of learning and teaching was great and not only catered to specific interests in policy and elected office, but also to broader professional development and empowerment practices. The opportunity to spend the week of the seminar with other women of similar interests and mindsets was incredible.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

My favorite session of the conference was when we had the opportunity to hear from professionals in our specific areas of policy interest. I loved the panel on Environmental Policy and felt that I saw women who were doing tangible work that I was excited to learn more about! The chance to combine all of the skills-based speakers with my personal policy passions felt inspiring and highly relevant.

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

We are women in the world. There is nothing that we cannot achieve if we are confident and driven. Learning to negotiate a salary and network confidently are important parts of leadership and success!

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

You will be exposed to so many different ways to engage your passion. There are many ways to make a difference and the chance to see it happen from D.C. provides inspiration, context, and it is so much fun. It was really an unbeatable experience and I encourage every woman to take the opportunity.

 


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.

 

Feminist Camp: NYC

Meet Manali Souda! Manali is a senior at Tulane who recently attended Feminist Camp in New York City, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute. Read about her experience below:

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend Feminist Camp:

I am a senior majoring in political science and English. I was interested in Feminist Camp because I’d heard really good things about it from my friends, and because I was interested in seeing what I could do with my political beliefs after graduation.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

Being able to meet women at the Feminist Press was really inspirational—I’d learned about its instrumental role in reviving the work of almost-forgotten female authors of the late nineteenth century in my English classes, and hearing about the work they do now to highlight underrepresented authors was pretty amazing.

feminist camp

Highlight some information you learned about reproductive health and reproductive justice:   

One of the most memorable parts of the camp was learning how to perform an abortion on a papaya, but being able to meet all sorts of women who do work around reproductive justice on a larger scale was also incredible. By meeting organizers, doulas, and medical professionals, we got an all-round view of the different facets of reproductive health and reproductive justice.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope I never forget the feeling of solidarity I had with the other women in my cohort! I really connected with them and learning their stories and activism inspired me more.

Why should other students attend a Feminist Camp?

I was pretty unsure about it when I first applied, but I am really glad I did. It reminded me why I’m a feminist and why I want to take my passions and politics with me wherever I go.

How did this experience help with your future ambitions?

It clarified for me the ways in which I would or wouldn’t be comfortable with my feminist politic in professional spaces.

 

 


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

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.

26952299_10104134625134896_3158891004332304053_o (1)

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.

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

Meet Tess Martin! Tess majors in social policy & practice and political science, and minors in economics. She recently attended a Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) Women in Public Policy seminar, thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute. Read about her experience below:

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

Through my courses at Tulane and my experiences with internships outside the classroom, I have developed a strong interest in problem-solving through policymaking. Furthermore, I took the course Women’s Legislative Leadership, in which I learned more about women’s experiences in local, state, and national legislatures, and I interned with a female state representative in Louisiana through that class to learn what the policymaking process is like, especially as a woman in a traditionally male-led legislature. All of these experiences have led me to consider a career in public policy. Since I had little to no idea on what this career could actually look like or how I could get there, I thought that attending the PLEN conference would be a perfect way to understand the realities of and paths to becoming a woman working in public policy.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

One of my favorite aspects of the conference was that we got to hear numerous panels on a variety of topics with speakers that had diverse experiences within the given field. My favorite was the criminal justice panel, that featured two women who were working on different aspects of the advocacy and lobbying side of criminal justice reform as well as one woman who was working within a major city to advise the mayor’s criminal justice policies. Hearing from women successfully working in criminal justice reform made the idea of working on issues I care about seem like a practical and tangible career option.

Another valuable aspect of the conference was the extensive networking. I think “networking” has definitely become a buzzword whenever people talk about professional development, but speakers helped me understand what meaningful networking actually looks like (not necessarily having thousands of LinkedIn connections, but cultivating significant, reciprocal relationships) and how it really could help you down the line.  Furthermore, the nature of the conference required that we constantly connect with and get to know other young women attending. Especially as I near the start of my own career, I think these opportunities to connect with young women in a similar position as myself as well as with established professionals inside and outside D.C. are invaluable.

Finally, the PLEN organizers allotted time for us to go see our elected representatives, and I was able to meet one-on-one with Senator Claire McCaskill very briefly. It was incredible to meet and speak with a woman from my home state of Missouri who has worked her way up to congressional leadership as the top Democrat on the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.

Picture1
Me with Senator Claire McCaskill

 

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

One of my favorite experiences in the conference was hearing Lisa Maatz of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) give a lecture about the most relevant aspects of the policymaking process, bringing her many years of experience both as a feminist scholar and as a veteran lobbyist in D.C. Her decades of knowledge helped her to share a lot of the basics and realities of working in the government as well as how things have changed over the years, especially since the most recent election.

I also greatly enjoyed visiting the office of the Cato Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank. I was surprised that much of their work was nonpartisan and was based off of specific principles that motivate their work to span across party lines. It was fascinating to hear from the women working there, one of whom was a “Forbes 30 Under 30,” who researches such a wide array of public policy topics in one of the oldest and most successful think tanks. Without going through a program like PLEN, it would be nearly impossible to get that sort of access to such high-level professionals in the field.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

First, it was emphasized frequently that every path is a valid one, and that no two are the same. I think it is critical for young aspiring professionals to understand that your path will probably not look exactly how you imagine it, but that working hard and pursuing interesting opportunities will lead you to success. Many of the women also emphasized not to rush to graduate school or other postsecondary school unless you are absolutely sure of what you want to do. This point was helpful for me, especially as a second-semester junior who is beginning to hear about (and stress out about) everyone’s law school plans and grad school applications. Similarly, the women also emphasized that you shouldn’t be afraid to take jobs that aren’t your dream job, as long as you can gain valuable experience from them.

A vital theme throughout the seminar that I plan to take with me in all my future work is to always build other women up and to bring other women with you in your successes. Most of the women that spoke at the seminar had gotten there because some woman had helped them along the way at some point, and I found this incredibly inspiring. Finally, the seminar also emphasized that, if you are a woman, you should think about running for office. Because women are less likely to run without encouragement, I think that any young woman who is passionate about an issue, about policy, or about good government should consider the idea that she could run for office in the future, and that she’d probably be really good at it.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

I think any women who are interested in going into any field for which PLEN offers a seminar should absolutely consider attending. Attending this Women in Public Policy seminar gave me insights from so many women from so many areas within the field that I would never have been able to hear on my own. With the wide variety of speakers and topics within each seminar, it is also guaranteed that there will be at least one thing relevant to your interests. The practical advice offered by the women at PLEN made the daunting task of advancing my career path seem much less intimidating.

 


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.