A New Athena For A New Decade
As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think. — the inimitable Toni Morrison
It's an exciting time here at Athena! Read an op-ed from Athena's director, Umbreen Bhatti, published in the Columbia Spectator, and find answers to FAQs below.
Starting in February 2020, we’re looking at leadership in a fresh way. We’re thinking of leadership as, at its core, about problem-solving. We’re redefining our role as providing Barnard students a wide range of ways to practice doing that through programs that are hands-on and experiential. As a result, we’ve stopped enrolling students in the curricular program you know as the Athena Scholars program.
In our next chapter, Athena will be a home for Barnard students who see opportunities amidst the many vexing challenges we face, and seize them to build a better world — because these are the leaders we need now.
These changes are the result of a multiyear, community-wide process involving interviews and feedback sessions with students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and Athena’s many supporters.
Community. Leadership experience. Space to reflect. The chance to create. These are just a few of the things you’ll get out of your time at Athena.
What you do here will complement the incredible education you’re receiving in the classroom, and you’ll graduate feeling experienced and prepared to lead — because you’ll have already done so. The experiential learning opportunities we offer will be rich and meaningful; from them, you’ll build your confidence and you’ll build resilience — and develop valuable, concrete skills. You’ll find community here. And while we’ll no longer be offering an official Athena Scholar designation, you’ll learn how best to share the work you’ve done in Athena with a wide range of audiences — and actually share it. The portfolio items you create here are sure to help you during interviews and in your professional life.
Athena offerings are open to all Barnard students. We’re actively exploring ways to serve students from all disciplines — from STEM to the arts — and everything in between. Your schedule should no longer be an impediment, and if it is, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select opportunities are also available to Columbia students, and this information will be indicated on the registration form or application.
For members of the community, we host an incredible film festival — don’t miss it. This year is our 10th Anniversary!
If you only have a few hours:
- Attend a low-stress, high-impact skill-building workshop. This spring, we’ll help you learn how to make an ask that ends in a yes, and how to nurture yourself while nurturing your ideas. And, as always, we’ll help you develop financial fluency.
- Join us for a Feminist Field Trip. In February, we’re headed to the UN.
If you’re looking for something a little more immersive:
- Sign up for an Athena Challenge. This spring, we’re tackling climate change, hunger, and privacy.
- Take a coding class with the Athena Digital Design Academy — and when it’s over, become a member of the Agency.
- Apply to attend a conference or take part in one of our fellowships, which offer you the opportunity to learn directly from people solving complex problems through policy and public service.
- Volunteer with the Athena Film Festival.
And, feel free to come in and use our space if you’re looking for a collaborative, lively place to work together.
Currently enrolled Scholars can still complete the program.
We'd love to have you participate in our new offerings as well, if they are of interest to you. Participation in those may count towards completion of the Scholars Program requirements; where that is the case, you’ll see it clearly noted. You may also notice some updates to how we talk about some of our longstanding opportunities, so pay attention to emails from Sarit Abramowicz, who directs the Scholars Program, and email her at email@example.com with any questions.
We love ideas for new programs — and in fact, we’re building new programs right now. If you’re interested in helping us shape these future opportunities, please join us at a Dinner with Athena’s Director or consider joining our Student Advisory Board. If you prefer one-on-one conversation, please email Umbreen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re proud of our amazing network and always looking to grow it. See ways you can work with us here — and if you’re an alumna, be sure to let us know that!