PLEN has taught me that with any degree, I can make my dreams come true. This sentence was the first thing that came to my mind when asked what the weeklong PLEN 2015 Science and Health Policy: Critical Issues Seminar has taught me. However, it is just one thing among so many.
As a biology student, I have always told myself that there are probably two fields I am destined for: medicine or research; the former an expensive endeavor and the latter a field I have never been excited about. So, there I was, already settled on my fate like many others in my shoes—until I got to DC. I came to the science and health policy seminar excited but not knowing what to expect, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Reflecting back on the seminar, I now see my life, especially my career, through a different lens. I still don’t know exactly what I am going to do, but I now know what I CAN do: anything I am passionate about from health policy on a national level to global health. Learning from women who are thriving in their careers was very empowering and priceless. As I listened to each person narrating her path, one important thing I learned is that there is no such thing as a linear path and that one should be prepared to deviate from her or his original path. That advice gave me an entirely new insight on life.
Attending this seminar was by far one of the best experiences I have had regarding my career and my academic life. From day one, every person I met, from the panelists to the students, has inspired me in so many ways. PLEN has not only given me a more confident and ambitious look into my future, but it has also given me the network to work towards that future. I am so happy to have stopped and picked up a PLEN brochure, but most importantly I am thrilled that I applied for a scholarship—receiving it made all this possible.
As a PLEN alumna, I am so excited to apply all I have learned during this seminar and look forward to a thriving career ready for all challenges, all thanks to PLEN.
Yacine Ndiaye graduated from the University of North Texas in 2016. She received a PLEN Scholarship Recipient sponsored by Novo Nordisk to attend the 2015 Science and Health Policy: Critical Issues seminar.