Featured SU Alumni: Mary Spio

Mary Spio

Mary Spio is an alumnus of Syracuse University and also a military veteran. You should know her story, because it’s a Syracuse University story—one that speaks to our past, our present, and our future.

Mary Spio ‘98 was born and raised in Ghana. She moved to Syracuse when she was 16 years old. She graduated from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1998. Spio pursued a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from Georgia Tech. 

Between 1989 and 2005 Spio enlisted into the Air Force as a Wideband/Satellite Communications Technician. Her transition from the Air Force to engineering was sparked by a colleague who noticed her technical abilities. In the Miami Herald she says, “It was when I was in the Air Force that an engineer pulled me aside and told me I was really great at fixing electronics; and that I should look into becoming an engineer. I did, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done.”

After serving six years in the Air Force and studying at Syracuse University and Georgia Tech, Spio began working at a satellite communications firm. She had the opportunity to design and launch satellites into deep space on a NASA project. Spio’s work with NASA, led her to become the Head of Satellite Communication Systems for The Boeing Corporation. Her technology influenced major motion picture distributions through satellite technology.

Mary Spio is currently the CEO and president of CEEK VR Inc., a developer of innovative virtual and augmented reality content solutions and experiences. Her companies have created content and technologies used by such global titans as Lucasfilm, Universal Music Group, Miami Children’s Hospital, Microsoft XBOX, Tribune News, Clear Channel and Boeing.

Spio holds several patents in real-time streaming and virtual reality technologies. Spio is an accomplished novelist and screenwriter (“A Song for Carmine”) and bestselling author (“It’s Not Rocket Science: 7 Game-Changing Traits for Achieving Uncommon Success”), in which she shares inspirational stories meant to spur readers to move beyond their comfort zones to create impact and significance.

An innovation and entrepreneurship evangelist, Spio works with the U.S. Department of State in a global innovation and entrepreneurship outreach program. Spio’s visionary work has earned her the Yueh-Ying Hu Memorial National Award for Innovation, the Boeing Outstanding Achievement in Electrical Engineering Award and Essence magazine’s New Power Generation Award. Along with Oprah Winfrey, Spio landed on NBC News’s 100 History Makers in the Making. In 2017, Spio was named a recipient of the Arents Award, Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor. Spio currently serves on the advisory boards of Amazon and Oculus VR for Good.