In May of 2018, I attended the PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar. Besides my first trip to Washington, D.C., the seminar led to a week full of meeting inspiring women, listening to powerful panels, and ultimately, rethinking my professional goals. Attending the Women in in Global Policy seminar has benefited me in a multitude of ways and I expect the experience to bear many more fruits in the future.
My curiosity for the far-reaching field of global policy caused me to apply to the PLEN seminar. Through the pursuit of my intellectual and professional interests, I had come to understand the importance of global policy and specifically the need for quality multidisciplinary research. However, I wanted to gain a better understanding of the field, its career paths, and the women walking those paths. In my opinion, events such as the PLEN seminar Women in Global Policy are essential contributions to my understanding of public policy and consequently, my ability to pursue such a career.
Filled with excitement to engage in meeting and networking with peers as well as with professionals, I left for Washington, D.C. The seminar provided me with a peek into the world of those living, studying, and working in Washington. From the first second to the last, the vibes of Washington felt good to me. Being a busy bee myself, I felt a sense of belonging in the fast pace life recognizable by the people running on the streets and through the metro. Throughout the week, the PLEN seminar brought me to fascinating places: from office spaces in tall buildings to a beautiful hearing room on Capitol Hill, even visiting the different workspaces in Washington was an intriguing experience.
Of course, the fascinating places came with fascinating people. For me, the most memorable moment within the PLEN seminar was the site visit to the ONE Campaign. The ONE campaign is international campaigning and advocacy organization that fights extreme hunger and preventable disease. We met with several members of the ONE team, among some women working on policy-related issues, to talk about the mission of ONE and the ways it aims to achieve those goals. As I strongly believe campus life at my home institution lacks an organization that acknowledges global inequality and fights for equal opportunities through advocacy campaigns, the site visit has inspired and energized me to start a ONE Chapter at my home institution, St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY).
PLEN has encouraged me to think more proactively about pursuing a career in the field of global policy. I have a strong feeling that social policy in the international realm might be the place where my different interests come together. Due to the high number of strong women on the panels, the seminar functioned as a reminder of women’s power and how far that power can reach when we work together. Simultaneously, the seminar gave me tools (e.g. networking and salary negotiation) to work towards finding and utilizing my own power. I feel privileged and honored to be part of a network like PLEN. Looking at the career paths of role models is an important way of shaping my academic and professional life. Being part of the PLEN network has been an opportunity for me to find and be inspired by women in the policy field. Undoubtedly, some of the attending professionals will function as role models for me.
All in all, the PLEN seminar on Women in Global Policy helped me to gain a better understanding of the field and the associated jobs as well as to meet peers and professionals with similar interests. The seminar has reaffirmed my hope to attend to attend a Master’s or PhD program in sociology and/or social policy with a focus on the intersectionality of social inequality. Ultimately, attending the seminar is a step on the way to pursue social change through the field of public policy.
Floor Fiers attended the Women in Global Policy seminar in May of 2018. As a rising senior at St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY), she anticipates graduating in May 2019 with a major in Sociology and minors in English, Asian Studies and Film.
Thank you to the Henry Luce Foundation for sponsoring Floor's scholarship!