Summer Search

Boston

OUR BOSTON STUDENTS IN 2019:

 

98% of seniors graduated from high school

 

91% of high school seniors matriculated to college

 

90% of students reenrolled in college from the previous year

 

69% of students have earned a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of high school graduation, as compared to 21% of their low-income peers

 

Contact

3840 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 MAP

T (617) 524-9911

F (617) 524-9988

boston@summersearch.org

Latest News and Events

Leadership

Liz Marino

Hermese Velasquez, Summer Search Boston Executive Director

READ FULL BIOGRAPHY

Leslie Riedel

Jeff Dorigan, Summer Search Boston Board Chair

See all Boston board

Staff

Maya Atakilti

Program Associate

matakilti@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Maya comes to Summer Search as an alum with the belief that one on one mentoring can be instrumental in the development of young people and their future. She has dedicated her life to working to holistically supporting marginalized groups of young people in their growth.

Prior to joining Summer Search Maya served two years at City Year, an AmeriCorps programs that works to close the achievement gap by supporting students in Boston Public Schools through academics, behavior, and attendance interventions. Through this work she discovered her passion for mentoring as a tool to support students in achieving their goals.

Maya received her B.A. in Education and Sociology from Colgate University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, Netflix binging, and spending time with friends.

Kathleen Buckingham

Senior Development Associate

kbuckingham@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kat believes that everyone has the right to forge their own path in life. She sees the power in telling the story of self and seeks to provide youth a chance to explore and unpack their stories in safe spaces, with mentors who believe in and support them.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Kat worked for the Boston-based NGO South Africa Partners as a program assistant, and with 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, Kat can be found running, biking, singing, and eating entirely too much Thai food.

Teyana Curran

Director of High School Programs

tcurran@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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

Director of School & Community Engagement

mdurant@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

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.

Lauren Dybel

Program Associate

ldybel@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Lauren believes youth are our greatest leaders in creating a more equitable world. She has a passion for engaging young people in transforming our local and global communities, beginning with developing an understanding of self and society. As a Program Associate at Summer Search, Lauren works with teens to navigate self-discovery and develop their passions.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Lauren completed a year of service with AmeriCorps and mobilized youth to lead change in their communities by coordinating service-learning efforts for students in Newton and Dorchester. While studying Neuroscience and Public Health at the College of William & Mary, Lauren worked alongside her peers to develop and implement wellness initiatives for her campus and local communities.

Lauren now lives in Dorchester and spends her time trying new restaurants and activities with her roommates, traveling to visit her friends and family, picking up a book from her long list of suggested reads, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, and dreaming of warmer weather. 

Ezeanne Fonge

Program Associate

efonge@summersearch.org

Pronouns:He/Him/His

Shawn believes in the power of young people and uplifting the voices of marginalized students.

Before joining Summer Search, he spent the last two years in Philadelphia. After completing a year of service with City Year, he attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a Master’s degree in Higher Education. It was during this time, Shawn realized the need to be in a space that would foster an environment that sees benefits in creating mentorship-based relationships with students. While attending Wheaton College (MA), he spent most of his time working around issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

When he is not actively engaged in discussions around issues that affect marginalized communities, Shawn likes to dance, cook, play sports, and performing spoken word poetry. Shawn is the youngest of three and believes there can be no success without any foundational support. 

Ashley Gordonno photo

Program Associate

agordon@summersearch.org

Pronouns:She/Her/Hers

Ashley has a passion for learning, empowering teens, and exploring how culture and society shapes our everyday experiences.

Before joining Summer Search, Ashley completed two years of AmeriCorps service with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship in Boston, MA. While in AmeriCorps, she coordinated programs for teens focused on mentoring, college and career readiness, and leadership.

Ashley attended Salem State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism Geography with minors in Educational Studies and Social Work. After graduating from Salem State University, she went directly to graduate school at Northeastern University where she earned a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management.

When not working, Ashley enjoys cooking, traveling, and taking naps. 

Veronica Hernandez

Program Manager

vhernandez@summersearch.org

Pronouns:She/Her/Hers

As a first generation, low income student and alum, Veronica has experienced first-hand the impact of having mentors in her life. This guidance has inspired her work with youth and continues her passion for access to higher education.

