Two Weeks at Fair Labor Association

I am an intern for the Stakeholder Services and Capacity Building Team at Fair Labor Association (FLA) this summer. The office I am working in is located in Washington, D.C., but FLA has other offices all over the world. Through this internship, I am gaining a familiarity with the implementation of international labor standards in global supply chains and the critical role of multi-stakeholder organizations in improving workers’ rights. FLA works with business, civil society organizations, colleges and universities to ensure the protection of workers’ rights and uphold international labor standards. They do so by assessing factories compliance with the Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing and Production.

I am currently assisting FLA’s Training and Capacity Building Manager in organizing training materials so they are more accessible. These trainings address issues ranging from fair wages to retrenchment and termination. The trainings I found specifically interesting, and that relate to NCI’s Mission, are on sexual harassment and forced labor. Once these trainings are more accessible to regional staff, then they can be widely used to educate individuals in factories on their rights. FLA also had me attend the 2018 World Day Against Child Labor event at the U.S. Department of Labor. There I learned more about the 152 million children who are deprived of an education and are forced to work in unsafe and violent environments. The FLA and other organizations that attended this event are all working to raise awareness about this issue and eradicatechild labor.

I found this internship through networking. I had briefly met with the CEO of the FLA and sent her my resume. She was impressed by the work I had done with victims of human trafficking and my passion for international development, so she offered me an intern position. I am very grateful for this opportunity and have already learned so much from her and the projects I have been working on. I am the only intern in the office, but the staff has all been very friendly and welcoming. Next week is the board meeting so we are currently preparing for those three days of meetings, trainings, and networking events. I am looking forward to meeting other staff members from our international offices and members of the board who make all of this work possible.

As the summer goes on I am expecting to learn more about Corporate Social Responsibility, a topic I knew little about before working here. I also hope to be able to connect what I am learning about fair labor practices to the work I have done previously and that I am planning to do in the future, in regards to forced labor and human trafficking.IMG_5553


CONNECT to End Violence Internship Check In

The first couple weeks of my internship have been awesome! CONNECT to end Violence is a branch of Community Services on Marthas Vineyard. The office is located in Edgartown Massachusetts. CONNECT provides a free and confidential 24/7 hotline, counseling, and court advocacy.  The majority of what I’ve done so far has been training because I needed a 60 hour training to become a Domestic Violence/ Rape Crisis Counselor. I also had to be trained for the hotline. Through training I had a chance to meet all the staff at CONNECT. I am so excited to be working with such an incredible group of woman. There are five staff members, all of whom are women in there 20’s and 30’s. It is cool to see women, only a little bit older than me, being such strong, empowering, leaders. Besides my training I have gone to the courthouse (pictured above) and met with clients to support them through obtaining restraining orders. Meeting with clients at court is one of my main internship responsibilities. This strongly connects to NCI’s mission because, through the empowerment model, as a counselor I am able to support and empower my clients to make whatever decision they feel is right. Helping survivors regain control and support them through tremendously difficult situations has been amazing!

I found this internship through a friend of mine who interned at CONNECT last summer. Using your network of friends, family, community members, etc. is a great way to find opportunities! I secured the internship through a phone interview. Overall it was a pretty easy process, having my background in SAPHE at Tulane definitely helped me in the application process.

I have five main expectations, or goals, for learning this summer. I hope to throughly learn and understand court procedures regarding restraining orders, domestic violence, and sexual assault. I want to feel comfortable and confident answering hotline calls from a wide range of callers. I want to respond to hotline callers and clients questions in a compassionate, professional, and educated way. I hope to do a lot of outreach to community members regarding domestic violence and sexual assault. Lastly, I hope to work with police and hospital staff to make clients feel safe.

2 weeks in at Tri-City Medical Integration!

My internship at Tri-City Wellness is based on the intersection between fitness and disease, and how continued movement, specialized training, and group exercise decreases the progression of the disease and/or aids with recovery. My site is located in Carlsbad California, as an extension of the Tri-City Hospital located in Oceanside California. I work directly with a team overseeing the entire Medical Integration programming (Mi). As of late, I have been working on account management and PR related design tasks such as presentations, flyers, Rx pads, and scratchpads. In addition, I regularly attend the Mi classes to interact with the members and lend a helping hand where I can. I become more independent and confident in my own abilities every day, while still learning a great deal from my team members on how to run a business and work with patients. I can see this internship making me a better leader and expanding my horizons on how to work with all different kinds of people and work with deadlines to meet the needs of many different people.

