Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

students smiling and posing for the camera while inside an office

Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College

If you’re a high school student looking to expand your knowledge and creativity, the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College is perfect for you. This guide will show you the many chances you have to learn and grow in the program, explain why it’s a must-do for active students, and help you get started on this adventure. Get ready to explore your abilities and turn your dreams into reality in this unique summer experience!

What is the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College is a unique program designed for high school students eager to dive into the world of innovation and leadership. Situated in the heart of New York City, this institute offers an immersive experience that combines academic learning with hands-on projects.

In partnership with the Athena Center for Leadership, Athena champions entrepreneurship as a dynamic force for shaping the future. Their approach to entrepreneurship is marked by creativity, collaboration, and a keen awareness of its impact on others and ourselves.

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute stands as a rigorous 3-week immersion program designed to equip students with practical skills and insights necessary for developing impactful ideas. In this boot camp, students will collaborate in teams to conceive and design a new venture. These ventures could range from start-up businesses and non-profit organizations to advocacy campaigns, all aimed at challenging conventional methods and fostering meaningful change.

The ideal participants for the Athena Summer Innovation Institute are individuals who are not only creative and driven but also possess an entrepreneurial mindset. While prior business ideas are not a requirement (in fact, coming in with an open mind is encouraged), an interest in ideating products, services, and experiences that defy the norm and contribute to societal betterment is crucial. Participants should be eager to engage in a collaborative learning environment, exploring the intricacies of the start-up landscape and the essentials of being part of a founding team.

Throughout the program, students will gain valuable insights through coaching and mentorship provided by the Program Manager, Lead Instructor, and Mentor-in-Residence. Additionally, workshops covering essential topics like financing, negotiation, branding, and more will be part of the curriculum. By the end of the institute, students will emerge more confident and empowered, ready to take on roles as innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Program Highlights

Dynamic Coursework: Immerse yourself in stimulating classes that cover a broad spectrum of essential subjects, including product ideation, development, customer research, branding, marketing, and startup finance. These topics are fundamental for anyone aspiring to be an innovator or entrepreneur.

Team-Based Venture Project: Engage in a comprehensive team project where you’ll conceptualize and design a venture. This project culminates in a final pitch presentation, where you’ll showcase your ideas in front of your fellow participants, honing your persuasive skills and business acumen.

Expert Mentorship: Benefit from targeted sessions with our experienced Mentor-in-Residence. These sessions are designed to provide specialized advice on your venture and assist you in refining your elevator pitch, ensuring that your ideas are communicated effectively and concisely.

Public Speaking and Presentation Training: Enhance your public speaking and presentation abilities with the guidance of Barnard College’s Speaking Fellows. These sessions will help you develop confidence and proficiency in expressing your ideas clearly and compellingly.

Entrepreneurial Site Visits: Experience firsthand how startups operate and how established companies maintain their innovative edge through site visits. These excursions offer valuable insights into the real-world workings of businesses and the challenges they face, providing a practical perspective to your learning journey.

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Why Should You Go to the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

At the core of the Athena Summer Innovation Institute is the principle of experiential learning. This approach allows students not only to understand how organizations function but also to develop and refine their own innovative concepts. The journey from initial idea generation to conducting market research and crafting essential communication plans and budgets is an experiential foray into entrepreneurship. Each day begins with setting clear learning objectives and ends with a reflective session to consolidate the day’s learnings.

A. Participate in Workshops Conducted by Expert Entrepreneurs

Our classroom workshops are centered around the fundamental aspects of business development. These sessions are led by our Lead Instructor and complemented by guest lectures from accomplished entrepreneurs. These workshops provide practical insights and strategies crucial for budding business minds.

B. Connect with Trailblazing Women Entrepreneurs

Participants in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute have the unique opportunity to visit thriving startups and interact with successful women entrepreneurs. These experiences are invaluable, offering insights into transforming ideas into tangible actions. Previous site visits have included innovative companies such as Hanky Panky, General Assembly, Compass, and Levo League.

C. Craft Your Narrative and Sharpen Your Presentation Skills

The group project is a practical application of classroom learning, where students develop and refine a pitch for their proposed venture. Collaboration with the esteemed Barnard Speaking Fellows Program helps students enhance their public speaking abilities and build confidence.

These group projects also serve as a platform for students to practice leadership and team coordination skills. The program culminates in a ‘Pitchfest,’ an event where teams present their ideas, exchange feedback, and witness the power of storytelling and effective communication in action.

