When I first read about PLEN’s Women’s Leadership in Public Policy through my university, I was determined to attend. Luckily, with the generous aid of Sally McDaniel, Naomi Senkeeto, and the University of Oregon’s International Studies Department, I was able to make this dream a reality.
Attending this seminar opened up a new world for me. I have always had an interest in education and issues of social justice. The realm of public policy is one mode to make the change I wish to see in the world. However, never having had any substantial experience in politics or policy-making, I lacked the experience to determine if this was the path for me or how I could get started in the world of public policy.
After my exposure to the wealth of knowledge and experience on the various panels, I can truly say that I could see myself working in the policy world. The seminar was an incredibly demystifying experience, showing that there are countless ways to break into the policy world and even more directions to take your career once you do. PLEN’s opportunities for networking, with both the policy gurus in D.C., as well as my fellow students, has given me a headstart in building professional connections with inspiring women whom I can go to for advice about careers and life.
Now back in Oregon, I feel determined and reinvigorated to begin carving my own path and to take every opportunity that comes my way. I am so grateful for the PLEN staff, panelists, and policy organizations who contributed to this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
During her senior year at the University of Oregon, Kate Connolly received a scholarship sponsored by Sally McDaniel and Naomi Senkeeto to attend the 2015 PLEN Women's Leadership in Public Policy seminar.