Our team is led by Stacy McKay Benander, a former university Study Abroad Director who founded Athena Study Abroad to directly serve the needs that she observed first-hand during her years of work in higher education.
While working at universities and seeing many of the same types of large, impersonal, American-centric study abroad programs offered to students, Stacy searched for something better and more authentic for her university students. Back in her own college days, Stacy, like her students, had been a small town girl looking for this type of program, and had experienced great difficulty finding a program that married small, quality, reputability, and immersion. Over a seemingly innocent California Pizza Kitchen date-night dinner with her husband in 2005, the lightbulb went off – if you can’t find these types of programs, why not build them yourself? And with that, Athena was born!