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Girls empowerment nonprofit Athenian moves headquarters to Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE – Do not believe French racer Jean Girard from the movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”

France did not invent democracy. Neither did America, though the fledgling country got the jump on the Europeans in embracing that form of government in the later part of the 18th century.

It was the Athenians, in ancient Greece, who created the first true democracy in 500 B.C. It was a new type of government where every citizen could vote on important issues. By comparison, America is a republic operating as a representative democracy.

And it was the goddess Athena who gave the company Athenian and its website BeAthenian.org, a private “girls only” STEM/STREAM nonprofit 501(c)3 that moved from Southern California to Huntsville this month, its name. 

Athena, a creation of Greek Mythology, was born fully grown with a suit of armor, was motherless and sprang from the head of Zeus. She symbolizes reason, intelligence, and rational thinking; is the patron goddess of heroes and warriors; goddess of crafts; and aids and protects famous heroes like Perseus, Odysseus, and Hercules, among other powers. Athens, Greece was named in her honor.

That was then.

Today, self-styled trailblazing Athenian is bringing the ethos of democracy developed over two millennia. The nonprofit, which began as two-fold Club Athena and Athena Racing with a heavy emphasis on car racing and related disciplines, was launched four years ago and seeks to empower young female students with an emphasis on DEI – Diversity, Equality and Inclusion initiatives – in the field of transportation and to reach for higher-income careers.

The company’s mantra is “Racecars to rockets.’’ Membership information or to make a tax-free donation visit www.beathenian.org.

“At BeAthenian.org, we believe in nurturing curiosity and fostering innovation,’’ Loxley Browne, founder and CEO, said. “The move to Huntsville marks a pivotal moment in our journey, allowing us to leverage the incredible resources and expertise available in this region. We are excited to collaborate with the exceptional companies in the Tennessee Valley and surrounding areas to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, and innovators.’’

Athenian not only promotes the educational ideal of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but adapts the added research and arts components to its STREAM program.

A snapshot of the organization:

  • An online extracurricular girls-only club
  • Career exploration with insights from industry experts
  • A private social network for members only
  • A recruitment firm that will help you to stand out amongst your peers
  • The shop where you get your hands dirty building things you only imagined in your dreams

The company’s biography states: “BeAthenian.org is a leading organization in STREAM education, dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. Through immersive programs that span from racecars to rockets, Athenian aims to bridge the gap between various STREAM careers, preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of the future. With a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Athenian strives to create a world where female students have access to the opportunity to pursue high-income career fields.’’

In a press release announcing its arrival in Huntsville, BeAthenian.org says it’s now at the “epicenter of innovation, providing easy access to the headquarters of major auto manufacturers, leading rocket manufacturers, Redstone Arsenal, FBI, and NASA. This strategic relocation signifies the company’s commitment to building a robust footprint that extends across Huntsville, Atlanta, and Nashville—cities renowned for their high-tech landscapes and dynamic communities.’’

Athenian’s mission is to put young girls in the driver’s seat to explore careers and develop skills needed in the transportation sector – everything from racecars to rockets – offering students an unparalleled journey through the world of STREAM.

BeAthenian.org further states that with a focus on growth and scaling “the organization aims to inspire and prepare the workforce of the future, aligning with the high-tech families who have relocated to the Tennessee Valley region to work for cutting-edge companies.’’

Athenian has challenges and competitions to provide real-life experiences over a broad spectrum of STREAM-related career paths that allow members a chance to “create relevant and vibrant high school resumes.’’

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