Last month, several William Smith students took a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend two conferences sponsored by the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN).
Sandra Saetama ’13, Madeline Balman ’16, Susan Tuvell ’16, and Britney Dehond ’15 took part in the Women in Science and Technology Policy conference which was held from January 7-11. The Women in Public Policy seminar, January 14-18, was attended by Chavon Thomas ’15, Chloe Glover ’15, Nelle Crossan ’13, Rose Cherubin ’15, Jacqueline Tilden ’15, Rebecca Waldrop ’14, Lucy Hoagland ’13, Sarah Fonts ’14, Marnie Merrill ’15, and Namboowa Bakiika ’15.
Each year, PLEN hosts female students from colleges and universities across the country, bringing them to Washington, D.C., to experience firsthand how public policy is shaped and implemented at the national level.
Those who attended the Women in Science and Technology seminar heard from scientists who advise the President, members of Congress, the State Department and other federal agencies. Students were also presented with the opportunity to network with recently-graduated scientists who’ve won fellowships to work in science policy.
The seminar also addressed the topic of how rapid advances in science and technology are making scientists increasingly influential in the development of public policy in Washington. The speakers looked to answer certain questions such as: How do science and technology impact public policy? Do ethics play a role in science and technology policy? And how does the government decide what research to fund?
At the Women and Public Policy seminar, students spent five days speaking with women leaders at the Capitol, White House, State Department and other agencies. Students met in small groups with senior women at major advocacy groups and with seasoned corporate lobbyists. They were given the option to choose between two subdivisions under public policy: education or healthcare.
Students also learned what it takes to get a job in Washington by attending various coaching sessions on such topics as networking, resume writing, and informational interviews to help them find jobs and fellowships. Young professional women were in attendance to describe how the job search works in Washington and senior level women offered assistance in opening doors to help the students get their start in the industry.
“The most important thing I took away from the seminar was how important it is to develop connections in D.C.,” says Merrill, who after attending the PLEN conference notes she has confidence that she can develop a successful career in the Nation’s Capital. “As a sophomore, I found it important to hear the application of the undergraduate degrees of the women who spoke at the conference.”
William Smith students have a history of being represented at the PLEN conference each year. Among those who have attended include Kelly Briggs ‘11 and Anna Hertlien ‘12, both of whom now have jobs in D.C.
Briggs currently works for Chapman Cubine Adams and Hussey, a direct marketing company, as an account representative and Hertlien is currently working as secretary to the president at American Postal Workers Union.
This past summer, four more students -Anna Dorman ’14, Faith James ’13, Samantha Tripoli ’11, and Bryanna Trumpetto ’14-represented William Smith at the PLEN conference.