From Finishing My First Year of College to Exploring Policy in DC

One day I received an email from the Lazarus Center of Smith College and I saw the description of PLEN. From the moment I went onto the PLEN website, I was fascinated by the opportunity of a lifetime. I knew I wanted to go to DC and what better way than the Women in Global Policy seminar where I could learn about careers in government and foreign policy. I never had the opportunity before to explore the global policy field so the idea of meeting successful women with careers in all types of fields was a dream come true. I can finally have hope that a young woman like me can become successful and change the world someday through law and government. As I was finishing my first year of college, I had no clue what to do this summer, but with this opportunity I was ready to start networking with professionals and explore my options at DC.

The first time that I went to DC two years ago, I felt an energy and space where I could one day have a home away from home. Two years later at the PLEN Women in Global Policy seminar, I was sure that it would open my eyes to a world of policy that I never learned about in a class environment. On the first day of the seminar I couldn’t believe how inspiring and motivating the speakers were. As the days went by, my mind was just blown away at all these speakers with amazing careers sharing their experiences as women in the government field. 

Before coming to DC, I wasn’t knowledgeable about the different types of careers you can have on Capitol Hill, the State Department, or even non-profit organizations. However, after this seminar I never felt more encouraged to explore those careers and one day apply to them with the confidence I have now. Not only do I now have the networks and connections, but I have the resources to start my career path after I graduate. Without this seminar, I would be missing out on many opportunities that could help me in my career. 

I was also given great advice and tips on how to make an impression on professionals, how to advance my career, and most importantly, advice on career moves after I graduate. Before I thought I was either going to graduate school or law school right after I graduate; however, after hearing all these women and their advice, I decided that I don’t need to get a higher degree right after and I can take some time to get some job experience. By then, hopefully, I will decide where I want to further my education. Overall, each day throughout the seminar really exceeded my expectations and finding women like me who have similar interests and backgrounds was amazing. I never would have thought I would experience all that I have and I hope to keep these connections throughout the years.

Jacqueline Centeno is a sophomore at Smith College planning to graduate in May 2022. She attended the 2019 Women in Global Policy Seminar through several scholarships from Smith College and PLEN.

Leave a Reply