Summer Search



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

T (206) 729-0911

F (206) 729-7303

2020 Summer Search Seattle Luncheon

We are eager to welcome you to our 2020 Summer Search Seattle Luncheon. Join us as we honor mentoring, aspire together, and transform lives of young people.





Melanie Lyons

Melanie Lyons, Summer Search Seattle Executive Director

Melanie Lyons

Erik Toth, Summer Search Seattle Board Chair

See all Seattle Board

Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hersStaff

Allie Denny

Donor Relations Manager

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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.

Susan Huynh

Post-Secondary Access Coordinator

Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers

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.

Whitney Childs

Development Manager

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Whitney supports Summer Search’s New York City and Seattle development teams, focusing on institutional giving and development operations. After working for Summer Search for many years, she remains inspired by the students she has been able to meet and committed to ending educational inequity across the country.

Whitney earned her bachelor’s degree from New York University. In addition to her work with Summer Search, Whitney has worked in international development, managing institutional fundraising for a women’s university in Rwanda.

After ten years in New York City, Whitney recently relocated to Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, you can find her testing out hiking trails, exploring her new city or watching reality television – all under the supervision of her two dogs.

Monica Manzo

Program Associate

Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers

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

Preferred Pronouns: He/him/his

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.

Sergey SmirnovSergey Smirnov

Director of Development

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Dedicated to social change, service, and healthy communities, Sergey is inspired by how Summer Searchers stretch themselves, get out of their comfort zone, and create impact far beyond themselves. He works with the community of individuals and institutions who invest in our students and with volunteer leadership to grow the program to serve more students.

Sergey grew up in Russia before immigrating to Seattle at the age of eleven. He is a proud University of Washington and Bellevue College alumnus, where he participated in student government and too many clubs. Prior to joining Summer Search, Sergey has worked in resource development in healthcare and education at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the American Cancer Society, University of Washington, and the Hamlin Robinson School.

When not at Summer Search, you can find Sergey running, practicing yoga, seeing live music, reading or checking out new restaurants.

Rebecca Sullivan

Senior Program Director

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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 2Jonathen Williams

Program Associate

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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

Director of Post-Secondary Access & Success

Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers

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!


Ruben Miranda-Juarez Jr. 

Program Associate

Preferred Pronouns: He/him/his

Ruben's desire to listen and support students as they navigate inequities throughout their adolescence is what drew him to Summer Search. He comes from having worked at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington, within TRiO where he learned he had a passion for listening and engaging in difficult conversations around race, class, gender and sexuality. He is looking forward to having conversations about toxic masculinity while in his role at Summer Search. 

Ruben is a first-generation college student born to a Mexican mother and a Puerto Rican father, who met in a now-closed diner in the northside of Chicago. He received his B.A. in English with a concentration in Literary Studies from DePaul University in Chicago with mentorship from Billy Johnson Gonzalez, Steve Ramirez, and Francesca Royster. His focus was and continues to be Latin American & Caribbean Literature. Outside of work, Ruben is either cooking, on his way to a concert, reading, or at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practice while procrastinating on writing his first and only short story collection. He is also regularly holding mitts for his partner, Danielle, who is an amateur boxer.

 Viche' Thomas                                                                  Headshot for Viche' T 

School and Community Engagement Coordinator          

Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers                                                         

Viche' is native to Seattle, WA born and raised in the historical black neighborhood known as the Central District. She graduated from Garfield High School and then from the University of Washington with a B.A in Sociology. At the young age of 11 Viche' joined a rigorous college bound program where she recieved academic, emotional and career support up until ocllege graduation. Knowing firsthand the impacts education and supportive mentorship can have, Viche' has always been commited to supprorting and developing youth like herself who come from marginalized backgrounds. She has experience working as a High School Acadamic Counselor and as a Program Facilitator for different organizations focused on social injustices. 

Outside of work Viche' is most likely spending time with her younger sister and/or close friends and family while eating some form of potatoes, which she is borderline infatuated with. 


Supporting Young People to Thrive.