Summer Search




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First-generation college students



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Latest News and Events

BOLD_2016_group photo2017 Boston Leadership Dinner
Save the Date! May 11, 2017

You don't want to miss our biggest event of the year! Save the date now for the 2017 Summer Search Boston Leadership Dinner at the Westin Copley Place on Thursday, May 11. RSVP today!

Francisco_SS blog_2What Altruism Means to Me: a Reflection of a Boston Alumnus

Summer Search Boston Alumnus Francisco Rodriguez wrote an email to staff member Ines Ariceta and Seth Ellis about a discussion on altruism, success, and how Summer Search has helped to shape his view of the world.
Read the full post here!

Hermese_new EDMeet Summer Search Boston's New Executive Director, Hermese Velasquez!

Hermese is a well-known leader in the Summer Search Community - from her work as an alumn, to Chair of the Alumni Board, to serving on the Boston Board of Directors. Now, she takes on her most exciting role yet, as Boston's Executive Director!

She spoke more about her transition on the Summer Search blog - click here to read more!


group mentoringGroup Mentoring: Benefitting Students and Mentors Alike

Summer Search mentors at the Boston and Bay Area sites have been hard at work on a Group Mentoring Pilot, where students learn from and support each other and mentors get new insight to better support their students.

                                                                                                                                                Read more on the Summer Search blog!




Liz Marino

Hermese Velasquez, Summer Search Boston Executive Director


Leslie Riedel

Leslie Riedel, Summer Search Boston Board Chair

See all Boston board


Ines Ariceta

Director of College Success & Alumni Relations

Ines is driven by a desire to challenge inequity. Born in the Basque Country of Spain, she moved to the US and the experience of navigating a new city, culture, and country allows her to connect with people in different ways.

Ines earned her college degree in Psychology from Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain and her Master’s Degree from Columbia University. 

Ines taught Basque at high school and led summer camps. At the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, Ines worked with schools and nonprofits to help them create and implement change management systems. Ines is certified as a mediator and has volunteered at the Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

When she is not at Summer Search, Ines is working on her second job: her twins!

Jonathan Ausubel

Program Associate

Jonny is a dedicated mentor and cares deeply about cultivating positive relationships with young people.

Before coming to Summer Search, Jonny worked as a Therapeutic Mentor on Martha's Vineyard, where he spent nearly two years working with local youth in a community mental health setting. In this role, he discovered how rewarding it is to build trust and work individually with young people. He also worked as a writing tutor while an undergraduate at Skidmore College and relished the opportunity to help his peers become more confident writers.

Jonny is an avid music lover and musician. When he is not working, he is likely to be found listening to music, playing his guitar, or committing himself (a bit excessively) to baking homemade bread.

BO_alejandraAlejandra Avina

Program Associate

Alejandra is inspired by her roots and paying it forward. Her loved ones along with an upbringing in Chicago's Southside communities, and spending holidays in Mexico is the fuel that drives her work. Her approach towards mentoring is based on Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s words "caminate no hay puentes, se hace puentes, al andar."

Prior to Summer Search, Alejandra worked for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. She is a graduate of Syracuse University's The Maxwell School programs in Anthropology and Political Science.
*Outside of the office you will find her lounging with dogs, reading, and volunteering with the Chica Project or FairFoods on the weekends. During the week, she is singing in the car, cooking to relax, and obsessing over hot sauce. She lives in Dorchester with friends.

Casey Pettit Babcock

Program Director

Casey believes in the power of a mentoring relationship in supporting students to realize their potential.

Casey contributes her success in college to her own experiences as a scholarship recipient to attend a wilderness-based summer camp as a young person. Casey has directed a childhood obesity prevention program, contributed to research in the fields of special education and positive psychology, and served as an clinical intern at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility, where she was nominated for the Margo Schutz Gordon award for excellence in field education.

Casey holds a BA and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from the University of Kansas, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

When she isn’t making people laugh at Summer Search, you can find her shooting hoops on a basketball court or training for a triathlon.