I found this internship through inquiring about possible opportunities through the comments/concerns submission form on the wellness center’s website. I knew I wanted to do an internship this summer that focused on health and wellness in relation to public health. I sent a multitude of emails to different local nutrition, health, and fitness based locations around my home in Carlsbad. I was able to secure an interview with Tri-City wellness and I am so thankful for the time I have already been able to spend working with the Mi team and the members of the programs. I would recommend for any student looking for an internship that they think might not exist is to just try. You should find any place that peaks your interest and send along an email with an attached resume. If you do not hear back, try sending a second one after seven days. If you know you will be in that area any time soon or have free time to stop in, offer that to the employer. It was once I emailed Tri-City that I would be back in town for spring break and available for an interview that I heard back from them.

My first week I met so many new names and faces, it was hard to keep track of everyone. I started by just observing classes and doing a little bit of research for my boss. I learned some members names, asked questions about how classes were taught, and how each program (Cardio, Strength, Neuro, Ortho) were different and the goal of each one. I offered a helping hand with anything I could, and by the end of my first week, I was helping with projects, attending classes, working with all members of the team, and doing account management tasks while in the office.

I have already learned so much about disease pathogenesis, and expect to learn so much more about how different ailments affect the body. I have already been and expect to be surrounded by new opportunities for the Mi programs while facing many of the hurdles of running a business that is still in its early years. From a business standpoint, I am anxious to learn more about the inner workings of budgeting and problem solving, especially in relation to hospital administrators and hospital grants.


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Working on a Mi Neuro flyer in the office!


2 Weeks at the State Department!

Hi guys!

I can’t believe that my two weeks at the State Department have already gone by. Still, I can honestly say that this is one of the best experiences that I have ever had. If anyone reading this is interested in interning at State in the future, I would highly encourage it, and please feel free to reach out to me!

Within my office in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, there are people who focus on different areas of human rights. Most of what I do involves Internet Freedom, which is fascinating because I never would have thought that it is related to human rights, but I now understand that freedom of expression should still apply on online.

My internship responsibilities depend on the day, but, generally, I conduct research, write briefs, attend meetings, and take notes throughout the week. I was surprised when I first started because I was not expecting to have a lot of things to do, but I am actually given a lot of projects and tasks to complete. I think this connects to NCI’s mission because I am learning about relevant topics and gaining valuable skills that will be helpful in my goal of pursuing a career in U.S. foreign policy.

That being said, my first week was super busy. My first day started with an orientation, and then I started working immediately afterwards. Not only did I become familiar with my office, but I completed a few projects. I greatly enjoyed this work because I felt like I was directly contributing to the work that the State Department does. I also gained knowledge about important topics I had not previously known about, such as cybersecurity.

On another note, I quickly developed relationships with the other interns as well as the people who work in my office, and I truly enjoy working with them. My supervisors really want me to get as much as I can out of the internship, and they work with me to ensure that I am pursuing my own interests through my responsibilities. Honestly, I could not ask for a better work environment as an intern.

I can only hope that the rest of the summer goes as well as the past two weeks have! I expect to keep learning more about new topics and enhancing my communication skills through developing my professional relationships and networking.

As I mentioned earlier, I would be happy to hear from anyone who might be interested in an internship at State, but essentially, I secured my internship by completing an application entirely online. The application components included a manually entered resume, an unofficial transcript, and a short personal statement. However, the way in which I secured this internship was slightly atypical, since most internships are found through networking. My advice to anyone seeking an internship in general would be to utilize all of your connections, even if you don’t think you have any. Trust me, you have more than you think.


Me (on the right) loving DC!!


Time is FLYING by… Week 2 at the Avian Conservation Center

To be utterly frank, I’m probably going to throw a few puns into my posts over the course of the summer – but let’s all address the fact that I’m just winging it as I go. (Get it? Because I work with birds.) I got the amazing opportunity to return to a facility at which I had a previous, different internship this summer, working in an avian rescue and rehabilitation clinic for birds of prey. Returning home, to Charleston, to do what I love and hope to keep doing after graduation was a gift, and I’m using my time there to return in kind the chance and opportunity they’ve extended to me.

