By Nadia DeCastris, PLEN Interim Program Associate
As I am wrapping up my senior year of college, I have a significant amount of time to reflect on the experiences I have had while an undergrad. While most of my adventures have been wonderful, quite a few experiences that have allowed me to lead and produce content that I can be proud of. However, nothing I have done thus far in my undergraduate career has made me as proud as my time at PLEN.
This past summer and fall of 2022, I have had the most incredible opportunity and experience as PLEN’s Communications Intern. With that position, I was able to explore, manage, and lead content creation, generating reports on PLEN’s social media analytics, marketing, mass communication, and so much more. In January, I had to astounding opportunity to be promoted as a co-Interim Programs Associate and work in a managerial position that works more with the planning, prepping, and execution of the PLEN seminars. My time with PLEN has been incredibly rewarding and I am so thankful for the experiences this organization has allowed me to have. Reflecting on my journey with PLEN, I am filled with gratitude for the invaluable skills I have acquired. This experience has given me guidance and support that have been instrumental in shaping not only my career but also my personal growth.
Thanks to PLEN, I have gained effective communication skills through my internship, as well as attending seminars. PLEN seminars invite mentorships between young professionals, students, and professionals further in their careers. These mentoring-based learning opportunities have helped me develop my leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, as the networking opportunities have proved to benefit me more than professionally. As I worked closely with speakers and mentors, I learned how to lead by example and inspire others to reach their full potential. This has not only helped me in my current role but also positioned me as a leader in future positions.
In conclusion, PLEN seminars have been a transformative experience for me. The skills and knowledge I have gained have not only helped in my professional life but also my personal growth as it has allowed me to engage with women and marginalized gender groups who are leaders in their respective fields. I am forever grateful to these individuals for their guidance and support, and I am confident that I will pay it forward by relaying this opportunity to others in the future. As I mentioned earlier, I am beyond thankful for the opportunities my undergraduate education has provided me with. I have had the chance to create content and lead events, but working with PLEN, was the most rewarding hands-on learning.
In school, we are not given too many opportunities to work on professional development and this internship has not only provided me with new skills to take with me but also, the most wonderful memories. The PLEN team is fantastic and I can not thank them enough for what they have provided me with, true compassion and kindness. The experiences and skills I have made from this internship will travel with me throughout my educational and professional journey and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
Nadia DeCastris is PLEN's Interim Program Associate. She is graduating from Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois, double majoring in Public Health and Psychology with a minor in Communications Studies.