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Meet: Caitlin Maloney…and ATHENA

Class: 2016

Major: Political Science (Pre-law)

Minors: Legal Studies and Public Policy

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

1. What do you do on campus? 

I work in the Admissions Office as a Greeter, I lector at Catholic Mass for Catholic Campus Ministry, I volunteer with the Headstart program at the local Lewisburg Community Children’s Center, I am a member of the Club Tennis team (and patiently awaiting warmer weather for practice to begin) and am a member of Colleges Against Cancer. I am also the founder and president of the new student organization, ATHENA.

2. For those who don’t know, what exactly is ATHENA?

ATHENA is Bucknell’s student organization that is dedicated to fostering women leadership and empowering women on campus. We are a chapter of the international organization, ATHENA International, which is dedicated to supporting, developing, and honoring women leaders; inspiring women to achieve their full potential; and creating balance in leadership worldwide. We received a license from their organization to operate our own branch of ATHENA here at Bucknell, which largely entails utilizing their leadership model consisting of eight attributes to cultivate female leadership on campus. These eight attributes are: Authentic Self, Relationships, Giving Back, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy. As part of our effort to give back, the ATHENA club is partnered with the YWCA, a national organization dedicated to empowering women and eliminating racism. Our partnership with the YWCA involves providing volunteers and fundraising to the women living at the shelter at the YWCA in Williamsport.

The second piece of our mission is to provide an outlet for female leaders on campus to consider concerns about gender relations and equality in our community and in the workforce. Our meetings will serve as biweekly forums to discuss prevalent issues, host guest speakers, and plan events to spark significant change in the local community.

3. How did you get involved with ATHENA and what propelled you to start a chapter at Bucknell?

Since freshman year, I have made sure to contribute to many different types of organizations here on campus, but have always been aware of the fact that there was no group specifically dedicated to developing women leaders. During winter break of my sophomore year, I spent more time investigating how to create a space for women leaders at Bucknell and after a few hours of rearranging subject lines in the Google Bar, I found ATHENA as one of the top searches for women leadership groups.

The second semester of my sophomore year was spent going back and forth with the organization to obtain the license. Once I got that and the CAP Center’s support, I began to mold the club to fill the gap that I thought existed in Bucknell Student Organizations.  I was abroad in the fall and so this is the first semester that ATHENA has truly been in operation on campus, but so far, our progress is promising and we are all excited about the potential that ATHENA has as a Bucknell Student Org.

4. How do you suggest interested Bucknellians should go about getting involved with Bucknell’s ATHENA?

As a new student group, we welcome any undergraduate student interested in women leadership to join! We hold meetings on Mondays at 7pm in Walls Lounge in the LC. We also have our first event coming up, our YWCA Clothing Drive. This event is really exciting for us because the YWCA has previously been looking for an outlet to acquire women’s clothing for the early twenties demographic, and we are really pleased that we have the opportunity to provide this to these women. We are hosting the event after spring break and suggest anyone willing to contribute clothing or to help coordinate the event to contact us!

5. How do you see ATHENA growing on Bucknell’s campus and how do you see Bucknell itself growing due to ATHENA’s presence?

Because this is our first semester, we are still really working on gaining a dedicated membership and getting the organization off the ground, but we all see tremendous opportunity for the organization to grow at Bucknell. Initially, we want to spark campus discussion and knowledge of female empowerment and leadership. Eventually, we will be hosting women in leadership roles to speak about their journey to empowerment. It is our hope that ATHENA can be a focal organization for all students on campus who want to promote women as leaders in our community.

This year, we are partnering with the Women’s Resource Center to create an art piece to display in the LC during Women’s History Month. We are also bringing ATHENA members to volunteer for and run in the YWCA’s 5k “Race Against Racism” in April and hope to get other student groups to partner with us for this event. In the future, we see ATHENA growing to have a greater presence on Bucknell’s campus. With this growth, we hope that we can bring more awareness to issues about female empowerment on campus and in the world at large. We also hope to continue to make a significant impact in our partnership with the YWCA.

I think that this program could be really beneficial to grow Bucknell at large because we are one of the first colleges to partner with ATHENA and as they expand their efforts to create partnerships with more colleges, Bucknell’s division of ATHENA will provide a model for those future partnerships.

6. If you could host anyone as part of a lecture sponsored by ATHENA who would it be and why?

It’s a toss-up between Ellen DeGeneres and Emma Watson. Ellen DeGeneres because she is awesome, and who wouldn’t want to hear a lecture given by her? And I’d invite Emma Watson because she has made such wonderful contributions to addressing women’s issues with her #heforshe campaign.

7. And if you could make a hashtag embodying ATHENA’s goals, values, and leadership–inspired by recent campaigns like #HeforShe and #AskHerMore–what would it be and why?

I have a few ideas on this…#womenforwomen; #empowerher; #sheleads are all hashtags that I think symbolize the goals and values of ATHENA at Bucknell. This organization is all about working together to encourage fellow women to be their best selves and find their voice as leaders, and each of these hashtags really address the significance of focusing on developing female leaders.

8. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I am taking the LSAT in three months (fingers-crossed!) and plan to go to law-school directly from Bucknell. Hopefully, in ten years I’ll be using that degree at a firm. I think that my involvement with ATHENA and my passion for women empowerment is something that will always stick with me and something I hope to incorporate into my future career in law.

Quick q’s:

One word of advice for women on becoming leaders: Negotiate!Snapchat or Instagram? Snapchat (see fun facts).Three fun facts:

  1. I don’t have an Instagram
  2. I’ve been to eight countries in the last six months (accredited to being abroad in Dublin last semester.
  3. When I was coming to Bucknell to start my freshman year of college, my youngest brother was still in preschool! 

Find out more about ATHENA here: 

Elizabeth is a senior at Bucknell University, majoring in English and Spanish. She was born and raised in Northern New Jersey, always with hopes of one day pursuing a career as a journalist. She worked for her high school paper and continues to work on Bucknell’s The Bucknellian as a senior writer. She has fervor for frosting, creamy delights, and all things baking, an affinity for classic rock music, is a collector of bumper stickers and postcards, and is addicted to Zoey Deschanel in New Girl. Elizabeth loves anything coffee flavored, the Spanish language, and the perfect snowfall. Her weakness? Brunch. See more of her work at www.elizabethbacharach.wordpress.com 
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