Liz Bane

Director of Development

Liz is passionately committed to supporting low-income teens to become the first in their families to go to college and become college educated leaders. 

Liz began her development career at the Jewish Federation of the North Shore, where she worked for 15 years starting as a part time program manager and moved into the position of Executive Director, responsible to a board of directors of 25 individuals, managing a ten person staff and raising $1.8M annually. 

Liz received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Sacred Heart University. Liz has two daughters’ ages 18 and 21 and she is passionate about practicing yoga. She currently lives in Boston with her husband, Rich.

Kathleen Buckingham

Development Associate

Kathleen believes that all persons have the right to forge their own path in life, regardless of economic status. She sees the power in telling the story of self and seeks to provide underprivileged youth a chance to explore and unpack their stories in safe spaces, with mentors who believe in them.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Kathleen worked for the Boston-based NGO South Africa Partners as a program assistant. She also previously worked for the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM). She graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy.

Outside of the office, Kathleen can be found running, biking and hiking in and around Boston, volunteering, singing, and eating too much Thai food.

Nathan Campbell

College Success Associate

Nate is motivated by the belief that everyone has a right to a life they choose for themselves. 

As a College Success Associate at Summer Search Boston, Nate strives to be a person in his students’ lives that they want to bring both their accomplishments and defeats to with no hesitation.

Nate has been an Americorps member with Peace First and a Program Director with 4-H Camp Overlook. 

Nate attained a B.A. in International Relations from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Away from the office, he spends as much time as he can outdoors, hiking, camping, traveling, and playing sports.

Christie Capone

Donor Relations Manager

Christie firmly believes that each person, regardless of their socioeconomic status, deserves a shot at greatness. She also recognizes that few people reach greatness without a bit of guidance. Summer Search is a perfect combination of those two philosophies, and Christie is so proud to be a part of this work. 

After receiving a B.A. in History and German Studies from Smith College, Christie spent time living abroad in Germany. There she had the opportunity to conduct preliminary research for a career as a history professor, which she quickly realized was not the right path for her! She moved back to Boston to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration at Northeastern University.  While completing this degree, she began working for NU in student affairs and event planning, and eventually moved into development, which she loves. 

Christie lives North of Boston with her partner and looks forward to one day having a puppy. She loves to sing, cook, and spend time with her very large, loud, and loving family.

Teyana Curran

Program Manager

Teyana believes that everyone should have opportunities and is passionate about counseling and education.

Teyana’s career has been dedicated to serving Boston youth and their families. She has been a summer camp counselor, a substitute teacher, and has provided outpatient therapy services for children, teens, adults, and families.

While earning her Bachelor’s degree at Bridgewater State University, Teyana held an internship position at a charter school where she observed the difference supportive adults make in the lives of students. Teyana holds a Master’s degree from University of Massachusetts.

Teyana volunteers at the Boston Central Adult High School and participates on a research team focusing on the lives of emerging and young adults. Teyana enjoys spending time with her family and pets, traveling with friends, and practicing Pilates.

Martina Durant

Program Associate

Martina comes to Summer Search with the mantra of “each one, teach one” guiding her.  As an alumna of the Steppingstone Scholars Program, she seeks to give back to the youth development community that profoundly impacted her life.  She is driven by a responsibility to connect youth with access to opportunities that encourage self-awareness, empowerment, leadership, and diversity.
Before joining the Summer Search team as a Program Associate, she worked at Community Academy supporting students’ re-entry into the classroom and community from the Department of Youth Services.
Martina holds a BA in Political Science from Hampton University and Master of Public Administration from The Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Outside of Summer Search, you can find Martina entranced in a book, traveling and binge watching movies and documentaries on Netflix.

Ashley Dean

Program Manager

Always fascinated by the human experience, Ashley’s keen observation of the world around her led her to Summer Search, where her knack for learning from people, has been met with the opportunity to take part in young people’s learning. A perfect match! 

Ashley relishes in the “ah-hah” moments in mentoring; that magic when students make a connection that can support their personal growth. Ashley’s youth development experience includes internship experiences shadowing School Adjustment Counselors, and her position as Cognitive Development Therapist. 