How Do You Get Into the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

To secure a spot in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, high school girls must navigate through a detailed application process managed by Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs. This institute is crafted as an intensive program, available in both 10-day and 3-week formats, tailored to impart practical skills and essential knowledge in the realms of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute is specifically designed to cater to young women who show a keen interest in honing their entrepreneurial skills. It’s an opportunity for participants to immerse themselves in a rigorous yet rewarding curriculum that spans various aspects of entrepreneurship, from ideation to market strategy.

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What to Expect

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute offers a comprehensive and dynamic experience encompassing a variety of engaging and educational activities:

A. In-Depth Workshops and Classes

Diverse Learning Sessions: The program features a series of workshops and classes that delve into essential areas vital for budding entrepreneurs. These include in-depth explorations of product development, where students learn how to bring an idea to fruition, market research techniques for understanding consumer needs, and effective business planning strategies to ensure sustainable growth.

Expert-Led Instructions: Each session is conducted by experienced professionals and educators, ensuring that students receive both theoretical knowledge and practical wisdom.

B. Real-World Business Insights

Startup Visits: A key highlight of the program is the opportunity to visit successful startups. These visits are not just observational but are interactive sessions where students get to witness firsthand the daily operations, challenges, and triumphs of running a startup.

Networking with Women Entrepreneurs: Students will have the chance to meet and interact with accomplished women entrepreneurs. These encounters are invaluable, as they offer students real-world perspectives and insights into what it takes to turn a concept into a successful business venture.

Learning from Experience: By engaging with these entrepreneurs, students gain an understanding of the nuances of entrepreneurship, from overcoming obstacles to seizing opportunities.

C. Overall Learning Impact

The combination of theoretical learning and practical exposure ensures that students leave the program with a well-rounded understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape. It’s designed not just to impart knowledge but to inspire action and innovation, equipping students with the skills and confidence needed to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Best Extracurricular Activities for Prospective Participants of the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College

For students aspiring to attend the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, engaging in certain extracurricular activities can significantly strengthen their applications. These activities demonstrate a commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation and help develop skills and qualities valued by the institute. Here are some ideal extracurriculars:

Entrepreneurship Clubs or Programs: Participation in school-based entrepreneurship clubs or external programs shows a direct interest and engagement in business and innovation. It also provides practical experience in developing business ideas and understanding market dynamics.

Leadership Roles: Holding leadership positions in any club or organization, such as student government, debate team, or community service groups, can highlight your leadership skills and ability to work effectively in a team.

Science and Technology Clubs: Involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) clubs, like robotics or coding groups, can demonstrate your aptitude for technical aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Community Service and Volunteering: Engaging in community service projects, especially those that involve organizing events or fundraising, can illustrate your initiative and commitment to making a positive impact.

Business Competitions: Participating in business or entrepreneurship competitions, such as business plan competitions or hackathons, showcases your ability to think critically and present your ideas effectively.

Creative Arts Pursuits: Activities that involve creativity, such as art, music, or writing, can be advantageous. They display your ability to think outside the box, a crucial trait for innovation.

Internships or Shadowing Experiences: Gaining hands-on experience through internships or shadowing professionals in business or entrepreneurial settings can provide real-world insights and professional understanding.

Work Experience: Part-time jobs or summer employment, particularly in roles that require responsibility and interaction with customers or clients, can demonstrate maturity, reliability, and an understanding of the business world.

Online Courses and Workshops: Engaging in relevant online courses or workshops in entrepreneurship, business management, or related fields shows a proactive approach to learning and skill development.

Social Media or Blogging: Managing a blog or a social media channel, particularly if it focuses on business, entrepreneurship, or innovation topics, can exhibit your communication skills and ability to engage an audience.

These extracurriculars can bolster your application for the Athena Summer Innovation Institute and provide valuable experiences that contribute to your personal and professional growth!

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How Mentorship Enriches the Athena Summer Innovation Institute Experience at Barnard College

Mentorship plays a pivotal role in enriching the experience of participants in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, particularly in the context of women supporting women in business and entrepreneurship. Here’s how mentorship within the program amplifies its impact, especially for young women:

A. Empowering Women in Business

Guidance from Experienced Female Leaders: The Athena Institute prioritizes mentorship from successful women entrepreneurs and leaders. These mentors offer invaluable insights and guidance, drawing from their own journeys in overcoming gender-specific challenges in the business world. They serve not just as advisors but as role models, showing participants what is possible for women in business and entrepreneurship.

