PLEN Inspired Me and Taught Me to Know My Worth

Attending the PLEN Women in Public Policy seminar made it to my list of amazing and unforgettable experiences in college and I’m positive that the skills I acquired from the seminar will be helpful throughout my career and life. I first learnt about PLEN from one of my professors during my Sophomore year, but I did not put much thought into it. However, last semester I got an email from Kasey Nikkel, the Coordinator of Student Organizations at Luther College about PLEN.

I decided to visit the PLEN website, just to make sure I’m not missing out on an important opportunity. I applied and got accepted into the Women in Public Policy seminar. I did not know what to expect, and since I was going to Washington, D.C for the first time, it felt like opening a door to an unknown world of opportunities.

Having a diverse range of female leaders who are at the peak of their careers in public policy talk about their experiences was inspiring. I learnt that there is no single path to success in this career;  having a wide variety of experiences makes you stand out. Throughout the seminar, the speakers emphasized the importance of networking and building relationships as these will help you build a successful professional life.

The training on salary negotiation by Shelby Olson was eye opening. I always thought that negotiating salaries gives the impression that you are ungrateful; on the contrary, salary negotiation is important because it shows that you know your worth and have confidence in your skills. It was enlightening to know that women are four times less likely to negotiate their salaries and therefore are taken advantage of by employers.

Lastly, the resume review session taught me how to describe my experiences in a way that illustrates my skills and raises me above the crowd. I’m grateful to PLEN and Ellie Shaw for the scholarship, Professor Pedro Dos Santos, Wintlett Taylor-Brown, Corey Landstrom, Brenda Ranum and the Center for Public Life and Ethics for making this possible.


Sukeji Mikaya received the Ellie Shaw Scholarship and attended the 2016 Women in Public Policy seminar as a junior at Luther College. 

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