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The Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) is the only national organization [nonpartisan 501(c)(3)] with the sole focus of preparing college women for leadership in the public policy arena.

Career Development for Changing the World

“PLEN opened the door and I give it all the credit for getting me here.” – Alejandra Ceja (1995), Former Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, U.S. Department of Education

“In Washington, it means something to say you were a PLEN student."

Kristin Haffert (1995), Founder and President, Haffert Global

55% of our students are women of color or from groups under-represented in the policy arena.
Women who have participated in PLEN programs have gone on to be leaders in congressional offices, federal agencies, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations
Continue reading "ABOUT PLEN"
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Since 1978, PLEN has brought thousands of women from across the country to Washington, D.C. to explore careers in policy and connect with women leaders. PLEN seminars enhance class work and curriculum by giving students valuable access to women leaders in Washington, D.C. from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches; agencies; nonprofit organizations; and the private sector.


Explore a range of legal professions, from issue-based advocacy to government services


Formerly Women and Congress, gain insight on Capitol Hill by learning from women of color directly influencing the legislative process. We invite all students to attend as we lift up and learn about the important influence women of color have on all levels of policy making.



Hear from women working on a variety of policy issues and gain advocacy skills lobbying on Capitol Hill


Discuss key issues with women leaders working in the increasingly significant STEM policy field


Meet women at the forefront of the nation's most pressing healthcare and public health policies (not being offered during our 2021-2022 programming)


Start your international policy career by connecting with women whose work has a global impact

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For 40 years, the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) has changed the lives of over 4,000 college women across the U.S. and the world.


PLEN provides high-value career building and mentorship opportunities in Washington, D.C. to develop the next generation of women leaders. PLEN's cost-effective, career-boosting seminars serve a diverse student population of traditional and non-traditional college women. PLEN offers efficient, affordable seminars that help build resumes and change lives.


PLEN's goal is to provide all college women with access to influential decision-makers and effective career training so more women, from every corner of the U.S. and the world, have a clear path to top leadership in government, international relations and business.

What can I do?

Your support means PLEN can continue its mission to develop the next generation of women leaders. See what PLEN students have to say about the PLEN path to leadership.

PLEN is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is 100 percent tax deductible.  Learn more about sponsoring a PLEN seminar.

For information on PLEN sponsorship or for information about the many benefits of becoming a Member Institution, please contact: PLEN staff or 202-872-1585. PLEN's programs are available to all students from both Member and Non-Member colleges and universities.

You can easily support PLEN by making us your charitable organization of choice through AmazonSmile. Just log-on to your account and choose PLEN.

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Become a member institution

College women who participate in our programs are uniquely prepared to enter the public leadership pipeline because of their experience with PLEN. As a national leadership organization committed to educating and training the next generation of women leaders, PLEN and our members share the conviction that programs designed specifically for women are critical to the development of women leaders in our society.

Students from PLEN member institutions receive discounts on all PLEN seminars. Membership is open to all colleges and universities and subsets within them such as political science departments, women’s studies programs, women’s centers, and career development centers.

PLEN provides three membership levels: associate member, consortium member, and full member institution.  Membership fees are paid in the summer, which provides students with discounted prices throughout the academic year.

If your institution is interested in becoming a member, please contact us at or at (202) 872-1585.  Learn more.


Attending a PLEN seminar introduced you to a powerful network of women ready to help you. That support system doesn’t end when your seminar does. It continues through your first internship, your first job, while you learn to manage others, when you decide to go to graduate school, as you learn how to balance your professional life, and even if you eventually decide to run for office. Wherever your path leads you, know that there are women who have led before you, ready to reach behind and help you up the ladder. Learn more about the #PLENPower Mentor List and subscribe or become a mentor today!


The Plenary is an online community blog for PLEN alumnae and supporters to mentor, collaborate, and share essential professional and life lessons they’ve learned during and after their PLEN seminars.

PLEN is all about mentorship, networking, and support, and these themes constantly resonate in all of our lives.  Whether you’re months or years out of your seminar, in DC or not, still in college or in the C-Suite, we want to hear from you!  Share your PLEN story, professional tips, and life lessons online with the entire PLEN network.