I learned about PLEN through my internship supervisor. I had never traveled to the east coast before, and I felt that this seminar would be a great opportunity for me. In regards to public policy and STEM careers, I have always been weary and a bit hesitant to these types of careers because I knew how much women struggle in those work fields. However, this seminar really opened my eyes of how many women can succeed in these types of fields.
This seminar most definitely met my expectations. I received a lot of information and met a variety of stakeholders. My biggest takeaway from this seminar is that not every career path is set and stone. It was rare that a professional stayed in her specific field. Another huge takeaway that I took from this seminar is the importance of networking. As women, we sometimes forget how to be assertive, and PLEN taught me how to be my own advocate.
My current major is Psychology; however I have always been interested in public policy. This seminar has made me want to branch out in careers in public policy. I want to be a voice for women of color and thanks to PLEN I will not give up on this goal.
Maria Sillas Gonzalez attended the 2017 Women in STEM Policy seminar with a scholarship sponsored by the Hopper Dean Foundation. She attended this seminar as a sophomore at Whittier College studying psychology.