Be bold

Be Bold. Be Inspired. Be a Leader.

Two Weeks All-Inclusive on Campus.  Leadership Certificate. World-Class Women Speakers,
Q&A, Photo-Ops. Dorm Life. Adventures. All Girls.

Leadership Summer Camp for Teen Girls
June 16 - 29, 2024

Welcome to the Young Women’s Leadership Institute at Saint Mary’s School. Our institute is dedicated to empowering high school girls by offering comprehensive leadership training and skill development. Join us as we guide the next generation of female leaders on their path to success.

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Empowerment Event

Duke University Curriculum

At our summer camp girls follow Duke University leadership curriculum led by Dr. Molly Goldwasser and learn from profoundly successful women leaders who speak and interact directly with them. Girls earn an official Leadership Certificate from Saint Mary’s School.

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Friendships and Connection YWLI is a summer camp for girls where lifelong friendships are formed. Through two-weeks of on-campus dorm life and world-class leadership curriculum, teen girls have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds and create bonds that last a lifetime.
Exciting Activities From outdoor adventures like high and low forest ropes courses, to meeting and learning from famous leading women, there’s never a dull moment at our summer camp for high school girls. Our diverse range of activities ensures that every young women finds something they love, while learning to lead.
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Profound Experiences

Summer camp isn’t just about having fun (although we have a lot of it); it’s also about personal growth. Saint Mary’s School’s Young Women’s Leadership Institute provides world-class opportunities for self-reflection, goal-setting, and learning life skills that will benefit campers long after they leave.

What to Expect

The Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) is a dynamic and transformative two-week girls only summer camp designed to inspire and equip young women with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to become leaders in their communities and beyond. Girls will learn from Duke University Leadership Staff in the first half of the day, and then experience awe-inspiring leadership life stories, Q&A, and photo-ops with women who have risen to some of the highest ranks in the world. Girls will receive a certificate from Saint Mary’s School and will be able to use this experience in life and to boost college and university applications.

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Explore the great outdoors with thrilling activities including a high-low ropes canopy course, escape rooms, and professional sports games.

Expectation Workshops


Connect your creativity to leadership in arts, music, performing arts, writing and team challenges.

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Learn the value of teamwork and how to lead in teams with collaboration through group challenges and games.

Expectation Workshop

Self Discovery

Discover your strengths, passions, and values in a supportive and encouraging environment.

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Form lasting friendships and connect with other teens from around the US and world who share your interests.

Expectation Seminars


Unlock and nurture your daughter’s leadership abilities with our specialized Duke leadership training sessions and the opportunity to interact with world-class women leaders within our girls-only summer camp. Join us this summer for an unforgettable journey of personal growth and empowerment.

Teen Girls Summer Camp

Held at Historic, All Girls, Saint Mary’s School in Downtown Raleigh, NC

2 Week Program

Campus Life, Dining Hall Meals, Activities, New Friends

DUKE University

World-Class Duke Curriculum & Saint Mary’s Leadership Programming

Global Student Representation

Young Women from Around the World Learning Together

Improve Your College Applications

Our Summer Camp can Improve University Applications

At the heart of YWLI’s mission are the core values of empowerment, equality, and leadership. We believe that when young women are given the tools and support they need, they can achieve greatness and break through barriers that may stand in their way. Our mission is to foster a generation of strong, compassionate, and effective female leaders who are ready to tackle the challenges of today’s world. These themes are taught throughout the two week sleepaway camp and at the end girls are awarded the prestigious Young Women’s Leadership Institute Certificate. These skills empower girls to rise to higher levels in all aspects of home, family, school, and life. The Young Women’s Leadership Institute Certificate is a strong addition to college and university applications.
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About the program

The Young Women’s Leadership Institute provides a world-class leadership experience for a globally diverse cohort of young women, including a dynamic and profound leadership curriculum, skill building, active reflection, and scenario-based collaboration opportunities.

The Young Women’s Leadership Institute is designed to provide an unparalleled opportunity for young women to expand their leadership skills and sense of civic responsibility as they consider their own character, leadership, and integrity. The selected cohort will actively participate in experiences designed to leverage their unique leadership capacities. The Institute is centered around exposure to a world class speaker series of talented and diverse women leaders who have made a difference in their field.

This program will challenge participants to embrace, explore and reflect on what women’ s leadership involves at the highest levels, with a view to changing the world that we live in.

Who should attend?

The material for Saint Mary’s YWLI is designed for high school girls in 9th-12th grade. The youngest group who can sign up for this experience are incoming 9th graders.

