I first heard about PLEN through a friend that attended a previous seminar. At first, I did not think much of it. However, when I decided to go on the PLEN website, I was surprised to see all the different seminars available for women to attend. I had just changed my major and was struggling on finding career options, so I decided to attend a seminar. The first seminar I attended was the Global Policy seminar in May of 2020. I did not know what career I wanted to pursue after graduation, so I wanted to use the experience to narrow down my career options. Although I enjoyed the seminar and the many different panelists, after the seminar, I felt like I did not use the experience the best I could. Therefore, I decided to attend another seminar.
Shortly after I attended the Global Policy seminar, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Social Science. Social Science is a very broad field and to find a long-term career, you must be specific in the field you want to go into. Because of this, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in a related field that could lead to a long-term career. After much consideration, I decided to pursue a degree in public policy to become a policy analyst. During the process of writing my personal statements for graduate school, I saw an email about the Women of Color Influencing Washington seminar. Due to my interest in public policy, I was eager to learn more about the different fields and concentrations. The Women of Color Influencing Washington seminar was a perfect way for me to explore public policy and network, so I decided that I needed to attend.
Throughout the virtual seminar, I got to listen to many different stories and hear the different educational and personal journeys of professional women. All the stories that I had the privilege to hear were each inspiring in their own way. Because I had the chance to listen to the stories and careers of these women, I was able to become more informed about what a career in public policy looks like. Despite having different concentrations and career paths, each of the women highlighted that finding a long-term career does not have a linear path. Ultimately, what is important is the ability to network and finding a career option suitable for you.
Maryam Arab attended the 2021 Women of Color Influencing Washington seminar. She is a recent graduate of the Metropolitan State University, where she majored in Social Science.