Fostering a Supportive Network: Women supporting women create a powerful network. This network provides a sense of community and belonging, which is crucial in fields where women are traditionally underrepresented. It helps participants build confidence and resilience, knowing they have a support system that understands and shares their unique experiences and challenges.

B. Importance of Women Thriving in Entrepreneurship

Diversifying the Business Landscape: Female entrepreneurs bring diverse perspectives and innovation to the business world. By nurturing young women in entrepreneurship, programs like the Athena Institute contribute to a more inclusive and varied business landscape.

Breaking Barriers and Setting Precedents: The success of women in entrepreneurship paves the way for future generations, breaking down barriers and challenging stereotypes. Mentorship in these areas emphasizes the importance of women not just participating in but thriving and leading in entrepreneurial endeavors.

Encouraging Gender Equality in Business: Mentorship plays a crucial role in striving towards gender equality in the business sector. By providing young women with mentors who have navigated these challenges, the program equips them with strategies to succeed and advocate for equality in their professional journeys.

C. Long-Term Impact of Mentorship

Career Guidance and Opportunities: Mentors can offer career advice, help in identifying opportunities, and even aid in securing internships or jobs. The connections and insights gained through mentorship can have a long-lasting impact on the participants’ career trajectories.

Personal Growth and Development: The mentor-mentee relationship fosters personal growth, encouraging young women to pursue their ambitions, develop leadership skills, and cultivate a strong sense of self-efficacy. This personal development is integral to their success both in college and in their future careers.

Mentorship within the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College is more than just an aspect of the program; it’s a transformative experience that empowers young women, contributes to diversifying the business world, and promotes gender equality in entrepreneurship. This facet of the program is crucial in shaping confident, capable, and innovative female leaders of tomorrow.

a female student at a summer job

How Do I Apply to the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

To apply to the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, follow these steps:

Visit Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs website: The Athena Summer Innovation Institute is organized through Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs. For dates and information on how to apply, visit their website.

Complete the application: Applications for all of Barnard’s Pre-College Programs, including the Athena Summer Innovation Institute, open in late fall. Make sure to submit your application before the deadline.

Prepare for the program: If you are accepted into the program, you will need to prepare for the intensive, 10-day, or 3-week boot camp. This may include researching entrepreneurship resources, developing a business idea, and practicing your pitch.

Participate in the program: Once accepted, you will have the opportunity to learn practical skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship and innovation, visit successful startups, and meet women entrepreneurs.

A. Reasons to Consider Applying

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute presents a unique and invaluable opportunity for young women to immerse themselves in the entrepreneurial world. This program is expertly designed to:

Foster Growth and Development: It serves as more than just an academic endeavor; it’s a comprehensive growth platform. Here, you’ll be mentored by seasoned experts and build connections with peers who are equally ambitious and driven.

Build a Strong Network: The institute offers ample networking opportunities, allowing you to connect with professionals and like-minded peers. This network can be instrumental in your future entrepreneurial ventures.

Establish a Solid Foundation: Participating in this program provides a significant advantage in understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem setting a strong foundation for your future endeavors in the business world.

B. The Value of Early Engagement in Entrepreneurship

Participating in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute during high school has profound implications:

Influence on Career Paths: Engaging with entrepreneurship and innovation at this stage can be a pivotal factor in shaping your future career. It opens up new perspectives and possibilities, influencing your choices and ambitions.

Early Skill Development: The program equips you with crucial business skills at an early age. This early exposure to business concepts, strategic thinking, and practical skills sets a strong foundation for any career path you choose.

Boost in Confidence and Direction: Being part of such a program instills a sense of confidence and provides clarity at a critical time in your personal and professional development. It helps in building self-assuredness and a clear vision for the future.

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute is a pivotal platform for young women who aspire to make their mark in the fields of business and innovation. Its well-rounded curriculum, practical experience, and nurturing environment make it an ideal place for budding female entrepreneurs to thrive and grow. This institute not only educates but also inspires and empowers young women to confidently pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

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How Does Participation in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College Enhance My College Application?

