Summer Search




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Median household income


First-generation college students



1528 Walnut Street, Ste 1006 Philadelphia, PA 19102 MAP

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Latest News and Events

Philadelphia Inquirer
You're Invited! Summer Search Philadelphia's 2018 Leadership Dinner

Join us on April 19th at the Crystal Tea Room for our signature event as we celebrate the achievements of our amazing Summer Searchers and honor the Chris Long Foundation for their generous support of Summer Search. Register here today!

Philadelphia Inquirer
Summer Search Philadelphia Welcomes Four New Board Members

The Summer Search Philadelphia advisory board is growing! Most recently, we welcomed:

- Joe Clark, the Chief Growth Officer of Aon Risk Management Insurance Agency, where he drives national sales and client development.

- Thomas Cole, Jr., Managing Partner of Pepper Hamilton, LLP whose focus includes a wide range of labor and employment issues.

- Andrew Kaplan, Vice President at Alex.Brown where he provides clients with the investment results necessary to achieve their investment objectives. 

- Pamela Lehrer, Senior Vice President & General Counsel of Berwind Corporation, a fifth generation, family-owned investment management company serving several industries. 

Philadelphia Inquirer
A Celebration of Game Changers - 2017 Endless Summer Party: Eagles Edition

THANK YOU to everyone who celebrated our students and the Philadelphia Eagles with us at the 2017 Endless Summer Party! Your investment in our students helped us to raise a goal-shattering $250,700. It was truly an honor to recognize the Eagles for their generous season-long support of Summer Search Philadelphia, and a pleasure to hear the inspirational stories of three of our Summer Search game changers: Katherine, John, and Avere.

If you were unable to attend or would like to look back on the night, be sure to check out our event photos here, and read an article about the event here.


Philadelphia Inquirer
The Philadelphia Eagles are Helping Summer Searchers SOAR!

This year, Summer Search Philadelphia is honored to have been selected as one of five nonprofit organizations to be a Philadelphia Eagles Care Partner for the 2016-2017 season! Eagles Care aims to help build stronger communities through the support of local non-profits, and they have been very generous in that support: from their participation in our office makeover, to their inspirational words at student events, it has been a joy, a pleasure and an adventure building this amazing partnership with our home team!

Be sure to join us as we honor the Eagles on April 20th at our signature Endless Summer Party!

Philadelphia Inquirer
Congratulations, Jailene Rodriguez!

On November 17th Summer Searcher Jailene Rodriguez was honored as a “Rising Star” at the Philadelphia Education Fund’s 2016 EDDY Awards. The EDDY awards recognize outstanding commitment to public education by individuals, organizations and business. Representing Olney Charter High School, Jailene’s strength, scholarship and determination comes as no surprise to her Summer Search family, and we could not be more proud of her! Jailene spent this past summer at Ithaca College taking a health sciences and careers course; she plans to pursue a health sciences degree and ultimately become a surgeon. Read more about Jailene’s triumphs here.


Liz Marino

Sylvia Watts McKinney,
Summer Search Philadelphia Executive Director


Lori Espe

Lori Espe, Summer Search Philadelphia Board Chair

See all Philadelphia Board



Erin Callison

Program Manager

Erin is deeply passionate about helping young people transform what they believe is possible for themselves. Erin’s journey to Summer Search began as an Outward Bound Instructor for an expedition of all Summer Searchers inspired her with their self-reflection, resilience, and willingness to step out of their comfort zone.

Erin, a first-generation college student, received her B.A from Clark University and a Masters of Arts in Teaching program at Clark University. During her fieldwork in South Africa and rural Haiti, Erin experienced the transformative power of being outside of her comfort zone. Erin has taught 8th grade World history and was an Lead Wilderness Instructor at Outward Bound.

In her free time, Erin finds herself scheming new outdoor adventures, mountain biking, and throwing homemade pizza parties.


Kaitlin Irvine

College Access & Success Manager

Kaitlin has a deep belief in providing access to opportunities for all. At Summer Search, she loves connecting with students and empowering them to find the best opportunities for their big third trip -- college!

Kaitlin holds a B.A. from Dickinson College and a Masters in Education from the College of William & Mary. During college, she studied in Cameroon, Africa, where she became a true member of her host family, spoke French, and ate her weight in fresh mangoes. Kaitlin worked for an Upward Bound program during college summers.

Kaitlin has been a college adviser in a rural public high school and is a recent transplant to Philly.

She can be found at the dog park, reading books, discovering hidden culinary gems, or scheming about where her passport will take her next.


Tolulope Oladele

Program Associate

Tolulope’s passion, obsession, and ambition is to empower undeserved youth to be the best version of themselves.  Ultimately, what drives Tolulope is helping youth be what people said they couldn’t. Tolulope hopes to bring a unique background of engaging youth in various roles: mentor, coach, and advocate to Summer Search.

Before Summer Search, Tolulope served as a Heinz Fellow for the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Heinz Fellowship placed ten recent African American college graduates in high-needs high schools in the Pittsburgh school district to serve as mentors, tutors and role models for high school African American males. Along with working at a school full-time, Tolulope pursued graduate studies and received a Master’s in Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University in 2015. 

Tolulope, a Questbridge Scholar received a B.A. in Religion from Haverford College in 2013. Tolulope likes to spend his free time coaching a middle school track and field team, playing chess, and debating about why every single New York City sports team is the best. 


Sherella Williams

Development Associate

Sherella is excited to share her passion for development that is deeply intertwined with her passion for her vibrant home city of Philadelphia. Sherella’s goal is to ensure that the wonderful opportunities that Philadelphia has to offer are accessible to all communities across the city.  

Sherella holds a B.A. from Byrn Mawr College, and has studied at Berlin’s Humboldt University, an experience that sealed her commitment to the German language (including its dialects!) and inspired her to teach in two Austrian high schools after college through Fulbright and the Austrian-American Educational Commission. Aside from her time overseas, Sherella previously worked at Public Health Management Corporation on the Out-of-School Time Project, where she supported quality after-school programing in over a hundred sites across Philadelphia.

Sherella can often be found redefining her limits in Muay Thai class, thinking of interesting new ways to maintain her German fluency, or searching for the best pancake spot in West Philly.