Athena Center for Leadership Studies


Established in 2009, the Athena Center for Leadership Studies aims to utilize an array of signature programming to build a world where women obtaining and exercising power is both expected and commonplace. When more women are leaders—particularly when they are powerful, visionary, and strategic—communities and organizations are more innovative, productive, and successful, and we raise the aspirations of women and girls around the world.

Gifts to the Athena Center support its many initiatives, which include:

Athena Scholars Program

The Athena Scholars Program nurtures young women leaders as they prepare to enter their careers. Based on the most advanced leadership studies research, the program teaches Scholars the basics of mobilizing support and becoming effective agents of change. Students must complete three program components: connecting gender and leadership theory through a set of required classes, learning practical skills through leadership labs (see below), and gaining real-world experience through an internship.

Athena Film Festival

The Athena Film Festival is an engaging weekend of films and panels that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. The four-day festival, which features conversations with directors and workshops for filmmakers along with a diverse array of films, has established itself as a major force in the film industry and occupies a unique and important space to promote the work of women in the field.

Athena Digital Design Agency

The Athena Digital Design Agency offers a new model for engaging undergraduate women in technology-driven fields and provides them with a practical entry point into computer programming. The Agency teaches Barnard students web development and digital design skills. Upon completion of the Agency’s initial training, students have the opportunity to generate income by joining a student-run web design and development agency that markets low-cost web development services to local businesses.

Global Symposia

The Athena Center is also an active participant in Barnard’s Global Symposium, an annual event that strives to provide a dynamic forum for discussion of women’s issues in regions where such opportunities do not readily exist, create a network of women leaders from around the world, inspire young women about their own leadership potential, and provide an opportunity for Barnard, as an American college, to learn from women in other parts of the world. Symposia have occurred in locations including Beijing, Dubai, and São Paolo; the 2016 Symposium took place in Paris.

Your gift will help the Athena Center build a world where women obtaining and exercising power is both expected and commonplace.