Lynn Fox (left) mentors St. Lawrence University women involved in PLEN, including Fanta Conde '17 (center) and Poonam Sidhu '18 (right).

Preparing Women for Leadership in Public Policy


Liz Miller '17

The Public Leadership Education Network, or PLEN, has been preparing St. Lawrence University women for leadership in the public policy arena since January 2014. 

Through PLEN, female students can take part in conferences and meet with and learn from female leaders who are making and influencing public policy at the highest levels, including the courts, Congress, federal agencies, the private sector, policy research and advocacy.

Recent graduate Hayley Humiston ’16 first found out about PLEN during her sophomore year and now works for the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

“I received a scholarship from SLU to go to the Washington Women in Public Policy Seminar in January 2014, and it was amazing,” says Humiston, now a program coordinator for PLEN. Humiston had the opportunity to work closely with female leaders who have contributed to building the PLEN community at St. Lawrence, including Lynn Fox, the spouse of St. Lawrence President William L. Fox ’75. Lynn’s experience and knowledge from working in Washington D.C., gives her insights which help students who want to pursue careers in public policy.

It has given me an opportunity to connect with students on campus that I might have otherwise not met without this program,” Fox said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the students. They are uniformly inquisitive and wonderful. I love working with them.” 

Humiston explained, “Lynn invited all of the SLU PLEN alumnae to her house for dinner, and I remember sitting at the dinner table thinking about the group of supportive, motivated, and awesome women that I met through the program, and how much I was going to miss being involved. When I told this to Lynn, she introduced me to the possibility of actually working at PLEN in D.C. Flash forward a few months, and a program coordinator position opened up. I applied and have the position now.”

PLEN reaches nationwide, but their presence on campus is strong with its own St. Lawrence group. Humiston credits her current position to the relationships forged during her undergraduate career.

“As a sophomore, I really had no idea about the types of job or internships available to me,” Humiston continued, “especially in D.C., and PLEN introduced me to that world and connected me with a large group of supportive friends and mentors in D.C. and around the country.”