A group of William Smith students recently attended the Public Leadership Education Network’s (PLEN) “Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy” seminar, where they gained invaluable insight into legal careers in the political arena from some of the most distinguished women in the field.
PLEN is the only national organization dedicated to preparing collegiate women for leadership in public policy. The organization regularly hosts seminars, bringing students from colleges and universities across the country to Washington, D.C., to network and learn from some of the most influential women in politics. William Smith Associate Dean Lisa Kaenzig has been on the PLEN board since 2011 and was elected Chair of the Board of Directors in June 2015.
William Smith students who attended PLEN’s most recent conference on careers in law include: Gemma Caglioti ’19, Lauryn Downing ’17, Elizabeth Dunne ’19, Cynthia Kellett ’19 and Allison Magnarelli ’18.
The conference focused on the potential benefits of attending law school, emphasizing the versatility of a law degree and expanding students’ knowledge on the wide range of career opportunities in the legal field.
“It was great getting advice about the legal field right from strong women who were able to share their many successes and hardships,” says Magnarelli. “Networking with these powerful women showed me many different careers in public policy that I may be interested in.”
The conference also included a rigorous professional development component with several networking opportunities and workshops that allowed students to meet one-on-one with professionals, boost their resumes and prepare for interviews.
“I’ve never experienced a professional setting like PLEN before,” Dunne says. “They walked us through networking tips and we even had a mock networking event. In retrospect, this practice boosted my confidence in networking and helped lay the foundations for the connections I made with speakers during the seminar.”
On a personal level, students were also able to build their confidence throughout the conference, having learned not only that they can pursue their interests through a legal career but also how to take the first steps in building a successful career in law.
“I now know the options I have when it comes to my future career in human and civil rights work and how a law degree can help me accelerate my goals. These women were a major factor in gaining this new confidence and I wouldn’t have it without them,” Kellet says.