I’ve been thinking about my five learning objectives for a while. When we submitted our applications for these grants, we were asked to come up with a list. I felt fairly sure in what I was hoping to accomplish by the end of the summer, but who knows – something may change between now and mid-August! My learning objectives for the summer are as follows:

  1. As a pre-veterinary student, one of the most important things to me is learning technical skills that will benefit me in veterinary school and beyond. I will be working, essentially, as a veterinary technician, over the course of the summer to help the birds that come through the clinic and the veterinarians themselves.
  2. I would like to develop my ability to think ahead. I find myself too often acting on the instructions of others in an effort to not interfere with the plans of anyone else, but I think that I would grow as a person if having to make decisions separately from those instructions that supervisors give me.
  3. I hope that I will be able to use the internship to learn how to better network in the world of veterinary medicine. I have found that it is sometimes an insular group, and being able to ask questions of the supervising veterinarians will be an asset to me in the future to have.
  4. I’d like to develop my ability to think on my toes: I already feel like I have the ability to improvise in tough situations and to think ahead, but I want to get better at this. In this internship, where some cases may come in as emergencies already and others may develop with little to no warning, I know that I would be challenged continually to keep up.
  5. I hope that this internship will truly help me determine what I want to pursue post-bachelors. I know that I want to be a veterinarian, but I’m still unsure as to which type of veterinary medicine I feel most passionate about. I’ve worked with equine veterinarians, small veterinarians – you name it, I’ve probably tried it once or twice – but I have yet to really get into conservation veterinary medicine. I feel like I could make a real difference in the world with this field, and I want to make sure that it speaks to me as strongly as I think it will.

Lastly, I’m currently undertaking a research project with data that the center has collected from the past twenty six years. Using this data, I hope to create a research paper that will help illuminate the changes in the patients that have come through the center and create a more complete idea of the seasonal and yearly trends of injury rates. I’m possibly going to go in more specifically on a certain bird, or injury type, or some other subset of data in order to create a more definitive result – right now, it’s looking like I’ll be researching entanglements in birds of prey, including owls, hawks, and eagles. I’m excited for where this will lead, and absolutely ecstatic about the possibilities it holds.

The Newcomb College Institute strives to cultivate leadership skills in undergraduate women; empower them by integrating research, community engagement and teaching; and to honor the memory of H. Sophie Newcomb by creating a women-centered experience in a co-ed learning institution. This internship can provide a route through which I can grow as a leader by both learning under the tutelage of the veterinary staff and applying this knowledge to attain self-sufficiency.

I find myself now standing at the beginning of the path to an exciting opportunity. Tulane and the spirit of Newcomb that still burns brightly here has helped me grow as future scientist and scholar, and for that I am already and intensely grateful.

And until next time….. have a picture of some really cute pileated woodpecker babies to tide you over!


The Midpoint of my Research

IMG_8390Throughout this research experience in Tulane’s Biomechanics of Growth and Remodeling Laboratory, I have been keeping in mind my goals for the experience so that I can be sure I get the most out of my time here this summer. To re-cap, my goals were to learn to properly navigate a mentor-mentee relationship, to gain experience working and communicating with my peers, to advance my technical skills in the laboratory, to increase my scientific writing abilities, and to become familiar with laboratory protocols. Although I am only halfway through my internship, I have made significant progress on my set goals and I am very satisfied with the immense amount I have learned in this short period of time.

My principal investigator and I have bi-weekly meetings in order to assess my progress throughout my internship. This has helped me to monitor my growth as well as learn to build a strong mentor-mentee relationship. I am extremely lucky to have a PI who makes herself so available to me and it has really made my experience a great one. The graduate and other undergraduate students working in the lab with me have also been a joy to work with. Our lab is very close and collaborative taking time to partake in bonding activities like monthly lab lunches and book clubs. I do not think I would be learning as much as I am if it weren’t for the helpful nature of my peers. Their willingness to help has allowed me to work on my goal of gaining experience with collaborative work to an extent even I didn’t expect. These good peer relationships have also allowed me to really flesh out my technical skills. I have been available to assist and learn from my peers in many experiments on a one-on-one in depth level so that I truly feel comfortable performing them on my own now.  The highly collaborative environment of the laboratory has also given me the opportunity to assist in writing and editing a scientific grant. Grant writing is a key aspect of any research career and being able to advance my scientific writing abilities by assisting with one is an invaluable experience. With all of the neat experiments I have been getting to do with the great personnel here, I already feel very comfortable with lab protocol. Before I began working I had to be certified on lab protocols, and I learned a lot from that, but having hands on experience is really helping me progress with my goal of becoming comfortable with scientific protocols.