Participating in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College can significantly enhance your college admissions experience in several ways:

Distinguished Extracurricular Achievement: Engaging in a program like the Athena Summer Innovation Institute sets you apart as a proactive and ambitious student. It’s a testament to your willingness to engage in advanced learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom setting.

Admissions committees often look for candidates who go beyond the basics in their academic and extracurricular pursuits. Participation in such a program indicates that you seek challenges and are committed to personal growth. Moreover, it reflects your ability to balance rigorous academic commitments, a skill that colleges value highly.

Development of Entrepreneurial Skills: In today’s rapidly evolving world, entrepreneurial skills such as innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving are highly prized in many fields of study. By participating in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute, you’re not only learning about entrepreneurship in theory but also applying these concepts in practical settings.

This experience showcases your readiness to engage with complex concepts and contribute innovative ideas in a college setting. Furthermore, having a background in entrepreneurship could make you a more attractive candidate for scholarships, internships, and research opportunities in college.

Leadership and Teamwork Experience: Colleges are keen on forming communities of leaders and collaborators. The Athena Institute provides a platform where you can hone these skills by working on team projects, leading initiatives, or participating in group discussions.

These experiences cultivate essential qualities like effective communication, conflict resolution, and cooperative problem-solving. Demonstrating your leadership and teamwork skills in a real-world context can significantly strengthen your college applications, as it shows you’re prepared to contribute positively to the campus community.

Networking Opportunities: Networking is a critical aspect of the college experience, and starting early can give you a significant advantage. You’ll interact with mentors, industry professionals, and fellow aspirants through the institute, creating a network that can offer support and guidance during your college application process and beyond.

These connections can provide valuable advice, offer insights into different colleges and programs, and may even lead to recommendation letters. A strong network can open doors to various opportunities, including internships and job placements, during and after your college years.

Enhanced Personal Statement: Your experience at the institute can be a rich source of inspiration for your college essays. Admissions essays that include personal narratives about challenges faced, skills learned, and insights gained tend to be more engaging and memorable.

Discussing your experience at the institute can demonstrate your initiative, resilience, and commitment to learning. Additionally, it gives you a unique story to tell, differentiating your application from others who might have more conventional profiles.

Exposure to College-Level Work: Participating in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute exposes you to an intensive, college-like academic environment. It helps you develop a sense of what academic life at college will entail, including managing a rigorous workload and engaging in advanced-level discussions.

This exposure prepares you mentally for college transition and reassures admissions committees of your ability to thrive in a demanding academic setting. It shows that you’re not just ready for college but eager to embrace its challenges.

Insight into College Life: Spending time on Barnard College’s campus during the program offers a glimpse into college life, which can be invaluable in making informed decisions about where to apply. This experience allows you to understand the dynamics of campus life, including living away from home, interacting with a diverse student body, and utilizing college resources. Such insights can help you articulate in your applications why you are a good fit for certain colleges based on your firsthand experiences and observations.

Career Exploration: The institute allows you to delve into entrepreneurship and related fields, clarifying potential career paths. This exploration can inform your decisions about your major and career goals, making your college application more focused and goal-oriented.

Demonstrating a clear vision of your future career in your application can impress admissions officers, as it shows purpose and forward-thinking. Additionally, this early career exploration can make you more open to various academic opportunities and career paths in college.

Each aspect contributes to creating a well-rounded and compelling college application, showcasing you as a motivated, skilled, and insightful applicant ready to make the most of the college experience.

How Hard Is It to Get Into the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

The program is highly competitive, and hundreds of bright young students apply each year. The institute is an intensive, 10-day, or 3-week boot camp that provides practical skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship and innovation. The application process is open to rising high school juniors and seniors, and applications for all of Barnard’s Pre-College Programs, including the Athena Summer Innovation Institute, will be available in late fall. To increase your chances of acceptance, you must submit a strong application and demonstrate your interest in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Three students holding their school materials.

What Personal or Extracurricular Activities Should I Do to Prepare for the Athena Summer Innovation Institute?

Pursuing relevant personal or extracurricular projects can significantly strengthen your application if you’re aiming to stand out in your application for prestigious programs like the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College. Here are some ideas:

Start a Mini Business or Social Venture: Launching your own small business or a social entrepreneurship project demonstrates initiative, creativity, and a grasp of basic business principles. It could be anything from a craft-selling business to a service that addresses a community need.

