As an idealistic college student yearning to explore firsthand how the government directly betters the lives of its constituents, Shira Albagli was looking for an introduction to the D.C. political world. Shira attended Barnard, a women’s college in New York City and PLEN member institution. At Barnard Shira created her own major combining politics and theatre, focusing on media as a catalyst for socio-political change. She also participated in Barnard’s esteemed Athena Scholars Program for women in leadership, and it was through this program that she heard about PLEN and signed up for PLEN’s Women in Congress seminar.
Shira’s PLEN experience was instrumental in determining the course of the rest of her undergraduate career and her experience as a young professional. According to Shira, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for PLEN.” The seminar provided Shira with tremendous insight into how Congress actually operates; she was exposed to many different types of people that work on Capitol Hill and influence policy, such as lobbyists, staffers, aides, and congresswomen. Shira had the opportunity to attend a live hearing and watch the process of congressional discussion and voting. Shira credits PLEN with encouraging her to take the extra steps necessary to distinguish herself professionally and land the job of her dreams.
Shira returned to Barnard with renewed energy and focus; soon after the PLEN seminar she was offered an internship on the Hill working in Senator Mikulski’s Press Office. Shira’s PLEN experience and subsequent Hill summer internship helped her realize her passion for the intersection of public service, advocacy, and communications, inspiring her to then go on to work at the UN, the Gates Foundation, and currently at The Representation Project in California. She hopes to stay involved with PLEN by tapping into the PLEN network on the West Coast.
By Ahuva Sunshine • 2014