Meet Emily Devlin! She is double majoring in International Relations & Spanish. She attended the Women in Global Policy PLEN conference to further develop her career interest in International Law.
Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN Conference.
I am entering my senior year at Tulane as an International Relations and Spanish major. Upon graduation I would like to first live abroad for a year or two teaching English or joining the Peace Corps, and then upon returning I hope to attend a dual degree law school and Masters in International Affairs program. I aspire to work in the field of international law, specifically international human rights law.
I wanted to attend this PLEN conference to learn more about the field of global policy and the different types of career opportunities that exist within that field. PLEN seemed like an amazing opportunity to learn from accomplished leaders and to learn about a wide range of topics within global policy in our nation’s capital.
What were your favorite parts of the conference?
It is hard to pinpoint one favorite part of the conference because every part was so valuable in its own way. The combination of accomplished speakers, interacting with fellow students, and site visits made the conference one of the most impactful experiences I have had.
The guest speakers hailed from a wide range of positions and backgrounds. This provided the opportunity to learn about careers and opportunities that I hadn’t known existed prior to attending PLEN. The opportunity to ask questions and interact with such successful women was an invaluable experience. Each one of the speakers conveyed such a genuine sense of mentorship and desire to help shape a new generation of women in global policy. Their advice will provide inspiration to me throughout the rest of my education and as I begin my career.
The site visits were incredible opportunities to see the workings of places that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit. I enjoyed being able to see more of a work environment in Washington. Visiting the Embassy of Spain and Human Rights Watch was an unforgettable experience.
Additionally, the opportunity to meet incredible peers from all across the country and the globe was definitely one of my favorite parts of attending the conference. PLEN brought together likeminded people who I otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with. I was able to start new friendships and meet inspirational young women who I will hopefully work alongside one day.
Who was your favorite speaker?
I will always remember hearing from Mari Carmen Aponte, the former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador and the current Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. This was unscheduled and we were lucky enough that she was able to take time out of her busy day because she was so excited about the opportunity to speak to the PLEN group. Her inspirational story about how she was born in Puerto Rico and through years of hard work rose to the position of an ambassador in a time which made that very difficult for women is something that I will always remember. Her passion for her job was evident and is something that I aspire to find one day.
Visiting the Embassy of Spain was also very exciting for me. I spent the fall of my junior year studying abroad in Madrid to improve my language ability and learn about the culture. I fell in love with the country and visiting the embassy was such a memorable experience. Without PLEN I would never have had the opportunity talk to a Spanish diplomat about the current Spanish elections and meet interns that study at the same university that I studied abroad at.
What do you hope to never forget?
I learned that there is not just one road to success, but passion and a strong work ethic are the things that get you there no matter which path you take. I learned to focus on honing my writing ability, speaking ability, language fluency, and pursue international opportunities. I learned that you should never stop learning and that the best opportunities often come from leaving your comfort zone.
I hope to never forget to follow my dreams. I hope to never forget that passion and a strong work ethic will lead me to my dreams even if at a specific time I feel disheartened. I hope that I never forget that I am in control of my future and there are no limits to what I can achieve if I am willing to put in the work and want it badly enough.
Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?
Other students should attend a PLEN conference in order to have one of the most influential and future-shaping experiences. I left PLEN feeling less frightened and more excited about post-graduate life than I had ever felt before. I would recommend PLEN to anyone. You will leave inspired by successful role models, having met incredible new friends, and with a wealth of new knowledge.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.