Summer Search




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First-generation college students



635 Andover Park West
Building 8 Suite 200
Tukwila, WA 98188

T (206) 729-0911

F (206) 729-7303

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Melanie Lyons

Melanie Lyons, Summer Search Seattle Executive Director

Melanie Lyons

Erik Toth, Summer Search Seattle Board Chair

See all Seattle Board


Allie Denny

Donor Relations Manager

Allie is deeply passionate about youth mentorship, political engagement, and intersectionality. Her ongoing commitment to these issues is a direct result of her upbringing — Allie grew up in the labor movement and was taken under the wing of a supportive and dedicated mentor during her high school years and beyond.

After graduating from Washington State University with a  bachelor's degree in Political Science, Allie worked in political campaigns and finance, raising money and organizing for a variety of progressive causes and candidates. Coming to Summer Search was a natural next step for Allie due to her strong belief in the transformative power of mentorship and shared experience.

Allie is a lifelong Pacific Northwest resident, originally from the Portland area. In her spare time she enjoys serving on the board of the Washington Bus, seeing live music, hanging out with her adorable dog Chewy, and spending time outside.

 Macaria Dove

Senior Development Associate

Belief fuels passion, and Macaria’s belief in Summer Search's mission to help students find their potential has fueled her long journey with the program. Macaria is a Loyola Marymount University alumna born in Southern California but locally grown in Kent, WA. She has worked at Summer Search since December 2015 but has been involved with the organization as a student in the program since 2007.

When she isn't working at Summer Search, she enjoys gardening, hiking, playing board games, and picking up new skills like trick roping and woodworking. She is invigorated by reaching mountain peaks, energized from fresh temperate forest air, and soothed by long drives alone. Her favorite pastime is memorizing restaurant menus and eating everything.

Regina Dove

Program Manager, Outreach and Events

Born in the California Mojave Desert, Regina's family relocated to Washington when she was 9 and has called it home ever since.

She graduated Cum Laude from Seattle University in 2011 with a double major in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish Language. After college, Regina spent time volunteering as a farm hand across the country and decided to pursue her interest in sustainable living and environmental education. She received a graduate certificate in Education for Environment and Community from IslandWood and began her work as a mentor at the Summer Search office. Her experience as a mentor eventually brought her to pursue a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Antioch University. Today, she works as the Outreach & Events Manager to support student, family and community engagement.

Regina is a Summer Search Seattle alumna who is deeply invested in her local and national Summer Search community. In her spare time, she can be found at local music venues, art galleries or at home snuggling with her cat, Marceline.

Adilenne Espindola

College Access & Success Associate

Adilenne is the epitome of someone who will advocate for resources, create partnerships, and fight to improve educational access for underrepresented students. Adilenne believes that all individuals need a strong mentor to guide them through challenges while pursuing a higher education. The passion that Adilenne carries throughout her journey has inspired many to get involved in equal rights for everyone in higher education.

Adilenne is a Washington State University Alumni, GO COUGS! Currently pursuing her graduate studies at Seattle University. Adilenne was born and raised on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Adilenne is a first-generation daughter of migrant and seasonal farm-workers. She is very proud of her Mexican roots and values the hard work ethic that her parents have showcased throughout her life.

When Adilenne is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to dance the night away with her amazing husband, try new foods, and traveling!

Susan Huynh

College Access Coordinator

Susan is a first-generation college graduate born and raised in South King County, who graduated in 2013 from the University of Washington with a B.A. in International Studies-Southeast Asia with a minor in Global Health.

When she was an undergraduate, she mentored high school seniors on college access at Federal Way High School (where she graduated from) which sparked her deep passion and career in supporting low-income, first-generation and underrepresented groups in achieving their post-secondary goals. Prior to Summer Search, she was supporting students with their post-secondary pathways as a College & Career Specialist in the Renton School District.

When Susan is not working, she likes to spend time with friends and family, travel, explore the lush wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, try out new restaurants and binge watch Netflix TV shows and movies.

De’Andre Jones

Program Associate, Leadership Advisor

De’Andre’s first experience with Summer Search was in 2017, when he served as the the Summer Fellow (intern). It was through that internship experience that De’Andre demonstrated his commitment to the development and mentorship that can occur within college access and post-secondary support. Reflecting upon his personal experiences as a first-generation student ignited his passion for supporting students holistically and returning to Summer Search as a full-time staff. De’Andre hopes that his breadth of experience within higher education & student affairs will assist Summer Searchers in recognizing the value of their experiences and how those experiences can serve as the catalyst for their overall success.

A native of Austin, Texas, De’Andre relocated to the Midwest where he attained his Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences Education from the University of Wisconsin—Stout in 2016. In 2018, he attained his Master of Education degree in Student Development Administration from Seattle University.

When De’Andre is not working, he enjoys traveling, trying/cooking new foods, and spending time with his loved ones.

