22 February 2024 HWS Students Attend PLEN Public Policy Seminar in D.C. By Paige Cooke

Hannah Davis ’24, Kennedy Jones ’24 and Kirsten Roman ’26 took part in the PLEN Public Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., in January.

During a Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) seminar devoted to public policy, Hannah Davis ’24, Kennedy Jones ’24 and Kirsten Roman ’26 explored how to influence the policy issues they are passionate about and learned about a range of professional opportunities and skills required to be successful in the political arena. The seminar included time to network and learn from leaders on Capitol Hill, the executive branch, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private corporations.

“The PLEN Public Policy seminar was incredibly eye-opening for me as it introduced me to a wide range of diverse careers that I hadn’t previously known about or considered,” shares Roman, a double major in politics and Latin American studies. “The experience itself was also inspiring and gave me a sense of unity and belonging as it was a space that consisted of women who were interested in public policy and professionals who managed male-dominated fields. Additionally, exploring the D.C. area allowed me to create valuable connections with those who attended the seminar and other professionals across the different fields of public policy.”

All three HWS students left the seminar inspired by the stories shared by women in the field - all with different career paths - who worked tirelessly to achieve their goals.

“As a first-generation senior who is about to continue on to graduate school, it was valuable for me to hear women in leadership say that their paths were not linear,” says Jones, a writing & rhetoric major and an Italian studies minor. “For one woman, she started as an art major and now does policy work. For another, she began simply writing speeches and now works in an administrative position on Capitol Hill. These examples are all to say that anything is possible, and it is okay to forge your own path, even if it does not look like anyone else's.”

“I had a great time connecting with all our fellow attendees and the panelists,” says Davis, an international relations major and Asian studies minor. “It was a fun look at how dynamic and fluid the space of public policy truly is, especially in D.C. I can’t recommend the conference enough.”

Top: William Smith Dean Lisa Kaenzig P'22, Kirsten Roman '26, Kennedy Jones '24 and Hannah Davis '24 pose for a picture at the PLEN Public Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C.