Students Who Attend the Young Women’s Leadership Institute Will…

Inspiration Workshop

Develop a critical understanding of the unique challenges

and opportunities faced by young women seeking leadership roles.

Leadership Workshop
Build a sense of self-identity and self-confidence in relation to their own leadership potential.
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Maximize the benefit of intergenerational learning and understanding the experiences of women in leadership positions.
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Students who attend Saint Mary’s Young Women’s Leadership Institute will benefit from the collective intelligence of a globally and culturally diverse cohort of leaders in responding to complex leadership scenarios.

Sponsored by

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Shandra Ross

Bio coming soon!

Anne Thompson

Anne Thompson is NBC News’ Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent. Her reports appear across all platforms of NBC News including “NBC Nightly News,” “Today,” MSNBC and NBCNews.com.

Thompson was tapped for this position in April 2007. Most recently, Thompson led coverage on the Gulf oil spill, covering all aspects of the crisis from beginning to when the well was finally killed. This extensive coverage made Thompson the NBC News Correspondent with the most airtime in 2010, according to the Tyndall Report. She traveled to Copenhagen to cover climate change negotiations, Greenland, Costa Rica, the Amazon, Australia

and Europe to cover such issues as alternative fuels, global warming, land usage and new technologies.

From March 2005 to April 2007, Thompson served as Chief Financial correspondent reporting on financial and economic news for NBC News. Thompson has reported on the economic impact of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the increased cost of health care and its impact on the economy, alternative fuel vehicles, identity theft, and the politics of the credit card industry. In addition, from a financial perspective, she covered the trials of Martha Stewart, Bernie Ebbers and Tyco.

In 2006, Thompson received the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award, and she was part of the “Nightly News” team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and the Emmy Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In 2004, she was awarded the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business and financial journalism for a series of reports that aired on “Nightly News” on the jobless economic recovery. She was also nominated for four business and financial news Emmys.

Thompson first joined NBC News in 1997 as a National correspondent, reporting on a variety stories including Daimler Benz’ takeover of Chrysler, the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., and the execution of Timothy McVeigh for “Nightly News,” “Today” and MSNBC.

Susan LaSalla

Susan LaSalla is a Raleigh. North Carolina native..a graduate of Broughton High School and High Point University. She has come home to roost after 55 years.During her 43 years at NBC News, she was a production assistant /assignment editor and then Field Producer in the Washington DC bureau.

Next was Field Producer and subsequently Bureau Chief in the NBC Chicago Bureau. NBC Miami/Central/South America was next stop as Bureau Chief and then back to Washington to serve as White House Producer. Upon doing a 15 month stint in Kuwait City, her last assignment was as Washington Senior TODAY SHOW producer for 13 years.

During these years, Susan covered 16 National Political conventions /8 Presidential Inaugurals/6 Presidential Funerals. She also covered the US military invasions of Grenada and Panama as well as the First/Second Gulf Wars. Upon retirement, Susan was awarded a two year Franklin Fellowship at the US State Department in the Chief of Protocol’s Office. She has worked as a Producer for NBC Sports for the last five Olympics.

Susan presently sits on General Hugh Shelton’s Leadership Council Board at North Carolina State University .

Ms. LaSalla is the great-aunt of Saint Mary’s students Dimney Rideout, a member of the graduating class of 2022, and Mary Susan Rideout, a member of the Class of 2024.

Janet Rapelye

Janet Rapelye served as Dean of Admission at Princeton University from 2003-2018. Prior to her leadership role at Princeton, Rapelye served as Dean of Admission for 12 years at Wellesley College. Earlier she worked in the admissions offices at Stanford University and Williams College. She has served on the board of trustees of The Principia Corporation, The Common Application and The College Board. She is a graduate of Williams College and holds a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University.


Dr. Elaine Wilson

Dr. Elaine Wilson was an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education until September 2022, and is now an Emeritus Fellow of Homerton College at the University of Cambridge. Elaine was a secondary school chemistry teacher in Bath and Cambridge and was awarded a Salters’ Medal for chemistry teaching. She has also received two career awards for teaching in Higher Education; the University of Cambridge Pilkington Teaching Prize, in recognition of excellence in University teaching and a National Teaching Fellowship in recognition of excellence in teacher education leadership.

