Category Archives: College

Graduating into a Pandemic

Year after year, the young people we partner with work tremendously hard to complete their goals and take the next steps in their journeys. They’re studying and passing exams, graduating and matriculating to new campuses and cities, and starting or advancing their careers… all while navigating systemic barriers and inequity.

In 2020, add a global pandemic and repeated, very public, reminders of racial violence and injustice to that list of obstacles.

But Summer Searchers persevere and thrive!

Recent grad and Seattle alumna Ehler Tha Win took some time to answer a few questions about her experience transitioning from college to career and shares how she believes people can support each other during these unprecedented times.

Continue reading Graduating into a Pandemic

Stories From A Historic Class

For the first time in the University of California (UC) system’s history, Chicano or Latino students made up the greatest share of Californians admitted to the freshman class, at 36%.

As part of its “California Today” column, The New York Times profiled four members of this historic freshman class — discussing being part of a major shift in UC system and about starting college during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And two of those featured students are Summer Searchers — Mariana and Dora from the Bay Area!

Screenshots of two Summer Searchers featured in The New York Times.

Continue reading Stories From A Historic Class

2020 Decisions – Part 2

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

While the last few months have truly been confusing and heartbreaking, we remain inspired by the hope embodied by our young people, as they quickly adapt to a pandemic and stand up against social injustice. Again and again, Summer Search students show resilience and determination as they pursue their education and seek new opportunities to grow, thrive, and become the next generation of purpose-driven leaders.

Last month, we shined a light on a handful of Summer Searchers in the Class of 2020 who were celebrating their post-secondary decisions. Today we’re checking in with three more high school seniors: Anjaliyah, Jason, and Rasmee.

Summer Search Boston Student AmbassadorsFrom left to right: Jason, Anjaliyah, and Rasmee.

Continue reading 2020 Decisions – Part 2

Our Community Responds

Social injustice and racial inequalities must come to an end. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, James Scurlock and too many other Black people are acts of terror.

We know these senseless deaths have caused great pain and angst for all Summer Searchers and have had an especially traumatic impact on our black-identifying students, staff, and community members.

In times of crisis, everyone reacts differently — from speaking out, to reflecting inward, and everything in between. We wanted to spotlight how a few folks in our Summer Search family have responded publicly — from expressing their emotions, rallying their communities, sharing resources, and much more.

Continue reading Our Community Responds

2020 Decisions!

Traditionally, the beginning of May is College Signing Day, a time when high school seniors are encouraged to share and celebrate their post-secondary plans, especially on social media.

However, with COVID-19 disproportionately impacting low-income communities, the path towards higher education for the young people we partner with has become even more challenging.

Some students are facing uncertainty over college decisions, as well as the prospect of virtual-only classes during the upcoming fall semester. Many are also worrying about having their basic needs met — necessitating emergency relief funding for essential things like groceries, utilities, and housing.

Despite all of these unprecedented challenges, our young people at Summer Search continue to show the power and resilience within themselves. The power to be unstoppable as they push forward and pursue their dreams. With unwavering support from their mentors, Summer Searchers are finishing high school and taking the next steps on their journeys… and they deserve to celebrate these milestones!

Summer Searchers Decisions Continue reading 2020 Decisions!

Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

The following is a guest post and reflection from Seattle Summer Searcher Jessica Par, a junior at University of Washington Seattle pursuing Education. This was originally shared as part of Summer Search Seattle’s Unstoppable Campaign.


Being a part of Summer Search has changed my life. As a first-generation college student, and coming from a refugee background, I was so lost during high school. But Summer Search was able to provide me structure, while supporting me with resources and authentic mentorship. My Summer Search mentor plays such a critical role in my life that I’m not sure where I’d be without her. From talking about academic issues to professional development to personal matters, she has always been there for me.

Jessica ParJessica Par.

Continue reading Jessica Par: Sharing My Story

Health & Commitment

The following is a message from Dr. Marc Spencer, Summer Search CEO.


Dear Summer Search Community,

Our world is changing quickly. Just last week I was in New York City meeting with our National Board, attending our gala in NYC, and participating in a staff retreat. The coronavirus events were beginning to occupy much of our attention but had not yet completely taken over our daily reality.

Today our staff is working remotely and watching as more and more people are being affected by the virus along with seeing the response from the markets, school districts, community leaders, and politicians. We are entering a public health challenge that will impact all of us in a myriad of ways. Continue reading Health & Commitment

One Chance to Make Change

The following is a guest post written by Niles Xi’an Lichtenstein, entrepreneur and Summer Search Bay Area alumnus. It was originally shared at a Summer Search fundraising event. Lightly edited and shared with permission.


Hi everyone, I’m Niles Lichtenstein, a Summer Search Bay Area alum.

Niles Lichtenstein

While ‘Summer Search Alum’ is an amazing title to have, perhaps the best title I’ve recently received was the title of ‘Dad’ to my wonderful daughter Genevieve, who we call ‘Evie’.

Evie was born 11 months ago and upon her birth, my mother, as she smiled at a future generation strong female, said something profound to me. She said that “having a granddaughter felt like having a second chance.”

“A second chance for what?” I asked her.

“A second chance to give Evie all the things I couldn’t always give you,” she replied. Continue reading One Chance to Make Change

A Summer Searcher’s Guide to Maximize College & Career

Fall is a season of change, and a time of firsts. Students are taking their first steps away from home onto college campuses, and young professionals are deciding how to begin their careers.

Two Summer Search alumnae – Lorraine and Marie – have generously shared their advice on tackling these exciting and challenging transitions: how to make the most of the post-secondary experience and how to best prepare to start a new job or career path.

Lorraine and Marie Continue reading A Summer Searcher’s Guide to Maximize College & Career

#SummerSearchGrad Class of 2019: College, Grad School, and Beyond!

Oh we’re not done celebrating our Summer Searchers yet! Last week we featured some remarkable students who completed their high school journeys. Now, it’s time for round 2 of our #SummerSearchGrad series where we spotlight the accomplishments of our inspiring post-secondary students and alumni.

Salomon graduating from East Stroudsburg University

Salomon — Philadelphia

“Never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” Continue reading #SummerSearchGrad Class of 2019: College, Grad School, and Beyond!