Student Programs

Student Programs

Studies show that teenage girls as early as the ninth grade begin to internalize messages that ultimately dissuade them from entering technology or startup fields. These perceptions persist throughout high school and manifest in low enrollment in departments that serve as funnels for entrepreneurship after college graduation. For women who beat the odds and decide to launch ventures, a landscape with few channels of support and limited mentorship is disproportionately challenging.  Athena’s programs help to change these messages and offer much needed support and mentoring for Barnard students interested in exploring entrepreneurship:

Leadership Lab Workshops:  Each year, the Athena Center offers 15 – 20 Leadership Lab workshops to Barnard students on a wide range of leadership skills, from financial literacy to effective negotiation to story-telling and communication.  Ranging from 90-minute to full-day sessions, the workshops are taught by experienced trainers and professionals and feature interactive, hands-on components.   LEARN MORE

Entrepreneurs-in-Training:  In collaboration with Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs and leading business and STEM educators, Athena runs an intensive 10-day summer program for female high-school students called Entrepreneurs-in-Training.  Through this program, participants design businesses, pitch their plans to respected investors from the startup sector, and are exposed to core entrepreneurial concepts. 

Courses for this program range from Developing a Business Idea to Getting Funded and have included site visits to startups in New York, including Baublebar, DoSomething.org General Assembly, Grind, Grovo, Hanky Panky, LevoLeagueMakerBot, NowThis News, Science House, ZinePak and ZocDoc. Students were assigned to work in groups as they developed their own business and social ventures, built public speaking skills, and ultimately pitched their ideas to mentors, investors, and fellow students. Instructors were startup experts and leaders in their respective fields, many having led ventures of their own and others are teaching at the most prestigious business schools in the nation. 

    In 2013, Athena rolled out Entrepreneurs-in-Training to more than 70 girls in conunction with the Girl Scouts Leadership Institute, who now have incorporated entrepreneurship into their larger leadership training.

    Additional Programs & Partnerships:

    • Athena hosted the White House’s Urban Economic Forum. This full-day program featuring Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and an extraordinary group of successful entrepreneurs, brought to campus over 400 women business owners from across New York.
    • Athena co-sponsored the nation-wide pitch competition for Make Mine a Million, where hundreds of women pitched their businesses for a chance to enter Count Me In, a program that helps women grow their businesses into million-dollar enterprises.
    • Athena partnered with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York in July 2013 to create a leadership training institute, which kicked off with the ten-day intensive summer program, Entrepreneurs in Training. LEARN MORE 
    • Athena collaborates with the Columbia Venture Community to provide mentors, counseling, forums and informal social events that introduce the Barnard community to innovators and entrepreneurs from diverse fields.  We have also co-sponsored several hack-a-thons with HackNY
    • Athena sponsors a student-run startup, Athena Digital Design, that provides web development training for Barnard students and cost-effective web site development to the community.