Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice

Communities of practice are how we build intentional, meaningful relationships between changemakers here at Athena. Join one — or more! — to develop your skills and your ideas, learn from your peers and our amazing network, and explore what’s possible when you join with others to tackle complex challenges.

Currently, we host six communities of practice.


Athena Fellows Program

The Athena Fellows program is a semester-long funded opportunity to focus on a challenge of interest to you. Fellows use their method of choice (entrepreneurship, policy, advocacy, art, etc.) to tackle their challenges. 

Athena Entrepreneurs

Do you have an idea for a business? Are you already working on one? This community of practice offers support for women+ at Barnard and Columbia who want to use entrepreneurship to tackle the challenges we face. 

Athena Advocacy Institute

The Athena Advocacy Institute is a summer program for students interested in exploring advocacy, in all its forms, as a means of making change. Members of the institute receive training and funding for their summer internships.

Williams Program for Women in Politics

The Williams Program for Women in Politics is a summer program for students interested in exploring government as an avenue and policy as a tool for tackling our most difficult challenges. Williams Fellows spend time in conversation with experts and receive funding for their summer internships. 

Athena Digital Design (ADDA)

Athena Digital Design is an academic year community of practice for Barnard students interested in exploring technology as a tool for social change. 

Laidlaw Scholars

The Laidlaw Scholars program is for students interested in pursuing research and scholarship as an avenue for changemaking. This two-year program involves research, training, and practical application that is designed to develop a new generation of leaders committed to data-based decision-making and ethical leadership. Scholars complete faculty-mentored independent research on a topic of their choosing and then apply their research findings, often by working with an external organization that supports disadvantaged groups.