For me, every internship presents a unique opportunity. It gives me a chance to develop my professional skills and broaden my social capital. I graduated like most do, unsure of how to proceed forward post-college. I was used to a schedule during college, and then this unknown period of my life shook me to my core; the angst of not knowing what the future holds for me. Lo and behold, after many applications were sent I was accepted to become a legislative intern with the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond where I would learn about the law-making process from two esteemed delegates. The internship was a formative experience for me and probably the best decision I could have made at that point in my life. While it was exhausting (also because I had a part time job back in Norfolk, VA) it felt fruitful and empowering because the work I was doing had major implications for social and economic policy in Virginia. While I enjoyed my time learning the ins and outs of American democracy, I realized this career path wasn’t fulfilling to me at this particular time in my career. I wanted to work at a more grassroots level; I searched, with no luck, for advocacy positions in career fields that piqued my passions.
After the internship concluded, I knew something in me had changed. I was ready to conquer the unknown and to begin to get over the fear of not knowing what is next. After much internal dialogue, I knew Washington D.C. was the next logical step for me. So for the first time in my life, I moved away from home without anything lined up. I quickly sought part-time employment to pay for the bills; however, I knew that working in a restaurant was not my mission here.
I stumbled upon PLEN when looking for women's networking events to attend in the area. It just so happened that PLEN was exactly what I was searching for: an organization consistent with my values and somewhere where I felt I could help make a difference.
I’m looking forward to helping PLEN prepare their offices for the 40th anniversary of the organization. This is a major undertaking for us because we are reaching out to alumnae since PLEN’s inception and updating our databases to make social outreach more efficient and thorough. One of my main goals during this internship is to seek out personal professional development. That’s why I’m also looking forward to PLEN’s “Thank You For Being a PLEN Mentor” event, as it will connect me with women who are successful in their respective career paths.
I plan to focus on PLEN’s events and how they are run. The scale of which they are run is impressive. While my main goal this summer is to reach out to alumnae, I also want to reach out to my professors and contacts back at my alma mater, Old Dominion University, to help start a PLEN chapter there. Through this experience at PLEN I also want to learn how to effectively run a nonprofit organization, and find a better vision of my future career prospects. Hopefully when you read my next blog, I have more fun and exciting things to share with you!
Ana Marku is a recent undergraduate student from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations, and a minor in Women's Studies. Ana is PLEN's Summer 2018 Communications Intern.