The first in her family to graduate from college, Ashley holds a BA in psychology from Stonehill College, where in the liberal arts school’s tradition she met the man she would marry. A Maine native, Ashley and her family, including her beloved husky pup, Maya, live in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts.


Madelaine Eulich

Program Associate

Madelaine is driven by the belief that experiential education paired with mentoring offers young people the challenge and support necessary to grow into self-aware, compassionate leaders. She also believes that - if we are to create a more equitable future - these opportunities must be made available to more youth.

Madelaine has spent much of her career leading students on experiential learning programs in Europe, Africa, and North America. She is excited to continue to support student growth at Summer Search.

Madelaine has a B.A. in Art History and Anthropology from Northwestern University, an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University, and is a certified Gestalt Coach.

Outside of Summer Search, you can likely find Madelaine traveling, soaking up nature, hanging out with friends, or eating stinky cheese.


Krysten FernandezBO_krysten

Program Associate

Krysten is committed to cultivating spiritual resilience in youth by seeing and supporting the fullness of their identities. At Summer Search, she strives to offer holistic support to her mentees as they move through the program and develop the skills they need to overcome adversity and succeed.

Krysten earned her B.A. in Sociology from Williams College and recently completed her Master's degree at Harvard Divinity School where she focused on Spiritual Caregiving and the Sociology of Religion. She has a range of experience working in education including: teaching ESL, serving as an adjunct faculty member at a local college, and mentoring students of all ages. Outside of work, Krysten enjoys all things Sci-Fi, doing art projects, and chasing experiences that are both spiritually fulfilling and fun - like dancing!


Dwayne Fontenette

Director of School and Community Engagement

Dwayne is fueled by the belief that educational equity is urgently needed and achievable.

At Summer Search, Dwayne leads the school and community engagement team, which is responsible for student recruitment and partner relationships. Prior to joining Summer Search, Dwayne was a K-8 school administrator in Boston Public Schools. The son of an educator, Dwayne began his career teaching high school math in Philadelphia.

Dwayne earned his B.A. in political science and public relations from Loyola University New Orleans and a M.S.Ed. in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Outside of the office, Dwayne spends his time reading nonfiction, camping, hiking and traveling.

Nicholas Giammaria

Program Director

Nick believes in the potential of all people. He loves working with a talented and passionate group of people dedicated to helping others move towards their own goals.

Nick served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Haiti and Armenia. He met amazing people and loved being able to learn new cultures and languages. He continues to draw on his Peace Corps experiences to keep him grounded.

Nick received his BA from Dartmouth College and M.Ed. from Smith College. When not at Summer Search, he can be most often be found pursuing his love of food – growing, preserving, cooking, and most of all eating – with his wife and two young kids.


Claire Marian

Site Innovation Pilot Specialist

Claire believes the future lies in the aspirations of young people. She trusts, exposing our students to more of the world—its natural beauty, imperfection, opportunities, and deficits will inspire our students to leave this world a better place.

Claire came to Summer Search from the field of Outdoor Education. She has led wilderness backpacking and sailing expeditions for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Between trips, Claire worked with local youth at the Courageous Sailing Center. 

Claire graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland with a BA in Psychology. 

When Claire is not at Summer Search, she is seizing every opportunity to get out of the city and outside; hiking, sailing, and camping year round.


Alison O'Neillalison o'neill

Foundation and Corporate Relations Manager

Alison taught middle school and coached high school in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Alison received a BA in Political Science from Boston College and earned a Master of Science in Applied Educational Psychology with a focus in Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. 

While studying at Northeastern, Alison worked with the Torch Scholars Program, a full-scholarship program for low-income and first generation college students. Through Torch, Alison met her first Summer Search alumni, and soon after, joined Summer Search as a Program Associate.


Miriam Pena

Program Associate

Miriam believes everyone should have access to learning opportunities and is passionate about mentoring future leaders.

Miriam's professional career has focused on guiding Boston students and families. Before Summer Search, she worked for The Steppingstone Foundation, where she supported low-income families in gaining access to educational opportunities. Miriam was also an AmeriCorps member with Tenacity.

