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March 5, 2022

9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Loyola Academy, 1100 Laramie Avenue in Wilmette

Theme: Unapologetically Me

The Young Women of Color Symposium is a leadership conference for 6th-12th grade, self-identified young women of color in the Chicagoland area. There are far too many spaces where women of color are not as celebrated or respected as they deserve. In order to protect, support, and empower young women of color, Loyola Academy and Francis W. Parker School have partnered together to create a space for conversation, connection, and community. This symposium is one step on the path to changing the narrative and encouraging the resilience of our voices.

Online registration is required and will open on January 31, 2022.
Individual registration is $45
School registration is $400 per groups of 10.

For more information, please contact

Keynote Speaker

List of 1 items.

  • Rosetta Lee

    Consultant, Educator and Activist in Seattle, Washington
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List of 1 news stories.

  • Loyola Co-Hosts Inaugural Young Women of Color Symposium

    On March 19–21, Loyola Academy and Francis W. Parker School in Chicago co-hosted the inaugural Young Women of Color (YWOC) Symposium, which led nearly two hundred 7th to 12th grade participants from twenty schools in a series of workshops, affinity groups sessions and activities that enabled students who self-identify as young women of color to explore and celebrate their identities.
    Read More

Previous Keynote Speakers

List of 3 items.

  • Sarah Culberson

    Sierra Leone Princess, Author, Humanitarian, Speaker
    As an infant, Sarah was given up to foster care and adopted by a loving white family in West Virginia. She grew up contemplating and dealing with questions about her identity and her biracial roots. After learning that her biological mother had died when she was just 11, she found out that her father lived in a village in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She learned that she was from a royal family, a Mahaloi, the granddaughter of a Paramount Chief, with the status of a princess. She also learned of the difficulties and privations of the people in Sierra Leone resulting from a brutal 11-year civil war that ended in 2002.

    More information available here.
  • Ruth Jurgensen

    CEO, Prep for Prep
    A passionate teacher and education leader, Ruth has more than a decade of experience serving in senior leadership positions at independent schools in New York City and Chicago. Prior to joining Prep for Prep, Ruth was Associate Principal at Francis W. Parker School, overseeing educational programs and operations for 900+ students in Chicago. She was a key member of its senior leadership team and created new initiatives including an endowed speaker series, and brought Dwight Vidale's Young Men of Color Symposium to the Midwest. Ruth has taught Prep for Prep students while at Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI), where she first served as an English teacher and later returned as High School Principal to oversee the expansion of the campus and student body.

    Ruth earned her BA in English Literature from Connecticut College and her MA in English and American Literature from Brown University. She founded the Administrators of Color in Independent Schools Conference and also serves on the board of The Dovetail Project, a nonprofit that helps young African-American and Hispanic men with fatherhood.
  • Mary Spio

    Deep Space Engineer and Founder, CEEK Virtual Reality
    Deep Space engineer and CEEK Virtual Reality Founder and CEO Mary Spio has created technologies and content solutions for global titans such as Lucas Films, Universal Music, Miami Children’s Hospital, Microsoft XBOX, Facebook, Clear Channel and Boeing. Mary is on the Board of Facebook’s Oculus VR for Good and Amazon’s Launchpad. A U.S. Air Force Veteran, Spio is also a scientific reviewer for the United States Department of Defense (DOD).

    CEEK is a streaming service for virtual events and experiences that enables live events and content creators to generate revenue by extending their reach across multiple devices including virtual reality headsets, gaming consoles, mobile, desktop, tablet and Smart TVs. The CEEK VR App and feature the biggest names in music, sports and entertainment including Lady Gaga, Dwyane Wade, Bon Jovi, Ringo Starr, Sarkodie, Demi Lovato, DL Hughley, Ziggy Marley and more.

    Mary Spio executive produced the Bob Marley 75th Anniversary Celebration Virtual Reality Experience and Livestream which is currently the #1 Livestream on Facebook. Spio holds several patents in real-time streaming and virtual reality technologies. Mary Spio is an accomplished novelist (A Song for Carmine) and Bestselling author of It’s Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Achieving Uncommon Success (Penguin Books), in which she shares inspirational stories to spur readers to move beyond their comfort zones into creating impact and significance through technology ventures. Spio has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Rolling Stone, Billboard and named history maker by NBC News alongside Oprah and Lebron James and Entrepreneur Magazine’s Power Women 100.

Loyola Academy

1100 Laramie Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-1089  |  847-256-1100
Loyola Academy admits students of any race, color and national origin or ethnic origin.
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