Category Archives: PLEN

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.

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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.

 

 

PLEN: Women and Congress

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Meet Jacqueline Landry! A major in political science and economics, she attended the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminar on Women and Congress.

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

I was interested in attending the PLEN conference because I am graduating this semester, and I’m still not sure exactly what path I want my career to take. I heard from peers who had attended previous conferences that PLEN calmed their fears about not having a specific path in mind, and taught them the skills they needed for postgrad success in Washington, such as networking and salary negotiation.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

The most rewarding part of the conference was the opportunity to meet women from every facet of the policymaking process and learning about their perspectives and the paths they took to their current positions. It was a great comfort and inspiration to meet so many successful women who had taken varied and often winding paths to their current posts, and to hear them express their willingness to help other young women find their way as well! The conference made me realize that there is no one straight path to success, and that there are many people who will help you along your way.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

One of the most immediately beneficial speakers was Ms. Perleoni, who taught us the specifics of how to network in the political world. I had always been told to “network, network, network!” but she gave us a step-by-step guide to how that process actually works. Now I can take the advice everyone has been giving me!

What’s something you learned that you hope to never forget?

I hope to never forget that supporting other women is crucial in making the world a more equitable place. Any success I have in life will be largely due to the countless women who have gone out of their way to support me, and it is my honor and responsibility to pay that forward.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

PLEN gives you the skills, networks, and confidence you need to approach a career in public policy. There is nothing else like it.

PLEN: Women and Congress

Meet Eleanor! She is majoring in political science with a concentration in international relations, and wants to eventually work in international development and relief or public policy. Eleanor attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women in Congress seminar this spring.

 

Describe yourself and tell us why you wanted to attend the Women in Congress seminar:

I am a soon-to-be graduating senior, and am obviously looking for a job post-graduation. I have always been interested in government and public policy, especially on the international scale. I wanted to attend the PLEN conference because I wanted real exposure to what life was like in Washington, D.C. for a person working in policy, whether it be domestic or international. I also wanted to learn more about potential jobs/career paths I could have if I ever decided to live in Washington, D.C.

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What were your favorite parts of the conference?

Probably my favorite part was being able to meet all the incredible women that were learning with me on the conference and are currently working in D.C. I learned so much from everyone, and I feel like I have whole new group of friends! Another favorite part of the conference was the networking night PLEN put on. It was a great opportunity to practice our networking skills and we got to meet awesome people in the process!

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

A huge highlight for me was listening to Clare Bresnahan speak on behalf of the She Should Run campaign. She spoke about the dire need for women to run for public office. Before hearing her speak, I never thought about ever running for public office in my life, but after hearing her I feel a lot more inspired to run one day. I had never felt so motivated and inspired by a speaker in my life before her.

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

Something I learned that I hope to never forget is the feeling of complete and absolute empowerment. This conference taught me to not question my capabilities. I learned that I should not hold myself back just for the sake of other people or for the fear of failure. It was an incredible week.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Students should attend a PLEN conference because it is life-changing. You will gain real world experience in networking, life on and off the hill, and be able to meet incredible people along the way. Before this conference I was terrified of graduating and going out into the real world, but now I feel confident in my next steps after graduation all due to the things I learned from PLEN.

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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

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Meet Annelise Blanchard! She’s a psychology and gender and sexuality studies major, with a minor in French.

Tell us about yourself and why you wanted to attend this Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) conference:

I’m a senior graduating in May, and I’m still trying to nail down exactly what type of job I want to pursue next year. I want to eventually work in psychology, and hopefully help women and LGBTQ individuals. I’ve been considering a future as a psychologist or social worker, but I was interested in learning of other potential career paths, such as with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) policy, that would lead to the same outcomes.

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

I enjoyed hearing how our speakers all came to STEM policy from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many had PhDs in biology or chemistry, and later went on to work in health care policy, or at different governmental agencies, such as the NSF or FDA. Others studied policy in college, and later went into STEM policy fields. I also really enjoyed speakers who gave us concrete advice and techniques for scenarios all students will be facing in the future, such as networking or negotiating a raise.

Highlight a speaker you enjoyed or a job site you visited:

My favorite panel spoke on “Minority Health Research and Health Disparities.” We had three different speakers, one who worked in the Office of Minority Health, another who worked with a clinic specializing in LGBTQ health, and a speaker from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. They spoke about using research and data to identify health disparities, and then working to address the health disparities. I’ve always wanted to work in psychology helping women and LGBTQ individuals, and it’s so heartening to see that there are also ways to affect minority health through policy work.

What did you learn that you hope to never forget?

Be open to new opportunities and career paths. Many of the women we spoke to started out with a different career in mind, but stumbled across an opportunity to start working in STEM policy. Also, always send thank you notes (or emails).

