When my involvement with the Women’s Leadership office grew on campus at Mount Saint Mary’s University – Los Angeles (MSMU), I began to hear how wonderful PLEN’s program was from some of my fellow leaders, Mitzuky Orellana, Jessica Farrell and Jessica Lopez, who were PLEN Seminar Alumni. I wanted to be a part of PLEN but I was worried that the cost would prevent me from attending this program. I applied for the scholarship offered through my campus despite my concerns and made it through the interview round. Additionally, I applied for the scholarship on PLEN’s site and I was ecstatic that I won both scholarships. The Women’s Leadership staff helped me so much with this process that gave me this once in a lifetime opportunity that opened the door to further my education outside of the classroom.
As a Business Administration student with an emphasis in Marketing and Management, it is unlikely that I would have been interested in the Women in Global Policy seminar. However, I chose this seminar because I have plans to open my own international technology business as well as an international non-profit to aid those in poverty. Global policy is essential to both fields, so I was excited to connect with global and domestic experts who provided me with insight into the current state of US business and government relations.
Throughout the PLEN Seminar, friendships and mentors formed and allowed me to openly express my career goals. The United States Ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Aponte, showed me that pursuing unlikely majors to work in various markets may make a person more marketable. Currently, I work in technical support and it is a skill that can be applied to any career due to the evolving market around the world. A person from the US Communication Development Team explained to me one-on-one that I can combine technology, business and government all in one career, which would be my dream job. So many opportunities were presented to me at this conference that they opened my eyes to the thought of working in Washington DC for a NGO or US government department. The possibilities that I believed to be limited due to my gender are no longer limited but rather endless.
I met some inspirational people my age and gained numerous contacts that have helped influence my career goals. The networking workshop also helped us to learn how to communicate with others without the anxiety of not knowing how to engage in small talk. One of my favorite moments on the trip was going to visit the US Embassy of Spain, since I am studying abroad there next semester. I had the opportunity to learn more about the country that I am going to be living in and had the opportunity to connect with a handful of PLEN attendees that have studied in Spain.
Thanks to PLEN, I bonded with friends, met some inspiring women, and learned how I could use my degree to get a job at a business that deals with global policy just like the representative from IBM. I am so thankful for the opportunity of attending this life changing program. PLEN encouraged me to share my goals and aspirations with others, so I can possibly have a role in an office someday. I cannot wait to embark on the next journey and inspire my colleagues to attend the next PLEN Seminar that corresponds to their interests.
Michella Mousaed attended the 2016 Women in Global Policy seminar as a sophomore at Mount Saint Mary's University.