I am currently working on a project that has allowed my to advance my technical skills quite a lot and serve as a leader of a project. As part of my overall project of writing a protocol for quantifying collagen alignment, I have been working on testing a software which would allow the lab to perform these quantifications automatically, saving a lot of time and resources. I am currently working towards testing this software with maurine tendons, and in order to get these I have had the opportunity to dissect them from mice. Dissection experience is an amazing application booster and valuable skill to have in a career of research and health so I was very excited to learn the protocols. Additionally, now that I have learned the protocols for dissecting, I have been teaching a younger undergrad them and have taken point on the collagen project. This is a scientific leadership experience I have never had before and it has really supported my growth as a leader.  This internship has helped me learn how to delegate time and resources on multiple side projects at once as a good leader should be able to do. Moreover, I am surrounded by leading women in this internship who set a shining example in what is a typically male dominated field. It is the strong female mentorship in the BG&R laboratory that will give me the confidence to pursue a career in what is traditionally a world of men.

I am extremely impressed and grateful at how much this internship has given to me and I am only half way through it. I was once intimidated by the biomedical engineering field and unsure if I would make it, but now with the invaluable technical knowledge and personal support I have gotten from the personnel of this female dominated laboratory, I feel both excited and confident about my future career and hope to one day serve as a female engineering leader for other young women in my same situation.



Summer Internship at RxArt- 2 weeks in!

The first two weeks of my internship have flown by! I’ve been working at RxArt, a non-profit organization on the lower east side of New York. The 4 women I work with are so friendly and inspiring, and it has been great getting to work alongside and learn from them. So far, I’ve written social media posts, updated the website, delivered art to clients around the city, sent emails and made phone calls, brainstormed fundraising and contest ideas, and participated in team meetings. My responsibilities are pretty broad, and I’m happy to help with everything around the office. It’s only been two weeks, but I’ve already become so invested and passionate about the work that RxArt does. Getting to see firsthand how much work goes into smoothly running a non-profit has also made me so much more appreciative of those who are involved with them. I’m also excited about how much responsibility the women at RxArt are comfortable giving me. I’ve been allowed to work on projects and social media posts entirely on my own, and my supervisor is always impressed. I’m never talked down to or used for coffee runs, I feel like a real member of the team.

Finding this internship was a long process. For those who are interested in doing something similar, my advice is to cast a wide net. Using, I applied to over 20 social media and marketing internship positions in New York this summer.  Some companies never responded, some asked to interview me and then never got back to me, some were looking for grad students, or had other requirements I didn’t fill that hadn’t been listed on the application. By applying for so many jobs, I was able to successfully hear back and interview with 2 or 3, and choose the right fit from among those. Although it was a lot of work, it was definitely worth it. I’d also recommend applying to things even if you don’t feel entirely qualified. I was so excited when I heard back from RxArt, but the organization is so wonderful and successful that I was worried they wouldn’t want to work with someone as young as me. Turns out, my age was a highlight for them, because it meant I was more knowledgeable about the social media and sophomores they needed help with. Never turn down an opportunity because you don’t think you’re good enough.

Living on my own in New York has already proved to be a learning experience as well. I’ve never lived in a city on my own before, and I’m learning a lot of responsibility from that as well. Even little things, like planning when I’m going to go grocery shopping or take my laundry to the laundromat so that I can get to work on time have been a good exercise in time management and decision making. New York is such an exciting and high-energy city, and on my time off from work I’ve really enjoyed exploring it, especially the art museums. My co-workers at RxArt are deeply involved in the art world and the art scene in New York, and they’ve given me awesome recommendations on exhibitions to check out.

A Great Year In the RRRH Internship!

Throughout the past year through the NCI’s Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights Internship program, I have been working on a research project with Dr. Alyssa Lederer at the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. My specific project has been a smaller component of a larger online sexual and reproductive health education intervention that Dr. Lederer implemented several years ago at a large Midwestern university. Over the course of the year, I have had several major tasks. I worked on a literature review on the components of web-based sex education interventions that make them successful, helped Dr. Lederer develop posters to present her research at conferences, helped draft and submit an abstract to the American Public Health Association (APHA) conference, and finally coded and begun to analyze qualitative response data on the education module Dr. Lederer developed. I was also grateful for the opportunity to present my literature review through a poster presentation at the first annual Conceiving Equity Summit, hosted by the NCI. Needless to say, I have gained skills in many steps in the process of public health research, one of my main learning objectives.

Moving forward, even though my formal internship has ended, Dr. Lederer has generously offered to keep collaborating with me over the summer to develop a manuscript for the project, which will eventually be submitted for publication. Additionally, if our abstract is accepted at the APHA conference, I may be able to present with her in San Diego in the fall! I have also had amazing opportunities for networking through our bi-weekly RRRH meetings, and through the connections I forged, I will begin pursuing post-graduation opportunities. I am so grateful to the NCI for facilitating this experience for me. It has been formative in helping me better understand my career goals, which now include sexual and reproductive health research!

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 for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.


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 for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.