Emerging Leaders


The Emerging Leaders program at PennWest Edinboro focuses on cultivating the next generation of women leaders through an impactful leadership development and awards program.

Through its partnership with ATHENA International, Emerging Leaders brings female students together with female leaders from business, industry and nonprofit organizations to learn from each other and apply their learning in both educational and professional contexts. By participating in the program, students gain an increased sense of self as a leader, gain leadership competence critical to personal and career success, and map out a personal pathway for further leadership growth.

The ATHENA Leadership Model

The Emerging Leaders program integrates the ATHENA Leadership Model into a series focused on eight principles of leadership that help prepare women to be successful leaders in the 21st century:

Each year, several PennWest Edinboro students partner with a team of external facilitators to explore the eight tenants of the ATHENA leadership model through discussion and reflection.

When PennWest Edinboro started its ATHENA Emerging Leaders program in 2017, it was one of the first four higher-education institutions to launch a chapter of this prestigious female leadership program. During the 2018-2019 academic year, 20 Edinboro women actively participated in Emerging Leaders events and programming.

Membership is open to all Edinboro women who have achieved a minimum 3.0 GPA, demonstrated leadership and/or campus involvement, and obtain a recommendation from a University faculty or staff member.

ATHENA International is a global organization dedicating to developing, supporting and honoring women leaders by offering impactful leadership development and award programs. The vision of ATHENA International is to create balance in leadership worldwide.

Edinboro Student Wins ATHENA Erie Young Professional Award

ATHENA Award WinnerSilenia Guerrero-Vasquez, an PennWest Edinboro student majoring in Social Work and Criminal Justice, was named the 2019 recipient of the ATHENA Erie Young Professional Award. Guerrero-Vasquez is the first PennWest Edinboro student to earn the regional award.

A vocal advocate for students – particularly on the issues of community development and the needs of underrepresented minority students – Guerrero-Vasquez holds professional leadership positions with several campus organizations including the “Take a Stand against Sexual Violence” Club, Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Workers and Latino Student Organization.

"As a first-generation college student, I really value the experiences that I have been able to gain at Edinboro,” said Guerrero-Vasquez, who also minors in Sociology and Psychology and serves as a representative on the University-wide Strategic Planning Committee. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the female leaders who facilitated the ATHENA Connections program at Edinboro, my professors and all of the others who have shown me how to become a leader."

For more information, visit athenainternational.org or contact Monica Clem at MCLEM@pennwest.edu or 814-732-1460.

Contact Us

Timothy Few, PhD
Associate Professor
108 Hendricks Hall
Email: wfew@pennwest.edu

James Daniel Fisher, JD, PhD
Reeder Hall
Email: jdfisher@pennwest.edu

Melissa Gibson, PhD
Professor, Graduate Program Head, Department Internship Coordinator
202 Compton Hall
Email: mgibson@pennwest.edu