Founded by & for Women in STEM


Athena's Mission

Promote professional growth for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)-related industries.

About Athena

Athena San Diego is a 501(c)(6) professional development association serving women in science and technology. Athena is a community of dynamic women that provides inspiration, education, networking and leadership programs that empower women to realize their true potential within STEM industries. 

Athena members come from all sectors of STEM organizations, including life sciences, healthcare, defense, engineering and related industries, as well as the service providers who support them. Athena represents senior executives, entrepreneurs, educators, and emerging executives, Athena supports members at the top of their field while paving the way for those on their way up.

Our History

In 1999, no organization  existed to support and develop executive women within the San Diego STEM community. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Athena was born of pure necessity. In a time when a handful of remarkable executive women felt they lacked support and  understanding in male dominated industries, they came together and became the innovators. 

Nearly 20 years later, the "Athena Effect " is still strong. We are proud to hold our place at the forefront of Southern California innovation. Our members run the gamut from tech entrepreneurs to CEOs of life science companies, who all benefit from gold-standard professional and personal development programs that remain true to the original vision.


  • Athena San Diego began as an informal networking group for women members of what was then known as UCSD CONNECT (now CONNECT), San Diego’s innovative program for entrepreneurship.
  • Athena San Diego became a formal, membership-based organization in 1998, open to women executives at CONNECT member companies.
  • In 2001, Athena San Diego became a stand-alone, membership based organization under the auspices of UCSD Extension and later UCSD/Rady School of Management.
  • Athena Foundation was established in 2001 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to award scholarships to young women who demonstrate exemplary skills in science and technology.
  • In 2008, the organization became an independently operated non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. 
  • Most recently, Athena has expanded its support to include extraordinary women leaders in the defense and healthcare industries, entrepreneurs and educators in STEM. Athena San Diego serves all of southern California.
Learn How to Join Athena San Diego

"The most important benefit of Athena membership is the power of the network - the opportunity to meet a diverse group of women from many different companies and industries - to learn from each other, to develop both life-long friendships and important business relationships."  Barbara Bry, Athena Founder

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