PLEN Inspired Me to Make Any Goal Obtainable

It was in Washington DC where I first learned that I did not want to become a doctor as I had dreamed of for many years. During a three-week Summer Discovery Program at Georgetown University, I fell in love with DC, but I also spent the summer dreading my introduction to medicine class. I quickly learned that the medical field was not for me; however, the environment of DC made me feel at home and I knew that I had to find a way back. There was something about the rush of people in the morning, but the fact that there was always something to do or see like networking events and visiting the Smithsonian’s allowed me to imagine myself living in such a hectic place.

When my friend who attended the Women in STEM seminar first introduced me to PLEN,  I was very intrigued with the enthusiasm in explaining to me all of the things she had gotten the opportunity to do. I looked into the seminars that PLEN offered and the Women in Global Policy seminar caught my attention. At the time, I did not know much about global policy and I looked at the PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar as an opportunity to educate myself as well return to the place that I loved. This time, I wanted to learn more than that I did not want to go into a medical profession. I decided to attend the seminar to expose myself to something new and learn how women make a difference in day to day actions around the world that affect us as United States Citizens.

This seminar exceeded my expectations. All of the speakers were motivating and very impressive. Thanks to the PLEN speakers, I was ignited, inspired, and intrigued. I became ignited to continue working hard in school in order to land great opportunities as well as ignited to attend networking events, seminars, and conferences to make long lasting connections. I was inspired to make it a goal to one day work on Capitol Hill. And I was intrigued by all of the amazing jobs people I meet have and the unique paths they each took to get there. This seminar affected me in a way I never believed possible. After hearing the stories of all of the amazing women, I began to question my decision to be a business major. Because of the things that I learned at the Women in Global Policy seminar, I now want to both work on Capitol Hill as well as pursue my dream of becoming a well-known business woman. I am now taking the initiative to find ways of making both of my dreams come true by connecting with professionals that I met through PLEN in addition to looking into double majoring in Global Business Leadership and Political Science. One of the most important things that I learned was that everyone takes different paths to get to where they believe they want to be and along those paths you learn many lessons and skills that will you find helpful in the future. This helped me understand that no matter what profession I start with, I will learn skills that I will take with me as a continue my career.

Washington DC has already been a place in which I have made some of the most important decisions of my life and I want to continue making this a place in which I develop myself as a person. By bringing in women who have worked on Capitol Hill and who have had unique and impressive jobs, PLEN taught me that anything is possible. PLEN allowed me to make connections with women who have already been through situations like mine and are willing to help others get to a good position. There are many things that I learned at PLEN that I will continue using as I proceed with my studies and begin to pursue a career. From never thinking that you are not qualified for a position or a raise to always believing that you can take on a job even while raising a family, I have learned that I can truly do anything that I want. PLEN has taught me that the qualities of a women are ones I should be proud of. I should use them to my advantage and to never let others discourage me or take away my value simply because I am a woman. Thanks to PLEN I am optimistic about finding my way back to Washington DC by finding a job that suits me well.


Paola Popoca is a senior from the College of Saint Benedict studying global business leadership and political science. She attended the PLEN Women in Global Policy Seminar in 2017.

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