Elaine led the professional EdD doctorate program at the Faculty of Education and continues to supervise international doctoral students. Her research interests are in Education Reform, Teacher Education and Wellbeing, and Digital Technology. Between 2012 and 2017, Elaine led teams from Cambridge University and the Centre of Excellence, Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools in Kazakhstan to develop and implement a three-level in-service programme of teacher development and the head teacher leadership program.

More recently Elaine has worked with teachers in India funded by the British Council and also developed a teacher led development program in Romania funded by the World Bank. Elaine also advises the Norwegian Research Council.

Elaine’s ongoing projects include collaborating with colleagues in Waseda University in Tokyo, liaising with teachers in Kazakhstan to populate the Camtree global platform and researching post Covid learning loss with the Information and Analytical Centre in Kazakhstan, funded by UNICEF.

Joan Higginbotham

A retired NASA astronaut, Joan Higginbotham is a trailblazing electrical engineer, who in December 2006, flew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery to become the third African American woman to travel into space. On the nearly 13-day mission, the seven-member crew continued construction of the International Space Station (ISS), embarking on four space walks with Higginbotham operating the station’s robotic arm.

Higginbotham utilizes the International Space Station as the backdrop for sharing insights and lessons learned during her 20-year distinguished career with NASA, while inspiring and captivating audiences with her personal journey of breaking barriers to boldly go where few have gone: space. In doing so, she highlights the keys to succeeding in her missions – including seizing opportunities, being prepared, perseverance, working with diverse teams, and thriving in demanding, high-stakes environments – as well as how these tactics can be applied to any endeavor.

A real-life rocket scientist, Higginbotham began her career at NASA in 1987 as an aerospace technologist at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, where she worked her way through numerous promotions and actively participated in 53 space shuttle launches during her 9-year tenure. Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in 1996, she reported to the Johnson Space Center and was assigned various technical duties including testing modules of the ISS for operability, compatibility, and functionality prior to launch. Higginbotham has logged more than 308 hours in space, retiring in 2007 after 20 years with NASA, joining Marathon Oil to manage their corporate social responsibility office and the Bioko Island Malaria Control Program in Equatorial Guinea, Africa.

Higginbotham has had a storied career, serving as director of open innovation at Collins Aerospace, sourcing cutting-edge technologies to close current technology gaps and meet future technology needs. Prior to that role, Higginbotham managed the relationships with governmental agencies and public and private companies involved in human space exploration and also served as director of corporate social responsibility. Preceding her time at Collins Aerospace, she held multiple director positions at Lowe’s Companies, Inc., leading their community relations, supplier diversity, and global sourcing efforts. In April 2022, she stepped out on faith, resigned from corporate America, and launched her own aerospace consulting firm, Joan Higginbotham Ad Astra LLC.

Widely recognized for her accomplishments, Higginbotham has been honored by President George W. Bush at the 81st White House Black History Month Celebration, featured in Alicia Keys’ Superwoman video, is the recipient of the National Space Medal, the Adler Planetarium Women in Space Award, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, and was named one of Savoy Magazine’s Top Influential Women in Corporate America and one of Essence Magazine’s Top 50 Women, among other accolades.

Born in Chicago, IL, Higginbotham received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIU-C), a Master of Science Degree in Management from the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), a Master of Science Degree in Space Systems from FIT, an Honorary Doctorate in Aerospace Science from SIU-C, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from the University of New Orleans.

Mary Whipple

Mary Whipple is a three-time Olympian; she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the London 2012 and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and winning Silver in her first appearance at the Athens 2004. She was the coxswain of the US Women’s 8+ Rowing Team. Her team was honored as the US Olympic Team of the Year in 2012 for their performance at the London Olympics. Mary has coxed the women’s team to five world championships.

She has been named one of the select 2012 US Olympic Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors speaking to youth about her passion for rowing and fulfilling her Olympic dreams. Mary has a master’s degree in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership from the University of Washington and graduated high school from Sacramento Adventist Academy.

She speaks to audiences about developing leadership techniques, the opportunities, and challenges of building a winning team including the transition from individual contributor on the team to being the team leader, and her journey as an Olympic athlete.


Dr. Kate Darling

A leading expert in robot ethics, Dr. Kate Darling is a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, where she investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction.

She explores the emotional connection between people and life-like machines, seeking to influence technology design and policy direction. Dr. Darling’s writing and research anticipate difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades.

