The Athena Program is working towards a world where gender does not determine your confidence, aspirations, and opportunities in life.

Application Information:

To enroll in Athena as a mentor or a mentee, email

Student Director Contact Information:

Staff Contact Information:

Nicole Young


The Athena Program strives to empower young women in the Boston and Cambridge areas. Athena draws upon the energy and strength of high school and undergraduate students of all genders to inspire community, leadership, and activism around gender issues. Through mentoring relationships, workshops, and conferences, the Athena Program provides a validating and supportive space to combat structural and internalized oppression. Athena works towards a world where gender does not determine your confidence, aspirations, and opportunities in life.


Athena Mentoring aims to unite young women from underserved communities in the greater Boston and Cambridge areas with undergraduate mentors who support and challenge each other in discussion and skill building around gender empowerment, community leadership, and youth activism.

Athena Mentoring brings together undergraduate mentors and high school mentees for weekly workshops on gender empowerment, leadership development, and social justice. These workshops occur on Saturdays from 1 to 3 pm on the Harvard campus.


Athena holds two conferences each year for high school students interested in learning more about issues of gender and sexuality. The conference is free for all students, and breakfast and lunch are provided.

History of The Athena Program

Athena began in 1993, when a group of Harvard women hosted an event for high school women known as the Lighthouse Conference. This conference became a yearly tradition and was renamed the Athena Conference after the Greek goddess of wisdom and justice. At its peak, more than 100 high school women attended the conference each year and participated in workshops in a variety of gender-focused topics.

After a two-year hiatus, the Athena Conference returned in 2008 as an initiative of the Harvard College Women’s Center. Two Athena Conferences were held during the next year, beginning the practice of holding a December (fall) conference and an April (spring) conference. In order to reach students from more diverse backgrounds, admission fees were abolished and non-female identifying students were first invited to attend. Currently, approximately 50 students attend the conference each semester.

Athena Mentoring began in fall 2009 with 15 students from seven high schools in Boston, Cambridge, and surrounding areas. With the addition of the mentoring component, the Athena Program joined the Phillips Brooks House Association.

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