Category Archives: Alumni

Coming Home and Coming Out

545 miles in seven days. On a bike.

That’s how far Summer Search Bay Area alumnus Saul Guzman rode earlier this year in support of a charity close to his heart, AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC).

Saul-AIDS-Lifecycle-RidePhoto credit: Georg Lester for AIDS/LifeCycle

Continue reading Coming Home and Coming Out

Storytelling with Katherine Kennedy

“For over 20 years, I witnessed the power that came from telling your story. For the person brave enough to share their story, and for the people who are fortunate enough to be in their presence.”

In the story of Summer Search, Katherine Kennedy has played many important roles. She was our founder Linda Mornell’s first hire in 1995, she was a mentor, an executive director, a fundraising guru, and a speech coach—helping students and alumni tell their story in front of hundreds of people at Summer Search signature events.

Katherine left Summer Search at the end of 2015 to start a new chapter in her professional career. Now, nearly two years later, we caught up with her to see what she has been up to, and how she is staying connected to Summer Search. Continue reading Storytelling with Katherine Kennedy

2017 Summer Leaders

Get ready world, the Summer Searchers are coming!

Earlier this month, amidst rain showers in the east and sunshine in the west, our first students headed out on their summer experiences. For all of us at Summer Search, this time of year creates a mixture of excitement, nervousness, anticipation, and intensity as it’s a seasonal marker of all the months of hard work and investment in the incredible young people we get to work with.

This summer, we’re sending 1,027 young leaders all over the country and the globe, where they’ll participate in challenging experiential programs to help them strengthen the skills needed to succeed in school and in life.

Here’s a look at where our Summer Searchers are going, and what they’ll be doing. Continue reading 2017 Summer Leaders

What Altruism Means to Me: a Reflection of a Boston Alumnus

The following is an excerpt of an email written by Summer Search Boston alumnus Francisco Rodriguez after a meeting with Summer Search staff, Ines Ariceta and Seth James Ellis. Lightly edited and shared with permission.


Ines and Seth,

I always relish those opportunities in which I can reconnect with Summer Search. You mentioned to me that Summer Search recruits its alumni (for staff roles) differently than it would other people. You said that the approach is one that must be different because to alumni, Summer Search feels like a family business. Continue reading What Altruism Means to Me: a Reflection of a Boston Alumnus

Black Girl Magic in the Fashion Industry

Last week we shared a story about Justin Bethune, a Summer Search Bay Area alumnus who created an empowering photo project aimed countering the negative stereotypes surrounding Black men often shown by the media.

While Justin is behind the camera in his work challenging racial biases and perceptions, Summer Search Seattle alumna and fashion model Ebonee Davis is using her platform in front of the camera to speak up against racial injustice.

Ebonee Davis passionately sharing her story at a recent TEDx Talk event at the University of Nevada.

Continue reading Black Girl Magic in the Fashion Industry

Black Male Voices Inspire Bay Area Alumnus Justin Bethune

“I’ve decided to dedicate my life to taking positive images of Black men and creating a platform for their voices to be heard.”

Those are the determined words of Summer Search Bay Area alumnus Justin Bethune. At the start of Black History Month this year, Justin announced in a post on Medium that he was launching The Bethune Project, a photo campaign on Instagram.

Justin-BethuneSummer Search Bay Area alumnus Justin Bethune.

Continue reading Black Male Voices Inspire Bay Area Alumnus Justin Bethune

Ivan Lopez: An Artist’s Inspiration

If you walk into our Summer Search office in Oakland, one thing you’ll see, along with our mentors and students buzzing around, is a large, colorful mural that adorns the wall of our glass-enclosed conference room.

Not only a beautiful addition to our office space, this work of art has significant meaning behind it — it was conceived of and painted specifically for Summer Search by Bay Area alumnus, and local artist, Ivan Lopez. Continue reading Ivan Lopez: An Artist’s Inspiration