Lexi Keeler

Development Director

Lexi is committed to using her privilege to stand for equity in her community and in the world.

For the past decade, Lexi has supported young people through development work at innovative community organizations. Most recently, she was the Development Director at Bike Works, one of Summer Search’s summer program partners.

Lexi holds a B.A. in French Studies from Wesleyan University and a certificate in Writing for Children from the University of Washington. Lexi serves on the Board of Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC), a coalition of organizations, schools, educators, parents and caregivers, and community leaders working to improve education for all children, especially those in southeast Seattle and those farthest away from opportunities.

When she isn't at Summer Search, she's tromping around the Pacific NW with her wife and three kids, hanging out with neighbors on Seattle's most awesome block, reading speculative fiction or making negligible progress on her first novel.

Monica Manzo

Program Associate

Mónica is a strong believer of inspiring self-confidence, empowering youth and supporting youth as they achieve their highest potential. She has devoted countless hours in supporting young women of color with programs like La Voz de E.L.L.A. and Project Luangwa. Making Summer Search the perfect place to expend her work and efforts in improving access into higher education.

Mónica comes from a migrant family in central Washington that worked multiples seasons harvesting fruit. In 2011 she transferred into UW and as a first-generation woman of color she quickly learned to identify institutional inequalities and has since dedicated her efforts to advocating for social justice. She is very connected to her Mexican roots and enjoys spending time with family and dancing Banda. She also enjoys trying out new restaurants and bars in Seattle and meeting up with friends.

Colin Petkus

Program Manager

Colin brought his passion for working with young people to Summer Search when he joined the Seattle team as a mentor in 2013. Since then, Colin has been continually inspired and motivated by the incredible students, families, counselors, and teammates who are part of the Summer Search community.

Born in Seattle and raised in the foothills of the Cascades, Colin attended Boston College where he received a B.A. in English, then quickly returned home to escape the frigid New England winters. Before joining Summer Search, Colin worked as an advocate for young people experiencing homelessness in rural and suburban King County.

Outside of work, Colin enjoys cycling long distances, exploring the lush wildernesses of the Pacific Northwest, and loud music. Sometimes all at once.

Rebecca Sullivan

Senior Program Director

Two strong beliefs guide Rebecca's personal and professional life: the power of arts as an outlet for self-expression, and the potential in us all to achieve great things. These beliefs have been reinforced by the many students she has had the privilege of working with over the years.

Rebecca joined the Summer Search as a high school mentor, has since guided the evolution of our College Success Program and now supports the entire program team in her role as Senior Program Director. One of the best parts of her job is getting to work closely with Summer Search alumni. 
She received a M.A. in Education from Seattle University and a B.A. in Dance and Leadership Studies from Chapman University.When Rebecca's away from work, she can be found, walking with family and friends, playing Power Rangers with her son or taking the occasional dance class.

Jonathen Williams

Program Associate

Jonathen is driven by a deep call to action. Jonathen believes that every student possesses the power of change and can navigate the challenges that stand in their way.

Jonathen earned his B.A. from Washington State University, where he majored in Social Sciences with a minor in Human Development. His experience as a Resident Advisor and Peer Mentor ignited an interest in mentorship and student empowerment.

As a first-generation college graduate, Jonathen can attest to the real barriers and challenges that exist for students from marginalized and underrepresented communities. When Jonathen is not in the office, he can be found spending quality time with family and friends, telling corny jokes, and watching cat videos on YouTube.

Therese Williams

College Access and Success Manager

Therese is a Sacramento, California native that enjoys dancing, traveling, and quality times with her loved ones. Therese graduated as a part of the first inaugural class at the University of California, Merced (Go Bobcats!) and received her BA in Psychology, with a minor in Cognitive Science in 2009. In pursuit of a higher learning, Therese moved to the Pacific Northwest to complete her graduate studies in Student Development Administration (M.Ed) at Seattle University in 2013. Joining the Summer Search Seattle team couldn’t be more of a perfect fit for Therese because she was a product of mentoring and college preparation program called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) during her high school experience. Since Therese’s high school AVID experience, serving students has been a calling that she is truly passionate about. Her background in education spans from transfer admissions advising, academic advising, career advising, and new student orientation within college institutions in both California and Washington State. In the words of the great Maya Angelou, Therese deeply resonates with the following quote: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Thus, Therese considers it a privilege to invite students into a safe space where they feel heard, validated, and empowered to use their voice as a catalyst to spark positive change wherever it is needed. Moreover, Therese is deeply committed towards partnering with students in defining their pathway of success while helping them understand that they were born with the ability to succeed!

Therese resides in south King county (Federal Way), and when she is not at Summer Search, she enjoys dance fitness, Marvel superhero movies, live jazz music, eating lavender ice cream at Point Ruston, traveling to different countries with her best friend, fellowship with her church family, and spending quality time with her amazing husband!