But for PLEN, I would not have the public service career and life I have today! In 2001, I was in my junior year at Barnard College, studying Neuroscience and I was in the lab all the time. I wasn’t 100% sure about attending medical school or pursuing a PhD in research. I didn’t quite know how to articulate it at the time, but I wanted to make a different kind of impact.
The wonderful career services office at Barnard sung PLEN’s praises and encouraged me to attend the winter break workshop in DC centered around science and technology policy. It was a transformative experience! It was eye opening to see how I could take my science and lab work and bring it into the public sector to impact policy and laws and regulations. I learned more about nonprofits and advocacy and public service! And I was all-around inspired by the fantastic speakers and the strong women attending the seminar with me.
I immediately spoke to the great PLEN team about their summer internship program. I came back to DC to intern at Research!America that summer and my placement there was so very thoughtful: I was applying my science and health knowledge and interest, but also learning how that all intersects with policy and advocacy. I also got a crash course in nonprofits: how they run, how they operate, budget management, fundraising basics.
When I got back to Barnard for my final year, I started to chart a new course towards a career in public service. I attended NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, earning my MPA in Health Policy and Management. I went on to work at a national cancer nonprofit and then joined New York City’s public hospital system where I stayed for eight years. I have now shifted into higher education, having just returned to Wagner, joining the leadership team to help support the next generation of public servants heading out into the world to make great change. My dedication to public service and my fulfilling career is all thanks to PLEN!
Christina Coiro Powell is the Chief of Staff at NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. During her time at Barnard College, she attended the 2002 Women in Science and Technology Policy seminar. She has a Masters of Public Administration from the NYU Wagner School and a JD from Seton Hall University.