Forever interested in how technology intersects with society, she has a background in law and economics as well as intellectual property. Dr. Darling has researched economic incentives in copyright and patent systems and has taken a role as intellectual property expert at multiple academic and private institutions. Named one of the “Women in Robotics You Need to Know About” by Robohub, she currently serves as intellectual property policy advisor to the director of the MIT Media Lab. She is also the author of the book The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals About Our Future with Robots, exploring how building diverse relationships with robots could be the key to making our future with robotic technology work.

Her passion for technology and robots has led her to interdisciplinary fields. After co-teaching a robot ethics course at Harvard Law School with Professor Lawrence Lessig, she increasingly works at the intersection of law and robotics, with a focus on legal and social issues. Dr. Darling is a former Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and the Yale Information Society Project, and is also an affiliate at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Dr. Darling’s work has been featured in Vogue, The New Yorker, The Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Boston Globe, Forbes, CBC, WIRED magazine, Boston Magazine, The Atlantic, Slate, Die Zeit, The Japan Times, and many more major publications and outlets. She is a contributing writer to Robohub and IEEE Spectrum and speaks and holds workshops covering some of the more interesting developments in the world of robotics, and where we might find ourselves in the future.

A’Lelia Bundles

A’Lelia Bundles is the author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker, a New York Times Notable Book about her entrepreneurial great-great-grandmother and the inspiration for Self Made, the fictional Netflix series starring Octavia Spencer. The Joy Goddess: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, the first major biography of her great-grandmother, will be published in summer 2024 by Scribner.
She is the founder of the Madam Walker Family Archives and serves on several nonprofit boards including the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute, the March on Washington Film Festival, Indiana Landmarks, the Women’s Suffrage National Monument Foundation and the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative.
A former network television executive and Emmy Award winning producer at ABC News and NBC News, she is chair emerita of the National Archives Foundation and a vice chair emerita of Columbia University.
@aleliabundles on Twitter and Instagram
www.aleliabundles.com and www.madamcjwalker.com

Maria Sharapova

International tennis sensation, Maria Sharapova, expanded her presence further in the sporting universe as she became an Olympic correspondent for NBC’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Games. Sharapova holds hometown hero status in her native Sochi and offered NBC viewers exclusive and personalized access to the Olympic Games in Russia. Sharapova is the winner of multiple Grand Slams in her career; Wimbledon (2004), US Open (2006), the Australian Open (2008) and French Open (2012 & 2014). During the Summer 2012 Olympic Games in London, she was awarded the Silver Medal for Women’s Singles Tennis.

Sharapova holds a number of firsts for her native Russia. She is the first Russian to win the Australian Open and the only Russian to win multiple Grand Slams. As an international icon, Sharapova garners worldwide press coverage - both on and off the court - with a dominating social media presence. She serves as an ambassador to many of the world’s top luxury brands and a number of Fortune 500 companies.

In 2012, Sharapova flexed her entrepreneurial muscles and debuted her eponymous couture candy collection, Sugarpova. A portion of Sugarpova’s proceeds go towards the Maria Sharapova Foundation, which helps children around the world achieve their dreams. In 2007, she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and has donated significant contributions to Chernobyl-related projects in her native country.

Sharapova enjoyed her transition from tennis champion to Founder and spoke to Inc. during the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference 2020 and on the Inc. Uncensored podcast about starting a company.

Maggie Kane

Maggie is the Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s pay-what-you-can nonprofit cafe. She graduated from NC State University in 2013 and began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. By befriending many people living on the margins, she saw the challenges of food insecurity as well as providing dignity to those in need. In February 2015, A Place at the Table was born and Maggie never looked back. Opening in January of 2018, Table has served thousands of people in Raleigh with a dignified and an affordable meal, together. Maggie has a heart to serve, a desire to always be inclusive, and a passion for loving people.

She lives in Raleigh, loves to jump rope, and eats a large amount of peanut butter. She loves hiking in the mountains, and all things sunflowers. You’ll find her watching movies at the theaters in those big comfy chairs, skydiving, or breaking away for a quick 2-day weekend trip.

Maggie is the Founder and Executive Director of A Place at the Table, Raleigh’s pay-what-you-can nonprofit cafe. She graduated from NC State University in 2013 and began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. By befriending many people living on the margins, she saw the challenges of food insecurity as well as providing dignity to those in need. In February 2015, A Place at the Table was born and Maggie never looked back. Opening in January of 2018, Table has served thousands of people in Raleigh with a dignified and an affordable meal, together. Maggie has a heart to serve, a desire to always be inclusive, and a passion for loving people.

