This January I was lucky enough to be able to attend the PLEN Women in STEM Policy seminar. The experience was like nothing I have ever had. Not only did I get to meet a bunch of amazing young women in the STEM field, but I also learned a lot of valuable lessons and skills. I never even knew there were jobs in the policy field that were related to STEM, but after the seminar I’ve learned that not only are there jobs, but there is a plethora of jobs for people with STEM backgrounds in policy.
I had the ability to meet multiple successful women within the STEM policy field and had the chance to learn from them and their personal experiences. It was extremely comforting to hear their stories and learn about how they got into STEM policy. If there’s one thing I learned from these women, it’s that there is no one path to STEM policy, and there is often no clear path either.
One of the best parts of the seminar was learning about the importance of networking and being able to attend a workshop all about how to network effectively. We then had the chance to network with people within the STEM and policy fields throughout the week. This was one of the biggest takeaways for me from this seminar. I didn’t realize how important networking was, and I most certainly did not know how to properly and professionally network, but after this seminar I feel confident in my networking abilities and have even begun to network with people since my week in DC.
The panelists all offered valuable information about all different types of STEM policy jobs. It was empowering to meet and talk with so many successful women in power. It was also great to be surrounded by smart, strong women all week. I felt empowered in every room that I walked into while surrounded by the girls I met at this seminar and the women I was able to learn from throughout the week.
This seminar didn’t just teach me how to be successful in the STEM policy field; it taught me how to be a successful woman in any field. The information I received from multiple panelists is valuable knowledge that I will carry with me into whatever career path I end up in. I am extremely grateful to PLEN and all the amazing women involved with PLEN that have given me an extremely special, empowering, and informative experience. I am excited to use my newfound skills in everyday life and become a successful STEM lady, thanks to PLEN and all the wonderful women I met during my week in DC.
Lauren Adkins attended the 2018 Women in STEM Policy seminar during her sophomore year at St. Lawrence University. She attended this seminar with a scholarship sponsored by the STEM for Her foundation.