Category Archives: PLEN

PLEN: Women in Global Policy

Meet Paige Montfort! Paige majors in Political Science-International Development and Public Health. She is interested in a career in human rights work. Thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute, she attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Global Policy seminar. Read about her experience below:

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

I am a rising sophomore double majoring in Public Health and Political Science-International Development. This past year at Tulane, I discovered the field of global health policy and thought it sounded absolutely perfect for me, but I didn’t quite know what the next step to take should be. When I heard about the PLEN Women in Global Policy Conference, I knew I had to attend it. I was looking for advice, mentors, information about the field and about jobs and internships, and networking opportunities. The PLEN conference provided each of those things and more and was the perfect springboard for my academic and professional careers.

Site visit to ONE Campaign office

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

The people were, without a doubt, the highlight of this conference for me. From the nearly sixty incredible college-age women hailing from Tulane and a number of other schools across the nation to the powerful female diplomats, foreign service officers, and more—I could not have dreamed a better week for myself. I created a nation-wide network of friends and began to sink my roots into the Washington DC bubble. I am incredibly excited to grow and develop those relationships over the next few years. The women that I met over the duration of the PLEN conference inspired me, encouraged me, and assured me that there are women in important places in Washington who, if I continue to be passionate and hard-working, will be by my side throughout my career and my life.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

I loved every single one of the panels I had the opportunity to listen to at PLEN, but one that was exceptionally memorable was the panel called “Diplomacy in Action.” Four incredible female ambassadors (Constance Morella, Lisa Gable, Marie Carmen Aponte, and Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley) spoke to us at this panel and their stories were all unique, inspiring, and exciting. I was able to see the humanity and normal-ness in each of these women who, before this conference, I would perhaps have thought of as powerful, influential figures with no personal lives, problems, families, etc. They spoke candidly, stayed afterword to speak with us individually, and really made me believe that I can do whatever I put my heart into. The best advice from this panel included the following:

  1. First listen. Then learn. Then finally, lead.
  2. Diplomacy is all about understanding people—their feelings, cultures, and motivations. I have to be not just perceptive but also extremely considerate and articulate in this field.
  3. I, as a female especially, must SPEAK UP at meetings, briefings, and events. I need to make my voice heard and amplify those of other females in order to demonstrate my knowledge and capabilities among sometimes louder, but not necessarily more educated or experienced, voices.

Tulane girls with Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley

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

I kept a journal throughout the week to jot down all of the useful and unique tips that I received regarding academics and my future career path. One insight that was consistently shared at almost every panel—that I DEFINITELY don’t want to forget—is the value of REAL experiences. Many speakers encouraged us to take a year or a couple of years before graduate school or law school to attain some work experience, go abroad, or intern somewhere. I will never be so free to do this again, I now realize, and I need to take advantage of this time in my life. Furthermore, I learned the great value of simply getting up and talking to a speaker after an event. I became more confident in my ability to do this throughout the week and by the end had compiled a long list of amazing contacts in the DC area with whom I intend to maintain relationships and perhaps work one day. Finally, I learned a number of very practical, tangible things at the PLEN conference that will be helpful to me right now. One bit of advice that was especially important was that I should include a fun, unique list of interests at the end of my resume because it is the last thing employers see. They want someone with whom they WANT to work—someone with hobbies, insights, and a friendly personality. In addition to these points, I have an entire notebook filled with other suggestions, stories, internships, and contacts—all of which I owe entirely to PLEN.

Visit to Capitol Hill

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Every student should attend a PLEN conference! There are so many different programs covering a wide range of fields and topics. PLEN conferences are empowering, exciting, and incredibly helpful. For younger students, they are a great way to begin to meet people and to decide on a path. For older students, they are opportunities to meet potential employers and to gain important contacts in Washington DC. I spent evenings talking with the other attendees about their goals and dreams over Ethiopian and Salvadoran dinners, explored the rich history and way of life within Washington DC (including becoming a pro at the Metro!), and received invaluable advice. I hope to attend more conferences in the future, and I certainly encourage every other college-age female to do so as well!


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.

