Summer Search




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First-generation college students



3840 Washington Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 MAP

T (617) 524-9911

F (617) 524-9988

Latest News and Events


Liz Marino

Hermese Velasquez, Summer Search Boston Executive Director


Leslie Riedel

Jeff Dorigan, Summer Search Boston Board Chair

See all Boston board


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.

Maya Ataklti

Program Associate

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

Kathleen (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 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, Kathleen can be found running, biking, singing, and eating entirely too much Thai food.

Nathan Campbell

Program Manager

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

As a Program Manager 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.

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

Director of School & Community Engagement

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.

Ezeanne Fonge

Program Associate

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.

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.

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. 

Veronica Hernandez

Program Associate

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. She currently lives in Jamaica Plain, MA with her husband and two dogs. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking or at the beach, learning Portuguese, painting, and learning about spirituality and femininity.

Oneda Horne

Director of High School Program

Oneda’s commitment towards increasing access for underrepresented youth is fueled by her life story and that of her closest friends and family. For over a decade, she has dedicated intensive effort in service of wholistic measures increasing the college completion rates of those within the lowest income demographic as well as students of color.

Prior to joining Summer Search, Oneda served as the Director of College Prep and Post Secondary Services at Tenacity, where she managed services and staff targeting Boston Public School high school students and graduates. She also developed the College Success Initiative at Steps to Success, a program that provides educational support and mentoring for families living in Brookline public housing and has worked as a college counselor for Bottom Line.

Born and raised in Boston, Oneda attended Boston Public Schools before earning her B.A. from Wheaton College (MA) and her M.A. in Higher Education Administration from Boston College.

Oneda enjoys spending time with friends and family, several of whom have made similar life commitments to this work. She also devotes significant effort to various volunteer activities.

Kristie Loftus

Director of Development

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

Corporate Relations Manager

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 taking on the CRM 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.

no photoFelida Milhomme

Program Associate

Felida strongly believes that it is crucial to pay attention to young people’s dreams by giving them the necessary tools to achieve their goals. Because Summer Search serves such a diverse group of students, she challenges herself to be culturally competent to support her students effectively and connect with them on a human level. 

Felida is a recent college graduate. Before joining Summer Search, Felida was an assistant teacher, a camp counselor, and a mentor to younger women and men for various programs at her university. Her previous professional and personal experiences have prepared her to deliver value to Summer Search.  

Felida holds a B.A. in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and a minor in Biology from Boston College. She currently lives in Randolph, MA with her parents and siblings. Felida’s ultimate goal is to start her own non-profit, which will help bright young people from her home country design a better future for themselves and their communities.

Outside of work, Felida enjoys cooking, baking, hiking, dancing, gardening, reading, working on DIY projects, learning about other cultures, volunteering at her church and the Greater Boston Food Bank, and spending time with family and friends.

beryl shortBeryl Nyamunda

Program Associate

Beryl believes that young people are capable of so much more than they realize and they need a supportive, inclusive environment in order to thrive and reach their potential.  
Beryl was born in Kenya and came to the United States when she was 9 years old. She is proud to be both a Boston Public Schools and Summer Search Alumna.

Beryl's career path has centered on working with young adults. Before joining the Summer Search team, Beryl was a College Advisor at Boston Day and Evening Academy where she worked with students to help them achieve their long and short term goals. This included supporting students through the college/alternative pathways application process as well as with their post-graduate plans.

Beryl received her degree at Boston College in Applied Psychology and Human Development, as well as a minor in African Diaspora Studies. Outside of Summer Search, Beryl can be found binge watching her favorite shows and movies, styling her hair, painting, or randomly dancing to African music. 

Miriam Pena-Allen

College Success Coordinator

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.

Dallas Pride

Director of College Success and Alumni Relations

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

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 engage 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.

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.

Jasmine Toussaint

Program Director of Operations

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

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.

Sam Williams

Senior Program Director

Sam has been committed to educating, empowering, and supporting the social and emotional development of young people in the city of Boston for over two decades. Over the years, he's worked for several local non-profit agencies whose focus ranged from community service learning, workforce and youth development and out-of-school time support. He's a seasoned trainer and public speaker. As an experienced mentor, Sam believes that a healthy and long-standing connection with youth is built on the fundamental principles of trust, reciprocity, transparency, and individuality. 
Prior to joining Summer Search, Sam worked for a quasi-state agency, Commonwealth Corporation, as a Senior Program Manager of a statewide youth initiative. He graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor's of Liberal Arts degree (with a focus on psychology and sociology), and a Master's degree in City Planning.
Outside of work, Sam has a daughter (17) and is an avid reader of African cultural history and world history. In his leisure time, he practices meditation, fasting, writes poetry, and enjoys volunteer work.

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 interested 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.

Lauren Woody

Foundation Relations Manager

Lauren believes in the power of education, the mentorship of caring adults, and unique learning experiences in nature to transform the lives of students. Each made a profound impact on her growing up.  
Prior to joining Summer Search, Lauren worked at Facing History and Ourselves which provides teachers with professional development, educational resources, and sustained classroom support on difficult histories and complex current events to inform students’ choices today. She provided development support as Manager of Foundation Relations at the organization. Lauren also worked at Boston-based grantmaker the Barr Foundation, where she developed networks in Boston and a passion for working with local non-profits the Foundation supported.
Lauren holds a B.A. in English from William Smith College. She enjoys baking, movies, and spending time with friends and loved ones. Lauren lives with her husband and rescue cat, Lady, in Jamaica Plain.

Amy Yu

Program Associate

Amy believes that all students can reach their fullest potential in social-emotional, cognitive, and academic development through one-on-one support and long-term relationship bulding with mentors.

As a Program Associate, Amy uses a person-centered approach to provide empathy and positive regards to students to faciliate positive growth and address the root issues that students have.

Amy graduated from Wheaton College (MA) with a Bachelors in Psychology, and recently graduated with a Master's degree in School Conseling from Purdue University. During her Master's program, Amy provided individual and group counseling sessions to improve marginalized youth's academic engagement and reduce behavior problems. She also facilitated ELL support groups and implemented a mentorship program to fully support student's transition into a new school environment.

Amy enjoys hiking, doing arts and crafts, cooking, and traveling when she is not working.