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Latina Youth Conference Oct. 14-15 at UW

October 10, 2016
head portrait of a woman
Sarah Ortegon is the keynote speaker for the 2016 Wyoming Latina Youth Conference Oct. 14-15 at the University of Wyoming. (James Ecoffey Photo)

More than 100 students from across the state are expected for the 2016 Wyoming Latina Youth Conference Oct. 14-15 at the University of Wyoming.

“Power of Choice” is the theme of this year’s conference. Events are scheduled in various buildings across campus.

The Wyoming Latina Youth Conference (WLYC) is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization focused on empowering at-risk young Latinas through mentorship and awareness. The conference targets fifth-12th-grade girls of Hispanic descent and attracts young Latinas throughout Wyoming.

After many years being held in Cheyenne, the conference has permanently moved under the wing of the UW Latina(o) Studies Program.

“UW Latina/o Studies Program has taken, under its fiscal umbrella, the WLYC. We are proud to do so, because it gives us great visibility throughout the state of Wyoming,” says Cecelia Aragon, Latina/o Studies Program director. “Also, we are embarking on a forthcoming statewide Science Initiative in recruiting women and minorities into the field of science. We are considered one of the largest minority initiatives to recruit high-performing Latina/o students to UW.”

The WLYC was founded 17 years ago by Cheyenne’s Ann Redman, president of Hispanic Organization for Progress and Education.

“As founder and chair of WLYC for the last 17 years, it has been an honor to work with so many amazing committee members, teen advisers and attendees. We have had outstanding keynote speakers, and I have learned so much from everyone who has played a part in the success of the conference,” Redman says. “I am grateful to the faculty at the University of Wyoming for understanding the importance of the conference and taking it under its wing. I’m grateful that the conference will continue its good work and continue to change the lives of our young Latinas.”

This weekend’s program features guest artist/actress Sarah Ortegon, of Denver, Colo., who is the keynote speaker for the conference’s banquet Friday, Oct. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Holiday Inn’s Brown and Gold Room. The event is open to the public at a cost of $40 per person. A dance follows the banquet at 8:30 p.m.

Ortegon is a former Miss Native American USA (2013-14) and has Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho roots in the Wind River Indian Reservation. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Metropolitan State College in Denver.

She started touring with the Native Pride Dancers soon after being named Miss Native American USA, traveling and performing the jingle dress dance in the United States, and also in Moldova, Europe and Guatemala.

Ortegon currently is pursuing an acting career, and was recently in a play in Denver, titled “Black Elk Speaks.” She was cast in the musical “Sitting Bull’s Last Waltz,” which recently premiered in Hollywood, Calif.

Conference attendees will have a full day of activities Saturday, Oct. 15, including workshops such as “Creativity” with Ortegon; “Setting Goals and Decision-Making”; “Imagination and Confidence Building”; “Mindful Thinking and Wellness”; a tour of the Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center with hands-on activities; a WyoMakers technology workshop; and a closing ceremony in the College of Education.

For more information about the WLYC, contact Aragon at (307) 766-4124 or

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