The Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 5 p.m. Friday, May 5, 2017





The Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship recognizes the contributions of retired Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce President Barbara McNees, who for decades actively encouraged and supported the development of women leaders across the Pittsburgh region. The scholarship, a competitive award, pays the recipient’s tuition for attendance to an executive education program at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business: the Carnegie Mellon Leadership & Negotiation Academy for Women. The academy was founded by the late 2011 ATHENA Award Recipient M.J. Tocci.

The Negotiation Academy consists of six two-day modules beginning in September 2017 and concluding in March 2018. Scholarship recipients need not be otherwise enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University. The deadline to apply for the scholarship for 2017-2018 is 5 p.m., Friday, May 5, 2017.




Rosamaria Cristello the 2016 Barbara McNees Scholarship Recipient

Rosamaria Cristello

2017 Recipient of the Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship

Rosamaria Cristello is the director of Latino Family Center in Hazelwood, one of 10 Allegheny Intermediate Unit facilities that provide families parent education, child development and school. A resident of Point Breeze, Cristello holds bachelor’s degrees in GIS mapping and environmental planning and development from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she directed a Latino student recruitment and retention effort. She is co-chair of Allegheny County’s Immigrants and Internationals Advisory Council.


Barbara McNee

Barbara McNees retired from the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce in 2013 after a career spent building consensus among business, community and civic leaders in the service of increasing economic opportunity across southwestern Pennsylvania. Among her lasting achievements has been the 1990 founding of the ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh, recognizing women who, through mentorship, help other women to succeed

Each year the Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship will provide one woman age 35 or younger the the opportunity to attend, tuition-free, the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women. (Part of the executive education program at CMU’s Tepper School of Business, the academy was founded by the late M.J. Tocci, the 2011 ATHENA Award winner.) The deadline to apply is July 29, 2016 for the academy session that begins Sept. 23, 2016. Learn more about the academy’s 100-hour certificate program here.


Eligibility Criteria
  • Female resident of the 10-county Pittsburgh region (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington or Westmoreland county)
  • Age 35 or younger at time of application
  • Minimum of eight years of professional work experience
  • Track record of:
    • Professional achievement
    • Community commitment and voluntarism in Pittsburgh region
    • Support of women and/or girls through mentoring or other involvement
    • Evidence of a financial hardship which would otherwise prevent applicant from attending the Negotiation Academy
Scholarship Requirements
  • Commitment to attend and participate in the six-month Negotiation Academy for the program year in which it is awarded
  • Commitment to attend the annual ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh Luncheon on Oct. 2, 2017 and be introduced as the Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship recipient
  • Commitment to serve as speaker or resource at a minimum of one additional ATHENA event to share “lessons learned”
  • Commitment to participate in a mutually agreed upon program with the scholarship’s lead sponsor

Founding Sponsors

In order to grant an annual Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship in perpetuity, the founding scholarship committee established a $300,000 fundraising goal. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development is the fiscal agent for the scholarship funds. The following individuals and organizations – all drivers in the region for advancing, attracting and recognizing female talent and leadership – supported the fund from its 2015 founding.


Inaugural Sponsor

Elsie H. Hillman Foundation

Prior to Elsie Hillman's passing in August 2015, she guaranteed the funding of the first Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship as the first individual to pledge financial support.

Founding Sponsors
  • UPMC and UMPC Health Plan
  • Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Highmark Health
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
  • Eat'n Park Hospitality Group, Inc.
  • Jones Day
  • Wendy & David Barensfeld Family Charitable Fund

ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh


About | ATHENA Award | ATHENA Scholarship | Past Recipients | Sponsors/Partners | Previous Events | Contact Us

footer logo