In undergrad, Miriam worked with the Dean of Students office mentoring first year students. She participated in Latinos Unidos, Women of Color, and volunteered in the local community. Miriam holds a BA in Sociology from Bates College and is currently pursuing her Master's in Education at Northeastern University.

Outside of Summer Search, Miriam is dedicated to her faith, family, and pets. She enjoys kickboxing, reading, and going to the movies with her fiance.

Amy Schneider

Associate Director

Amy has devoted her career to helping young people access opportunities to learn and grow. Her experience teaching high school students and providing community-based therapy forged her belief that when adults and young people work together, they make amazing discoveries about what is possible.

Amy has a BA in Physics from Wesleyan University, a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St Louis, and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University. She is a licensed clinical social worker with extensive management experience.

Amy is an avid swimmer and loves to hike in the New England countryside. She has fond memories of her month-long NOLS course in the Rockies of Montana and heads up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire every chance she gets.

Pedro Suncar

Program Associate

Pedro comes to Summer Search with a commitment to helping students succeed, while providing them with tools to use as they navigate their high school careers, and progress into their collegiate careers.

After working in student affairs for several years, Pedro felt a need to help high school students succeed in their high school careers, while also aiding in their goals for higher education selection and retention.

Pedro worked in Providence, as a 1st grade Instructor, providing lessons for learning and enrichment in the Providence school system and surrounding community. Pedro holds a B.A. in Psychology focusing in adolescent development and mental health.

New to Boston, Pedro is taking full advantage of the fast paced city and all its offerings. 

Carmen Tam

Program Operations Coordinator

Growing up, Carmen’s own summer trips led her to discover a passion for social justice and cross-cultural understanding. In her role at Summer Search she works to provide similarly transformative experiences for our Boston students.
In addition to refugee resettlement, she has worked with students in experiential education and is inspired by how these experiences continue to impact their lives. She lived in India working for a study abroad program and coordinated domestic and international service-learning trips for college students before joining Summer Search.
She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and International Affairs from Gordon College. Outside the office, Carmen spends her time traveling, exploring the outdoors and finding new adventures to go on.

Cassandra Trujillo

Program Associate

As someone lucky enough to have had incredible mentors, Cassandra is driven by the conviction that all people deserve a safe space to explore, take risks, and learn about themselves with someone who believes in them unconditionally.

Cassandra has been an associate teacher at the Nueva School, where she witnessed the benefits of social and emotional learning and outdoor education.

Cassandra graduated cum laude from Yale with her B.A. in English and earned her Ed.M. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of work, you can find her curled up with a good book, advocating for the needs of gifted children, or debating everything from education policy to the relative talents of 90s pop stars over dinner with friends.


Armani White

Program Associate

Armani White is determined to create the “better world” we dream of in the future, now. As a Boston alumnus, Armani has grown from his experience with Summer Search, and has the chance to support other young people in their development now as a Summer Search mentor.
Armani was born and raised in Bromley Heath, a neighborhood in Boston, and graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Anthropology. Before Summer Search, Armani worked at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center developing and directing summer programming for young black and Latino men to become community leaders through learning how racism impacts their everyday health, and creating strategies to both stay healthy and challenge the norms.
Outside of Summer Search, Armani can be found either volunteering, drawing, or practicing Capoeira Angola.

Arien Woodrow

Operations Associate

Arien’s family has always inspired him to want the most out of life, and that started with his education. He believe that a good education is priceless and can take you many different places in life. Arien also attended the Steppingstone Foundation when he was younger, so he has seen firsthand how much of an impact programs such as Summer Search can have. 

During his college years, Arien would occasionally volunteer at the AIDS Action Committee of Boston where he was asked to engage in non-judgmental conversations regarding homelessness, substance use, HIV/AIDS. 

Arien graduated from Boston College with a BA in Sociology, and has always been interest in the sociology of education. Also, he has lived in the Boston area all his life. When Arien is not working, he enjoys going to the gym or replaying episodes of Game of Thrones.