Develop a Community Service Project: Identify a need in your community and develop a project to address it. This could involve organizing events, fundraisers, or awareness campaigns. Such initiatives show leadership, empathy, and the ability to mobilize resources for a good cause.

Participate in Business Competitions: Look for local or online business plan competitions or hackathons and participate in them. These competitions can enhance your problem-solving and presentation skills and often provide the opportunity to receive feedback from professionals.

Create a Blog or Vlog: Start a blog or vlog on topics related to entrepreneurship, innovation, or your personal interests. This can showcase your communication skills, your ability to engage an audience, and your knowledge in specific areas.

Engage in Online Courses: Enroll in online courses related to business, entrepreneurship, or other relevant fields. This shows your commitment to learning and can provide you with foundational knowledge that will be beneficial in programs like Athena.

Volunteer with Local Businesses or Startups: Seek out volunteer or shadowing opportunities with local businesses or startups. This real-world experience can provide valuable insights into the workings of a business and shows your proactive attitude in gaining practical experience.

Tech or Coding Projects: If you’re interested in the tech side of entrepreneurship, work on coding projects, develop an app, or participate in tech-related workshops. These skills are increasingly valuable in the world of business.

Lead a Club or Team at School: Take on a leadership role in a club, particularly those related to business, debate, science, technology, or community service. Leadership roles demonstrate your ability to manage, organize, and lead a team.

Organize an Event: Plan and execute a school or community event. This could be a charity fundraiser, a speaker series, or an educational workshop. Event planning requires a range of skills from budgeting to marketing, all valuable in the business world.

Research Project: Undertake an independent research project on a topic of interest within the field of entrepreneurship or innovation. This could culminate in a paper, presentation, or even a workshop you conduct, showcasing your initiative and in-depth knowledge.

Engaging in these activities can help build a strong profile demonstrating your interest and aptitude in areas related to entrepreneurship and innovation, thereby enhancing your chances of being accepted into elite programs like the Athena Summer Innovation Institute.

When Is the Deadline to Apply to the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

The deadline for submitting applications for all our summer programs is April 15th, 2023.

Barnard’s pre-college program admissions process is on a rolling basis. To maximize your choices in class selection, apply as early as possible.

Young woman working in front of a laptop in a room.

When Do I Find Out About My Application to the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

Admissions decisions are issued continuously. Once your complete application is received by the office, you can expect a decision within 15 business days. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the office has received all components of the application.

Where Is the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute is situated on the picturesque campus of Barnard College, nestled in the bustling heart of New York City. This location is more than just a backdrop; it’s a crucial part of the experience. The campus offers a serene and scholarly atmosphere that is perfect for learning and innovation, while its location in one of the world’s most dynamic cities provides a wealth of opportunities for inspiration and exploration.

New York City, known for its diversity and culture, and as a global business hub, enriches the institute’s environment. Students have the unique advantage of being in close proximity to some of the world’s leading corporations, innovative startups, and cultural landmarks. This blend of a tranquil academic setting and an energetic urban landscape makes Barnard College an ideal place for students to explore and grow in the field of entrepreneurship and leadership.

The campus itself is a haven of green spaces, historic buildings, and state-of-the-art facilities, fostering a nurturing environment for young entrepreneurs. It provides an intimate community feel within the vastness of New York City, allowing students to focus on their learning and development while still having access to the endless possibilities that the city has to offer.

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College offers a unique setting that combines the best of both worlds: a peaceful, inspiring campus and the excitement and resources of one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

Making the Most of Your Time at the Athena Summer Innovation Institute: Tips for Success in Short-Term Programs

Participating in a short-term summer program like the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College can be an enriching experience. To ensure you gain the most from this opportunity, it’s important to approach it with intention and strategy. Here are some effective ways to optimize your experience:

A. Set Clear Goals

Identify Your Objectives: Before the program starts, determine what you want to achieve. Are you looking to develop specific skills, gain knowledge in a particular area, or build your network? Setting clear objectives helps you navigate the program with purpose and ensures you focus on what matters most to you.

Align Goals with Program Offerings: Understand the program’s curriculum and offerings and align your goals accordingly. This will help you stay focused and make the most of the resources available. Review the program schedule in advance and identify sessions that align with your objectives.

B. Engage Actively in Learning

Participate Enthusiastically: Actively participate in classes, workshops, and group discussions. Engagement is key to deep learning and helps in retaining information. Your active participation also enriches the experience for others, fostering a dynamic learning environment.

Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Curiosity drives learning and understanding, and it shows your instructors and peers that you are actively involved. Asking questions can also lead to deeper discussions and insights.

C. Network and Build Relationships

Connect with Peers: Your fellow participants can be valuable resources during and after the program. Collaborate on projects, exchange ideas, and build friendships. These relationships can evolve into future collaborations or support networks.

Seek Mentorship: Take advantage of opportunities to interact with mentors and guest speakers. Their insights and advice can be invaluable for your personal and professional growth. Don’t be afraid to ask for their contact information for future correspondence.

D. Apply Learning Practically

Participate in Projects: Apply what you learn in real-time by actively participating in any projects or simulations. This practical application helps solidify theoretical knowledge and gives you a sense of how concepts are applied in real-world scenarios.

Reflect on Learnings: Regularly reflect on what you have learned and how it applies to your future goals. This reflection deepens understanding and aids in knowledge retention. It also helps in identifying areas where you may need further exploration or study.

E. Maintain a Balanced Approach

Balance Learning with Well-being: While immersing yourself in learning, don’t forget to take care of your well-being. Ensure adequate rest, nutrition, and relaxation to keep your mind fresh and active. Remember, a well-rested mind is more receptive to learning.

Manage Time Effectively: With the condensed nature of summer programs, effective time management is crucial. Prioritize your activities and create a balance between learning, networking, and personal time. Avoid overcommitting to ensure you get the most from each aspect of the program.

F. Document and Reflect

Keep a Journal: Document your experiences, learnings, and insights. This not only serves as a wonderful memory but also helps in reflecting on your growth and learning. Writing down your experiences can provide clarity and solidify your understanding.

Plan Post-Program Action Steps: Towards the end of the program, think about how you will use your new skills and knowledge. Plan steps to continue learning or to apply your knowledge in school or other areas of interest. Setting post-program goals can help maintain the momentum gained during the institute.

G. Stay Connected Post-Program

Maintain Relationships: Keep in touch with your peers and mentors. Networking doesn’t end with the program; these connections can be beneficial throughout your academic and professional journey. Regular check-ins and updates can keep these relationships strong.

Engage with Alumni Networks: Join and actively participate in any alumni networks or groups associated with the program. These networks can offer ongoing support, resources, and opportunities. They can also be a great way to stay informed about future events and developments.

By following these approaches, you can maximize the benefits of your participation in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute and similar short-term educational programs. Remember, the value you gain from these experiences depends not just on what is taught but also on how you engage with and apply the learning.

Language teacher having a discussion with her students in a classroom.

When Does the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College Take Place?

The program typically occurs during the summer months. Exact dates vary yearly, so refer to the institute’s website for the most current information.

In 2022, the institute took place on Barnard’s campus in July/August, with 40 high school girls worldwide participating!

How Long Is the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College?

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute, hosted by Barnard College, is a comprehensive 10-day program specifically designed for young women. This boot camp-style course focuses on imparting practical skills and essential knowledge in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation.

It offers an immersive learning experience where participants can deeply engage with the core aspects of starting and managing innovative ventures. This program is tailored to equip aspiring female entrepreneurs with the tools and insights necessary to succeed in the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of business and innovation.

Celebrating Diversity and Fostering Inclusion in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute Community at Barnard College

At the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, diversity and inclusion aren’t just concepts; they are integral parts of the community’s ethos. Recognizing the value of varied perspectives and backgrounds, the program is committed to creating an environment where every participant feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique ideas and experiences. Here’s how the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College embraces and promotes these vital principles:

A. Embracing Cultural Diversity

Global Perspectives: The institute actively seeks to attract students from diverse cultural, geographic, and socio-economic backgrounds. This melting pot of perspectives enriches the learning experience as students bring different viewpoints and ideas to the table.

Cultural Exchange Programs: Through various activities and discussions, students are encouraged to share their cultural heritage and learn about others. This not only fosters mutual respect but also broadens horizons and enhances global awareness.

Curriculum Inclusivity: The program’s curriculum is designed to include case studies and examples from diverse cultures and business practices, ensuring that students see the global applicability of the concepts they learn.

B. Prioritizing Inclusivity

Safe and Welcoming Environment: The institute prioritizes creating a space where all students feel safe, welcomed, and free to express themselves. This includes zero tolerance for discrimination and a strong emphasis on respect and empathy.