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

At PLEN, you meet so many driven and influential women, who are doing their best to affect STEM policy in important ways. We heard so much helpful advice about applying to grad school, and then pursuing jobs and careers after grad school. Equally as important, students who attend PLEN meet fifty other students from schools across the country who are equally as passionate about science and STEM policy.

 


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 Emma Hurler!  She is a senior interested in health policy, policy research and development.

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

I am a Public Health and Political Science double major and I am interested in creating policy and affecting change by bettering people’s health. I wanted to attend the PLEN Conference to hear more from women who have pursued degrees in law to see if it is practical to pursue a degree in law in order to work in public policy. I am interested in going to law school after taking some time off to work after I graduate this coming spring, and I felt that attending PLEN was extremely interesting and useful to see how women in the field I am interested in are using their degrees. After attending PLEN, I feel more motivated than ever to pursue my interests because the possibilities of career options seem endless!

Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite part of the conference was hearing from women who all pursued degrees in law but who have taken a variety of career paths to get where they are now. All the speakers we heard from had their own unique interests that guided their career paths, which led them to use their degrees in different ways. I truly enjoyed hearing from these accomplished women because they gave useful advice to us as women considering careers in law and public policy. It’s also very humbling to be surrounded by these accomplished women – both the panelists and the participants – and I found that I learned from the participants just as much as I did from the panelists.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

One of my favorite visits was the day we visited Capitol Hill. We spent the morning with two panels of women, who work in either the personal offices of Congressmen and women or on committees, and the women we met were very engaging and I learned the most from them. They shared what their roles are currently and discussed how they got there. While they discussed what they do day-to-day, they also gave advice and shared their opinions on what we should and should not do in order to succeed in our jobs in the future. These two panels were very insightful and provided a good look at what we could expect if we decide to work on Capitol Hill in the future.

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

One detail that I learned that I hope to never forget from this conference is to say yes to everything that I possibly can, no matter how insignificant, boring, or unglamorous the task might be. This was highlighted by one of the speakers on Capitol Hill and she reminded us to put in the work and do the little tasks that may not be as enjoyable but are crucial to the operation of your workplace. I thought it was a very practical anecdote and as a person who sometimes hesitates to say yes in the face of uncertainty, I thought it was a good reminder that I can carry with me both in my professional and personal life.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference:

I believe attending a PLEN conference is useful for any woman who is considering going into public policy, law, government, non-profits, or any of the more specific areas on which each seminar focuses. Attending a PLEN conference gave me invaluable networking skills, and hearing from women who are leaders in their fields inspired and motivated me to pursue a career in public policy. It is also a great opportunity to go to DC and experience (for a short time) what it is like to work in our nation’s capital.


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 Anna Bauman!  She is a senior who is interested in environmental law and policy.

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

I am a senior from Jacksonville, FL and I am very interested in working in policy and possibly pursuing a law degree. I’m currently interning for the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic and the work has given me insight into the field. Being from Florida and now living in Louisiana, I am particularly invested in the environmental challenges the Gulf States face and I want to work for environmental justice in this region. I wanted to attend this conference to learn from women who have made decisions like whether to seek work or another degree after undergrad. I have an idea of what I’d like to do after graduation, but the advice of professionals who have been through the process is so helpful.

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Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite aspects of the conference are the panels that have policy-specific discussions. It is such a valuable learning opportunity when panelists who work in the same field, but have different professions; delve into the specifics of a certain issue. For example, there was a panel on election law that brought together professionals from a think tank, a voter’s rights non-profit, and the Federal Election Commission. Discussing voter disenfranchisement through the experiences and knowledge of these three professional backgrounds was engaging and enlightening.

I also enjoyed getting to know the other students in attendance. PLEN brings together a diverse group of women from all over the country and it is incredibly inspiring to hear about their areas of interest or campus involvement. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the conference. Hearing the various questions other attendees asked the speakers or learning about a certain issue they are passionate about was one of the best parts of PLEN.

 

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

One of the highlights for me was the panel on careers at the intersection of law and policy. The panelists discussed how their law degrees translate in policy work, and the different turns in their career paths that got them to their current positions. One panelist, Diane Piche, particularly had an impression on me. Diane is an attorney specializing in civil rights and education and she previously served in the Obama administration in the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. One of her passions is education equity and she utilizes her legal background to impact that. It was inspiring to hear about legal professionals working outside of a firm. I am currently writing my senior thesis on education policy in New Orleans and I had the chance to discuss some of that with her. Talking with her gave my research additional context and relevance.

 

Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

The most important takeaway for me is that a career path is not always linear. All the speakers discussed how a career in law and policy will take you across sectors and into fields you did not plan to be in. It is okay if your path does not follow an obvious progression. I learned that hard work and flexibility will bring exciting opportunities, and that we should relish in the fact that we can’t necessarily anticipate the next step.

