Women in STEM Policy Renewed My Interest in Health Policy

Emory photoEmory Werner, Senior, Vassar College

Since I was 8, I have wanted to be a doctor. But as I approached the end of my junior year I realized that I wanted to use the medical profession to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I just wasn’t sure how best to do this. Before becoming aware of PLEN, I had not realized the diverse array of possibilities in the realm of STEM policy nor how many opportunities there are for scientists to shape STEM policy. I applied to PLEN because one of the fields that I wanted to explore was health policy. PLEN allowed me to learn more about domestic and global health policy as well as meet amazing women conducting pioneering work in the field.

One of the best parts of the seminar was the site visits. During our site visits I was able to visit the Global Health Council and Blue Cross Blue Shield to learn more about the work these companies are doing. We also visited the National Institutes of Health where we heard from a couple of women shaping policy for this organization and for the nation. Here we toured the rare collections at the National Library of Medicine. This event was one of my favorites as I was able to see a real Nobel Prize donated to NIH by Dr. Nirenberg. We also saw medical books and an atlas dating back to the 1500s.

PLEN also held practical sessions to help break into the job market such as resume review, a salary negotiation seminar, a seminar on networking, and a networking reception to help me put my new skills to the test. The feedback I got from these sessions was invaluable in jumpstarting my job search and giving me some new directions to think about for my next step out of Vassar.

The best part of the seminar was that I got to spend time in Washington D.C. and meet other young women such as myself looking to make a difference in health sciences. I feel it is invaluable to know other women who are facing the same challenges in a field dominated by men and that you have a network you can rely on.

PLEN renewed my interest in health policy by exposing me to all of the amazing opportunities in the field and by providing me with the tools to help me secure one of these opportunities.