Supportive Resources: To support a diverse student body, the program offers resources like language assistance, accessibility services, and cultural sensitivity training for staff and students.

Inclusive Activities: Group activities and projects are designed to ensure everyone’s participation and to value each student’s contribution, promoting teamwork and collaboration among a diverse group of individuals.

C. Encouraging Diverse Voices in Entrepreneurship

Guest Speakers and Mentors: The institute invites entrepreneurs and business leaders from a variety of backgrounds to share their stories and insights, providing students with role models and diverse success stories in the field of entrepreneurship.

Empowering Underrepresented Groups: Special emphasis is placed on empowering students from groups traditionally underrepresented in entrepreneurship. This includes workshops and discussions on overcoming barriers and creating equitable opportunities in the business world.

D. Building a Community Beyond the Program

Alumni Networks: The institute fosters a strong alumni network that supports past participants in their ongoing endeavors. This network serves as a platform for continued learning, mentorship, and collaboration among a diverse group of alumni.

Ongoing Engagement: Post-program events and activities are organized to maintain the spirit of diversity and inclusion, allowing the community to continue growing and supporting each other beyond the program’s duration.

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College is not just about imparting knowledge in entrepreneurship; it’s about building a community that values and celebrates diversity, fosters inclusivity, and prepares young women to be global leaders who appreciate and leverage the richness of diverse cultures and ideas.

a female student studying all night

Choosing Undergraduate Degrees After the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College

If you’re considering further education after participating in the Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College, there are several undergraduate degree programs that align well with the interests and skills developed during this pre-college program. These programs help you build on the foundation you’ve established in entrepreneurship and innovation. Here are some undergraduate degrees to consider:

Business Administration or Management: A degree in Business Administration or Management can offer comprehensive knowledge of business operations, strategic planning, and organizational leadership. It’s ideal for those wanting a broad understanding of the business world, combined with the opportunity to specialize in areas like marketing, finance, or international business.

Entrepreneurship: Some colleges offer specific programs in Entrepreneurship that focus on new venture creation, business growth strategies, and innovative business models. These programs often include practical components like business plan development and startup incubation.

Economics: An Economics degree can provide deep insights into market dynamics, economic theories, and financial systems. This knowledge is crucial for understanding the broader economic context in which businesses operate.

Marketing: If you’re interested in the creative and strategic aspects of bringing products or services to market, a degree in Marketing could be a great fit. These programs often cover topics like consumer behavior, digital marketing, and brand management.

Finance: A Finance degree offers in-depth knowledge about investment, capital management, and financial analysis. This is particularly relevant for those interested in the financial aspects of entrepreneurship, such as startup funding, venture capital, and financial planning.

Information Technology or Computer Science: With the increasing role of technology in business, degrees in IT or Computer Science can be highly beneficial. They provide skills in software development, data analysis, and digital innovation, all of which are valuable in today’s tech-driven entrepreneurial landscape.

Social Entrepreneurship or Nonprofit Management: For those interested in using entrepreneurial skills for social change, programs in Social Entrepreneurship or Nonprofit Management can be fitting. These focus on creating and managing ventures that address social issues.

International Business: This degree is suited for those interested in global business operations. It covers international trade, global marketing strategies, and cross-cultural management, providing a broader perspective on business in a global context.

Communication Studies: Effective communication is key in entrepreneurship. A degree in Communication Studies can hone your skills in corporate communication, public relations, and media strategy, all of which are essential in business leadership and innovation.

Design Thinking or Product Design: If your interest lies in the innovative aspect of product development, degrees in Design Thinking or Product Design can be ideal. These programs focus on creative problem-solving, user experience, and product innovation.

Each of these programs offers unique perspectives and skills that can build upon the knowledge and experiences gained from the Athena Summer Innovation Institute, preparing you for a successful career in various fields of business and innovation.

Final Thoughts

The Athena Summer Innovation Institute at Barnard College offers a remarkable opportunity to develop your skills, connect with peers and professionals, and gain insights into innovation and leadership. With its engaging curriculum, hands-on approach, and inspiring setting, this program is an invaluable stepping stone for your future. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this extraordinary experience!

Looking for expert advice on pre-college program applications? Turn to college admissions experts like AdmissionSight. Our extensive experience has guided many students towards securing spots in prestigious universities worldwide. Begin your educational journey with confidence – schedule a consultation with us today!



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