I speak on a panel about Public Service every year and the women who attend PLEN are just amazing! The staff is fantastic and every participant I meet gushes about the program. They all tell me how grateful they are for the opportunity to come to DC and participate in the program and I am honored to be a small part of that experience.
PLEN changed the way I looked at the career of my interest. At first, I thought it was unattainable, until I met women from all sectors of politics. PLEN made this happen. I met women who started off just like me and made the experience very personal and a reality waiting to happen. Thank You PLEN!!!
PLEN is an excellent organization that does a great job of motivating and educating young women who want to get involved in various types of public service. PLEN works with women who are interested in science, healthcare, the legal system, and other areas of interest.
As a two-time PLEN alum (of both the Women in Congress and Leveraging Communications & Technology seminars), I am very happy to speak on PLEN's behalf and would eagerly recommend it to any college-age woman who wants to get a headstart on her career.
I work closely with college student leaders at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles who participate in PLEN's seminars and each one of them returns from Washington, DC with a fire within them. PLEN does an excellent job meeting student needs, inspiring them to pursue public leadership roles, and providing them with a life-changing experience. I wish we could send even more students to participate! I'm grateful PLEN exists and that our institution has had a long-standing relationship with them.
As a PLEN Alum, I was given an opportunity that far exceeded my expectation. I was given the chance to explore a new city I've always dreamed of visiting. I was given the chance to meet other women who were determined and ambitious just like me. I was given the chance to grow and learn from the PLEN seminar I attended.
The US currently ranks #84th in the world in terms of gender parity in government (Inter-Parlimentary Union 2014). Politics, a space of formal power and authority, needs to also be a space where women have a legitimate voice in how decisions are made that affect their lives. Very few organizations aim at providing women access to government so that they can see themselves in these positions of power. PLEN, the Public Leadership Education Network, is one of the most critical organizations that helps college-aged female students see themselves in positions of political leadership.
As a PLEN Coordinator at Douglass College for Women, Rutgers University for four years, I heard numerous stories from students who said that this was one of the best experiences of their collegiate life. PLEN shows women that they can work in Washington DC and make powerful decisions. The PLEN programs provide access to women in positions of power that these college students would not otherwise have. Students that attended the PLEN programs still write to me how amazing it was for them to meet these women, such as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or US Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Considering that the lack of women's political ambition is one of the root causes of why women are not running for elected office, and that this begins at an early age for women (Lawless and Fox 2013), it is critically important that PLEN continues to not only offer the vital programs for college-aged women students to visit DC from around the country, but also that PLEN expands to reach more students and provide more scholarships for students that need them.
I have been an active volunteer, committee member and now Board member with PLEN since 2000 and continue to be impressed by the quality of the students and the programs. I learn and get back from each seminar so much more than I give. PLEN is a wonderful organization that provides a meaningful and unique educational experience to hundreds of students each year at a very low cost.
As a volunteer mentor at a recent PLEN seminar for young women from across the country who want to make a difference , I could see first-hand how important PLEN is to these aspiring leaders. By connecting these young women to successful women leaders in a variety of careers in the public arena, PLEN is providing advice, role models and guidance early in their college educations and careers. You could feel the excitement in the room as well as the gratitude of the young women for the advice and encouragement from women leaders who were sharing their experience and expertise. PLEN offers terrific opportunities like this one throughout the year in which women leaders open doors for younger women.
As a member of the PLEN Board of Directors, I am happy to help college women learn more about government relations and public policy. I attended an all-girls, college prep high school and have known, since that time, how important the camaraderie and support of other women is in the educational process. Seeing young women become more confident in their skills over the days during a PLEN seminar, and in the time following, is priceless. I enjoy being part of an organization which gives such great opportunities to young women.
As both an alumna and a board member of PLEN, I'm so glad to see engaged young women taking advantage of all that this organization has to offer. It definitely broadened my perspective to the breadth of opportunities in Washington, D.C., as well as expanded my network to an amazing group of women who were so willing to help me in any way that they could.