Veronica is committed to being the caring, responsible, and encouraging adult that her students need. She brings authenticity and honesty in her approach to connect with students. Believing in students until they believe in themselves is her motto. Following her passion, she has always worked for educational nonprofits and run afterschool programs in Boston and California. She has facilitated socio-emotional young women’s groups, served with AmeriCorps National, and focused on college readiness workshops before returning to Summer Search.

Veronica holds a BA in Psychology and Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking or at the beach, learning Portuguese, painting, and learning about spirituality and femininity.

Devin Hill

Program Associate

dhill@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Devin has a passion for working with young adults and helping them to discover their passions and reach their potential. At Summer Search he works as a program associate and enjoys the opportunity to help guide young students through their High School years.

Prior to Summer Search he worked as the guidance counselor for DME Sports Academy, a prep school in Daytona Beach, FL. He competed for the Men’s basketball team at DePaul University in Chicago, IL from 2008 – 2011.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University Irvine. He now lives in Jamaica Plain, MA.

When not at Summer Search he coaches the Women’s Basketball team at Roxbury Community College and coaches AAU basketball with the New York Gauchos.

Kara Komprathoum

Post-Secondary Program Coordinator

kkomprathoum@summersearch.org

Pronouns:She/Her/Hers

Kara passionately believes in elevating the voices of young people in order to make a more equitable and just world.

She joined Summer Search after previously working for Generation Citizen (GC) where she trained college volunteers to facilitate action civics programming in school classrooms and supported youth advocacy efforts. Prior to GC, she was a member of Brown University’s College Advising Corps where she served with Americorps as a College Adviser in Providence helping low-income, first-generation students with the college application process and other post-secondary aspirations. This work helped Kara deepen her love for equity, education, and justice. 

Kara’s greatest passion in life is helping other people find their own passion. She is excited to work at Summer Search as she helps students find their voice in order to pave a path to achieving their goals.

She is a proud first-generation college graduate in a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a minor in Public and Community Service from Providence College. She was also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar.

In her spare time, Kara loves traveling the country and world often in search of the best noodle or dessert dish, reading, shopping and waiting for Beyoncé to release her next album and/or concert tour dates.

Samantha Larkan

Donor Relations Manager

slarkan@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Sam believes strongly that every individual deserves access to opportunity and the support system to help them reach their potential.

Before joining the Summer Search team, Sam worked in development and communications for a variety of non profits, primarily focused on education and women and youth empowerment. Her most recent role was at a local charter public school and she looks forward to continuing to work to support the students of Boston. Her passion lies in working for organizations that are creating positive change in their communities. 

Sam holds a Bachelors degree in Media, Culture and Communications from New York University. Outside of work she enjoys reading, yoga and travelling to see as much of the world as she can.

Kristie Loftus

Director of Development

kloftus@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Kristie believes passionately in providing equal access to educational opportunities.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Kristie led development efforts for Breakthrough Greater Boston, an educational non-profit providing out-of-school time programming, and City on a Hill Charter Public Schools, a charter school network in Boston and New Bedford. It was through City on a Hill students who were involved with Summer Search that she first began her admiration for the organization ten years before joining the team. 

Kristie holds a B.A. in Sociology from Villanova University. Outside of the office, she can be found running, snowboarding, and having a blast with her husband and two boys. She and her family live in Milton.

Ana Maria Medina

Associate Director of Development

amedina@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Ana Maria is inspired by individuals who want to ensure that another human being thrives. Ana Maria finds no greater purpose than helping to support other individuals, because she understands and appreciates the impact such support has had on her life. 

Prior to her current role, Ana Maria served children and families in various child advocacy centers in New York city, a middle school, in Boston, and a refugee camp in Dzaleka (Malawi). She discovered her desire to fundraise through experiences in the Basque Country, China, Italy, and the United States. Since then, Ana Maria has focused her work on finding other individuals and other organizations who want to help children, adolescents and young adults learn to understand and deal with their circumstances and become sucessful.  

Ana Maria received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Boston University and earned a Master's degree in Clinical Social Work and Global Practice from Boston College. She is also a licensed clinical social worker.

Outside of the office, you will most often find Ana Maria learning new languages, dancing, running marathons and spending time with loved ones.

