I learned about PLEN through a subscription to a list of internship and program opportunities provided by my university. I have always told myself that I want to be a force for change in the global policy world and PLEN was the first door to this dream of mine. I was overwhelmed as the only student I know from the Florida International University in Miami to go to this program and going to DC by myself with people I have never met before was intimidating. However, it was a commitment to myself that I felt I wanted to accomplish. I had no idea that the PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar would ended up being the most inspiring, empowering, uplifting, and educational week of my life.
The seminars and activities exceeded my expectations. I had no idea I could learn so much in a matter of a couple of days and meet so many incredible women because of PLEN. Where I come from, you send emails, letters, and call powerful people in public policy and usually do not get a response. Talking to a CEO or a representative is not something you usually get to do. The women at the PLEN seminar had very important roles in various professional sectors. They were willing to speak to us after the panel, connect with us on LinkedIn, and genuinely wanted to give us all of the information they possibly could. This was one of the greatest takeaways from these seminars.
As I saw these inspirational panelists speak about how hard it was for them at times to prove that they were capable and how unfair it could be for women in the workforce just because of our gender, my eyes watered. Women of different races, religions, and origins sharing their stories of persistence gave me this sense of measurement in my plans and work. I felt more empowered, encouraged, and loved by women I did not know than women I have known my whole life. PLEN taught me that when there is a drive and some support, anything is truly possible.
The Women in Global Policy seminar has changed my life. In the fall semester I was planning on going to D.C for an internship, but still did not have an internship offer and was nervous about moving to a new city. Thanks to PLEN, both of these doubts were erased. The opportunity to visit DC helped me meet the Executive Director of the Global Education Fund where I will be interning as a policy advocate intern for disability inclusive education and possibly taking part in research in DC.
No amount of words will ever be enough to show how grateful I am for the opportunity to meet talented, hardworking, and inspiring women in all fields in our nation’s capital and the scholarship I received. This conference meant so much to me and I mean that from the absolute bottom of my heart. The women from PLEN and I have exchanged contact and social media information and I am eager to see the incredible things these amazing women will do in the future. We became very close in a short period of time and we are super excited to be a part of the PLEN family and the PLEN 2019 Alumnae. I cannot wait to meet with other PLEN alumnae around the in my city, in D.C or globally. Never in a million years did I think or would I have believed that I would become so close and so empowered in a week in DC. Once again, thank you PLEN for helping me realize the importance of connections, stories, tribulations, and most importantly self-love, empowerment, and passion.
Anissa Molloy is a junior at Florida International University where she studies Psychology. She is interested in disabilities, women’s rights, and global policy. Anissa attended the Women in Global Policy seminar in 2019.