Throughout my time at St. Lawrence University as a government major and economics minor, I have observed that the majority of my classes have been male-dominated, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend a PLEN seminar to meet more women and non-binary individuals who faced that same disparity and are also passionate about global policy, politics, and relations. Thanks to PLEN donors and the Henry Luce Foundation, I received a partial scholarship to attend the seminar, and my university was able to cover the remaining cost. Throughout the seminar, I was able to connect with some amazing attendees and listen to and learn from the stories of the incredible panelists in the global policy field who spoke. PLEN also facilitated networking, salary negotiation, and diplomatic simulation workshops, which helped build my confidence in each skill set.
As an overall theme, PLEN exposed me to a multitude of career options in the global policy field. There are so many different paths that these women had taken, and I had no idea that there were so many ways to influence, create, and implement global policy. I appreciated the wide variety of career paths they exposed us to. Many of the speakers spoke to the idea that their career path was not as straightforward as they expected, and many of them had changed career paths multiple times to get to where they are today. This made me feel more confident in the fact that, at the moment, I am unsure exactly what I will do after my time at St. Lawrence. However, many of the speakers stressed how important it was to get work experience after your undergrad career, find a subfield that you are passionate about, and then pursue a graduate degree. This advice has given me direction in what I think is the best path for me.
I especially appreciated our workshop with Allyson Perleoni who facilitated our networking workshop. I have always heard about the importance of networking and making professional connections, but I was unsure about the right way to forge and maintain those relationships. Allyson gave some great tips on how to reach out to individuals who hold positions in fields you are interested in and stressed the importance of maintaining those connections. After her workshop, I feel more confident in starting to network with my university’s alumni network. I have a good understanding of how to best utilize the connections I make.
Finally, the biggest and most important takeaway was to lift others, especially marginalized groups, as you rise. In essence, this means that as I start my career and eventually hold positions of power and influence, it is important that I give back and extend the opportunities to those who are too often left out. I will keep this in mind throughout my career in hopes of creating a more equitable environment wherever I end up.
These takeaways are only a small portion of what I learned during this seminar, and I highly encourage others to apply and participate. Each speaker has something unique to give, and each participant will find something invaluable to take away and implement into their career paths.
Eva Grover is a rising Junior at St. Lawrence University studying Government, with minors in Economics and African Studies. Eva attended PLEN's Global Policy Seminar in May 2022.