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Why should other students attend a PLEN conference:

I would encourage other students to attend a PLEN conference because it provides a wonderful community of peers, staff and professionals that share similar interests and passions. The speakers are volunteers who genuinely want to be resources for young women looking to enter the field. The other students in attendance are intelligent and inspiring; learning about their experiences and aspirations made me excited about our generation entering the law and policy field. The conference also provided me with valuable guidance. Nearly every speaker advised us to seek work in the field before attending and investing in law school. It was so helpful to hear from different women about how they made the choice to attend law school and what they would’ve done differently in hindsight.


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 Emma Marchant!  She hopes to one day work on Capital Hill.

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

As a junior in sociology major, I started to think about what I wanted to do with my degree. Going to law school in order to purse a career in public policy was one option that I was seriously considering. I thought that going to the PLEN Conference would help me to solidify what career path would be right for me. After attending the conference, I feel much more confident in my future and feel that I have learned the skills needed to succeed in a legal profession in D.C.

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Describe your favorite parts of the conference:

My favorite part of the conference was learning about all the various paths that these women took to get to the position they are currently at. Hearing about all the various jobs that one could have in the beautiful city of D.C. was inspiring and eye-opening. There is more then just being a criminal lawyer, although there is nothing wrong with that. A law degree can open doors into politics, advocacy, and various other avenues, but getting your foot in the door into something you are passionate about it just as important. Through this conference, I learned about careers that I might want to pursue in the future and this experience was my favorite part of the conference.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

All the speakers were inspirational, but Kathlee Facchiano was my favorite. As a Tulane graduate, her words touched me and made me feel confident in my ability to pursue my dreams. Mrs. Facchiano moved to D.C. without a job and worked her way up through constant effort to start a career on Capital Hill. Her bravery was one aspect of the whole experience that has truly stuck with me.

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Detail what you learned that you hope to never forget:

Although the PLEN Conference was an educational conference, the one thing I learned that I hope to never forget is to have confidence. Being a woman in a man dominated world can be daunting, but you must be confident in your ability because you are an amazing, worthy individual that has a lot to offer to the world.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

Other students should attend a PLEN Conference, not only to learn about all the opportunities that are out there, but also to gain the confidence that they can achieve their goals.


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 Conference: Women in Global Policy

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.

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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.

IMG_1511.JPGWho 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 elopez@tulane.edu for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

PLEN Conference: Women in Global Policy

Meet Lily Milwit !  She is triple majoring in Political Science, Communication, and English. Lily is interested in public policy, education policy/, and human rights law.

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Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN Conference.

I am extremely interested in global policy and how policy is made on an international level. As a political science, communication, and English triple major, much of my coursework has introduced me to analyzing concepts and ideas that cross cultures and borders and I have become incredibly invested in learning about how people and governments interact and how I can play a role in those interactions. This conference combined all of my interests and gave me the opportunity to hear from people who have careers I am interested in and to meet peers who share my passions. Additionally, PLEN is an organization that promotes women’s empowerment and I knew that becoming involved with PLEN would be a great opportunity for me to empower myself and to hear from women who were proving that women can be influential players in politics.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

I really loved hearing from all of the amazing women speaker. All of them were so incredibly accomplished in their fields and could offer insight about how to truly make a difference in global policy. Because I am interested in international education the seminar session on global education was especially memorable for me and I loved hearing from the researchers and policymakers about what they were doing to educate children around the world.

Who was your favorite speaker?

I visited the Brookings Institution, which is a policy think tank in DC. This was incredibly beneficial and relevant for me because I am very interested in policy research and am actually working at a similar think tank for an internship this summer. We got to speak with a Project Coordinator at Brookings working on renewable energy and heard about how she ended up there and what her job entailed. It was great to hear about the research side of policymaking since a lot of what we had heard from speakers was about more on-the-ground policymaking. The woman we spoke to was also younger and gave us a glimpse into what working at a think tank might be like in the more attainable future.

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What do you hope to never forget?

A lot of these women had traveled all over the world and had amazing advice about how to get involved in international policymaking even while still in college. They all suggested going abroad and working abroad while we could in order to give us opportunities to work in Washington later in life. One of the most memorable speakers was Nealin Parker, the chief of staff for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development who has also worked in international policy in a number of different positions. She explained to us the importance of embracing other cultures and putting ourselves in positions to help people when we could and to take in knowledge and learn every chance we got. She gave us one piece of advice that I hope I won’t forget, especially as I prepare to go abroad for a semester. She told us that for every country we visit, to always make sure we learn three sentences in their native language: excuse me, thank you, and you have a beautiful country.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

This was an amazing opportunity that I can’t imagine I would have gotten elsewhere. The exposure we had to people doing so many different jobs in a wide variety of fields was invaluable and the connections we made not only with the speakers but with one another were great and I hope they will last. PLEN is a very special organization that aims to empower women and show all of us the many possibilities that we have in life no matter our interests or passions. Living in DC for a week was truly great (even for someone who is from Maryland and is working all summer in DC). I learned so much, and all of it was directly correlated to things that I am passionate about.


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.