 

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PLEN: Women in Global Policy

Meet Kayden McKenzie! Kayden majors in Political Science and Philosophy and minors in History. She is interested in a career in human rights work. Thanks to a grant from the Newcomb College Institute, she attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Global Policy seminar. Read about her experience below:

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

I am a rising senior majoring in Political Science and Philosophy and minoring in History. I have been fascinated with global policy since the beginning of my academic experience, but I was unsure of how to pursue my interest professionally. I wanted to attend PLEN so that I could discover ways in which to begin a career working in global policy. Moreover, I am constantly thinking about what I will do after I graduate, and I believed that attending PLEN would allow me to have a better idea of my plans.

This summer, I will be interning in Washington D.C. at the State Department. I knew that attending PLEN before beginning my internship would be valuable for me because I could make connections in the area and hear advice about how to make the most of my summer in D.C.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference was the connections that I made with people. I met students from universities throughout the United States who had their own unique interests, but we all shared a passion for global policy. Moreover, I conversed with women who worked in all realms of global policy, whether it was in the non-profit sector or governmental work. I was pleased by how genuine all of these women were and how willing they were to give advice to other students. My favorite speakers were the group of Ambassadors because they had fascinating backgrounds and were extremely prominent in global policy, yet they were enthusiastic to converse with us and give us advice when we asked.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

We were able to spend one whole day at the State Department. First, we heard from a panel with a Foreign Service officer, a political appointee, and a woman who worked in the Civil Service. Then, we heard from a panel of senior level women who worked at the State Department. All of these women highlighted that there was an ideal job for every kind of person at the State Department, and it was interesting hearing about all of these different careers that are possible. However, despite these differences, all of the women on the panels discussed how much they loved their job. Their passion and energy kept me engaged, and I am now seriously considering pursuing a career at the State Department after my internship there.

After the panels, we participated in a diplomacy simulation. We were assigned to a country or a non-governmental organization and divided into groups to negotiate a dispute with each other. Essentially, our goal was to find a solution to a complex international issue that all parties favored. Participating in this activity allowed us to see a more simplified, classroom version of how diplomacy works in action.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

I learned that I should form connections with people, even with those who might not necessarily share my exact interests. It is important to have relationships with people if I am going to succeed working in global policy. I also learned that I should seek out people who interest me and maintain contact with them.

In addition to my relationships with other people, I learned about the importance of my relationship with myself and my career. I should always check in with myself about once a month to evaluate whether I truly enjoy where I am at in my life or if I should pursue a different path.

I learned that a career path is not always linear and that I should apply for all opportunities that interest me, even if I think that I am underqualified for them. I should find a specific area of work that I am passionate about and just go for it.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Other students should attend the conference because meeting strong and successful women who work in the area that you are interested in empowers you and motivates you to pursue what you are passionate about. These women also have gone down different paths that they took to reach this point in their careers, so it is interesting to evaluate these paths and decide which one might work for you. You also receive information about professional opportunities that are available and not well publicized. Additionally, you have a network of people from your PLEN conference who have a shared interest in public policy and leadership, and it is always beneficial to have an additional group of connections and women to build each other up.


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 Global Policy

Meet Natalie Strauber! Natalie majors in and is interested in a career in International Relations. Thanks to a grant from the Newcomb College Institute, she attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Global Policy seminar. Read about her experience below:

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

I have always been interested in international affairs. I wanted to learn about ways that I can break into this highly competitive space. I wanted to learn from successful women—their best practices and how they successfully navigated through their careers to get to the point where they are today. This program seemed to be the absolute best way to do this, and as it turned out, it was.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

I particularly liked my site visit to the Embassy of Spain. Because the women were so kind. Spain is the country I am most interested in. I am going abroad to Spain this Fall and I was very happy I got to meet these esteemed diplomats and ask them questions about the relationship between Spain and the United States.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

Kaylee Cox-Cybersecurity and Privacy lawyer.
She talked about things I learned about in my law class and she appeared to me to have the job that I aspire to. I am looking forward to connecting with her in Washington in the future.

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

The fact that a career in global policy is attainable if you are diligent and focused. The conference has taught me to never feel awkward to reach out to people in the industry. 

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference:

To be informed about their career paths. You don’t need to have everything figured out right now, but you can get a closer look at the industry and be better qualified to judge whether it is the right path for you to continue on.


