National Institutes of HealthTwo Stephens College School of Health Sciences students, Micah Weirich ’19 (above, left) and Carissa Stevens ’21 (above, right), recently attended the PLEN Women in STEM Policy seminar in Washington, D.C., which allowed students to hear firsthand from women in science, health and technology who are shaping our nation’s STEM agenda. The trip was generously funded through the support of alumnae donors.

During the five-day seminar, held Jan. 14-18, students met and learned from women currently working in different aspects of the STEM field, ranging from telecom, defense and space to chemistry, healthcare, energy and more. Students also participated in daily panels with a variety of speakers and in sessions on networking, resumes in STEM and compensation negotiation. 

“These experiences are truly invaluable to students in all industries to build connections, understand job opportunities, define their career goals and increase their world view,” said Ellen Morris, manager of internships and career events, who attended the seminar with the Stephens students. “Attending conferences specifically for students lets students meet their peers who may be colleagues in the future.”

The seminar also included tours of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., as well as several organizations in the D.C. area.  Weirich experienced a Mars rover simulation during her visit to Lockheed Martin, while Stevens visited the American Chemical Society.

Stevens, a Stephens biology major with a minor in chemistry, said the experience taught her much about professionalism.

“I heard many prestigious speakers and visited many historical sites, which broadened my world view,” she said. “There were also several speakers who spoke purely about professionalism, networking and salary negotiation notably.”

After Stephens, Stevens plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology or a related field and conduct laboratory research.

“The amazing biology department faculty is preparing me for that future,” she said.

Celebrating 40 years, PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network), remains the only national organization whose sole focus is preparing college women for leadership in the public policy arena. Each year, PLEN brings hundreds of women students from colleges and universities across the country to Washington, D.C. 

Tags : Student Success, School of Health Sciences

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