She lives in Raleigh, loves to jump rope, and eats a large amount of peanut butter. She loves hiking in the mountains, and all things sunflowers. You’ll find her watching movies at the theaters in those big comfy chairs, skydiving, or breaking away for a quick 2-day weekend trip.

Deborah Ross

Congresswoman Deborah Ross is a civil rights advocate, a clean energy champion, a lawyer, and a proud North Carolinian. She was sworn into the House of Representatives on January 7, 2023 for her second term representing North Carolina’s Second Congressional District, which includes most of Wake County.

In Congress, Deborah is fighting for equality, justice, and progress. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee; the House Ethics Committee; the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology; and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. She is also a member of House Democrats’ leadership team, serving as a Chief Deputy Whip and on the Steering and Policy Committee.

In her first term, Deborah became a leading voice on issues ranging from women’s health and immigration reform to clean energy technology. In the 117th Congress, 11 pieces of Deborah’s legislation were signed into law, including bills to increase funding for sexual assault nurse examiners, enhance judicial ethics and transparency, and bolster North Carolina’s offshore wind energy potential.

Deborah grew up in a small town. The proud daughter of an Air Force veteran and an early childhood education teacher, her parents instilled in her the belief that with opportunity comes responsibility and that through public service she could help others and make a difference.

She graduated from law school at UNC-Chapel Hill and entered public service in 2002, when she ran for and won a seat representing Wake County in the North Carolina House of Representatives, where she went on to serve for more than a decade.

Dr. Valerie Hillings

Valerie Hillings, PhD, received her B.A. in art history from Duke University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

From 2004 to 2018, Hillings held progressively senior positions for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation and worked on projects for museums in its global constellation—Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas; and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice—and with partner institutions in Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. In November 2018 she became the 9th director and first female director of the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh, North Carolina. During her 5-year tenure, Hillings has reimagined the NCMA’s collection, adding key acquisitions and commissions and reinstalling the galleries to reflect a more inclusive view of art history.  Her vision for the Museum prioritizes multiple, diverse histories, voices, and perspectives and an emphasis on the unique intersection of art, nature, and people.

Angie Zhang

Recognized as an inquisitive and authentic musician, Angie Zhang is a unique 21st-century American artist, dedicated to the modern piano and fortepiano alike, who has boldly expanded her creative footprint to encompass conducting from the piano and entrepreneurial projects.

Praised as “warmly expressive, sensitive, and polished” as well as “a valuable advocate for classical music” by New York Concert Review, she has appeared in diverse venues including the Kennedy Center, LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Metropolitan Club.

Angie combines a decorated performance career with a focus on arts activism and interdisciplinary collaboration, and is one of a few concert pianists to win the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. She has won major prizes in international competitions, received grants and fellowships from an array of institutions, and is also a rare three-time winner of the Juilliard Concerto Competition.

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Dr. Eleanor Tomczyk

Dr. Eleanor Tomczyk is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and chemistry from Duke University and a medical degree from Pennsylvania State University. She completed a residency at the University of Massachusetts Division of Plastic Surgery and a fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Dr. Tomczyk specializes in breast reconstruction, transgender surgery, and general plastic surgery. Her research interests are related to quality improvement in the mastectomy and reconstruction surgical pathway and nerve reconstruction for patients that have mastectomies. She has received several awards for her contributions to resident and medical student education.  Dr. Tomczyk combines her personal and professional lives by mentoring women who want to be mothers and physicians, understanding the demands of both.  She is thrilled and honored to be a part of this year’s program and cannot wait to meet you all.


Gayle Lanier

Gayle Lanier has over 30 years of experience as a transformational business executive at Fortune 500 companies. She brings a wealth of experience combining a unique background in engineering, information technology, and regulated utilities, including strategic planning, research and development, technology development, project management, customer service, marketing, sales, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and operations. She has been instrumental in leading world-class organizations that have consistently exceeded revenue and earnings objectives.

She will discuss her path from the tobacco fields of NC to climbing windmills and how to be open to change and opportunities.

Jill Heinerth

More people have walked on the moon than visited many of the places Jill Heinerthhas explored on Earth. From the most dangerous technical dives deep inside underwater caves to swimming through giant Antarctic icebergs, Heinerth has been the hands and eyes of climatologists, archaeologists, biologists, and engineers worldwide. She was named the first Explorer-in-Residence of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and inaugural recipient of the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration. Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, National Speleological Society, WINGS WorldQuest and the Explorers Club, which recognized her work with the prestigious William Beebe Award for ocean exploration. The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times have lauded Jill’s best-selling memoir Into the Planet. Dolly Parton selected Jill’s book, The Aquanaut, for her Imagination Library program. Running Cloud Productions of Australia is currently filming a feature documentary that will be released in 2024.