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 Global Policy

Meet Sophia Angeletti! Sophia majors in international relations and Middle Eastern studies, and minors in Arabic. She’s interested in a career in Middle East research and diplomacy, and thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute she attend Public Leadership Education Network’s Women in Global Policy seminar. Read about her experience below:

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

I am a rising junior studying International Relations with a focus on the Middle East. Since beginning my education at Tulane University, I have been interested in conflict resolution, diplomacy, multilateral institutions, and research. I have also narrowed my focus to the study of the Middle East through studying abroad in Israel and Jordan as well as conducting research on the region. I wanted to attend PLEN: Women in Global Policy to learn about career options that could potentially combine all of my interests. Specifically, I am interested in both diplomacy and research and would love to find a job post graduating that combines the two. Furthermore, I wanted to attend PLEN in order to increase my general knowledge of careers in global policy and use the conference as an opportunity to network with women who have already been successful in the field.

Sophia Angeletti

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference were the site visits. Specifically, site visits to the Embassy of Afghanistan and the U.S. Department of State. At the Embassy of Afghanistan, I was able to meet with a female Afghani diplomat and learn about her journey from living under Taliban rule to becoming a diplomat as well as U.S.-Afghani foreign relations. At the U.S. Department of State, I was able to hear from a variety of current female U.S. Foreign Service Officers about the career options available through the State Department. The State Department visit concluded with a diplomacy simulation that allowed participants to take on the roles of diplomats attempting to negotiate a compromise to a potential nuclear crisis. Both of the site visits helped me to envision a career in global policy as a more obtainable career objective than I had originally imagined.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

On one of the nights of the conference, we were split up into smaller groups and had dinner with recent PLEN alumni. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jennifer Ham, a Foreign Service Officer who is about to finish her first year of training in preparation for working in Turkey. Speaking with Jennifer provided greater insight into the steps to becoming a Foreign Service Officer from the perspective of someone just starting their career in the Foreign Service. After spending a few days hearing from panels of highly accomplished diplomats and ambassadors, it was nice to gain a different perspective.

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

Every panel and speaker eventually reiterated the same message: a career path is not a straight line, but rather more of a winding zig-zag. I feel that sometimes we are taught that if we do x, y, and z it will lead to a certain outcome, but that is often not the case. Every speaker came into her current position in a unique way. I hope to continue to work hard and do what makes me happy, acknowledging that I may not always have control over the events that befall my future.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

It provides an amazing opportunity to meet empowered women, learn about opportunities and resources to be more successful in the future, and gain the confidence to be more successful in future endeavors.


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 Global Policy

Meet Tatum West! Tatum majors in International Relations and is interested in a career in foreign policy. Thanks to a grant from Newcomb College Institute, she attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Global Policy seminar. Read about her experience below:

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

Throughout my time at Tulane, I have been fortunate enough to gain work experience abroad, as well as an overall internationally focused education. The PLEN conference seemed like the perfect way to tie everything together and to start thinking about how to transfer my experiences to a meaningful career in global policy.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

My favorite part of the conference were the speakers and panels. I found it very helpful to hear from accomplished women about their careers and how they got there. PLEN also provided for many opportunities for networking and engaging with the speakers which I really enjoyed because I like interacting with others and listening to the experiences of others who may be able to offer valuable advice.

Tatum West

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

One of my favorite panels was the Female Ambassador Panel, which included the former U.S. Ambassadors to Malta, El Salvador, the World’s Fair Expo, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Every woman on the panel came from very different backgrounds and were role models who embodied values of leadership, service, hard work, and perseverance. It was helpful to hear from women who have careers to which I aspire, and it was fascinating to hear from the women at the top who have had exceptionally remarkable, unique, and impactful careers.

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

Every single panelist emphasized the value and importance of relationships. Being able to form, sustain, and utilize your network is key to navigating D.C. and the foreign policy and international development fields. Additionally, the speakers highlighted the significance of just simply being kind and always putting your best foot forward.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

I would recommend PLEN to everyone! I honestly didn’t understand exactly how to (correctly) network prior to this conference. PLEN showed me that building a network and forming relationships are extremely important! Not to mention, it doesn’t hurt to have the opportunity to include so many amazing and accomplished women in your network. I would also say that PLEN does a really great job of including students from a variety of educational backgrounds. For example, there were many public health students and a couple of computer science majors and PLEN included a Global Public Health panel as well as a Cyber Security and Policy panel. There is something for everyone!

 


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 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.

 

PLEN: Women and Congress

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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.

 

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.

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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.