Douglass Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)

The Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN) is a national consortium of women’s colleges working together to prepare women for public leadership.  PLEN believes that women’s participation is critical in shaping public policy in communities, the nation, and the world.  PLEN is committed to preparing women leaders as elected and appointed officials at all levels, as advocates for community organizations and interest groups, as heads of public interest research groups, and as staff members working with public officials and agencies formulating policy.  The seminars, conferences, and internships offered by PLEN are designed for this purpose.

Featured Program: Douglass in DC - National PLEN Programs

In coordination with the national PLEN program in Washington, D.C., Douglass in DC creates opportunities for students to attend seminars in D.C. with women students from across the country.  These seminars are a way of introducing students to the variety of paths one may take within the vast public policy arena.  Students hear from extraordinary women in leadership positions in fields such as law, business, non-profit advocacy, science & technology, and international relations.  Students build their network, leadership experience, and resumes as they connect and learn from highly successful professionals. 

 A list of the seminars is available at the PLEN National website: 

DRC students may apply for special funding for the seminar which will cover most costs.  PLEN also offers scholarships for each seminar.  To apply, stop by College Hall, Room 204 for an application. Applications are due six weeks before the start of the seminar.

Douglass Students in front of the US Supreme Court Building at the Women, Law & Legal Advocacy Seminar
(where they may one day argue a groundbreaking case, or sit on the bench!)

Women in STEM Policy seminar students in front of the White House (future office?!)

The PLEN Impact is real!

Other Upcoming Programs:

The PLEN Forum Series

Each spring, three high-profile women leaders join us for a forum open to the university community.  During the seven sessions of the PLEN Forum, these women leaders discuss their public experiences in politics as well as the rewards and difficulties of their work.

The PLEN Forum, which is held in conjunction with the political science course “Women and American Politics,” gives students the extraordinary opportunity to personally interact with distinguished women leaders.  Past speakers have included Ann Lewis, Shirley Chisholm, Sarah Weddington, Christine Todd Whitman, Bella Abzug, and Jo Ann Davidson.

PLEN Trenton Summer Internship

The Douglass PLENTrenton Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to spend seven weeks working in Trenton.  Interns work in a public policy area and are placed in a state government office related to their interests.  Students gain valuable professional experience, establish useful networking contacts, and develop a relationship with a supportive mentor who works with them during the paid internship. You work closely with a woman mentor, meet Douglass Alum working in and around Trenton, and work on interesting projects. No more unpaid, coffee-fetching internships - this one allows you to truly foster your skills and build lasting networks of support that might help you in any future endeavor, whether it  landing a job, running for office, or changing the world (or all of those!)