Dallas Pride

Director of Post-Secondary Program 
and Alumni Relations

dpride@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Dallas believes we all have the capacity to lead and she has dedicated her career to instilling this belief in young people, first-generation students and those from underrepresented communities. She is excited to continue supporting student success while engaging Summer Search's alumni community.

Previously, Dallas worked for the Posse Foundation, helping students transition from being leaders on campus to leaders in the workforce. She has also created and administered development programs for several colleges and universities and managed community relations initiatives for NBA and WNBA teams.

Dallas received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and her Master's degree in education from Northeastern University. Outside of Summer Search, you'll find her spending time with friends and family, bargain shopping or planning her next road trip.

Amalia Quesada Nylen

Program Associate

aquesadanylen@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

As a Summer Search alumna, Amalia values Summer Search's belief that all students are capable of becoming socially responsible leaders. Her own experiences have made her realize her potential, and have fueled her dedication to ensure that young people are supported equitably, inclusively, and unconditionally so that they may thrive. 
 
Amalia has spent much of her career conducting non-profit, social justice work, and looks forward to paving a career with a specific focus on youth development and education. Some of Amalia's most profound job experiences include supporting college students as an Orientation Leader at IES Abroad in Granada, Spain during the year she spent living there. She also worked as a Porter Cleveland Fellow at The Cleveland Leadership Center in Cleveland, Ohio where she connected college-age summer interns to Cleveland networks and activities designed to civically engaged interns. Prior to Summer Search, Amalia worked as a Program Assistant for Oxbridge Academic Programs at Harvard University, supporting international high school students as they studied in Boston. 
 
Amalia earned her B.A. in English Literature and Hispanic Studies from Wheaton College (MA). During her time there, she swam competitvely for Wheaton. Outside of Summer Search, Amalia enjoys exercising, spending time with loved ones, reading, watching (and talking!) about movies, photography, traveling, salsa and merengue, and anxiously waiting for Halloween to arrive.

Amalia is the oldest of four; her siblings, Nico, Lucia, and Manuel are also all Summer Searchers.

Tamar St. Julien

Office & Events Manager

tstjulien@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Tamar comes to Summer Search with a background in administration and event planning in multiple industries including medical, education and non-profit sectors. She has a passion for serving the community’s youth and celebrating diversity especially through the arts.
 
Prior to working at Summer Search, Tamar worked in various local colleges and universities as a student activities coordinator and volunteered in her community as a mentor to young women who were interested in the performing arts.
 
In her free time, Tamar is a professional singer and performs at local contests, fund raisers, festivals and churches.

Pedro Suncar

Program Manager

psuncar@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

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.

Jasmine Toussaint

Program Director of Operations

jtoussaint@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Jasmine firmly believes that education has the ability to positively impact the trajectory of individual lives, positively influence families, and transform communities. As a result, she has dedicated her career to supporting the growth and development of young people.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Jasmine served as the Senior Entrepreneurship Program Manager for BUILD Boston. In addition, she has worked in the education department of the JFK Library and Museum, and served as the Program Coordinator and then the Interim Director of the Wheelock College Upward Bound program.

Jasmine has a B.A. in English as well as a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Boston College. In her spare time, Jasmine enjoys traveling, game nights, and spending time with family and friends.

Armani White

School and Community Engagement Coordinator

awhite@summersearch.org

Pronouns: He/Him/His

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 playing basketball, cracking jokes, and staying woke.

Tiffany Zheng

Operations Associate

tzheng@summersearch.org

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

As a Summer Search and Boston Public Schools alum, Tiffany believes in the power of providing equitable access to resources and opportunities to help students reach their fullest potential. With the support of mentors, students can not only learn more about themselves, but also about the world around them.  
 
Prior to joining Summer Search, Tiffany worked at the Posse Foundation, helping to recruit and select high school leaders who are dedicated in attending college in a diverse cohort, out of state. With the support of guidance counselors and community-based organizations, Tiffany was able to work with her team to use nontraditional interview strategies to identify Scholars who may have been missed by traditional admission processes.
 
Tiffany earned her B.A. in Sociology and Applied Psychology & Human Development at Boston College. Outside of Summer Search, Tiffany enjoys traveling, camping, hiking and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Supporting Young People to Thrive.