Jane Singleton Myers ’92HS

Jane Singleton Myers became executive director for TreesCharlotte in May 2021, the first woman named to the organization’s history.  Prior to TreesCharlotte, Myers most recently served as executive director for The First Tee of Greater Charlotte, which under her leadership became a top 10 chapter among the organization’s 150 affiliates. 

Myers began her career in a most momentous way, working for Bank of America (NationsBank) during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.  In 1997, Myers settled into her new city of Charlotte to work for Raycom Sports.  In 1999, Myers took a role with UNC Charlotte as assistant director for alumni affairs.  Then in 2001, Myers returned to Bank of America for 14 years holding a diversity of roles that included finance, investment banking, human resources, marketing, communications and corporate services.

Myers is viewed as a transformational and strategic business leader with a proven history of delivering extraordinary results for corporate, government and nonprofit businesses. She has a proven track record with solving complex business challenges through broad based leadership competencies such as social intelligence, interpersonal skills, conflict management and decision-making. Her ability to collaboratively set and balance a solid strategy with tactical priorities while delivering required business outcomes to stakeholders, clients and team members sets her apart.

As TreesCharlotte’s executive director, Myers is working to evolve the 11-year-old nonprofit as the city faces significant population growth, aging trees and increased storms.

Myers grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC and graduated from Guilford College. She lives in Charlotte and enjoys spending time with her incredible husband, (step) daughter, (step) son, and dog.  They can often be found outdoors, traveling, spending time with family and friends, or watching the latest bingeworthy show.

About TreesCharlotte

TreesCharlotte is a public/private nonprofit collaboration to grow, diversify and steward the city’s iconic urban forest, as well as teach residents about the value of and care for trees. Learn more at TreesCharlotte.org.


Renee Chou

Renee Chou is a three-time, Emmy award-winning anchor and reporter for WRAL-TV News.She’s anchored WRAL’s Morning News -- the Triangle's most-watched morning newscast–for 10 years. You can wake up with her every weekday morning on WRAL from 4:30 to 7 a.m. and from 7 to 8 a.m. on Fox 50. She also anchors WRAL’s Noon Newscast, anchoring a total of 4.5 hours of live TV every day, in addition to special assignments, such as continuous severe weather coverage and the annual live broadcast of the Raleigh Christmas Parade.

Renee joined WRAL in October 2004 as a general assignment reporter. She served as the weekend morning anchor and weekend evening anchor before being promoted to anchor WRAL's flagship morning newscast in 2014.

Renee won a Regional Emmy for General Assignment Reporting in 2015. Her coverage of Hurricane Sandy earned her a Regional Emmy in 2014, as well as the distinction of “Best Weather Reporting” from the North Carolina Associated Press Broadcast Awards. She also won an Emmy in 2013 for her work on the Kathy Taft murder trial. Her reports have garnered awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas; Iowa Associated Press Broadcasters Association; and Missouri Broadcasters Association. Renee’s most memorable assignments include covering the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; the Final Four in Indianapolis when Duke won the National Championship in 2015, and hurricanes along the Outer Banks (Earl, Irene and Sandy.)

Prior to WRAL, she worked as an anchor/reporter for KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri. Renee earned her broadcast journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She’s a founding member and past president of the North Carolina chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association. She enjoys making community appearances throughout the year— from emceeing fundraisers and special events, to mentoring student journalists.

Originally from Michigan, Renee is happy to call Raleigh home with her husband, Mike, and daughter Elsa, who is 10.

Lieutenant Sarah Blake

Lieutenant Sarah Blake is an active duty officer in the United States Navy and currently serves as a Senate Liaison in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs.
Her primary responsibility is the planning and execution of international Congressional delegations.

Prior to her time working with Congress, she served with HELMARSTRIKERON FOUR NINE as a MH-60 Romeo helicopter pilot. As a Naval aviator and aircraft commander, she completed a seven month deployment to the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility and a four month deployment in support of the 2020 Rim of the Pacific international naval exercise.
Lieutenant Blake is a 2015 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a proud 2010 graduate of Saint Mary’s School. She is currently pursuing a dual-masters at Duke University with the Sanford School for National Security Policy and with the Pratt School for a Master’s of Engineering in Cybersecurity.
In her free time, you can find her on the golf course or out on the trails, training for her next marathon.