Life Changing Experience in Washington DC

I attended PLEN’s Women in STEM Policy Seminar in January 2018 after completing my sophomore year at Wilson College. I have been always passionate and interested in finance and mathematics so I decided to pursue a major in Financial Mathematics. When I found PLEN’s Women in STEM Policy seminar pamphlet on the student bulletin board at Wilson, it sparked my interest at first sight and I encouraged myself to attend the seminar. The reason that this opportunity was so fascinating to me was I wanted to experience how Washington really works and learn what policymakers do in STEM field.

Sina Kim and two other women attending the Women in STEM Policy seminar

This experience was remarkably amazing and enriching in many ways. I have gained professional skills, including leadership, interview skills and salary negotiation. My time in Washington DC was absolutely wonderful and I have convinced myself to work in DC after graduating college. One of the greatest parts of the seminar was meeting strong and intelligent students from all over the United States. It was such a great time to interact with those who are studying the same field as me. We could share our stories and learn from each other. It is always nice to hear what other students are doing and their ideas for the future, which help me to step forward. Networking with other PLEN participants was such a great resource and experience.  

Group of students at IBM during the Women in STEM Policy seminar

The other great part of the seminar was networking with professional female leaders in DC. It was delightful to meet and talk with female leaders making and influencing public policy at the highest levels in Congress, the courts, federal agencies, the private sector, policy research and advocacy organizations, and the media. I personally did not have any connections in DC before attending the seminar. PLEN offered students the opportunity to network with those female leaders, and I really appreciate PLEN for that opportunity. I’m now connected with the women leaders I met at the networking reception through Linkedin.

A group of Women in STEM Policy students at the NIH

One day, we visited The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and public health research. We got to learn about what researchers do and had time to network with post-doctoral researchers before touring the campus. It was engaging and inspiring to spend time with them and ask questions about their jobs. I believe these connections that I made will be helpful and supportive tool to find a job in DC in the future.

Overall, the seminar has affected me positively and powerfully. I now try to be more active and professional after the seminar. Becoming a professional and proactive woman leader is never easy; however I am approaching the stage that helps me to be prepared. I believe that this informative program and productive week PLEN offers will make a profound and positive impact upon the world. I am proud to say that PLEN taught me to chase my dreams and pursue my career path! I believe in myself that I will reach the top one day!

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Sina Kim attended the Women in STEM Policy seminar with a scholarship sponsored by the Hopper Dean Foundation. She is expected to graduate Wilson College in December 2019.


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