PLEN: Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy

Meet Eva Dils! Eva is a political economy major with a public health minor. With funding from Newcomb College Institute, she attended Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN)’s Women, Law, and Legal Advocacy seminar. Read about her experience below:

Describe yourself and why you wanted to attend the PLEN conference:

As a current campus activist and an aspiring policy researcher, community organizer, and policymaker, I spend a great deal of time thinking about and working on public service issues. The deeper I delve into activist movements, the more I see lawyers at every turn. Lawyers create, review, and interpret legislation; advocate for nonprofits; and defend civil rights. I hoped that the PLEN conference would give me an opportunity to grow my understanding of the connections between law and public policy and connect me with peers and role models with similar interests and ambitions.

What were your favorite parts of the conference?

I greatly appreciated the practical skills I learned at PLEN. For instance, one speaker recommended we all create a networking spreadsheet to keep track of folks we want to stay in touch with.

Highlight a speaker or a job site you visited:

On Friday, we had the opportunity to spend a half day at the Supreme Court. While there, we heard from nine female clerks of the Justices. Though I learned I am certainly not detail-oriented enough for a career as an appellate lawyer, I had a powerful experience hearing from folks who influence the agenda and decisions of the highest court in our nation.

Tell us one thing you learned that you hope to never forget:

I hope to never forget my main takeaway from PLEN: I don’t know whether I want to go to law school, and I don’t know exactly what my career path will be, but that is okay. Armed with the knowledge of the many opportunities in the policy field, I am confident in my ability to confront and explore the unknown.

Why should other students attend a PLEN conference?

PLEN gave me the opportunity to connect with students with similar career ambitions in a variety of places in their student experience. I met several freshmen, many other upperclassmen, seniors who were just about to enter the workforce, and even a few recent graduates. I was able to observe the different ways in which different people engaged with the conference and learn from them. I also came away from the conference with several friends I will know throughout my career and life.


Does this sound like something you might be interested in? Tulane undergraduate students can apply to NCI for funding to attend PLEN conferences. Email Anna Mahoney at for more information.

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.



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